Alysia's son Howie going through the Squeeze Machine.
By Lisa Quinones-Fontanez
One of things I admire most about autism parents is their willingness to give back. If you've never met an autism parent before, one thing you need to know about them is: when they see a need, they work to fill the void. Often, it is the parents of children with autism that open specialized schools, programs and play groups.
Alysia Butler and Tina Perriello are two autism moms who are working desperately to fill a void in Hopedale, Massachusetts.
Back in February, Alysia and Tina had the opportunity to attend a sponsored sensory gym with their kids. The moms saw how happy it made their children. They watched as their children made friends who were just like them. And they had the chance to connect with other families like theirs. There was no judgement, no stares, no fear - it was a safe place for everyone. And while the moms felt incredibly lucky that their local Autism Alliance provided this much needed sensory gym during the winter
Blog Posts by Parents.com
- Parents.com | Team Mom – Wed, Oct 3, 2012 12:23 PM EDT
Alysia's son Howie going through the Squeeze Machine.Read More »from Two Autism Moms on a Mission to Create a Sensory Gym in Their Neighborhood
By Martin T. Stein, M.D.Read More »from Decode Your Child's Drawings
Children love to draw, and their work is a reflection of their inner world. Most kids don't think about or censor their artwork. For the past 40 years, I've used children's drawings as an important part of my pediatric practice. At each well-child visit beginning at 4 or 5 years old, our nurse asks the child to "draw a picture of your family doing something." To simplify the process, each exam room is equipped with blank white paper on a clipboard with a black felt pen.
The family drawing helps me survey development at a given moment in time, and it may tip me off to potential problems. A single drawing is a snapshot of a child's point of view -- of her role in the family, her relationship to other family members, and her self-esteem. It also may show strengths in the child and the family that are important to recognize and validate. It can indicate cultural patterns that give me a better understanding of some behaviors or beliefs. I always ask the parents
By Kristin Kemp
The word vagina comes up a lot in our house. My kids, ages 5 and 6, learned it as soon as they could speak. I try to be a liberated mom--unlike my own mother who still can't bring herself to say vagina out loud. In all the years I've written about sex for women's magazines, experts have advised me over and over to teach my children proper terms for their body parts.
At the very least, young girls need to know how to keep their vaginas clean and how to protect them from danger. If a horrible person ever touches my kids in their private parts, they are armed with the words and the self-confidence to speak up. Hopefully, as they grow, they will feel comfortable talking sex with me because I've tried to normalize the subject and take away taboos.
RELATED: What You Need to Talk to Kids About Sex
Naomi Wolf's new book Vagina shares my mission. She told me, "Parents should read the book so they can understand the latest discoveries about female sexual
- Parents.com | Parenting – Fri, Sep 21, 2012 4:12 PM EDT
By Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN
Move over juice--rice and rice products are now garnering considerable attention for being a source of arsenic, thanks to a recent Consumer Reports article. Following a report they published last January about concerning levels of arsenic in both apple and grape juices, the popular magazine now reveals surprising findings about rice and its many forms in 60 products commonly found in grocery stores.
Turns out there's arsenic--and sometimes, "worrisome amounts," according to the report--in a range of rice products, including organic rice baby cereal, rice breakfast cereal, brown rice, and rice milk.
The report itself--and no doubt the media frenzy surrounding it--has led many of us to scratch our heads, and wonder if we unknowingly exposed our families to a potentially dangerous chemical. You may have even thrown out all the rice and rice products in your cupboard. But are we overreacting?
RELATED: What's Your Food Safety IQ?
Moms and dads from our Facebook community share the parenting routine or habit they feel most proud of when it comes to effectively raising happy, responsible kids.
By Katie Thomas for Parents Magazine
- Parents.com | Parenting – Mon, Sep 10, 2012 12:42 PM EDT
By Sarah Mahoney
Politicians and pundits may call 2012 the year of the woman, but it's really the year of the mom. Mothers aren't settling for catchy bumper stickers or vague promises in this presidential election. How do we know? With the help of an all-star moderator, Soledad O'Brien, anchor of CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien, Parents recently hosted a luncheon roundtable with 21 moms from across the political spectrum. We admit we were a little nervous when we saw a Barack Obama supporter sitting between a Mitt Romney backer and a Ron Paul fan, a social conservative next to a gay mom, and an environmentalist hoping the government will do more across from a pregnant mom of four who wants it to do less.
