Monday, November 29, 2010

Children's Pet Poetry Contest

Do you know a third, fourth, or fifth grader with a beloved pet (or pets!) and a way with words? Encourage him or her to enter the National Children's Pet Poetry Contest! 

Held annually by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the contest is open to third through fifth grade students nationwide. Children are invited to write a poem about their pets, what they love about them, and the happiness they add to their lives.

Two students from each grade level will each win a $250 gift certificate for pet products and publication of their poem in a major pet publication. In addition, each winner's classroom will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to be used for pet-related education.

The deadline to enter is January 31, 2011. For complete rules and entry details, visit

One of last year's winners, fifth-grader Pierce from Sewell, New Jersey, wrote this poem about Honey, his canine best friend:

Her root beer eyes are always there,
When I am sad and in despair.
With soft and silky golden fur,
My loving heart belongs to her.
Chasing toys and jumping around,
With Honey I have never frowned.
Chew toys, balls, and dog treats galore,
They would be all over the floor.
In the garden wild and free,
Boy and puppy is what you see.
Playing in tall grass and roses,
Stopping just to snuggle noses.
With kind and loving gentle paw,
And little teeth that never gnaw,
Wet loving licks that do not end,
Honey is this small boy's best friend.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

New Study Reveals That Coaching Helps College Students With ADHD Improve Ability to Learn, Succeed in College

/PRNewswire/ -- The results of a new study being released this week at the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) conference in Atlanta demonstrate the effectiveness of a new model of coaching, developed exclusively for and used by the Edge Foundation, to help college students with ADHD improve executive functioning, which is their ability to organize, set and achieve goals, and self regulate -- all critical for a successful post secondary education. Additionally, students who participated in the study felt that coaching helped them feel less stress, greater empowerment, increased confidence and have more balanced lives.

Researchers from Wayne State University in Michigan conducted the study over two years in 10 universities and community colleges throughout the country and tracked the progress of 110 students with ADHD. It is the largest and most comprehensive study of ADHD coaching conducted to-date. The research team measured students' progress through both quantitative and qualitative analysis and have determined, "This study demonstrated that the Edge coaching model was highly effective in helping students improve executive functioning and related skills as measured by the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI; Weinstein & Palmer, 2002)."

Coaching has long been used by corporations to improve performance of CEOs and executives, but little research has been done until now on the impact this kind of intervention may have on populations with learning disabilities, like ADHD. While medication has been shown to improve academic productivity (better note-taking, scores on quizzes and worksheets, and homework completion), medication alone is not associated with skills students need to meet the demands of college which they must navigate more independently than in previous schooling.

The Edge Foundation coaches work with students in seven major areas: scheduling, goal setting, confidence building, organizing, focusing, prioritizing and persisting at tasks. They help students assess their environments, identify needs, set goals, and offer suggestions and guidance. Coaches monitor student progress and goals through regular phone or e-mail check-ins.

The Edge Foundation is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that offers supplemental treatment for students with ADHD. Founded by Neil Peterson in 2005, its mission is to help every child, adolescent and young adult with ADHD to fully realize their own potential, personal vision and passion through personal coaching.

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Positive parent-child relationships lead to better outcomes for adopted children

Georgia State University researchers have found that adopted adolescents who have good relationships with their parents are less likely to get into trouble and are more likely to do better in school, compared to adoptees growing up in more distant families.

Kathleen Whitten, visiting lecturer of psychology, and Scott Weaver, assistant professor of psychology, analyzed data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents, a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

In their study, to be published in the December edition of Adoption Quarterly, they found that adolescents with better relationships with their adoptive parents were less likely to skip school, to be suspended, or to have trouble with law enforcement or substance abuse.

They also found that the teens, aged 13 to 17, had higher achievement in language arts and reading.

“Historically, there was a view that children couldn’t grow up as healthy in an adoptive family as in a biological one,” Whitten said. “Our findings contradict that, and are also consistent with more contemporary studies that have found that adoptive parents may spend more time with their children, and there may be less conflict in those families.”

The measures for the parent-child relationships include questions about how often the child is affectionate or tender with the parent, and whether the parent trusts the child, for example.

Additionally, Whitten and Weaver found no differences in these outcomes for children who were adopted by parents of a different race.

“Some thought at one time that parents of a different race couldn’t provide racial socialization, therefore leading to worse child outcomes,” Whitten said. “We analyzed a group of transracially adopted children to see if there were any differences, and there’re not.”

Like adolescents in the broader sample of adoptees, transracially adopted children with positive relationships with their parents had better behavioral and school adjustment.

The National Survey of Adoptive Parents is the first nationally representative sample of adoptive families in the United States, and it’s providing a wealth of data to investigate adoption. Data were collected during 2007 to 2008, and it provides information about the health and well-being of adopted children, as well as information about their families’ experiences and reasons for adoption.

Investing time and resources in establishing and strengthening the parent child relationship bond is very important, Weaver said.

“A positive parent-child relationship can be established regardless of whether the adoption is transracial or not,” he said.

Whitten recommends that social service agencies prepare prospective parents to establish ties and prepare for challenges.

“Agencies should teach parents to expect the best and to prepare for the worst,” she said. “By preparing for the worst, they need to be able to monitor their own emotional reactions to their child’s behavior, need to be patient, and need to be able to attribute positive motives to their child rather than negative.”

For example, if a child is misbehaving shortly after he or she is placed with the parent, parents should see this not as an attempt to control the parent or parents, but as a miscue for emotional distress, she said.

