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Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Nearly 13,000 kids under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year and, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), nearly 25 percent of kids diagnosed per year will not survive the disease. This is why September is dedicated as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Even though President Obama’s proclamation this year revealed that ongoing research and treatment has led to outstanding progress (the five-year survival rate for all childhood cancers has increased from less than 50 percent to 80 percent over the past several decade), there is still much work to be done.
Below are ways to learn more about the disease and to engage with affected communities:
More information about childhood cancer can be found on Parents.com:
Image: Awareness Ribbon – Bone, via Shutterstock
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46 Mommas, American Childhood Cancer Organization, awareness, awareness mo, child health, childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, children's hospitals, gold ribbon, health, Health & Safety, Noelia de la Cruz, pediatric cancer, Pediatric Cancer Foundation, St. Baldrick's Foundation | Categories:
GoodyBlog, Health & Safety
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Today’s special date was chosen as World Down Syndrome Day for its symbolism — the numbers 3 and 21 represent ”the third copy of chromosome 21 present in Trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome.” According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS.org), “this additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.” The NDSS Down Syndrome Fact Sheet also reveals that 1 in every 691 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome, and there are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in our country.
Although World Down Syndrome Day was established by Down Syndrome International in 2006 to encourage worldwide awareness about Down syndrome issues, this is the first official year the United Nations will be observing it. To honor this day, NDSS.org is highlighting the My Great Story campaign, a monthly column that now features over 400 inspiring true stories by and about people with Down syndrome. You can watch a 30-second video featuring actor Chris Burke, who played Corky on the series “Life Goes On” and who is the NDSS Goodwill Ambassador, talking about the campaign. (Fun fact: Chris Burke is also the uncle of Parents magazine’s Senior Health Editor.)
Join in increasing Down syndrome awareness today and every day. You can read 21 Facts About Down Syndrome, click on the jump below to read a Preferred Language Guide, and tweet on Twitter using the #321 hashtag.
More features about Down syndrome on Parents.com
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Friday, October 21st, 2011
Bullying and its technological twin, cyberbullying, are still ever-present news topics. As the year progresses, some schools are implementing anti-bullying policies while others are still making sense of tragic suicides.
Since October is also National Bullying Prevention Month (along with Breast Cancer Awareness and Down Syndrome Awareness), we want to bring you our latest resources for stopping bullying and cyberbullying.
In other news, the Interactive Autism Network is also launching a nationwide survey that will study how bullying affects children with autism. Since children with autism are vulnerable and frequent targets of bullying, IAN is looking for parents to share their stories in order to educate teachers and school administrators.
Plus, a free new iPhone/iPad app called BeSeen is now available, geared for kids 11 and up. The mobile app acts as an educational game that simulates a social networking site. Kids navigate a school year through a Facebook-like environment, learning how to interact with others in positive ways, how to protect personal and private information, and how to guard against cyberbullying. Learn more about the product at PlayBeSeen.com.
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Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that is more commonly diagnosed during childhood. Children diagnosed with ADHD are unable to focus or stay still for a long time and act impulsively. According to the CDC, an average of 5.4 children (9.5%) between ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls (13.2% vs. 5.6%). ADHD is also a more common term than Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), although both are still used interchangeably.
This guest post was written by Ben Glenn, the author of “Simply Special, Learning to Love Your ADHD.” In grade school, he was diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, but he wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until an adult. Glenn travels the country and the globe, sharing his personal experiences with ADHD. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife and two children. For more information, visit www.SimpleADHDExpert.com.
Despite the amount of press, websites, and books explaining Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is still one of the world’s most misunderstood psychiatric disorders. At its simplest, ADHD is the inability to sustain attention, and the person who has it is generally restless, fidgety, impulsive, and struggles with sustaining productivity. The deeper issue is that people with ADHD have problems with the part of the brain that controls executive functions (also known as the pre-frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex), such as initiating tasks, knowing when to put on the brakes, transitioning easily from one task to another, being systematic and maintaining order, self-monitoring and controlling one’s emotions, and holding onto information vital to completing a task.