RELATED: Moms Sound Off on Economic Issues
We heard dramatically different opinions about solutions, but there was a remarkable consensus about the problems facing families right now. Together, the women helped us hammer out a bipartisan mandate for the candidate who wins
- Parents.com | Helping Kids Succeed – Fri, Sep 7, 2012 11:10 AM EDT
By Karen Cicero
Suppose you had to grade your child's elementary school. Would you give it a B? In an exclusive survey with the market-research firm Quester, Parents found that while most moms are generally happy with their kid's education, one third have concerns about the pace of the curriculum and a quarter don't think it encourages creativity and independent thinking. How can you take your student to the next level?
RELATED: Moms Discuss Education Reform
To find out, Parents asked state departments of education, charter-school associations, teacher groups, and our Facebook fans to nominate innovative public elementary schools. More than 500 suggestions poured in, and from them, we picked ten to feature. Each trailblazer took a different approach to excellence, but all have buzz-worthy ideas that could make your kid's school everything you've longed for it to be. Take notes!
1. BROAD ACRES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
By Sally Kuzemchak, R.D.
Jacqueline Laurita, 42, mom of three and star of the reality show The Real Housewives of New Jersey, recently revealed her 3-year-old son, Nicholas, was diagnosed with autism. Since the diagnosis, Laurita has sought treatment for her son, which includes therapy and following a dairy-free, gluten-free diet that some experts believe will reduce behavioral issues associated with autism. Learn more about the special "autism diet" that Laurita is advocating.
RELATED: The ABCs of Autism
1. It's a strict elimination diet (with no "cheat days").
The GFCF diet removes two proteins: casein, which is found in all milk and dairy products, and gluten, which is contained in wheat, barley, rye, and some brands of oats [that may have been cross-contaminated with gluten]. The obvious culprits, like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, most breads, cereals, and pasta, should be avoided. But thousands of processed foods contain ingredients made from gluten or casein,
By Kathleen M. Reilly
The summer before my son Patrick started kindergarten, I was obsessed with teaching him how to print his name and count into the hundreds. Looking back, I should have spent as much time getting him ready for new friendships as I did for new words. Even though he was a well-liked preschooler, kindergarten was a social shock.
RELATED: Guide to Navigating School-Age Friendships
"Moms play matchmaker or nurture new friendships through playdates when their kids are in preschool," says Geoffrey Putt, Psy.D., a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children's Hospital, in Ohio. "But in kindergarten, it's up to your child to find his own pals." Help your child master the grade-school social scene by practicing these five skills.
1. Scenario: Your Daughter Forces Herself on a Team
Summer Scenario: Your daughter spots a group of kids playing a team sport at the park. She runs over and grabs the ball.
Buddy Builder: Talk about a smart strategy for participating. "The key is
- Parents.com | Parenting – Wed, Aug 15, 2012 5:46 PM EDT
By Lisa Quinones-Fontanez
I remember the first time I started questioning if Norrin had autism. We had just come back from our first visit with the developmental pediatrician and I immediately called my mother.
"What if it's autism?" I asked.
RELATED: The ABCs of Autism
"Norrin's not like that," my mother said.
And when I asked my husband, Joseph, if he thought Norrin could be autistic, Joseph said that Norrin was "just fine."
Even I was doubtful because while Norrin wasn't talking, I told myself that it couldn't be autism because he was smart and affectionate.
Before I became an "expert" the only frame of reference I had about autism was the 1988 movie Rain Man. (And I don't think I've seen the movie in its entirety since I was fifteen.) We all had our own myths and misconceptions about autism. And when Norrin was diagnosed we had no choice but to separate autism myth from autism reality.
In the last four years of Norrin's diagnosis here are just a few autism myths and