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NOV. 2012

baystateparent FREE

Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996

Voted Best Parenting Publication in

North America 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012

WHAT’S PLAYING ON YOUR FAMILY COMPUTER? KENNEDY TO KENT STATE: Now Showing At WAM WHO WOULD YOUR KIDS VOTE FOR?

John & Melissa

Advocates In Congress meet some very

Special People

MARRIAGE: A Casualty Of Living With Special Needs? CHALLENGES & TRIUMPHS Raising Children With Disabilities

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Cornerstone Academy Educating all learners in grades K-6

An elementary preparatory school that celebrates the individual. Open House November 4th at 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Educating Your Child for Life

• Offering Transitional Kindergarten and full day Kindergarten through Grade 6th curriculum.

• Highly qualified faculty trained to adapt curriculum to your child’s ability.

• Small classes, individual attention.

• Intellectually enriching environment.

• Solid academic foundation complemented by art, Spanish, music and physical fitness.

• State of the art technology utilized in all classrooms.

5 Oak Avenue • Northboro, MA 01532 • 508 351-9976 www.cornerstoneacademy.org BAYSTATEPARENT 3

Sky’s the limit. Opening a MEFA® U.Fund® College Investing Plan account can help put dreams within reach. As the official college savings plan of Massachusetts, MEFA’s U.Fund offers many benefits other types of accounts don’t: U

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Backed by MEFA’s college financing expertise and Fidelity’s investment guidance, a U.Fund account can be one of the smartest and simplest ways to save for your child’s future.

To learn more, visit Fidelity.com/ufund or call 800.544.2776.

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Please carefully consider the Plan’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. Contact Fidelity for a free Fact Kit, or view one online. Read it carefully before you invest. MEFA is a not-for-profit self-financing state authority that works to make higher education more accessible and affordable for students and families in Massachusetts through community education programs, college savings plans, and low-cost financing options. ®

The U.Fund College Investing Plan is offered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity Investments. If you or the designated beneficiary is not a Massachusetts resident, you may want to consider, before investing, whether your state or the beneficiary’s home state offers its residents a plan with alternate state tax advantages or other benefits. Units of the portfolios are municipal securities and may be subject to market volatility and fluctuation. Guidance provided by Fidelity is educational in nature, is not individualized, and is not intended to serve as the primary or sole basis for your investment or tax-planning decisions. The Fidelity Investments and Pyramid design logo, Turn here and the Navigational Line and Directional design are service marks of FMR LLC. © 2012 FMR LLC. All rights reserved. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917 605339.5.0

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*REEOHXSWKHVH6$9,1*6ZLWK D1RYHPEHUWR5HPHPEHU Play for the Day or Stay! Overnight packages beginning at $169

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FROM KIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ACTIVITIES TO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES.

Includes overnight room and water park passes for two days!

Open Veteranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Monday November 12th 10am-8pm

Leave Thanksgiving up to us! Dinner buffet 11:30am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:30pm Adults $21.95 Children under twelve $11.95 Seniors $15.95 Toddlers Free Please call 978.602.1915 for reservations before Noon on Sunday November 18th, 2012

OPEN THANKSGIVING 10am-8pm Discounted water park package Full day passes $20 *All Promotions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Not valid for twilight pass discount. Not valid with any AAA discount. Offer not valid with any other offers or purchases. Only original coupons will be accepted. No copies. No cash value.

free goodies* | fun activities | coupons and giveaways

Saturday, November 10 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Visit Simon Guest Services for program details.

Join us for a Kidgits Snack and Holiday Celebration and then grab your jingle bells for a parade with Santa to The Children's Place for more Holiday fun! Call your Simon Mall of choice for additional details

Auburn Mall

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Exit 9 off I 290 in Auburn Shopping LineÂŽ 508.832.6000

Exit 25B off I495 / I290 in Marlborough Shopping LineÂŽ 508.303.6255

Book Your Group Celebration OUXJJLHUR#KLĂ&#x20AC;WFKEXUJFRPÂ&#x2021;

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*While supplies last NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends 10/31/13. To enter and for OfďŹ cial Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit Simon Guest Services or the Mall OfďŹ ce. Void where prohibited. Message and data rates may apply.

Find us on:

BAYSTATEPARENT 5

our special guest Charlie with his dad Darwin Hernandez of Boston

14

Captured by Paula Swift Photography www.paulaswift.com

table

28

SHAPING A FUTURE

The 1960s were a tumultuous time in politics and civil rights. The Worcester Art Museum features photos from the era that changed our country forever.

FINDING A PLACE IN THE WORLD

Two inspiring adults with Down syndrome fight to have control in their future at the State House.

46

ONE MOM SHOWS OFF HER ARTISTIC SIDE

Miranda Greenhalgh and her family make cakes and cupcakes in fun cartoon characters for any occasion.

the of the home

NOVEMBER 2012 • VOLUME 17 • NUMBER 7

in every issue 7 9 10 11 13 13 18 24 42

WELCOME GUESTBOOK DIRTY LAUNDRY: With Kerri Louise FIGHT LESS, LOVE MORE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS OCTOBER’S CHILD OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO JUNK DRAWERS LET’S ROLL: Peer Into The Past In Petersham

46 MOM’S ROCK: Miranda Greenhalgh 49 TAKE GOOD CARE 57 CAPTURED: Fall Into Sports

very special people

advertising directories

28 SPEAKING OUT: Having A Voice In Their Own Future 30

MARRIAGE: A Casualty Of Special Needs Or Not?

34

LIVING WITH CEREBRAL PALSY

36

TRUST FOR THE FUTURE

40

KNOWING WHERE TO TURN: Services For Special Needs

41

BREAKING THE BAD NEWS

26 26 26 51 52 58

SHOW AND TELL HAVE YOU HEARD OPEN HOUSE LISTINGS BULLETIN BOARD PARTY PLANNER ADVERTISING INDEX

sneak peek

something special

DECEMBER JANUARY

14 KENNEDY TO KENT STATE: Images Of A Generation 16

TALKING POLITICS: Shaping Young Minds

44

TEEN SERIES: Now Playing On Your Computer: Pornography

THE HOLIDAYS EDUCATION

Voted Best Parenting Publication in North America 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012

HillsideSchool School isisaaday dayand andboarding boardingschool schoolfor forboys boysiningrades grades5-9, 5-9,with witha a Hillside rolling admissions process that welcomes students throughout the year. rolling admissions process that welcomes students throughout the year. RSVP RSVP to Director of Admission at (508)485-3483 oronline register to Director of Admission Kristen Kristen Naspo atNaspo (508)485-3483 or register www.hillsideschool.net/admissions. online and learn more about Hillside at and learn more about Hillside at www.hillsideschool.net/admissions.

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Welcome I have always considered myself a wordsmith, but there are times when I come across people who I interview that are so eloquent with their words that I’m blown away. This month, I was overwhelmed by the strength, courage and wisdom of those featured in our special needs issue. It started with the conversation I had with Anna Hernandez, the mother of our cover model, Charlie. “I truly believe you are chosen to have a child with special needs,” she says in a softspoken tone about her son who was born with Down syndrome. “It changed my priorities in life as it showed me what was truly important – children. I have become a kinder, more compassionate and much more understanding person. Children with Downs are full of love and happiness. There is nothing better than a hug and kiss from your child.” Anna found out early in her pregnancy that there was a chance that Charlie would have Down syndrome. “There was a possibility with an early blood test, but I didn’t want

to know,” she said. “I wanted to enjoy the pregnancy.” Flash forward to my interviews with John Anton and Melissa Reilly, both are adults who have Down syndrome, and are working at the State House. John is an advocate for children and families with special needs and Melissa is a spokesperson for organizations as well as an athlete for the Special Olympics. When faced with the options in front of him, John said he wanted more. “I didn’t want to work in a sheltered workshop or at a grocery store,” he said. “I wanted more, and I worked with my mother and my support staff to make it happen.” John is a self-advocate with the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress in Burlington and has his sights set on moving to Washington, D.C. where he can be an advocate on Capitol Hill. What has helped make this issue so special to put together is that we not only highlight the struggles of families and children with special needs, with articles about how some marriages fall apart and how children with special needs feel left out because of their disabilities, but we see the strength of the families as they form unbreakable bonds like the Jackson and Hamburger families whose struggles have brought them closer. Kathleen Quinn, a freelance writer and mother of Owen, who was diagnosed with Fragile X, was featured in our Nov. 2011 issue because of a very honest blog where she shared with the world her disappointment and desperation after finding out that her child had the genetic disorder. Her family’s story doesn’t end there. Though her marriage has not survived, Kathleen has reached out and become more involved in advocacy and has empowered herself to learn everything she can about Fragile X, which is one of the genetic links to autism. She brings people together in support groups and shares her own personal

story of the break-up of her marriage. The strength she found from others and ultimately in herself has helped her continue to raise both of her children through the uncertain future. While I do not have a child with special needs, my family has been touched by so many friends and even family that have struggled with diagnoses of special needs, and more times than not, have struggled with coping with their family’s situation. What makes this issue so special is not the struggle that children and families go through, but the overwhelming evidence that our world is changing every day for the better. My children are growing up in inclusion classrooms where they are taught that every child is an individual and special. I am so grateful that my children look at their friends with special needs as friends and not as outcasts. During each of my pregnancies, I worried endlessly about the health of my children. But what I have realized now after almost a decade of being a parent is that no matter the physical, mental or emotional challenges of your child, you want them to be happy and accepted by others. My hope is that children with special needs will continue to flourish and find their niche in the world and be told what I was told when I was growing up, “You are wonderful, special and can be anything you want to be when you grow up.”