“So rather than responding with more control, and with a more authoritarian, punitive response, parents need to be able to stop and calm themselves, and to help the child do the same,” Whitten said.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Company GrandCamp Adventures has Grandparents and Grandkids Playing Their Way to Better Relationships

Stories Come Alive Through Books, Games, Music and More In Time For The Holidays

For the first time ever, a company will launch this holiday season especially for the grandparent/grandchild experience. Through a mix of storybooks, backyard activities, games and music, GrandCamp Adventures will help grandparents and grandchildren form lasting memories and meaningful connections. In essence, they play their way to better relationships.

Widely recognized by developmental experts as vital to a child’s life, the grandparent/grandchild relationship faces pressure from increasingly busy parents and geographic challenges. Yet, today’s grandparents – numbering 70 million in the nation – are younger than ever before, very active and engaged, and they want to spend time with their grandkids. Company co-founders, Patricia Babuka and Scott Schaefer, saw a need to create interactive experiences to “create the space” to nurture and grow this relationship.

“We realized through our own experience as parents the importance of building a strong relationship between our children and our parents,” said GrandCamp Adventures CEO Patricia Babuka. “Distractions like high tech toys and expensive vacations contribute to the gap between these generations and push away the magical moments and memories that occur when you’re really interacting and just having fun together.”

Babuka and Schaefer created GrandCamp Adventures with their own parents in mind. For 20 years, Babuka’s in-laws have hosted an annual themed-family retreat for all the grandchildren that has become a highly anticipated bonding experience for the family. It was this retreat that inspired her to create the company.

Here’s How It Works
In a GrandCamp Adventures experience, both grandparent and grandchild embark upon a backyard “adventure” centered on a storybook. This storybook, written by award-winning author Walter Sorrells and animated with the help of former freelance Disney animator Victor Tavares, breaks through the page and turns real-life into an “adventure” through activities, games and music that support the central story. Each story and accompanying activity are carefully constructed with the help of developmental experts to ensure the child’s imagination takes center stage while grandparents get the quality time and exposure they so deeply desire.

The First Adventure
The first storybook; “Here We Go! – Around The World Family Adventure,” is complemented with the release of the company’s first music CD (by the same name) that helps grandparents and grandchildren easily add dancing and singing to the fun. The CD features songs that can be played throughout the adventure and contains a variety of styles and genre including jazz, bluegrass, reggae and more. The theme for this first adventure is all about exploring your own family and other families around the world. The story unfolds as a pair of intrepid grandparents who’ve just returned from traveling around the world only to find that their plane had sprung a leak and their precious treasures have fallen out across the land. They quickly enlist the help of their three grandchildren and, along with a magic compass invented by Papa, set out to retrieve all the lost items. Before long, the story crosses over into real-life, much to the surprise of the grandchildren following along.

After the holidays, GrandCamp Adventures will roll out additional exciting and fun products nearly every month that bring the “Here We Go!” story to life. The next phase in the rollout includes GrandCamp Adventures digital games and activities that Grandparents and Grandkids can enjoy online.

Learn more: 

Editor Note:
Read the review by the Fayette Front Page's own Ann Eldredge.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inspire a Girl, Change Her World

(NAPSI)-When girls feel bad about their looks, 70 percent disconnect from life—avoiding normal daily activities like attending school or even giving their opinion—which can put their dreams on hold and jeopardize their potential as future leaders, decision makers and role models.*

Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a young girl’s self-esteem. That is why Dove launched the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem, inviting all women to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. The nationwide effort encourages women to take simple actions that help build self-esteem and inspire all women and girls to reach their full potential by caring for themselves and each other.

Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, psychologist and self-esteem expert, offers simple tips for parents and mentors to help girls develop a positive relationship with beauty.

1. Embrace Your Real Beauty: Challenge your inner critic and engage in healthy behaviors so that she can see that by taking care of herself, she can look and feel her best. Girls often model the behaviors of important women in their lives, so treat yourself well! Eat healthy, be active and see your doctor regularly for checkups so you can be a model of physical health for your daughter or a girl in your life. This will help her realize that feeling good about her body is not about being a certain weight or shape but about taking care of herself.

2. Share Inspiring Messages: Ban negative talk about your own body or her body. Instead, let her know that you love and value her because of who she is, not how she looks. Compliment her on character traits that reflect positive self-esteem, such as how she looks people in the eye as she shakes their hand, or on how you love listening to the ideas she shares about current events. She needs to know that you are proud of the person she is becoming.

3. Help Her See Her Full Potential: Girls need to know who they are, what they value and what they want out of life to experience the self-esteem that comes from taking charge of their own lives. Guide her to set goals and help her develop the skills necessary to turn a vision into a reality. Encourage her to focus on working hard and doing her personal best, rather than on being the best at everything she tries.

4. Build Positive Relationships: Teaching respect and empathy is important to help her create meaningful and positive relationships with her peers. Encourage development of healthy relationships by exhibiting mutual respect and empathy in your own relationships. To help her develop empathy, encourage her to view events from another person’s perspective. For example, you might ask: “How do you think your friend was feeling when she wasn’t invited to the sleepover?”

5. Stop the Scary Sit-Down: When parents or mentors need to discuss serious issues, they may believe that the best way to do this is to tell her that they “need to talk.” Rather than saving serious conversations for a single important session, build a stronger relationship with your daughter or a girl in your life by creating a consistent, predictable time when you are receptive and available to listen-for example, riding in the car, taking a walk or watching movies together. A strong, consistent connection will increase the likelihood that she will feel comfortable seeking your help and support when times are tough.

Visit to join the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem and download free self-esteem building tools for girls, moms and mentors.

*Dove, 2006

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