Archives for June 2016

special needs beach wheelchairs

Freewheeling At the Beach

A day at the beach is a quintessential SoCal summer family outing. And even if your child uses a wheelchair, you can hit the sand. Ashley Lyn Olson was paralyzed in a car accident at age 14, and has become a lifelong access advocate. In 2006, she launched wheelchairtraveling.com to encourage people in wheelchairs to “come access your world.” The northern California resident travels the globe and often hits the beach. Wheelchairtraveling.com will give you tips for access at Long Beach, Venice Beach, Malibu, Santa Monica Beach and – just for fun – beaches and other destinations up and down...

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July Fourth Fireworks With Sensitive Kids

Diane Cullinane has a son with sensory issues, and when he was 2 or 3 years old, the family decided to attend a local fireworks display one July Fourth. Cullinane knew her son was sensitive, so they parked three blocks from the celebration and watched from there. Even so, they had to leave after a few minutes. “It was just too much for him,” Cullinane says. For many kids with sensory issues, Independence Day celebrations can be uncomfortable – or even downright terrifying. Cullinane, a developmental pediatrician and executive director of Professional Child Development Associates in Pasadena, offers tips for...

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Families Connected Program Launches in the South Bay

New Resource for Parents Targets Teen Wellness and Prevention of Substance Use The South Bay is connecting families on a whole new level. Thanks to the successful launch of South Bay Families Connected (SBFC) at Mira Costa High School, called Mira Costa Families Connected (MCHS FC), the free teen wellness and substance use prevention resource is now available to all South Bay schools including Manhattan Beach Middle School. “The Families Connected project and website offer national and local tools and resources, as well as opportunities for parents to connect around this important topic through a parent blog, educational events, and...

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summer camp los angeles

My LEGO Party Turned Play-Well Engineering Workshop

I’m a LEGO purist. I love dumping the big box of hundreds of bricks that can be made into anything I imagine onto the floor. My child is the opposite. Mirae, my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter, is dedicated to the completion of the predetermined project on the front of the LEGO box. This line between free play and instruction was one we had to consider in planning a LEGO shindig with a mommy-friend this spring. I thought I needed to create separate areas for the dump-and-imagine kids and those like my by-the-book builder. I also thought that meant renting tons of...

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community news

Community News: Getting In the Swing of Things

Imagine a picturesque Sunday morning. A cluster of fluffy cumulus clouds peppers a saturated blue sky as the vivid sun slowly stretches its legs across the horizon. The sounds of chirping birds and the click of a distant water sprinkler wallows in your ear. It’s as if Ansel Adams is supposed to capture this moment, but it’s only you and your seven iron as a ball rests 145 yards from the green. You approach calmly and with one fluid motion – smack! You slice that dimpled sphere into the brush. If you’re anything like me this has happened to you...

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A Luxury KOA Adventure in Ventura Ranch

Before children, camping was a dirty adventure. We slept on the ground with only a thin layer of stuffed polyester protecting our bodies from the rocks. We cooked on grills powered by fires we painstakingly built from twigs and newspapers. We brought our own toilet paper and peed in nature. After my first son was born, lack of sleep meant I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm for the great outdoors. It just wasn't going to happen. And then it did. We started renting RVs, I acknowledged we had moved into a new vacation bracket – and it was still good....

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community news

Community News: A Tween With An Open Heart

Noah Bella Michaelis may seem like your ordinary 12-year-old. She loves her pet dog, Finn, and pet tortoise, Escher; enjoys reading and collects miniature figurines. She was born with complex congenital heart disease and has had four open-heart surgeries since birth, but what is really extraordinary about Michaelis is her spirit. This indefatigable sixth grader has raised more than $65,000 for the Hopeful Hearts Foundation – a nonprofit that provides financial support for families of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and raises awareness and funds for research – through a fundraiser she calls Noah’s Festival of Life. This carnival-like...

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An Animated Look at the World of Autism

Lots of kids love Disney animated films, watching them again and again until their parents are driven to distraction – and have memorized most of the dialog. Owen Suskind’s parents, though, don’t complain about his Disney obsession. They credit it with helping bring him back to them. The documentary “Life, Animated,” in local theaters beginning July 1, lets us share that journey. Near the beginning of the film we see a home movie of Owen, around age 2, at play with his dad, Ron. In their game of pretend, Owen is Peter Pan, Ron is Captain Hook, and the two...

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positive parenting

A Family Legacy Worth Leaving Behind

It is a day I will never forget – Christmas 2013 in snowy Chicago, and my parents were visiting from Texas. Christmas carols were playing, festive food and decorated cookies were on the table, and I had buttery egg nog in hand and a big smile on my face as I sat to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, open her first gift from under our tree. The first package was from us, Mom and Dad. It was a “Sofia the First” karaoke machine, which was on her wish list. She looked at it for about three seconds, pushed it...

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Firework-free Festivities For the Fourth

The Fourth of July and fireworks are just about as synonymous as you can get. Look up that night and you can’t miss the sparkle. But what if you are looking to celebrate the holiday without the fireworks? Here are a few events where the fun isn’t fueled by pyrotechnics. Independence In Print It’s not every day that you have the chance to meet Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, but on July 2 you can. The annual Independence Day celebration at the International Printing Museum (315 W. Torrance Blvd., Carson; www.printingmuseum.org) takes place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and...

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