Jennifer Lucarelli, editor

What are some of the joys you’ve experienced since Charlie has been born? Early Intervention and his physical therapist has been great – they’ve encouraged us to help him to be active and he loves it. My husband is really into fitness. Since Charlie was 6 weeks old, Darwin (Charlie’s dad), has always worked with him to keep him active. He walked at 15 months old, which no one expected until after he was 2. What is a challenge that you face as a parent? Charlie is a beautiful baby and sometimes I see pity in other people’s eyes when they see Charlie. I don’t want

creative director PAULA MONETTE ETHIER 508-749-3166 x 351 baystateparent@holdenlandmark.com

promotions JENNIFER ANTKOWIAK 508-269-1728 jemsa2@charter.net

graphic designer STEPHANIE MALLARD 508-749-3166 x 351 srenaud@holdenlandmark.com

sales & business development manager STEPHANIE PEARL 774-364-0296 stephaniep@baystateparent.com account executive EMILY RETTIG 774-364-4178 emilyr@baystateparent.com

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account executive BETH HOFFMAN 774-364-5073 beth@baystateparent.com

4 ates 08.7 Call 5 ertising R v d For A

account executive NELLIE LIMA 774-229-6272 nellie@baystateparent.com contributing writers KATHERINE JACANTE LAURA RICHARDS JIM KEOUGH BONNIE TOOMEY KERRI LOUISE proofreader DOUG PAGE BRYAN ETHIER JOE PRESTI illustrators JILL COLBERT KATIE KATH

photographers MICHELLE CARR STEVEN KING SHAWNA SHENETTE PAULA SWIFT JEFF VALOIS REED YOUNG

baystateparent 508-749-3166

www.baystateparent.com campguide.baystateparent.com www.massfieldtrips.com baystateparent Inc. is published monthly with a main office at 101 Water Street, Worcester, MA 01604 508-749-3166 Fax 508-749-3165 It is distributed free of charge throughout Massachusetts. www.baystateparent.com • info@baystateparent.com

anyone to look down at Charlie. He’s doing great, and I want him to be on target with other kids – that’s why I push him to do better and we work with him so much.

What do you hope for the future with Charlie? I want to enjoy every moment with him – I don’t want to think of

editor JENNIFER LUCARELLI 508-749-3166 x 251 editor@baystateparent.com

101 Water St., Worcester, MA 01604

AGE 1 ½, BOSTON

What is advice you would give other parents with a child with Down syndrome? All kids are wonderful. The new prenatal test is available now to determine if your child has Down syndrome, but I didn’t want to take it. I wanted to enjoy the pregnancy and I truly believe that all kids are wonderful. I would tell other parents to not read anything on the Internet – there is a lot of negative information out there. Down syndrome is nothing compared to other medical problems, so it’s nothing to be scared of.

publisher GARETH CHARTER 508-749-3166 x153 gcharter@holdenlandmark.com

presidents KIRK and LAURIE DAVIS

Charlie Hernandez Tell us some of Charlie’s favorite things. He is very active and walking. He loves to play with balls and music and he’s even started dancing (she says this as Charlie is making music in the background). He also loves his bath at night.

baystateparent

LAURIE PUHN JULIA QUINN-SZCESUIL KATHLEEN QUINN

MEET THE COVER MODEL

Answers shared by his mom, Anna Hernandez

Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families

Distribution Agency: Insight Distribution Management 978-728-7785/603-661-8370 • Insightdm@yahoo.com

Massachusetts' premier magazine for families has earned more than 160 national and regional awards since 2004, including 34 in 2011: paulaswiftphotography.com

the next step too much. Every milestone has been a joy, and we love working with him to meet them. The next step is to help him learn sign language because we want to limit his frustration when he communicates. We live in the moment, and we love it.

18 Parenting Media Awards 16 New England Newspaper Press Association Awards Including Best Parenting Publication in North America 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012 BAYSTATEPARENT 7

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Emily is doing more than coloring shaving cream. She is also learning to experiment, exploring color, and expressing her creativity. From the moment they’re born, children can’t wait to start exploring, discovering and learning. In fact, children do their most important learning before age five. Everything Next Generation does is designed to help your child grow physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually – and have fun while doing it! Choose a leader in early childhood education. Choose Next Generation Children’s Centers.

Next Generation Children’s Centers A Leader In Early Childhood Education 866-711-NGCC • NGCCenters.com Andover • Beverly • Franklin • Hopkinton • Marlborough • Natick • Sudbury • Walpole • Westborough • Westford 8 NOVEMBER2012

GUESTBOOK The Shone Family made the witch cupcake after reading our Halloween spread â&#x20AC;&#x153;Preteen Halloween: What a Scream!â&#x20AC;? in the October 2012 issue. For instructions and recipes, pick up a copy or view it online at baystateparent.com.

LOVE the article! Thank you. And, unbelievably, the picture you chose to run with the story is my adorable nephew. THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! Merritt L. Friedman Owner, From the Pumpkin Patch Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: From the Pumpkin Patch was featured in the October issue and is a nonprofit company that collects new and gently used costumes and donates them to families who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford costumes. To donate costumes, visit fromthepumpkinpatch.org. It was with great interest that I read the September article â&#x20AC;&#x153;Battle of Imaginary Bulge.â&#x20AC;? My child was treated successfully

using some of the local clinical resources your article quotes. There is exciting news in eating disorder treatments! Recent research into a particular kind of family therapy approach shows remarkable promise: family based treatment or â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Maudsley Approach.â&#x20AC;? As one of the leaders in the field was quoted saying in October 2010, this approach: â&#x20AC;&#x153;should be the gold standard or first-line outpatient treatment for medically stable teens.â&#x20AC;? In a field where there is very little data on what works, this research offers both optimism and strong results. The evidence has been mounting for decades, but the most recent studies confirm what has been a growing interest in this

approach. Despite lingering skepticism in the field for this departure from usual treatment, a 2008 paper published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;At this time, the evidence base is strongest for the Maudsley model of family therapy for anorexia nervosa.â&#x20AC;? The authors of another 2008 article describe published research on family-based interventions showing â&#x20AC;&#x153;at a 4-5 year followup, the majority (60-90 percent) will have fully recovered while only 10-15 percent will still be seriously illâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;? Put simply, the Maudsley Approach sees the parents of the ill person as the best ally for recovery. In this evidence-based approach, parents are seen as the most committed and competent people in the patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life and are therefore best qualified to find ways to fight the illness, to regain healthy weight and end unhealthy behaviors. Without question, the Family-Based Maudsley Treatment approach represents a very different way of looking at eating disorders and treatment from traditional approaches. Some in the eating disorders community are shocked and even offended by the emphasis on nutrition and behaviors instead of insight and motivation. Still others remain skeptical of the role of parents in the treatment. Yet the results are clear: there is no other scientifically-validated treatment approach for adolescents with anorexia living at home who have been ill fewer than three years. An anonymous parent (of a patient successfully treated and recovered from eating disorder using Family-Based Treatment)*

*Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: Submitted letters to the editor should include your name, email address, phone and town. We agreed to publish this letter anonymously to protect the family and the patient. Please email letters to editor@baystateparent.com.

WINNERS: Baystate giveaways are announced at baystateparent.com under â&#x20AC;&#x153;Giveawaysâ&#x20AC;? as well as on our Facebook page. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made it easy and quick to enter to win a prize! Some of our recent prizes and winners include:

Day Out with Thomas at Edaville Giveaway The DeCell Family of Auburn The Walsh Family of Andover The Lourenco Family of Worcester The Kenney Family of Leicester The Stevens Family of Worcester Special thanks to Edaville (www.edaville. com) for donating five family four-packs of tickets to giveaway. Participants had to submit a letter describing how they keep their children entertained while traveling. Parents suggested holding off on drinks and snacks for the first half of the trip (to save on bathroom stops), packing new toys and revealing them throughout the trip, making videos of the kids narrating the trip and then sharing it with family and friends and making frequent and fun stops at parks and landmarks along the way. Check www.baystateparent.com for more giveaways.

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DIRTYLAUNDRY

with kerri louise

hello privacy,

ARE YOU THERE?

As

soon as you enter the delivery room to experience the miracle of child birth for the first time, your privacy and dignity will go right out the window simultaneously, never to be returned. The pain you feel during that delivery is so intense that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even care what you look like, what you sound like, or how many people are starring at your swollen, stretched out, vagina (yes, I said it).

You wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even care about the fact that you think you might have to pass gas and/or do the unthinkable. Yes, you know what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m talking about â&#x20AC;&#x201C; leaving a stool sample for the doctor when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not required. Oh, no one tells you about this little slice of heaven, not even your friends, but you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care, you just want that baby out of you. This little heartfelt moment, we call delivery, was designed to help you get over any reservation or shyness you may have had B.C. (Before Children). Privacy doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist during parenting. Oh sure, you can try to find it, as you try breastfeeding, showering, or going to the bathroom. But it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be there. I decided to try to breastfeed my twins at the same time. I was sleep deprived. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the common sense to know that if I was having a hard time breastfeeding one, then it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to be easier with two. I asked my mother to hold one of my breast towards baby Aâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mouth. Then I needed my husband to stand behind me so he could get a good grip on the other breast for baby B to latch on. At the same time I was gently, trying to cradle the heads of these two babies to manipulate them into, what they call a â&#x20AC;&#x153;football hold (when I say â&#x20AC;&#x153;theyâ&#x20AC;? I mean the breastfeeding Nazis). I just want these two little screaming infants to suck the skin off my ever so sensitive nipples at the same time so I can finally, â&#x20AC;&#x153;sleep, when they sleep.â&#x20AC;? Yes, another little saying I learned from the breastfeeding Nazis. Meanwhile, my father was screaming out orders like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you try to put his head at a 90 degree angle!â&#x20AC;? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think my husband ever fully recovered from being that close to my mother, my father and my leaking breasts all at the same time. A few years, and one more kid later. I still couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take a five minute shower alone. My youngest had to tell me how excited he was about his art project. He barged into the bathroom and told me all about it. As he was leaving he casually said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mom, your boobs are really long.â&#x20AC;? My kids never seem to need me when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m right there, but as soon as I shut the door to go to the bathroom, all hell breaks loose. All three kids penetrated into the room at the same time, screaming and crying. No one even noticed

that I was sitting on the toilet with my pants down by my ankles. I somehow managed to put the little one on my lap, played negotiator with the twins, and wipe myself, all at the same time. I was Super Mom, till I heard a tiny voice say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mommy whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that string doing down there?â&#x20AC;? The next time I went to the bathroom, I locked the door. They pounded on it, yelling, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mom, what are you doing?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be right out!â&#x20AC;? I shouted, as I started opening the tampon wrapper. Then one of the twins screamed, â&#x20AC;&#x153;MOM, WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S THAT NOISE? ... DO YOU HAVE CANDY IN THERE?â&#x20AC;? Have you ever been to the ever so delightful, sticky, stinky, public restroom with three kids, in a crowded mall, at Christmas time? Try squatting over the toilet while holding your breath and holding a toddler, making sure your twins donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t touch anything or anyone. Why do they call it the restroom? With three kids youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not resting in there. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more like an all out, full court basketball game and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in a zone defense, with a three on one. Just then, one of the twins (and I may never know which one of emâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; did it) opens the door revealing a line of aggravated women waiting to see what the hell was taking so long. Again, my pants were around my ankles and no one seemed to care and neither do I. Dirty Laundry columnist Kerri Louise is a comedienne and mother of three boys. Her recent credit includes: Nick Mom on Nickelodeon, Stand Up in Stilettos for the TV Guide channel. Kerri was a semi finalist on Last Comic Standing on NBC and she has a monthly webisode called Mommy Minute at www.mymommyminute.com. This monthly humor column is about day-to-day life raising kids. Basically itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about not being afraid to air out the â&#x20AC;&#x153;dirty laundryâ&#x20AC;? and say it like it is, making the rest of us not feel so alone. To book comedienne Kerri Louise, contact Dawn Christensen at Loretta LaRoche Productions: Dawn@ lorettalarocheproductions.com or 508-746-3998, x 15.

Now Accepting Applications for the 2013-2014 School Year!

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Improving the Lives of Children and Adults Through Communication

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FIGHTLESS...LOVEMORE

WHATEVER YOU SAY, DONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T SAY

WHATEVER BY

If you think being an agreeable mate is always a positive, think again. Does this argument sound familiar? Your mate asks, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What do you want to do for your birthday?â&#x20AC;? You answer, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Honey, whatever you want.â&#x20AC;? Then you end up eating at the Italian restaurant you absolutely hate, with your extended family/friends, who are at the bottom of your â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;likeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; list. Using the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;whateverâ&#x20AC;? because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s convenient and lets you off the hook for a decision, is setting yourself and your relationship up for a downfall. In a healthy relationship, two people often have different opinions and preferences, and they should express them. When you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take the time to reveal your true thoughts, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about where to eat, where to vacation or what to do about your child who is displaying some behavior problems, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only a matter of time before you begin to resent your mate for not knowing what you really think. In turn, your mate begins to resent your â&#x20AC;&#x153;whateverâ&#x20AC;? attitude because it places the burden of decision-making entirely on his or her shoulders, causing unnecessary stress and conflict in your relationship. Rather than continuing to allow energydraining â&#x20AC;&#x153;whateverâ&#x20AC;? arguments to poke holes in our relationship, we can recognize and side step this common relationship trap. If you find yourself about to utter the â&#x20AC;&#x153;whateverâ&#x20AC;? word, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because you want to be nice or donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be bothered with the decision, stop yourself and say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I better think about this.â&#x20AC;? Then say what you really want. On the other hand, if your mate says â&#x20AC;&#x153;whateverâ&#x20AC;? to you one too many times,

laurie puhn

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donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t respond with a head-shaking eye-roll. Instead, let your honey know that you value his/her input and want a specific suggestion.

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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all common sense, right? Then why is it so hard to think clearly in the moment? As I write in my bestselling book, Fight Less, Love More, most people are hard pressed for time with one another, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all too easy for couples to unknowingly fall into a poor communication routine with bad verbal habits that incite relationship distress. Fortunately, a touch of awareness and some new verbal skills are all that we need to positively transform ourselves and our relationships, one conversation at a time. Laurie Puhn, J.D., is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, syndicated columnist and premier conflict resolution expert. She is the author of the best-selling book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In,â&#x20AC;? now in paperback. You can hear her informed commentary, relationship advice and humor on major news outlets including â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fox and Friends,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Today,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Good Morning America,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Early Show,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;20/20â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Imus in the Morning.â&#x20AC;? Visit her online at www.fightlesslovemore.com.

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NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY: Bringing families together

jennifer lucarelli

About two and a half years ago, Barbara and Jerry Wright decided to start the process of adopting a child. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were older when we got married, so we hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tried to get pregnant like other couples do for years,â&#x20AC;? Barbara says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We always knew we wanted to adopt and that we wanted to adopt an African American child because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m white and my husband is black.â&#x20AC;? Barbara, who lives in Southeastern Massachusetts and is a high school history teacher, says she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have preconceptions of who the child would be. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we met our son, we fell in love with him immediately,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a long process, but he has changed our life for the better, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be finalizing the adoption on National Adoption Day on Nov. 16.â&#x20AC;? Barbara says she and her husband learned a lot about adoption and each other through the screening process. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We talked about a lot of aspects of parenting including how we feel about discipline and raising children â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it was our summer project last summer to go through the report and the screening process.â&#x20AC;?

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The Ann & Nelson Woodfork adopted 17-year-old Shicoren during National Adoption Day last year.

She says they also attended MAPP (Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) training, an eight-week course through the Department of Children and Families that includes an instructor and an experienced foster or adoptive parent that gives prospective parents information to make an informed decision about adopting a waiting child. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We started the intense training with 14 couples, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure a few of them decided not to go through with it or go down a different avenue,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After the training, everyone in our family, including

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us, had to be CORI checked. We also had to fill out a 47-page report. It was all worth it.â&#x20AC;? Then they were given information about two waiting children. They decided to move forward with the 5-year-old boy. Barbara and Jerry met their son for the first time at a McDonaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just over a year ago. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had a supervised visit for about 45 minutes, and then we slowly started having outings once a week, then eventually it became overnights and now heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s living with us,â&#x20AC;? she says. The Wrights chose to move forward with an open adoption, which means the birth parents can be involved in their sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We decided to go that route and our son will get visits three times a year with each parent,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also had to wait to adopt our son because it took until June of this year to see if the parents would legally agree to the adoption.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was really hard because we knew we wanted him, but I kept thinking he still might not be ours,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The waiting was tough, but then our adoption process was starting to be finalized and we thought National Adoption Day would be a great day to adopt him.â&#x20AC;? Thanks the former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, November is now considered National Adoption Month and Massachusetts celebrates National Adoption Day on Nov. 16. In 1976, Gov. Dukakis started the adoption day and it

grew into National Adoption Month. Ann and Nelson Woodfork adopted their baby daughter 30 years ago, when their sons were 5 and 7. These social workers, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve spent their careers working with children, thought about adopting again, but it was never the â&#x20AC;&#x153;right time,â&#x20AC;? and there were always so many good reasons not to. But Ann kept reading Sundayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Child in the Boston Globe and watching Wednesdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Child on WBZ-TVâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;she wanted to take every child! Finally, 3 ½ years ago, she read about a teenage boy in the Boston Globe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I tore out the column,â&#x20AC;? she remembers, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and started the campaign to convince Nelson that the time was finally right to adopt again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is never really a right time. But there were kids waiting and we both decided we should give a teenager a homeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;because we could,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trust me, convincing Nelson was hard, but convincing our children and friends was even harder. We are supposed to be retiring, not taking in a teenager!â&#x20AC;? They completed the MAPP training and homestudy. While the teen that Ann read about was ultimately not a good match for their family, they soon learned about Shicoren, then 15. His Wendyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wonderful Kids recruiter at MARE, Deirdre Madden, had reviewed the Woodforkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homestudy for another teen, and recognized their potential for Shicoren. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we found Shicoren,â&#x20AC;? Ann says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we knew it was right. We were ready to proceed, but Shicorenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social worker, who had worked with him for years, was at first not so sure it was the right fit. And Shicoren was also not so sure because he had a great foster mom. We understood, and we all worked together to address his concerns. Needless to say, we all took the leap of faith, which is exactly what adoption is.â&#x20AC;? Last November, on National Adoption Day, Ann and Nelson adopted Shicoren. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He has made a fantastic adjustment to the family and our community,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He is a great young man. And of course, he drives us crazy on occasion, but we also drive him crazy, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure! But that is what families do.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hope our story inspires people to adopt a teenager,â&#x20AC;? Ann adds. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As Martin Luther King once said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Take the first step in faith â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.â&#x20AC;? Nearly 100 children in Massachusetts will be adopted on the day and four courthouses (Worcester, Brockton, Boston and Salem)

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will be working with adoption agencies and families to finalize the adoption process. This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Adoption Day festivities across the country. National Adoption Day is sponsored by the Massachusetts Court Improvement Program, a federally-funded program administered by the Supreme Judicial Court. The Wrights worked with the Home of Little Wanderers (thehome.org) to go through the adoption procedures, but information can also be found at the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange website MAREinc.org, or by calling 617-5423678 or 800-882-1176. Information about the nationwide celebration is available at nationaladoptionday.org.

NOVEMBERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;SCHILD

Jordan Jordan is a fourteen year old teenager who is easy to be around. He has a great sense of humor and is a loyal and supportive friend. Jordan has had many disappointments in life but still has not given up hope that there is a family out there for him. Now in ninth grade, Jordan earns good grades and is excited to be in high school. He has an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and attends an alternative school program where he can take space if he needs it. He is learning carpentry in school and enjoys making things with his hands. For the past two summers Jordan has attended an overnight camp and hopes to return as a Counselor-In-Training one day. He makes friends easily and gets along well with other kids. Jordan is always willing to stick up for the underdog. During his free time, Jordan likes to play video games and watch TV. He is hoping to join a gym where he can begin to lift weights. Legally free for adoption, Jordan has a big heart and would do well in any family constellation. He loves animals so having a pet or pets in the home would be a bonus. Jordan would be a wonderful addition to any family that can relax, â&#x20AC;&#x153;go with the flowâ&#x20AC;? and make a permanent commitment to be his forever family. For more information about Jordan, please contact Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) Recuiter Deirdre Madden at (617) 54-ADOPT. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) holds monthly informational meetings for people wishing to learn more about the adoption process. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, November 15th from 6 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7:30 p.m. at the DCF Adoption Office located at on the third floor at 121 Providence Street in Worcester (the old St. Vincent Hospital Building.) To register, please call (508) 929-2143.

CIRCLEOFFRIENDS Adoption Events November 2012: WestďŹ eld Adoption Party. Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Boys & Girls Club of Greater WestďŹ eld, 28 West Silver St., WestďŹ eld. An informational event for anyone interested in the adoption of children, teens or sibling groups from foster care (including home-studied families). The adoption party is a chance to get information about the adoption process, interact with youth waiting for adoption, and network with social workers. To register for either of these events go to mareinc.org.

MAPP Training at the Home for Little Wanderers. Saturday, Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Home for Little Wanderers, 50 RedďŹ eld St., Dorchester. For more information, call Karin Gemeinhardt at 617-264-5358. Boston Adoption Informational MeetingsDCF. Every third Wednesday of the month, 4 to 6:30 p.m. DCF Boston, 451 Blue Hill Ave., Dorchester. Learn how you can change the future of a child in need by becoming a foster or adoptive parent with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. For more information, call Marsha Donovan, LCSW ,617-989-9209, no registration required. W.I.S.E. Up: Workshop For Parents and Children Adoptive Families Together (AFT).

Adoptive Families Together presents: a training developed by the Center for Adoption and Support, W.I.S.E. Up is an award winning curriculum to teach children ages 6 through 12 that helps people learn how to respond to questions about their adoption experience.  The workshop provides a framework to respond in a variety of ways using group discussion and role playing. While children are meeting, parents will come together to be trained on the W.I.S.E. Up curriculum in order to support their children using these newly learned strategies.  For more information, call Lori Baeumler, AFT Coordinator: 617-587-1522 or email lbaeumler@mspcc.org. Cost is $20 per child. Pre-registration is required and registration is limited.  Please mail a completed registration form (found at mspcc.org) and check payable to â&#x20AC;&#x153;MSPCCâ&#x20AC;?. 

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Kennedy to Kent State:

bernie boston

Images of a Generation

george tames

A protester places flowers in the rifle barrels of the military police during a 1967 demonstration against the Vietnam War at the Pentagon.

gene anthony

President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office at the White House is photographed from behind and it looks like he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Kennedy, who had a bad back, was simply reading the newspapers standing up as he often preferred to do, 1961.

moneta j. sleet

baron wolman

Ken Keye’s Magic Bus at the San Francisco State Acid Test, 1966.

Coretta Scott King and Daughter Bernice at the Funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 9, 1968.

BY

Mick Jagger on the set of Performance in 1968.

jim keogh

T

here is an episode of “The Simpsons” where Homer discovers an old box of animal crackers in the attic. “Don’t eat those,” his wife Marge warns. “They were made in the ’60s.” “Mmmmm,” Homer purrs. “Turbulent.” Indeed, the 1960s — and the years in the late ’50s and early ’70s that bookend them — were turbulent, in every dimension of the word. Both wildly creative and devastatingly chaotic, they were the breeding ground for poets and warriors, acid-droppers and astronauts, moonwalkers and Moonshadow.

14 NOVEMBER2012

The Worcester Art Museum has done a wonderful job of capturing all the messy glory in “Kennedy to Kent State: Images of a Generation,” an exhibit of classic photographs from the collection of David Davis that is a bit of a time machine for those who remember those years and a visual history for anyone born post-Nixon. Here, we witness rises and falls, revels and revolutions, booms and busts (quite literally, as in famous photos of Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe). Bob Dylan looks impossibly young as he changes the times at the Newport Folk Festival, as

does Mick Jagger on a movie set, all lips, hair and defiance. Jimi Hendrix torching his guitar on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival appears to be performing an exorcism that the throngs at Woodstock would surely have enjoyed seeing. And British model Twiggy is shown setting the standard for beauty well before the fashion industry took her lean charisma to anorexic extremes. Politicians were stars, too, especially the Kennedys, who are rightfully the namesake of this exhibit. John F. Kennedy’s shadow looms large here, from the stills of his assassination taken from the Zapruder film, to the photo of his son, JFK Jr., saluting his flag-draped casket. The end of Camelot is also reflected in twin shots of Robert Kennedy, first seen campaigning for president in San Francisco, then later lying with blank eyes on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as a busboy cradles his head, which has received a fatal bullet from the gun of Sirhan Sirhan. The promise of a Kennedy presidency can be glimpsed toward the end of the exhibit, in the photos taken by astronaut Buzz Aldrin in July 1969. Aldrin’s photograph of his own footprint in the lunar soil is the fulfillment of John F. Kennedy’s vow that an American would be the first to walk on the moon. (Shameless name-dropping here: I’ve interviewed Aldrin, and he insisted he didn’t

mind being the second man to step onto the moon after Neil Armstrong. Aldrin’s father, on the other hand, picketed outside of the White House with a sign that read, “My son was first, too.”). The photos reflect the whiplash effect on the boomer generation. Playfulness — Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters aboard the Magic Bus — mixes with mournfulness — Martin Luther King Jr.’s comrades standing over his fallen body on a Memphis balcony pointing in the direction of the fateful shots. King’s sacrifice is brought into even sharper relief through other photos of the Civil Rights movement, including one of an AfricanAmerican man in Birmingham, Ala., being blasted in the back with a fire hose. He bends, but does not break. Vietnam, of course, also haunts the exhibit. One photo depicts bodies piled like cordwood in the aftermath of the My Lai Massacre, and another shows a lone soldier moving across a defoliated landscape like a specter in the mist. The art museum’s walls also hold two of the war’s most iconic images: young Kim Phuc, arms extended and face warped with pain, running naked after being seared by napalm, and the execution of a suspected Viet Cong guerrilla by the Saigon police chief. The latter incident was also caught by television cameras, which, in addition to the televised murder of Lee

Lone Soldier, A Shau Valley, 1971.

Harvey Oswald in 1963, heralded the fact that in the new media age, TV was now king. In addition to the still photography, the Worcester Art Museum has set up four secluded booths where folks can watch documentary footage of everything from a draft lottery to a scene from Easy Rider to clips from popular shows of the time like Batman and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. All the photos in the exhibit predate the digital revolution, and some still bear the crop marks, notations and the other “scars of newsroom haste” that went into processing them from camera to the printed page. These imperfections are, somehow, the

perfect commentary on the terrible beauty emanating from these images — like a piece of fine pottery that only makes sense once it emerges from the kiln. The Worcester Art Museum, located at 55 Salisbury St., presents “Kennedy to Kent State: Images of a Generation” through January 2013. The exhibit is accompanied by a full slate of complementary programming, including family activities. Visit worcesterart.org for more information. Hours are Wednesday-Friday, Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (and the third Thursday of every month: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.). Admission: Children 17 and

edwin “buzz” aldrin

david hume kennerly

gerald smith

bernie boston gene anthony

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at  Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills, 1957.

