Archives for July 2016

Why Kids With Disabilities Need Time For Play

As summer winds down and the new school year gets rolling, you’re likely looking closely at your child’s schedule. If your child has a developmental or other disability, one especially important thing to schedule in is play. Joclynn Benjamin, owner of Leaps n Boundz – which offers swimming, gymnastics and social programs for individuals of all abilities at several L.A.-area sites – says families often have few slots open for recreation. “They’ve literally scheduled these students for 40-plus hours a week of therapy,” she says. Many families start the school year with such crowded calendars that by the winter holidays,...

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fun ideas for kids

LA’s Great 8: Exceptional Outdoor Playgrounds

If you have grown tired of your usual haunts of fun ideas for kids and are looking to try more creative, unusual and adventurous playground options, you still have some summer vacation left to go exploring! Here are a few parks that stand out, including a couple of newly opened options to keep things fresh. Slip-Sliding Away While the recently opened South Park playground in Hermosa Beach (425 Valley Dr.) has a lot to offer, the number-one draw here has got to be the slides. Built into the side of a hill on the northwest side of the park, the...

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Parenting & Eating Disorders in Kids: When Healthy Goes Too Far

You’ve heard medical experts extol the virtues of healthy eating. You’ve been told to keep your children away from sugar, salt and processed foods, and have started to focus on healthy eating and nutrition for yourself and your child. With all this attention to healthy eating, you’ve certainly helped safeguard your child’s health. Or have you? Is it possible you’ve put them at risk? Unfortunately, when the focus on healthy eating goes too far, it can actually create unhealthy food beliefs and behaviors. Children may become so focused on healthy eating that they become distressed, limit their food choices and...

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This Special-Needs Camp Hires Counselors On the Spectrum

All over Los Angeles this summer, high school and college students are earning money and gaining experience as camp counselors. When college student and L.A. resident Carter Theiro shows up for work each morning and joins 130 camp counselors at a South Los Angeles camp, he brings a unique perspective to the job. Theiro, 19 and a student at Los Angeles Valley College, is on the autism spectrum. This is his third year as a counselor at the Special Needs Network’s Joe Patton Academy Camp (JPAC), where he embraces the opportunity to support young campers who are also on the spectrum. Theiro loves his work as a counselor at JPAC, a...

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school news

Thinking Globally: Lang Ranch Students Compete in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Everything was going great until the U-Haul arrived. After months of hard work, the fifth-grade Odyssey of the Mind team from Lang Ranch Elementary School had made it to the World Finals competition. The seven girls on the team had gathered at the school at 3 a.m. May 24 for their flight to Ames, Iowa. For two days, they had been at Iowa State University enjoying the festivities surrounding the competition while some of their parents drove the sets, props and costumes for the skit they would perform to Ames from L.A. Unfortunately, the Midwest was experiencing some serious rain....

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Doc Talk: How to Handle the Heat Like a Pro

Whether your child is at the beach, on the ball field or just out playing in the park, heat-related illness is a danger this time of year. Parents often throw around the term “heat stroke,” but are usually using it incorrectly. There are many forms of heat-related illness. Heat Cramps/Edema/Syncope: It doesn’t have to be extraordinarily hot for children to develop cramps and muscle pain or swelling (edema) of the hands or feet, or to pass out (syncope). This is the mildest form of heat-related illness, but if these symptoms are ignored, heat exhaustion becomes a risk. Heat Exhaustion: This...

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Introducing Your Child With Disabilities To a New Teacher

A new school year is starting, which means a new teacher for your child. Take a few minutes to write a letter that will help equip your child’s teacher for the excitement and challenges ahead. “As much as our kids need support at times, teachers need just as much,” says Kathleen Secchi, Santa Clarita coordinator for Family Focus Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides support services to families raising children with disabilities. Give the teacher a few days to get the school year rolling – and maybe to review your child’s IEP – but don’t wait more than a week...

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On the Record: Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

I’m a helicopter mom. I hover over my 5-year-old daughter, Sofia, watching and listening to everything she does and imposing my ideas and interests on her in hopes she’ll choose what I think is best. My friends call me “controlling,” but I thought being a helicopter mom meant you were being protective, loving, motivating and educating. I was dead wrong, and my helicopter made a hard landing. I became conscious of my controlling ways when Sofia was preparing for a recent ballet recital. She’s been taking ballet since she was 2. At first, it was cute and fun seeing her...

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special needs

Must-Do Self-care Tips For Special-Needs Moms

Areva Martin is a busy woman. She is an attorney, legal analyst and commentator who often appears on “The Doctors,” “Dr. Phil,” “Dr. Drew” and “Good Morning America.” She founded and runs the resource and advocacy organization Special Needs Network and is a wife and mother of three, with one son on the autism spectrum. And – believe it or not – she has learned to take good care of herself. “I think the first thing that moms neglect is their own personal health,” Martin says. She has talked with many mothers who either gained or lost 25 or 30...

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