Heroes: 10 Moms Who Are Changing the Face of AutismInstead of choosing the path of despair when their children were diagnosed with autism, these inspiring moms took action.
CREATING A PLACE TO LEARN
Cindy Kimbrell-Bacot is no stranger to autism. Not only does her now 12-year-old son, Nicholas, have the disorder, but she also used to work as an autism consultant, screening children for the condition. Still, Cindy, who has a social work degree, never expected to be running a school for children on the spectrum.
For six frustrating years she watched Nicholas bounce around the school system without receiving the services he needed. And because the closest school for students with autism was a six-hour drive away, many parents in her community faced an identical situation. Unwilling to waste any more time — time that her son could be using to gain skills — this Panama City Beach, FL, mom rallied community volunteers and raised about $10,000, mostly from family members, to open her own school. "I believe in 'Better to try and fail than not to try at all,'" says Cindy.
But she didn't fail. In the fall of 2008, Bacot Academy in Lynn Haven, FL, opened its doors to 10 children with autism, including Nicholas. The students, ranging in age from 6 to 13, received personalized educational programs based on the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) treatment approach. The school has a waiting list, and Cindy hopes to accommodate more students in the future. "When you have a child who needs help," she says, "it drives you."
To learn more about Bacot Academy, visit bacotacademy.com.
HELPING KIDS BE KIDS
Deanna Ballard felt the joy drain from her home after her son, Zachary, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 1/2. "Zachary worked for hours with therapists, and my husband and I were exhausted from keeping a close watch on our son," says Deanna.
At the age of 6, Zachary couldn't even enjoy a TV show with his sister, Makenna, who is a year older than he is; the ones she watched overstimulated him and were hard for him to understand. "After five minutes, he'd zone out in the corner, banging two spoons together," says Deanna. So the Granite Bay, CA, mom, who has a psychology degree, enlisted the help of a TV-producer friend in 2006 and created a DVD that her son could grasp — one with shorter sentences and more repetition than a typical kid's video. "It was a big moment when he saw the first DVD, on colors," she says. "Since his regression, he never really interacted with Makenna. During that video, he danced around with her."
The slice of normalcy Deanna gained from that DVD — from more laughter around the house to having a few minutes of relief to cook dinner or just turn her back — was something she wanted to give to others with special-needs kids. "My hope," she says, "is to improve the quality of life for children and their families, 25 minutes at a time."
Deanna has created three "My World Learning" DVDs, on colors, shapes, and expressions. A fourth one, about feelings, is in the works.To find local retailers who carry the DVDs or to order them online, log on to myworldlearning.com.
News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads
We know—it’s cold outside and you’re dreaming of beaches. Consider this the next best thing: awesome indoor water parks around the world equipped with pools, water slides, swim-up bars, and in some cases, all-year “sunlight.”
Figuring out the best kind of vacation for your family can take a bit of time -- if you're beach people, it's pretty easy. Find a resort, make sure they have cribs and book your tickets. Adventure buffs with older kids can hit a national park and have a total blast, while artsy types might prefer to pick a cosmopolitan city with great museums, restaurants, and some serious insider tips on babysitters. Whatever your preferences for a spring getaway for the family, there's still time! Click through this slideshow for some of our favorite vacation ideas for families, from those with babies and toddlers through to teens. Bon voyage!
Ah, bedtime. That sweet, sweet hour when you pack the kiddos off to dreamland and you get some much-needed "me time." Right? Well, sometimes. Bedtime can also be one of the most stressful times of day. Developing a bedtime ritual is something nearly every baby expert and pediatrician recommends. Children rely on ritual and stability, and it's a huge comfort to them to repeat the same actions every night before bed.You can treat this time of day as a series of hurdles to jump over before the big relief or decide to turn bedtime into a series of sweet moments to cherish daily. Here are our favorite ideas for bedtime rituals that everyone in the family will take comfort in.
Millennials have a notoriously bad rap. In the age of all-encompassing technology, recent generations are often criticized for their affinity for video games, their short attention spans and their selfie-obsession. Such insularity in face of the apex of globalization seems especially troubling. And yet, there may be hope. All conjecture aside, social media has a different story to tell about the leaders of tomorrow. Not too long ago, Malala Yousufzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history, but she's not the only wunderkind to watch. Click through this slideshow for our list of today's top ten inspirational kids. We think you'll find Malala's in very good company.
Find yourself wandering the aisles, suddenly needing an owl-shaped candle while drinking a $5 latte? You're not alone, moms...
When it comes to traveling with the family, "adventure" can mean a lot of different things. Just packing the suitcases for a 3-hour flight can be an adventure of its own. And surviving a 5-hour flight with a toddler? That's a whole different kind of adventure (tip: pack snacks). But when your family adventure is good, it can be is really, really good. Sometimes swimming with dolphins or ziplining through the rainforest is just the kind of vacation that will make you forget all about airport hassle, and will get your kids (even the teens) smiling. From hiking the Rockies to white-water rafting, we've found 11 family adventure vacations that will get the adrenaline pumping without driving you crazy.
When you're expecting a baby, preparations can be overwhelming. Decorating is stressful as it is, and when it comes to nurseries, there are the added concerns of reducing sharp edges, use of engaging colors and -- if you're a believer in the powers of feng shui—optimal furniture placement. Luckily, your favorite fashionable A-listers are here with tons of dazzling baby room ideas. Click through this slideshow for more nursery ideas from celebrities, stylists and just plain fashionable moms.
Our Research Institute scouted out the New York City Toy Fair and spotted a few standouts we predict will be topping wish lists shortly.
When we scoped out the New York City Toy Fair, we spotted everything from human-like robots to kid-friendly DIY projects.
Stroll down any aisle of a Toys"R"Us these days and you'll be confronted with a billion options that are light-years beyond anything you had to entertain yourself with as a kid. Lego cruise ships (complete with flatscreen TVs in the lounge and sideboard jet-skis), battery-operated Mercedes-Benz sedans, and hi-tech tablets with Android operating systems abound. We wondered, as we let ourselves get nostalgic for a moment, if any of the beloved toys we played with as children were still even on the market. Thanks to a quick hunt on the Internet we were able to find that Fisher Price still makes their classic Two Tune TV, and you can still get your hands on a good ol' Slinky. Here's a roundup of the best old-school toys for kids-- we encourage you to click through the slideshow and consider wrapping up a well-loved classic for your little one this year.
Not great with a budget? Don't sweat it. Try these simple ways to save.