Neil Armstrong plants the flag on the moon, July 20, 1969.

under are free; adults are $14; seniors and college students with ID are $12. Museum admission is free the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon.

Jim Keogh is the Assistant Vice President of News at Clark University. He lives in Worcester with his wife and son, and his daughter is away at college.

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BAYSTATEPARENT 15

TALKING ★ POL i TICS Shaping Young Minds BY

jennifer lucarelli katie kath illustrastor

With the presidential election on many people’s minds, politics may be a difficult topic to tackle when it comes to talking to your kids. How much do you tell children? How do you keep it civil and educational? I have many memories as a child and teenager of heated political discussions during family and holiday gatherings, and I am ashamed to admit that I have left the dining room table many times frustrated, upset and wanting to never talk politics again. I had a friend in college that used to say that no conversation about politics or religion ends well. That may be the case for some discussions, but for parents a presidential election is a perfect time to start the conversation about government and politics. When my oldest son was in preschool in 2008, they held a mock election, and he came into the car proud to say that Barack Obama won the election. He also mentioned that I had to vote for him. I couldn’t believe I was getting pressure on who to vote for from my son, who I loved with all my heart, but I felt that whoever I wanted to vote for should be private and not debatable. But I was amazed that he had an opinion that he was willing to share – he was only 4. Since he was born, though, I had been taking him to the voting polls with me (along with his younger brother) and I would jokingly ask him who I should vote for, and then quietly make my own decision. This begs the question – how can you talk politics with your children and not try to sway them? How can you help them be open-minded about their future while making sure they understand it is their right to choose how they vote? “When they are very young, they see a lot of media surrounding the presidential election, but they won’t understand the difference between Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” said Negar Behesti, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. “You can definitely talk to them about who they like and why they like them, but it is important to keep it at their level.” “Parents should try to be as objective as possible and explain to kids that while the politicians may be arguing on television during a debate, they are actually having heated political discussions,” she said. “You can explain the candidates are not fighting, but are passionate and it may seem like fighting.” As a child is passionate about a favorite toy, like a Barbie doll, candidates are passionate about their views on the future of the country, Dr. Behesti says. “When they are young, they aren’t going to understand much more than that,” she added. Sarah Cole Camerer, a psychotherapist and mediator in Shrewsbury, agrees that younger children may have a hard time grasping the larger topics in politics. “As the presidential election nears, I am asked all kinds of questions by my 5-year-old twins, but not the kind you’d expect,” Camerer said. “They ask, ‘Is the president the boss 16 NOVEMBER2012

of the country?’ and ‘Why do the <opposing candidates> hate each other?’” Camerer said she’s also talked with some other children in her twins’ classroom at school. “About half of the children knew that Barack Obama was president and about half knew he was up for re-election against Mitt Romney,” she said. “Others knew the general concept of what the president does, but on a very basic level.” She observed that the children parroted what they heard from their parents. She said she heard comments like, ‘Barack Obama is a bad man who wants to take my daddy’s money,’ or ‘Mitt Romney makes it hard for my mommy to work.’ “I was both refreshed and disturbed by the influence parents seem to have on their children’s understanding of the political process,” she said. “In this case, it’s a great time to ask your child what they have learned and what they think,” she says. “You can explain your reasoning in a very simplified and abridged way and ask them who they would vote for if they were voting.” Dr. Behesti says children are growing up in an anti-bullying age. “Kids are learning not to say ‘hate’ as much and if your child says, ‘I hate [insert candidate’s name here],’ you should ask them why,” she says. “Kids around the age of 6 and 8 begin to think more abstractly and parents can take on the role, like a 2 or 3 year old and ask why a lot more.” By asking why your child feels that way, it shows them that you respect them and want to know their thoughts, Dr. Behesti says. Some high schools may have given homework to their students asking them to watch the local and national political debates and write their opinions, so they can discuss them in class. “This is a great exercise for families to do together,” Dr. Behesti says. “I know when I was watching the debates, some

of the numbers and figures went over my head, and you could ask your teenager what they understand about the debates and help them to make sense of it.” “It is not until kids are out in the real world that the majority of our youth graduate to their own standards and political ideals,” Camerer says. “The influences of parents seem to be the strongest indicator of how much interest and involvement their children will have once they reach voting age.” Dr. Behesti says that even as adults, voters make decisions based on superficial things like how a candidate acts, but the presidential election is a great time to open up discussions about what your teenager has learned in school and learn what they think about the candidates. “This is a great way to help your children to become really effective and educated voters,” she says. “It’s important to help them realize what’s important to them and watching the campaign unfold can be equated to a sports game. What would you do if your kids didn’t like the sports team you like, and then you can still enjoy watching games together.” As a teenager, individuals are looking to find their own identity. “You can make the political discussions fun and help them foster the ability to make decisions without repercussions,” she says. “A political discussion does not need to end in a heated argument.” And what should you do if you know that you’re bringing your children or teenagers to a family gathering where it may get heated? Dr. Behesti says to prepare your kids that some family members or friends may be passionate about politics and a discussion may get heated. “You can tell them that it’s not what you should do when talking politics,” she says. “You can also ask your family and friends to tone it down for the kids’ sake.”

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photos courtesy of the island moving co.

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GO BACK IN HISTORY: The Freedom Trail in Boston will continue tours through November. Take a walk through the rich history of Boston at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

18 NOVEMBER2012

photo courtesy the worcester art museum

photo courtesy of massaudubon

photos courtesy of the freedom trail foundation

GO DREAM: The Newport Nutcracker at Rose Cliff is playing from Nov. 23 to 30 at 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport.

GO KEEP TRACK: Kids enjoy tracking animals in the snow at the Mass Audubon Broadmoor in Natick which is also hosting a No School Fun Day on Nov. 6.

GO TAKE A LEAP: The Worcester Art Museum is featuring photographers’ images from the Kennedy assassination to Kent State, powerful images through the 1960. The ongoing exhibit runs through February.

OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO Siena Farms, Silverbrook Farm, and others; baked MELTDOWN WARNING: Before you pack up the minivan, please confirm your destination. Although we’ve done our best to assure accuracy at press time, things can and do change…

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1THURSDAY Travel & Taste: Australia, Beauty from Down Under. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick. 6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. lecture. Take a tour of Australia’s unique wildlife and landscapes from Sydney, the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, South Australia and the Clare Valley wine country, north of Adelaide. In the Northern Territory of Australia, you will see the diversity of wildlife that lives in Kakadu National Park and the surrounding area. No visit to Australia would be complete without the Great Barrier Reef, a world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Online registration available. massaudubon.org.

goods from Danish Pastry House and Sofra; roasted nuts from Fastachi; fresh mozzarella from Fiore Di Nonno; and primo sandwiches from Iggy’s Bread. massfarmersmarkets.org. Full Moon Owl Prowl for All Ages. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick. 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Ever wondered if an owl really is as smart as they say? Why don’t we hear them when they fly? Just how far can an owl see? Come with the whole family under the moon to learn about owl calls, behavior and habitat and search for our frequent evening owl visitors, the screech owl and great horned owl. Pre-registration required. A $11M/ $13NM, C $6M/ $8NM. massaudubon.org. Leadership Series. P.O. Box 61, Raynham. The Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change Family

Handmade Holiday Countdown. 75 Webster St, Worcester. Seamz2B Sewing Lounge Workshops allow you to create one of a kind, from the heart gifts for the holidays. Attend a workshop with a friend or a daughter and enjoy some relaxing, quality time together. seamz2b.com. Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. Ecotarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Explore why your body produces mushy, oozy, crusty, scaly and stinky gunk in Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body, the wildly popular exhibit based on the bestselling book. With sophisticated animatronics and imaginative exhibits, Grossology tells the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and much more. Ecotarium.org.

Budding Scientist: Sense of Touch. Ecotarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester. Budding Scientists get in touch with their own sense of touch. What happens when they touch? What do they learn? There are two identical, half hour sessions held on the first Thursday of each month, one at 10:15 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m. Each session is limited to the first 10 adult-child pairs. The event is free with admission to the Ecotarium. Ecotarium.org.

2FRIDAY Curtain Call: Oliver the Musical. Arlington Friends of the Drama Theatre, 22 Academy St., Arlington. This musical theatre classic brings Dickens characters to life, perhaps even larger than life. $25 adults, $20 14 or younger. afdtheatre.org. Copley Square Farmer’s Market. Copley Square, Boston. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Approximately 20 vendors will be on hand on opening day offering local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, jams & jellies, cheese, meats, and much more. There will be local produce from Atlas Farms,

Veterans Memorial 5K Road Race. Veterans Inc. 59 South St., Shrewsbury. Same-day registration starts at 10 a.m. and goes until noon. A salute to the Veterans is scheduled at 12:40 p.m. The race starts at 1 p.m. veteransinc.org.

5MONDAY Wine & Dine Mondays: Gerard Bertrand-Wines from Languedoc/Roussillion, Southern France. Beacon Hill Hotel & Bristro, 25 Charles St., Boston. Designed to both educate and entertain, the series is aimed at oenophiles of all levels. Diners are invited to visit various wine regions without leaving the comfort of their seats, as Cecilia and Tracy Burgis of M.S. Walker act as virtual tour guides, moving from region to region explaining the history, curiosities and nuances of each selection. $60 per person. beaconhillhotel.com. Arts & Crafts Hour. The Great Escape Play Area, 21 Sack Blvd., Leominster. Join in weekly for a fun project for the kids. Free with regular admission. Tgeplaycafe.com.