While the bulk of scientific data about ADHD has increased in the last quarter century, ADHD is not a new disorder. In fact, it has been around for decades (some speculate even centuries). ADHD was officially recognized in British medical literature for the first time in 1902 (it was labeled as “morbid defect of moral control“) and has, since then, undergone several more name changes (including minimal brain dysfunction). The 2013 revision of The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders might see yet another name revision. While the exact definition of ADHD is still evolving, there is no doubt that ADHD is real and affecting the lives of millions of children and adults. I am one of them.
I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was an adult because I didn’t have the “hyperactive” element, but the schools did catch my dyslexia in third grade. I hated being labeled. Going to a Special Education classroom was hell. I was teased and treated like a dummy. I struggled with things that were easy for everyone else and done in no time at all, I was walking around feeling like a mistake, like a loser with no future. For a while I really lost all hope. This is a terrible way to grow up.
Children and adults with ADHD get a bad rep for being lazy, unmotivated, disorganized, and unable to complete any task on time. Relationships suffer because people with ADHD tend to blurt out what’s on their mind without thinking or lose interest in the middle of the conversation and wander off. While we all have moments where we display these behaviors, the important distinction is that people with ADHD literally can’t help being this way most of the time. It’s not a matter of trying harder to be better. It’s a neurobiological inability to do so. ADHD is also not the result of bad parenting or “broken homes” or lack of parental attention and discipline. While these may worsen the symptoms of ADHD and negatively impact a child’s behavior, ADHD is not caused by any of these things. Research has shown that ADHD symptoms are caused by brain chemistry. ADHD may also be genetic, which supports some beliefs that ADHD is more “nature” than “nurture.”
However, ADHD is one of the most treatable psychiatric disorders and has one of the best outcomes for anyone who gets the right kind of help and support from understanding parents, friends, teachers, and doctors. Thankfully there were teachers who helped and supported me. I credit them for restoring some of my self-confidence. The rest of the credit goes to my wife, my sympathetic enforcer!
Read More About ADHD on Parents.com
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Monday, October 3rd, 2011
October is also National Down Syndrome Awareness Month (in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month). The CDC estimates that 1 in 691 babies are born with Down syndrome each year, in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome (47 instead of 46), an occurrence that results in mental and physical challenges.
This guest post was written by Amy Julia Becker, a mother who lives in Lawrenceville, NJ with her husband and three children (one boy and two girls). The oldest of her two daughters, Penny, was born with Down syndrome, and Becker shares her parenting experiences below. Becker’s most recent book is A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny. She blogs at Thin Places, and you can visit her website at www.amyjuliabecker.com.
When our daughter Penny was diagnosed with Down syndrome two hours after she was born, I immediately worried about her future, her health, our ability to take good care of her, and our community’s willingness to accept her. I thought my world would shrink into a closed room with four walls labeled disability, special needs, developmental delays, and early intervention. But by the time she was one year old, I wanted to introduce her to strangers on the street so that they could share in her infectious smile and ready wave. I’m only five years into parenting a child with Down syndrome, but I’ve learned a few things that have helped me become a better mother to Penny (and to her younger brother and sister, who have developed typically).
Learn to Give and Receive
Before Penny was born, I treated life as if it were an equation. Hard work plus a happy childhood equaled a productive and satisfied adult. Penny helped me to understand that human beings aren’t products on an assembly line. We all have different needs and different abilities. Penny’s needs are more obvious than mine, and her body is more vulnerable. And yet her classification as “disabled” has served to show me my own weaknesses—my impatience, my tendency to judge people based upon surface impressions, my stubborn independence. I remember a time when a young woman with Down syndrome came to our house. She didn’t speak very clearly, and she needed assistance with some simple household tasks. But she sat on the floor with our son, William, who was being fussy, and her gentle, soothing presence brought him great peace. This event is one example of what I have learned–to see life as a web of relationships based upon giving, receiving, and mutual care. Penny has taught me not only to receive her as a gift, but to view every person in my life as a unique being with something to offer.
