The Podium Walk

According to Kevin Seawright, High School graduations are taking over headlines in the news as millions of kids around the country graduate. There is one story in particular worth reading about. Remember high school graduation is also remembering the dreaded walk up the podium. It just so happens that a high school graduate decided to make this walk up to the podium a memorable one as she led her autistic twin brother up with her.

Anders Bonville, a now high school graduate, at the age of 2, was diagnosed with autism. Those he was diagnosed with an unfortunate disability, he was never alone. His twin-sister Aly, has helped him through schooling and has even been able to communicate with him by developing a language with him for communication. Aly has made sure that she always includes her brother on everything even if others do not approve.

Not having the verbal skills, Aly and her brother were able to communicate. They were always close and Aly always made sure to spend time with him. When it came time for graduation, Aly even made sure to sign him up to receive his diploma at the graduation with his cap and gown. When it came time to graduate, Aly was the one wheeling him up to the podium where everyone rose to applaud him for his accomplishment. This is a story about true family dedication that should be commended by all.

Children’s Hospital Hosts Prom for Teen Patients

Going to the prom is a social highlight, and mark of passage, for teens that is extremely important to their lives. For some, illness can interrupt not just the ability to attend school, but it makes the idea of going to their prom a bittersweet dream. Not for the patients at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. Brad Reifler told us this year marks the 9th year in a row that they have hosted a prom for their teen patients. Dubbed a “therapeutic activity” everyone involved understands just how important this event is to their patient’s well being.

Forget the hospital johnny and break out the ball gown
For almost 90 patients the Hospital sponsors not just the prom event, but they bring in stylist to help the teens do up their hair, nails and select just the right outfit to where. In interviews with local media many of the teens say that having this prom makes them feel more like a part of life, and not completely removed from it. Doctors and therapists understand that a part of battling serious illness is outlook, and making sure these teens have the prom to look forward to – as well as actually memories of the event – may be critical to their treatment. As for the teens? They are like any other on prom night – nervous, excited and a hundred percent in the joy of the moment.

New Study Says Raise Your Children Home On The Range

If you feel more relaxed and attentive in the rolling hills of the countryside rather than the concrete jungle of the inner city, you’re not alone. New research by a team of researchers from Spain, Norway, and the US published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that green spaces and natural settings improve learners’ cognitive development.

Which is none too surprising to those given to an intellectual career path. According to Business Journals; writers, artists, musicians, and deep thinkers have long gravitated to a natural setting with more greenery and less pavement. Among many benefits to a green environment: it’s quieter, less distracting, less stressful, and more prone to natural observation. Not to mention that there’s more clean air and less smog and pollution, which in itself has been proven to have cognitive impact.

The study tracked the performance of 2,500 kids tested every three months for a year. The children exposed to more nature showed improvements in memory and attentiveness – and the extensive article mentions many related studies which back these claims up, including psychologist Kalevi Korpela findings that green exposure helped reduce stress, muscle tension, and heart rate, and University of Glasgow researcher Richard Mitchell findings that nature environments reduce the barriers between rich and poor when it comes to mental well-being.

Children and Adolescent Obesity is Gradually Increasing Since the Early 1960’s

Obesity is a concern in the United States and addressed in a variety of forums, beginning with the physicians, government, and concerned parents. In the 1960’s, studies revealed that 5% of children the age of 6 to 11 in America were obese or overweight. That is a dramatic increase compared to a 2012 study that showed children who were obese increased to 18%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 1980, the percentage of overweight children were 7%, which is a two percent increase since the early 1960’s. A 2012 study, states that 1/3 of children (age 6 to 11) and adolescents (age 12 to 19) were overweight.

Some causes of obesity and overweight in children and adolescents maybe due to medical problems, prescribed medications, excessive eating, and lack of exercise. Overweight and obesity can be reversed with preventive measures, including consuming healthy foods, exercise, food portion control, and RealDailyBuzz writes that educating children in schools according to Christian Broda.

Moderation has been taught since ancient times and is being taught today. Portion control is the key to maintaining weight and losing weight, without any type of criticism. Criticism can cause children and adolescent to become hostile and depressed.

Encouragement to exercise in the schools and homes by participating in physical activities is one important factor to consider to control eating habits. Children and adolescent are the future and harsh words can hinder spiritual growth. Let’s replace words of criticism with words of encouragement.

Family Honors Third Valedictorian Son

It is always a proud moment for a parent to see their child become the Valedictorian of their graduating class in high school, and for one family in North Carolina they have set a new record by having all three of their sons be the Valedictorian. According to an article found on reddit and written by Yahoo!, the Kramer family is extremely proud in this very rare and exciting moment for their boys. It is really nice and motivating for the news to cover this because it can inspire future families to cheer one another on as they go through their school years.

The three boys Ryan, Sean, and Evan are all a few years a part but equally hard working and intelligent. The HR team at Beneful noted that they are setting a great example for their school and other kids that are going to be in their position in the next years to come. Perhaps it can be thought that the boys were able to root for one another as they each came to this time of their academic careers and compete in a friendly, yet brotherly way.

