Archives for February 2015

Showering a Baby with Books

By Dr. Helen Foster James Recently it was my pleasure to attend a baby shower for a longtime friend who had just become a first-time grandma. She was delighted to have a new little one in her life and her friends rallied around her in celebration. I had never heard of a baby shower for grandmas, but I’m always happy to celebrate with a friend. I googled around and found that grandma showers are a new and very up-and-coming tradition. They’re trendy. They’re unique and, if you ask me, they’re here to stay. Don’t get me wrong, showers are usually...

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Peddle Power

If you like bikes, March will be your month for fun Los Angeles events. March 1, in fact, offers a tandem of bike-related events. At the Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; you can participate in freewheeling (and free!) fun from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. during “Close Encounters: Build-A-Bike.” Draw inspiration from the Hammer’s exhibition spotlighting the innovative Heatherwick Studio and design your very own model bicycle. Just a quick bike ride away at the Fowler Museum (308 Charles E. Young Dr. North, L.A.; will be a free family bike day from 1-4 p.m., in conjunction with the exhibit...

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10 Ways To Show (not tell) Your Child Reading Matters to You

You’ve told your child reading is important, but your actions are far louder than words. Set a good parenting example for your child by showing how important reading is to you and your entire family. Here are ten ways to show (not tell!) your child reading is important. Let your child see you reading. Parents frequently read when children are tucked away asleep. Let them see you reading. When they see you read, they know reading is important to you. Order magazine subscriptions for family members. Magazines delivered to your home lets your child see you reading. Order an age-appropriate...

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Give A Book, Take A Book: The Joy of a Neighborhood Small Library

On my neighborhood strolls through my city, I’ve noticed little libraries are popping up everywhere. Some are “official” Little Free Library ( versions while others are just good neighbors with a zeal for books and a box or an extra bookshelf to spare. It’s all about give and take. The premise is neighbors will give a book they are finished reading to the “library” and in return, they will take a book that looks of interest to them to read. In our local mountains, for example, the small store sets aside a few shelves for leave-one-take-one for campers and local...

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UCLA Researchers Hope to Make Earlier Autism Detection Possible

Early detection is the key to helping children on the autism spectrum realize their full potential. Experts tend to agree that autism can be reliably diagnosed at age 3, when symptoms are present. Infants’ behavior is much more limited, making earlier detection a challenge, but researchers at UCLA are hoping to learn enough to change that. By studying behavior along with brain differences that could signal communication delays, they hope to create a model for autism diagnoses as early as age 1, before the core symptoms of autism present themselves. The UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment is looking...

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Conference Showcases Neurodevelopmental Treatment Models For Special Needs

Parents can learn new ways to support children with neurodevelopmental differences at “The Power and Promise of Neurodevelopmental Approaches” March 13-15. The conference is hosted by the Profectum Foundation, a group of parents and practitioners dedicated to training and research. “Our hope is to bring world-class researchers to the conference and show parents and professionals how to better understand their children with special emotional, developmental or physical needs,” says clinical psychologist Mona Delahooke, Ph.D., a Profectum member who practices in Arcadia. The conference is designed to support parents of children with special needs including, but not limited to, autism. The...

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Girlfriend Getaway: Vegas Edition

When a milestone birthday was around the corner for my high school girlfriends and me, someone brought up the idea of celebrating in Las Vegas. The visual of way-too-high-heeled shoes, beauty pageant sashes and tiaras popped into my head. I thought, “No way am I going to be a walking cliché.” But when everyone loved the idea but me, I thought I’d step outside my comfort zone, pack my heels and go with the flow. Since moving to Los Angeles, I don’t see these girls nearly enough, so I decided to suck it up. We’re certainly not the same people...

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The Parents’ Voice: Key To School Success

When my husband and I bought our house in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in the west San Fernando Valley, we assumed our kids would eventually attend the local elementary school just down the street. But our tour a year before our oldest daughter was about to enter kindergarten left us feeling disappointed and panicked. Test scores were below average, enrichment programs such as art and music were not offered, there weren’t many kids from the neighborhood, and parent involvement was minimal. We talked to our neighbors and it turned out that everyone had a Plan B. Some were investing in...

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Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know About Cutting

Non-suicidal self-injury, also known as “cutting” because that is the most popular form it takes, is frighteningly common among kids – though the problem is difficult to study. Some researchers believe that as many as 10 percent of 8-12-year-olds have attempted self-injury. “The statistics in this particular area are completely unreliable,” says Angela Kahn, founder of the L.A.-based Kahn Institute for Self-Injury. “We have enough anecdotal evidence to say that this is common. We just don’t have the science to back it up.” Both ways of gathering statistics about kids’ self-injury pose problems, according to Kahn. Ask kids about it,...

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Ashleigh Parsons: Making Kale Connections for Kids

If there’s one person who can get your kids to eat kale, it’s Ashleigh Parsons. Had she put her Harvard master’s to work in the classroom, the sweet 29-year-old would be everyone’s favorite teacher. But before getting that degree, she spent time juggling a job at an Oakland farm-to-table restaurant with volunteer work at an after-school program in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Taking the low-income kids from the food desert to the farmer’s market put her on a different path. “The food we feed our kids is deeply important,” she tells me from a sunny window seat at Alma, the...

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