Stay Focused on One Thing at a Time
Early on, I learned that I couldn’t predict when Penny would reach developmental milestones. The half-dozen baby books on my shelf wouldn’t help me if I wondered when she “should” roll over or clap or eat with a spoon. For a while I thought I needed to let go of goals for her altogether because I didn’t want to equate her value as a human being with her ability to walk or talk. But eventually I realized that Penny would learn and grow, even if she did so at her own pace. My husband and I started to focus on helping Penny learn the next thing, whatever that might be. Now that she’s in kindergarten, we ask: What’s the next thing she needs to learn about reading? About numbers? About friendship? It’s easy for all parents to spend too much time worrying about the distant future; trying to focus on one thing at a time has provided me emotional freedom.
Concentrate on Character Instead of Comparisons
When Penny was a baby, I often found myself analyzing other children her age and wondering how she measured up. If I discovered that she could do something another kid couldn’t, I felt self-satisfied and superior. On the other hand, when other kids her age could run across the room and Penny still hadn’t begun to crawl, I felt panic rattling inside my chest. I finally realized that whenever I met another child, I asked, “What can she do?” and the comparison would push me away from that child and parent. If I changed my question to “Who is she?” it allowed me to focus upon the child’s character. Every child became valuable and interesting once I stopped comparing them.
Now, with a happy, healthy child who has just started kindergarten, I wonder sometimes why I felt so scared. Having a child with Down syndrome has expanded my world, and my heart.
More About Down Syndrome on Parents.com
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Saturday, October 1st, 2011
Think pink in October for breast cancer awareness. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. We spoke to Julie Aigner Clark, founder of The Baby Einstein Company, mother of two kids, and 44-year-old breast cancer survivor about her tips for talking to kids about breast cancer. She recently published a picture book, “You Are the Best Medicine,” which helps kids understand what it means when a loved one has been dignosed with cancer. Proceeds for the book go to UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
1- Your picture book, “You Are the Best Medicine,” shares tips for explaining cancer to children. What are some of the tips for moms to approach the topic with younger and older kids?
I don’t think kids younger than 5 need to know more than ”Mommy is sick and has to take medicine that makes her feel bad for awhile.” Here are my tips:
- Be honest but don’t explain too much. Think of it as talking to kids about sex. The older they get, the more you can go into the specifics.
- Let them know how much they can help just by loving you. Ask them to read to you, crawl into bed with you, and snuggle. Kids really are the best medicine!
- Tell them right away that they can’t “catch” cancer from you, no matter what. This seems obvious, but kids are quite literal. They’ve been told to stay away from sick people!
- Take them with you, once, to a chemo appointment. This takes the mystery out of what’s going on while you’re at the doctor. Explain the IV, the fluids, and the process to the degree that they’ll understand.
If kids do want to understand a little more about why or how a parent (or someone else they know) is sick, there are also excellent children’s books. One that explains cancer really well is “Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings” by Ellen McVicker, a fellow survivor. My own book shares how important love is to a parent going through treatment and focuses on the non-medical parts of the illness that kids can expect.
2- How did your own breast cancer experience with your daughters inspire you to develop these tips?
My kids were 6 and 9 the first time I was diagnosed; they were 11 and 13 the second time. I wish I’d been more open with them the second time around, when they were old enough to know that this is a life-threatening disease. I was trying to deal with the diagnosis myself, especially the stage 4 part. I was scared and sad, and I tried to protect my kids, but they knew. Our children understand us, and anxiety is a pretty powerful emotion to cover up. I did my best, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t tried to hide my fear.