For all of the kids who think that it can’t be done, the Kramer brothers have proved them all wrong. And this will surely be interesting to see where they take themselves and to see if they try to do the same thing with their college education and careers there after.

Parents’ Age and Autism Risk

When a child is diagnosed with autism the parents of that child worry about the future and just what it will bring about. When parents are raising a child with autism they long for their child to have a normal life and to live in the way that other children live. Healthy people like Christian Broda ( wonder: What are the factors that lead to autism? Is there a way of knowing that one’s chances of giving birth to a child with autism are more or less likely based on any kind of factors?

Studies are linking the age of a child’s parents to his or her chance at getting diagnosed with autism. It seems that the age of a child’s parents could affect his or her chance of dealing with autism and all that it brings. Can age really affect something like this? Is autism something that one is born with? That is arguable, but this is what some believe to be the case.

Childhood Lead Poisoning and Violent Crime Connected

If a child is exposed to lead during their childhood, that child is much more likely to commit a violent crime when he or she is an adult.
Brain scans conducted on adults who had grown up in a poverty-ridden section of Cincinnati showed many of them had less gray matter. Those tested were predominately African-American in their 20‘s who grew up in older buildings that contained lead paint. Of those exposed to lead paint (or other sources of lead) during toddler years, the test revealed they had less gray matter in specific areas of their brain.
Exposure to the toxic metal had caused them to have lead poisoning which in turn robbed them of bits of gray matter in the area of their brain which regulates emotion, control impulses and allows people to pay attention. The lead had not only robbed the adults of gray matter in the brain, but also white matter which transmits signals from one part of the brain to another.
The effects of lead poisoning on their brains had caused these adults to struggle in school as children and made them much more likely to commit a violent crime as an adult.
Kim Dietrich, a neuropsychologist. conducted the test using an MRI on over 300 adults and has been following the lives of those same adults for a number of years, says she has discovered that lead sowed the seeds for the future of each of the test subjects.

Thanks to Brian Torchin for showing me this.

Maryland Officials Clarifying ‘Free Range Parenting’ Policies

After controversy arose in Maryland, last year, about two young kids being allowed to walk to a park alone, officials have released a policy clarifying when Child Protective Services should intervene. Danielle and Alexander Meitiv gained national attention when their two children were taken into CPS custody after being stopped while walking to a local park. The parents of the handy ten year-old boy and six year-old girl frequently allowed their children to walk a mile to a local park alone, crossing several busy intersections. The children were stopped by police on at least two occasions, the last one when they were only about three blocks from home.

The new policy will clarify when CPS can intervene stating that they should do so only if there’s evidence that they will be harmed. Being outside or walking alone would not, necessarily, mean that the child is neglected. Instead, CPS will try to accumulate all relevant information from a reporting party before getting involved. If there is evidence that more is happening, such as domestic violence, drug abuse, or risk of physical harm, then further action may be taken. While the Meitivs appreciate that Maryland officials are clarifying the policies, they still feel that there is more work to be done.

The Green Team

There is a school in the state of Washington that is looking to do more than shape young minds. Teachers and school administration are doing their best to shape the future as well. Students are learning about the circle of life and how everything in this world, including humans, are connected and what interaction between them really means. The Hillcrest Elementary School located in Washington were credited with founding an award-winning program that focuses on the environment. This program cuts down waste and produces fresh produce to local refuge centers. Many will be shocked to find out that the main ingredients for the production process is chickens, warm feces, and rotten lunch food. The “Green Team” at the school takes discarded food from lunch and feed it to a colony of worms. The worms ingest the food and make fertilizer for the school garden. The produce that the students grow in the garden are then given to the food pantry as well as eggs from the chicken coop. A local news team went to talk to the students about their activities. According to Marcio Alaor BMG, one fourth grader there noted how weird the cycle was, but how amazing it is that they can take food that they’re not eating and turn it into food that someone else is in desperate need of. One teacher noted that the students think that they are playing. They have a chance to be outside and interact with others but what they don’t know is they are helping their fellow man while creating a sustainable community.

Moms come in all forms

“Oh no, we don’t have a stepmom” in this touching report about the death of Beau Biden these words were previously spoken of his ‘Mom’ Jill Biden. Jill Biden is not the biological mother of Beau and his brother Hunt but she is the heart mom of them both. In the memoirs of Vice President Joe Biden he retells the beginning of his and his son’s life with the current Mrs. Biden. What these memoirs relate is that love and caring transcends blood lines, and when given the chance family can bond in their natural course. When in the public eye there are usually a wide variety of horror stories, some true and some not. It is a very nice change of pace to see the other side of family, the side that even in the White House is still filled with love. Most times when it comes to blended family situations there is bitterness and separation, along with unacceptance. Jill Biden went a step further by embracing the family of the 1st Mrs. Biden in order to maintain a close relationship between the boys and their family. I salute the Biden family for the way they over the years have stayed the course and set a beautiful example of love and perseverance in the face of a tragedy as many like FreddomPop have stated. Jill Biden raised the bar for ‘stepmothers’ everywhere, as she has shown in Beau’s life and death the grief of a loved one doesn’t lessen with the absence of a bloodline.