Archives for December 2015

A Conference To Talk About Typing

Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher both have limited speech due to autism, and when they were growing up, this meant they were labeled “retarded” and excluded from regular education. But their lives were turned around when, as adults, each learned to communicate by typing. Bissonnette, 52, and Thresher, 42, eventually embarked on a world tour to shine a light on autism that became the 2010 documentary film Wretches & Jabberers. In March, California Lutheran University will host a free screening of the film, directed by Academy Award winner Geraldine Wurzburg, and sponsor the “Spectrum of Opportunity: Autism, Inclusion and Communication”...

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Buddy Baseball Registration is Underway

Teams for players with special needs start their season Feb. 6. Registration has begun for the Cal Ripken – Babe Ruth League 2016 Buddy Baseball Program at Hartwell Park in Long Beach. The league is open to players ages 4-18 with special needs and their “buddies,” and serves Long Beach and the surrounding communities. “Buddy” refers to the person who helps the player with special needs swing the bat, round the bases or catch the ball. A buddy can be the player’s parent, sibling, friend or even a volunteer of any age. Buddy Baseball teams are usually made up of boys...

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Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box

Wheelchair accessibility and new classes are part of the learning center’s expansion. Outside the Box opened its first 500-square-foot storefront in 2009. The center, devoted to sensory activities that contribute to brain development for ages 8 weeks to 6 years, has expanded a couple of times over the years, and always made good use of the space. There were bubbles. There was paint. There were musical instruments, giggles and squeals. There were parents and kids learning and playing together. But there were no wheelchairs. And that is about to change. Outside the Box is moving from its most recent home...

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Kid-Founded Charity Lets Siblings Know They Count

When one of your children is diagnosed with a terminal illness, you know your family dynamic will change, but mom of four Catherine Miller could never have imagined the good that would come from such a scary situation. In 2013, her son Cameron, then 13, was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer (a low-grade glioma astrocytoma) on his brain stem. This meant regular hospital visits for chemotherapy for Cameron. For Cameron’s siblings, it meant lonely days and nights in the hospital waiting room. “Many people don’t realize that siblings can’t be in hospital rooms with their sick sibling and parents most...

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She Battled Cancer With a Smile

If Vivian Bui follows her chosen career path of becoming a pediatric oncologist, establishing empathy for her patients should not be a challenge. She knows exactly what cancer patients experience. At 15, Bui has gone through five rounds of chemotherapy and 39 rounds of radiation to treat nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer of the upper throat behind the nose. She began her battle with cancer a year after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and she has also been treated for plastic anemia, hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency. When she first learned of her diabetes diagnosis, Bui says she experienced a...

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Master Gardeners 90210

Your kids can get serious about spinach and become pros at peas with Junior Master Gardener classes in the demonstration garden at Greystone Mansion & Gardens, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills. Registration is underway for the eight-week course, which begins Jan. 10. Gardeners ages 6-12 can learn to grow a vegetable garden – and learn the benefits of locally grown, organic food – while developing critical-thinking skills and confidence. Classes are taught by certified master gardeners through the UC Cooperative Extension program, and kids who complete the course will receive the Golden Ray Certificate from Texas A&M University’s Junior...

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An Exhibit Fit For A King … And Kids

The Getty Museum’s new exhibit “Woven Gold: Tapestries Of Louis XIV” might not sound like something kids would flock to. It marks the 300th anniversary of the death of fabled French monarch King Louis XIV and includes 14 huge, majestic tapestries on loan from Paris’ Mobilier National (the largest repository of Louis XIV’s possessions). Tapestries reached a pinnacle in popularity and creativity during Louis XIV’s reign, and the pieces in this exhibit – created during the mid-16th to early 18th century – make that case with their impressive artistry. But because children don’t often care about “old rugs” hanging in...

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BARK Dogs Help Children Fetch New Reading Skills

Between 1997 and 2006, Long Beach resident Josie Gavieres raised six puppies to work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The last dog she raised, Groucho, had an especially sweet temperament, but didn’t qualify for the program. Gavieres decided to take advantage of his gentle disposition in a different way. “I had always wanted to be a first-grade teacher because I think reading is so important,” Gavieres says, “so I decided to help kids read through Groucho.” She pounded the pavement until she found a school in Long Beach willing to have its kids read to a dog. She brought...

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fun ideas for kids

Great Cold-Weather Gear

Feeling that winter chill? Here are some finds that will keep you cozy as the temperature drops. For more product reviews, visit NAPPAawards.com.  

Club Grants Christmas Wishes to Santa Monica Families

Some children in Santa Monica didn’t wish for toys or luxuries for Christmas. Instead, they wished for basic necessities, like beds. To make the season brighter for these struggling families, board members and volunteers from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica delivered beds and other household items to several needy Club families just before the holiday, as part of the Club’s Family Assistance Program. Other presents given to families Club staff identified as the most vulnerable include microwave ovens, pots and pans, a couch, a dresser and a payment of a gas bill. In addition, 800 children ages...

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