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Monday, September 12th, 2011
Head lice. Tiny critters that provide tremendous problems. Now that the majority of kids are back in school and spending their days mingling with other kids, they’re more susceptible to getting head lice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age.” Just in time for September, which is also National Head Lice Awareness Month, here are a few head lice prevention tips and pesticide-free products that are available to help your kids combat the creepy-crawlies.
1- The LiceGuard Robi Comb (Retail price: $29.95) offers a unique way for parents to locate and eliminate head lice. As the resuable electronic comb passes through a child’s dry hair, lice are immediately destroyed and removed. We asked two separate testers to try the comb on their daughters, ages 9 and 4, though neither had lice at the time of testing. The first tester and mom of the 9-year-old, really liked the comb. She shared, “My daughter was excited to try it. She has long thick hair, and [the comb] ran through it easily (after I brushed it thoroughly). It beats the conventional lice treatment method that I have had to use several times before. I highly recommend!” Our second tester and dad of the 4-year-old, had a different experience. He revealed, “My wife tried to use it once on our daughter. She said it hurt and won’t go near it now.” The comb may be a better experience for kids older than 5, but it’s still a safe, eco-friendly product for kids with lice. Plus, LiceGuard also offers a non-toxic Head Lice Shampoo that helps with destroying more lice and their eggs.
2- Licenders offers a variety of all-natural products (Retail price $20-35) that include shampoos, combing solutions, natural oils, laundry additive, and more. There is also an Essentials Kits that includes four products for $65. The company was founded by Adie Horowitz fifteen years ago, after her kids returned home from school with head lice. Horowitz researched ways to remove lice without chemicals and decided to create her own non-toxic items, along with a special lice removal process (that uses a little baking soda). She worked with a manufacturer to produce special shampoos and conditioners containing enzymes and peppermint oil. Licenders also offers personal home and school consultations with professional clinicians in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and a Head Lice Salon opened in New York City to provide individual treatments.
Horowitz also shared these tips for head lice prevention:
- Know the time of year when lice is more likely to appear. In winter, lice can come from traveling and be likely found in layers of clothes (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.). In summer, traveling is also a concern along with summer camp, playdates, and hats.
- Use shampoos/conditioners that contain peppermint since the scent deters the head lice.
- Throw backpacks, hats, and jackets in your dryer for 20 minutes once a week.
- Tell your kids to avoid sharing hats, hair-bows, jackets, and gloves with anyone.
- Check your children frequently for head lice; removal is easier if you discover lice at an early stage.
3- The Facts of Lice iPhone app (Free) from Fairy Tales Hair Care is handy for moms and dads who want to keep track of lice outbreaks in their neighborhood. We even featured it in our piece about back-to-school apps for parents. Through the app, receive real-time alerts of local lice issues, report oubreaks near you, read guidelines on how to check for and remove lice, and access a database (organized by state and zip code) of outbreaks across the U.S. from the past four weeks. Fellow Parents editor and blogger, Diane, also recommends Fairy Tales Hair Care products for preventing and destroying lice. Various natural products are made from organic ingredients that include aloe, citrus, rosemary, and lavender.
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Friday, April 1st, 2011
April is Autism Awareness Month and Autism Speaks, the largest autism advocacy organization in North America, is launching its second annual Light It Up Blue global campaign. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and funds for autism around the world by enlisting iconic landmarks to “shine a light on autism” by shining blue lights on the evening of April 1 to promote the month and promote World Autism Awareness Day, which is April 2.
Participating major landmarks include the Empire State Building in New York City, the Willis Tower in Chicago, Niagara Falls in Canada, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Other local landmarks such as airports, bridges, museums, and more will also light up in blue.
You can also support autism awareness by raising donations on a Build a Blue website, downloading the Light It Up Blue iPhone app, displaying Light It Up Blue web banners on Facebook and other websites, and sharing your own photos and stories on the Light It Up Blue website.
This year, Autism Speaks will also launch a new 30-second public service announcement that will showcase an original song composed and sung by 5th graders from Pelham, NY.
Read more about autism on Parents.com
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