6TUESDAY

photos courtesy of the ecotarium

Preschool Art. The Children’s Museum, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 to 11 a.m. Children will be able to explore various art mediums as they are introduced to the colorful and creative world of art. They will become young artists as the learn how to make their own special masterpieces! Preschool Art does not require registration and is free with paid admission to the museum. childrensmuseumineaston.org. Jack-o-lantern Spectacular. Roger Williams Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI. Through Nov. 3, 6 to 11 p.m. Visit this night time display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns all along our beautiful wetland trail. Well over 100 of the pumpkins are carved into veritable works of art, and presented in themed scenes with music. This year’s Spectacular, titled “All the World’s a Stage,” features scenes from iconic and popular movies, Broadway hits and television series. A $10 adults, Senior $9, C $8, ages 3 - 12; under 3 are free. rwpzoo.org.

hour or several afternoons. It is strongly encouraged that volunteers sign up in advance so that they can receive a packet of instructions before the dig. This is a very rare opportunity for individuals to be involved in a dig at a “first period” site. duxburyhistory.org.

Using mathematics and casts of actual dinosaur prints, calculate how big a dinosaur was and how fast it was moving by measuring the strides. Children can track their favorite dinosaur at the Ecotarium on Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. Leadership Series focuses on supporting families and individuals to live in their communities as naturally and typically as desired. Applications from families with children or adult family members of any age with any disability are encouraged. The MFOFC Family Leadership Series is currently sponsored annually in four different areas of Massachusetts by the regional chapters of Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change. The MFOFC Family Leadership Series is organized into three (and in some regions, four), two-day workshops. mfofc.org/ events/leadership-series.html.

4SUNDAY

3SATURDAY

Boston’s American Girl Fashion Show & Model Search. Long Wharf Marriott, 296 State St., Boston. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. An open casting call for models of all ages. This fun-filled day is designed for girls and their families, friends and favorite dolls. Visitors can celebrate the experience of being a girl, whether yesterday or today, through a colorful presentation of historical and contemporary fashions. The event is hosted by the Boston Harbor Island Alliance and all proceeds underwrite free ferry tickets for children to experience the national park.

Kids’ Shows: Magic by Scott Jameson. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Boston. 10:30 a.m. Join magician and juggler Scott Jameson at the Coolidge for an extraordinary performance that will have you laughing out loud and perched on the very edge of your seat. Umbrellas will be plucked from thin air, a drawing will come to life, basketballs will be spun and juggled, and a member of the audience will unlock telekinetic abilities. Recommended for ages 3+. Adults $10 adults, children $8. coolidge.org.

FREE Brewster House Site Archaeological Dig. Brewster House, Marshall Street on Standish Shore, Duxbury. Ongoing through Nov. 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. An archaeological testing procedure at what is alleged to be the site of the home of Elder William Brewster, a Mayflower passenger and one of the first settlers of Duxbury. The dig will be overseen by certified archaeologist Craig Chartier, director of the Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project. Volunteers may participate at any level they prefer, whether it is one

No School Fun Day. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick. No school? Have fun in nature. Explore the changing world of autumn and fall at Broadmoor, play games and much more. Pre-registration is required. Massaudubon.org. FREE Exploring Music. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. Drop by The Children’s Museum in Easton for our weekly program, Exploring Music! You will get the chance to participate in a variety of creative musical activities such as singing, rhythm-making, and dramatic interpretation. Free with museum admission. childrensmuseumineaston.org.

7WEDNESDAY Rock It! Ladies. Boston Rock Gym, 78G Olympia Ave., Woburn. Noon to 10 p.m. Whether you are a seasoned climber, new to the sport or just looking to conquer new heights, join the Boston Rock Gym (BRG) every Wednesday for its ladies day rock climbing special. From bouldering to belaying, to ropes and anchors, every Wednesday all ladies will receive a climbing day pass for only $5. bostonrockgym.com. Habitats and Tracking: Dinosaur Tracking. Ecotarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester. 3 to 4:30 p.m. Using mathematics and casts of actual dinosaur prints, calculate how big a dinosaur was and how fast it was moving by measuring the strides. Children will participate in learning groups of 6 to 8 and ages 9 to 12. Advance registration is required. Ecotarium.org.

8THURSDAY Chinese History Event. George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, State Street, Springfield. Noon to 3:45 p.m. The Art Discovery Center is painted BAYSTATEPARENT 19

OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO with bold colors and intricate designs inspired by the Asian collections of the museum. Visitors are invited to trace their own Chinese horoscope, try on costumes and armor, play gallery games and more. Stop in and see what creative ideas are unfolding. Springfieldmuseums.org. Mommy & Me Yoga. 195 Lake Ave., Worcester. A post-natal yoga class for Mommy and Baby (Precrawlers) to enjoy together. Meet other moms and build community to support each other. Get your body back, clear your mind and help your heart open fully to this special (and challenging) time of life. $60 for a six-week course. FlowformsYoga.com.

Natick. Want to improve your digital photos after they are taken? Learn the basics of Photoshop Elements. From cropping images, to adjusting lighting and colors for a more realistic look, slight alterations can have an amazing effect on a photo. Learn how and when to use these tools to improve your photos. We will also introduce the basics of the layering feature to help with color and lighting changes. We will have laptops with Photoshop Elements available for use. If you have your own

12MONDAY

to keep knitting! Classes are $75 (not including materials) for 4 weeks. stitchhousedorchester.com. Wild Side: Whale Sharks of the Red Sea. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick. 7:30 p.m. In 2009, a previously unknown group of whale sharks was discovered in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Since then, over 60 individual sharks have been tagged – making this the largest, most intensive high-tech whale shark tagging program in the world. After several trips to the Red Sea, find out what Dr. Skomal has learned about these magnificent animals. Online registration is available. $10M, $12NM. Massaudubon.org.

Neverland Theatre’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The Neverland Theatre, 200 E. Lothrop St., Beverly. 3 p.m. This under the sea adventure comes to life with a talented group of young actors. $16.50. neverlandtheatre.com.

Mothers of Preschoolers. 182 Brooks Station Rd., Princeton. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) begins has a new evening meeting format the second. If you are interested in fun and friendship, please join us as we celebrate motherhood with others who are balancing the joys and challenges of raising young children. For more information email aharvey1977@yahoo.com.

9FRIDAY ABC’s of Science. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. Stop by to discover the ABCs of Science. From Aeronautics to Zoetropes, this class will introduce the fascinating world of science to curious toddlers. They will be able to explore different words each week and learn more about science with each visit! ABCs of Science does not require registration and is free with paid admission to the museum. childrensmuseumineaston.org.

14WEDNESDAY photo courtesy of the children’s museum of easton

10SATURDAY Owl Prowl Adventures. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16), Natick. Join us for a prowl under the stars as we walk through fields and forests listening for our resident screech and great horned owls. Preregistration required. Online registration available. Massaudubon.org. Art Cart. Peadbody-Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 1 to 3 p.m. Get hands-on in the galleries. Look for the interactive art cart every weekend and explore more - touchable objects, art-making techniques and stories about the art around you. Free with museum admission. Pem.org/visit. Second Saturday Walking Tour. Springfield Cemetery, State Street, Springfield. 10:30 a.m. to noon. Join local historians and neighborhood experts for the informative stroll through the downtown area. Meet at the welcome center. $5 for non-members, free for members of the Springfield Museums and the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association. Springfieldmuseums.org.

11SUNDAY Intro to Photoshop Elements. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 280 Eliot St. (Rt.16),

From Aeronautics to Zoetropes, this ABC’s of Science class at the Children’s Museum of Easton introduces the world of science to curious toddlers on Nov. 9.

laptop with Photoshop Elements, please feel free to bring it. Pre-registration required. Online registration available. Massaudubon.org.

13TUESDAY

Splendors in the Sky. Springfield Science Museum, Edwards Street, Springfield. 11:15 a.m. The Springfield Science Museum is home to the Seymour Planetarium, the oldest operating planetarium in the United States. The star ball in the Seymour Planetarium can project more than 7,000 stars which vary in brightness. There are shows throughout the day starting at 11:15 a.m. springfieldmuseums.org/ the_museums/science.

Knitting 101 and Intro to Knitting. Stitch House Dorchester, 846 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester. If you have no knitting experience, or have tried a few times but quit because that scarf was just taking too darn long and you got bored, then this is the class for you! This class will teach you the basics, and together we will create something small, manageable and fabulous. Not only will you leave with a finished project, but you’ll have the motivation and the tools

ARTS After School at the Children’s Art Centre. United South End Settlement’s Children’s Art Centre, 48 Rutland St., Boston. Drop off your kindergarteners through first graders to explore the world of art while participating in engaging visual arts, creative movement and dramatic play activities designed to supplement classroom learning. uses.org. Ready or Not...The Life And Development of Boys in And out of School. Morse Institute Library, Lebowitz Meeting Hall; 14 East Central St., Natick. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Have you ever thought that the way we attempt to educate our young boys may be the cause of their academic and social frustration? Together we’ll engage in a conversation about the development of boys and how we can better support them in our classrooms. If you’ve ever had a boy that left you guessing, then this is the program for you. Cost is $25. tecpa.org/programs.html.

