Archives for August 2015

A Different Kind of Carpool

Need to get each of your three kids to a different place at the same time? HopSkipDrive (, a ride service started by three L.A. moms tired of struggling to get their children to various activities, could be the answer. No, this isn’t Uber for kids. HopSkipDrive is more like an extension of your child’s caregiver. Drivers will follow your pick-up and drop-off instructions, walking in to sign your kids in or out of activities if needed. And it is popular. With less than a year in business, they already employ 150 drivers throughout the greater L.A. area. Call them...

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Helping Special-Needs Teens Transition Socially

A group of teens is talking. Your child wants to join the conversation, but isn’t sure how to go about it. What would you advise? If you’d tell your child to just walk up and introduce himself, you aren’t doing him any favors. “It would look odd to just walk up to a random group and say hi,” says Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., founder and director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, a program that provides parent-assisted social-skills training for adolescents and young adults who are on the autism spectrum or have social impairments. Most of us, faced with a conversation we...

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DEAFestival 2015 Comes to Grand Park

The 17th annual DEAFestival, a free daylong family event offering resources, entertainment and community building, will take place at Los Angeles City Hall and Grand Park (200 N. Spring St., L.A.) from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 3. The event will feature a deaf talent show, a T-shirt design contest, a fashion show, information booths, art workshops, child safety seat classes and free car seat giveaways. At the “Once Upon a Sign” video booth, classic children’s stories will be performed in ASL. There will also be face painting, an auto show featuring motorcycles and cars owned by those in the deaf community...

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Detecting Body-Image Issues In Your Teen

What does your teen see when he or she looks in the mirror? “Body image” is how we describe what people believe about their outward appearance, how they feel about their bodies and how they sense and control their movements. Issues can occur when teens start showing signs of a negative body image, perceiving their bodies as something other than reality, convinced that their size or shape is a personal failure or feeling ashamed, anxious or awkward about their appearance. To shed light on these issues, we at TeenSafe, a Santa Monica-based smartphone monitoring tool for parents, created this guide...

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Yoobi Kicks Off a Season of School Donations

One week after starting the new school year, children at Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena got a “kick start” on a year of learning Aug. 24 thanks to a donation from school and office supply company Yoobi. After a morning assembly, Yoobi founder Ido Leffler, Chief Giving Officer Justin Wolff and a crew of Yoobi staffers delivered 29 boxes full of free supplies to classrooms, enough for every student. Yoobi, which previously sold its supplies exclusively through Target, opened its first store in June at Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia. With every purchase, the company donates school...

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Emotional Health Begins In the Womb

Our experiences in the womb, during birth, and as young babies set in motion physical, mental, emotional and relational patterns that can have a profound and lifelong impact. Babies in the womb are conscious and aware of – and respond to – the outside world. So, how do we communicate with our “inside babies”? According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and author of Silent Messages, 70 to 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. Why not give that a try? With actions, body language, tone of voice and words you can have affectionate and loving communication with your unborn baby....

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Finding a Home For treehaus

Saralynne Lowrey Precht and Michelle Pedersen met at an early-intervention therapy program at the Cheerful Helpers Child and Family Study Center in L.A., not long after their sons were diagnosed with autism. Over play dates, family dinners and therapy sessions, they found they shared a common childhood vision of owning a boutique. As they mulled over how to make it happen, they researched how to navigate L.A.'s Fashion District, work with artists on consignment and secure funding. As their business plan was coming together, they initially decided the store could be a part-time thing. That plan didn’t last long. “Just as we...

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Kids World LA Opens In Oak Park

An exciting new indoor playground for the entire family, Kids World LA opened the doors Aug. 12 at its new Oak Park location (618 Lindero Canyon Rd Ste. A), boasting a wide variety of fun-filled activities and an all-around events space for all ages. The 15,000-square-foot entertainment complex offers state-of-the-art features such as the “AtomicRUSH,” an immersive virtual game that uses the latest in-touch and LED technology, programmed with unlimited variations, vibrant colors and high-fidelity sound. A tri-level “Ballocity” adventure and play structure includes giant slides, tunnels, zip-lining, obstacle courses, mini golf, ball pit and foam-ball blasters. There are also...

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Teaching Kids To Speak Up

My daughter is lost in play with a friend, and I watch as her eyes suddenly fix on the floor beneath her. The conversation is quiet and I can’t quite make out the words between them, but I can sense from her posture that she doesn’t want to speak up. The path of least resistance tends to be her favorite path, even if it means pushing her own ideas and thoughts aside to fulfill the needs of those around her. I can relate. She shrugs, puts down her doll and moves on to something else. Sometimes we see snippets of...

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APEX Play Space Offers a Fresh Take On the Kids’ Gym

It’s long been Ed Sais’s dream to open his own kids’ gym. His first jobs were as a lifeguard and swim instructor for children. Then, for 14 years, he ran the classes at Bright Child, a much-loved kids’ gym and play space in Santa Monica. After Bright Child closed, many parents whose children grew up attending and loving Sais’s classes encouraged him to open a place of his own. Sais spent several years working in another field, and became a father of two, and then the time finally seemed right to return to the work he is so good at...

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