15THURSDAY FREE Frog Pond Season Opener. Frog Pond, Boston Common, Boston. 5:30 p.m. On hand for the festive event will be Thomas M. Menino and champion figure skaters. 617-636-2197. Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. School‘s out for summer and anything is possible as Phineas and Ferb create their biggest invention yet -- Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The

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Brookline Cambridge Hyde Park/Dedham Medford Newton/Brighton Quincy Somerville South Boston Waltham West Roxbury Weymouth

Best LIVE Tour Ever! Phineas, Ferb and the whole tri-state area gang embark on a bold escape jumping out from behind your TV and onto the stage in a live action adventure. Tickets start at $27. Thehanovertheatre.org. Also Nov. 16.

OH,THEPLACESYOU’LLGO work with professional artists. Take a class that will explore self portraits. Explore ideas of self-identity and see how artists represent themselves through art. uses.org.

16FRIDAY

22THURSDAY

FREE Teen Night at the ICA. Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston. Teen night is a fun fashion show, music spun by DJs and contemporary artworks. 617-478-3100. Festival of Trees. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield. The theme for this year’s festival of trees is “On the Move.” Two hundred trees will be decked out for the holidays. Also on display are antique toys and other transportation-themed toys that match the theme. 413-443-7171.

from baystateparent Magazine!

illustration by kevin gillespie

Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. See Nov. 15 listing.

17SATURDAY FREE Kids’ Shows: Vento Chiaro. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. With the support of the Free for All Concert Fund, this special children’s concert, in which the classical musicians of Vento Chiaro will introduce young audiences to all of the instruments in a woodwind quintet. You will see all your favorite characters from Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf and a meet some new ones featured in a brand new piece for kids by a composer who lives in Boston. coolidge.org. Family Science Adventures. Springfield Science Museum, Edwards Street, Springfield. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Discover the wonders of science. The Roving Scientist presents interactive demonstrations for the whole family in the museum galleries. You never know where they might be and what they have in store for you. Free with museum admission. springfieldmuseums.org/the_museums/science.

18SUNDAY Anne of Green Gables. Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston. 3 p.m. Anne of Green Gables is a musical based on the popular book by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne, an orphan girl brought to Prince Edward Island by the elderly Cuthbert siblings (they were looking for a boy), is bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She takes much joy in life,

Anne of Green Gables is a musical based on the popular book by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The play will run through Nov. 18 at the Wheelock Family Theatre. and adapts quickly, thriving in the close-knit farming village. As a result of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert’s support, her friendship with Diana Barry, and the encouragement of a steadfast teacher, Anne rises to the top of her class and – in the end, manages to turn her rivalry with Gilbert Blythe into a long-lasting friendship. Tickets are $25-30. All performances offer open captioning. wheelockfamilytheatre.org.

19MONDAY Pirates, Privateers & Patriots Tour: Freedom Trail. Faneuil Hall, Boston. 11:30 a.m. Learn the tales of scalawag pirates who plied their trade in Boston harbor, the privateers who sympathized with the colonists against the mighty British Navy and the patriots who encouraged them to help overthrow British rule in 18th Century Boston. You’ll be surprised to learn who has been involved in promoting terrorist acts against Great Britain as the American Revolution played out on Boston waters. $12 adults, $10 seniors and $6 children. Thefreedomtrail.org.

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20TUESDAY Homeschool: Habitats/Meadows. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill St., Sharon. 9:30 a.m. to noon. This homeschool classes will focus on the three main habitats found at Moose Hill-Forest, Meadows and Wetlands. Explore these diverse habitats for signs of animal life, investigate some unique microhabitats found within our forests and meadows and discover how these habitats change with the seasons. Sweep net for insects in September, search for fungi in October, run over logs in November and build a shelter to stay warm come December. The possibilities are endless at Moose Hill. C $20 M, $25 NM. Registration is required. moosehill@ massaudubon.org.

21WEDNESDAY FREE Teen Art in the South End. Children’s Art Centre, 48 Rutland St., Boston. Come to the free creative workshops, visits to galleries and time in artists’ studios. Discover new techniques and create

ONGOING Thanksgiving Weekend. Old Sturbridge Village. Sturbridge. Nov. 22-Nov. 25. To mark one of just a handful of holidays on the early New England calendar, Old Sturbridge Village re-creates various activities from an early New England Thanksgiving Day, including cooking at the hearth, demonstrations of 19th-century table manners, a Thanksgiving sermon, and after-dinner entertainment. A $24, Y (3-17) $8, C under 2 FREE. osv.org.

23FRIDAY FREE Christmas Festival of Lights. La Salette Shrine, 947 Park St., Attleboro. 5 to 9 p.m. Visit a religious display of holiday lights, with more than 400,000 lights. This is the first day to see the displays which will be up until Jan. 1. 508-222-5410. FREE Macy’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Macy’s, Summer St., Boston. Spend the day in the fresh air at the annual tree lighting at Macy’s. Rain or shine. FREE Free Day at the Zoo. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Dorchester. What better way is there to walk off that extra piece of pumpkin pie than by strolling around the zoo for free. Choose from the Stone Zoo or Franklin Park Zoo in Boston as both are free today. FREE Big Balloon Parade. Main Street, Springfield. 11 a.m. The Big Balloon Parade features the classic and towering Cat in the Hat which measures 75 feet. Other huge balloons in the parade include Arthur, Rudolph and Felix the Cat. Kids can enjoy magic, photos with Santa, live entertainment, face painting and more until 2 p.m. 413-733-3800. The Nutcracker. The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. Jump start the holiday season with Worcester’s family tradition of The

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OH,THEPLACESYOUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;LLGO Nutcracker presented by the Youth Ballet of Worcester Company, playing through Nov. 30. Tickets start at $24. Thehanovertheatre.org. 15 Annual Food Drive. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. By donating non-perishable food items liked canned soup to the food drive, you can gain access to the museum for free on the day after Thanksgiving. 508799-4406. th

Please call ahead to confirm. Minimum age: 8 years. A parent or guardian must accompany children. massaudubon.org. Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival & Holiday Parade. Roger Williams Park Zoo. Providence, RI. Usher in the holiday season with the Jolly Old Elf himself at Roger Williams Park Zoo. See Santa arrive in grand style at approximately 9:30 am in our parking lot. Then stick around for a festive holiday parade from Admissions to Jambo

Junction. After the parade take your photo with some of our parade participants (Santa excluded) and enjoy the zoo. Free with regular Zoo admission. rwpzoo.org. Also visit Santa on Nov. 25.

25SUNDAY Holidays from the Heart. American Girl. Natick. Make holiday memories with your favorite girl! Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a delightful time as you create a starry craft and dine

24SATURDAY

28WEDNESDAY photos courtesy of the hanover theatre

Season of Thanks: Society of the 17th Century. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Historic Deerfield.10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Meet the Society of the 17th Century, a group of reenactors who will bring our historic Hall Tavern building to life with an incredible array of period arts, crafts and trades. See redware pottery, spinning, lace making, herbal lore, quill pen writing, wood carving, basket making and arms and armour. Skilled reenactors invite hands-on involvement when possible. Also enjoy open hearth cooking demonstrations, and craft an apple pomander with the help of a museum educator. Included with general admission. historic-deerfield.org. Saturday Morning Birding. Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport. 9 a.m. Experienced leaders will take you around to all the birding hot spots in the Newburyport/Plum Island area in search of avian activity. Adults $8m/$10nm, Children $5m/7nm. Preregistration is not required. Runs most Saturdays.

Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s out for summer and anything is possible as Phineas and Ferb create their biggest invention yet at the Hanover Theatre on Nov. 15.

North Star Ice Arena

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North Star also offers: Figure Skating â&#x2DC;&#x2026; Hockey Advanced Group Lessons

27TUESDAY The Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff. Rosecliff. Mansion, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, RI. Be a part of the story as you follow the dazzling performers through the spectacular setting of Newportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most romantic mansion, Rosecliff. You will be so close to the performers that you will be involved in a new and exciting way. For tickets, visit islandmovingco.org.

FREE Fran Flynn Magician Extraordinaire Comedy Magic Show. Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, Worcester. The magic show is a fun way for families to spend the afternoon on the day after Thanksgiving. 508-799-1655.

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Washington St., Canton. 10 to 11 a.m. A drop-in program for 2-5 year olds and an adult. Each week is a different theme and will include a story, an activity and an art project. This week the theme will be hibernation. How do animals get ready for winter. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play a game and find out. Adults free, children $3m/$5nm. Registration not required. Massaudubon.org.

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together at American Girl. Includes a delicious meal, a commemorative photo, and an American Girl book to take home. For girls ages 8. $35pp. Reservations required: 877-247-5223. americangirl.com. FREE Santa Parade and Tree Lighting. Market Sqaure, Newburyport. 4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. As the holiday season approaches, Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive in the most fitting way for this seaport town... by US Coast Guard boat! Welcome Santa on the Sunday after Thanksgiving as he and Mrs. Claus dock at the boardwalk and begin to parade through downtown Newburyport, then gather in Market Square for the annual Christmas tree lighting and carols. newburyportchamber.org.

26MONDAY

Gaia Roots - Pittsfield. The Garage, 111 South St., Pittsfield. 8 p.m. Inspired by roots music from West Africa, the Caribbean and around the world, Gaia Roots World Music and Dance Ensemble blends drumming, dance, vocal harmonies and story into a unique weave of traditional music and original creations. Admission starts at $10. berkshiretheatregroup.org.

29THURSDAY Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Wonderful Life. Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main St., Stoneham. Ongoing through Dec. 2. Alone on top of a bridge that overlooks his beloved Bedford Falls, George Bailey has convinced himself that his life and his work has been for nothing. Can the small victories and common decency of one man change an entire town? George will find out when heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visited by a guardian angel who will show him what life would have been like without him. Tickets start at $44. Stonehamtheatre.org.

30FRIDAY The Nutcracker. The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. See Nov. 23 listing for more information.

Submit an Event Fill out our form at baystateparent.com By Nov. 5.

Art & Seek: Hibernation. Visual Arts Center, 963

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FUN EVENTS FOR ALL !

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 9AM - 3PM

Family-Friendly Tours I Free Refreshments I Arts and Crafts I Russian Folktales Performance Admission: $7 Adults, $4 Children 3-17, $5 Seniors FREE for members and children under three.

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www.museumofrussianicons.org

Worcester JCC Preschool/Toddler Center EARLY REGISTRATION SPECIALS Save up to $250 on preschool and toddler programs. Register your child for the 2013/2014 school year by November 30, 2012 and receive a discount on next year's tuition.

CURIOSITY FAMILY DAY SATUR A Y NOVEMBD E R 12–4 PM F 17 REE

Why choose the JCC: • NAEYC Accredited State of the Art Early Childhood Center • EEC Licensed • Progressive Age Appropriate Curriculum • Certified, Professional Teachers • Swim Instruction • Music Class • Afternoon Enrichment Classes • Superb Indoor & Outdoor Facility • Pools • Gymnasium

, 2013 01122 – MARCH 31 NOVEMBER 17, 20 ile Wh here, e r t ’ you eck ou ch

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS Toddler Programs Full Day Program; 2, 3 or 5 day option; Low teacher to child ratios; Nurturing environment; Starting at 15 months

GISELLE’S RE MIX: A uCu

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morning toddler program; 2, 3 or 5 day option; Art, science, music, gym time Preschool Program Morning program with half & full day options; 2, 3 or 5 day option; Developmental, innovative curriculum; Small class sizes; 3 year old and four year old classrooms

@ THE CLARK

Pre-Kindergarten Transition class before kindergarten; Progressive project based curriculum; 2, 3 or 5 day option; Small class size

633 Salisbury Street • Worcester, MA 01609

508-756-7109 x258 • www.worcesterjcc.org ;/,1**0:67,5;6(339,.(9+3,::6-9(*,*63699,30.0655(;065(3690.05.,5+,9:,?<(3690,5;(;065(.,+0:()030;@69,*65640**65+0;065 ;/,*,5;,90:/(5+0*(77,+(**,::0)3,

clarkart.edu Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Williamstown, Massachusetts 413 458 2303 Curiosity Family Day is supported by funding from the officers and employees of Allen & Company, Inc.

Friday 10 - 8 pm s Saturday 10 - 8 pm Sunday 10 - 7 pm (many items 50% off) Monday 10 - 8 pm (many items 50% off)

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Leominster s Nov 30th - Dec 3rd The Mall at Whitney Field Consign and earn extra holiday $$... shop for quality, brand name gifts – Clothing, gear, toys, sporting goods and more at bargain prices! vendor inquiries welcome!

www.consignmycloset.com

find us on BAYSTATEPARENT 23

JUNK DRAWERS A LITTLE LIT OF THIS, A LITTLE OF THAT

FUN FINGER PLAY 15 years of experience helping kids with developmental delays due to autism, cerebral palsy and a wide range of other conditions. The book is available through grasprite. com and proceeds from the sale of the book will support Technology for Autism Now, a non-profit autism organization that provides quality technology solutions for children with autism. The book is available at grasprite.com.

FALL HARVEST SOUP Ingredients: 1 to 2 medium squash (delicate, butternut or kabocha) cut in half, seeds removed 1 celery root, peeled and roughly chopped 1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 1 yellow onion, chopped 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped 3 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped 4 cloves of garlic 3 Tbs. butter 2 Tbs. chopped sage Salt & pepper Water Preheat oven to 350 degree. Rub a sheet pan with butter and place squash cut-side down. Roast for about 40 to 50 minutes, until tender to the touch. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add butter and let brown slightly. Add turnip, carrots, parsnips and celery root. Brown for 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic – cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and then add enough water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Scoop squash into pot and any juice in the pan. Puree soup using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, adding water if too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add sage and serve. Serves 8-9.

Q&A

The GraspRite Method is a children’s activity book with 32 different exercises that can help kids build the strength they need to succeed in school, sports and everyday living. Something as simple as grasping a pencil, pedaling a bike or buttoning a shirt can be as tough for some kids and the GraspRite Method was developed by Lisa Shooman, an occupational therapist from Canton with more than

How can you make sure that your child with special needs has the right services? One of the first places is your health care provider, but what if they aren’t being helpful? The Attorney General’s Health Care Division (mass.gov/ago/bureaus/publicprotection-and-advocacy/the-health-care-division/) assists individuals and families to address their concerns with health care payers and health care providers. The division operates a health care hotline 888-830-6277 with a staff who works with consumers, including those with special needs or behavioral health issues, to resolve concerns through education or mediation. The division does not offer legal advice or represent individual consumers but may take action to enforce Massachusetts statutes mandating that fully-insured health insurance policies that provide coverage for Massachusetts residents for hospitalization and surgery provide certain benefits. To file a health care complaint with the office, visit: www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/consumer-assistance/health-care-complaint.html

Courtesy of Wilson Farm, Lexington. wilsonfarm.com

FAMILY SUPPORT Family TIES of Massachusetts provides information and referral services, emotional support, and trainings to parents of children and youth with special needs. The Family TIES Parentto-Parent Program offers a unique type of support among parents who share similar life experiences. Parents learn a great deal from the practical experiences of other parents. They have a family resource directory, support groups, inspirational stories and helpful links. They are A Federation for Children with Special Needs website. For more information, visit familyties.org.

SPORTS SHIELD Minor scrapes and bruises are part of every child’s life, especially active children. So what better way is there to make a bump, scrape or bruise better than with sports-themed, adhesive bandages? The bandages come in baseball, soccer, basketball, football, hockey, cheerleading, girls soccer and fun fashion themes. Suggested retail is $2.50 for a 25 count package and $4 for a supersize variety pack of 16 themed bandages. Sports Shield bandages are available at Olympia Sports throughout Massachusetts as well as through their website at sportsshield.org.

Junkdrawers strives to highlight the products, people and places of Massachusetts. Have an idea? Email editor@baystateparent.com. 24 NOVEMBER2012

Your family can share in the holiday magic of

THE NUTCRACKER presented by dancers of

Special Guest appearances by Ilya Burov and Ian Matysiak Festival Ballet Providence

A

unique performance created especially for children and the young at heart. An afternoon of magic and imagination with the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and a cast of over 100 dancers.

Saturday, December 1st â&#x20AC;˘ 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 2nd â&#x20AC;˘ 2:00 p.m.

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, Fitchburg, MA

Children & Seniors $12 - Adults $15 Ticket sales from these performances help to fund our free public performances for 2,000 local school children each year.

Irish Cultural Centr eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Breakfast wit h Santa

The Irish Cultural Centre welcomes the whole family to our annual Breakfast with Santa!

Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 10am Santa will be arriving from the North Pole via Ireland to visit the Irish Cultural Centre! Come take your photo with Santa, enjoy a tasty breakfast and soak up the Irish cheer at this popular childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Christmas event.

Adults - $12 Children ages 5-12 years - $6 Children under 5 years - FREE For more information please contact the ICC oďŹ&#x192;ce at 781-821-8291

For ticket information call

978-422-6989 Last Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Performance â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sold Outâ&#x20AC;?

The Sugar Plum Fairy by Sarah, Grade 1

The Nutcracker Prince

Dance â&#x20AC;˘ Music â&#x20AC;˘ Voice â&#x20AC;˘ Theatre /(20,167(552$'67(5/,1*0$ 3+21(Â&#x2021;)$; ZZZSDXODPHRODGDQFHFRP RIILFH#SDXODPHRODGDQFHFRP

200 New Boston Dr. Canton, MA 02021 781-821-8291 â&#x20AC;˘ www.irishculture.org BAYSTATEPARENT 25

ADVERTISING PROMOTION

HAVE YOU HEARD? Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Program, founded in 2002, continues to be a unique and successful joint venture between Boston Ballet and the Department of Physical Therapy, Children's Hospital Boston. The program reflects an innovative collaboration between the staff from both institutions and is designed to foster a love of dance and creative expression in children with Down syndrome and Autism. Although the primary goal of the Adaptive Dance Classes is for the children to experience the sheer joy of dance and music, program evaluation suggests that it has many other

Have you heard? Cutie Patuties just celebrated our 14th anniversary! Thank you to all our customers and consignors who have made the past 14 years possible. Many of you have seen us grow from a small store; into a much larger store; add on Teen Clothing; branch out home goods and furniture into it’s own store; and most recently add Ladies Clothing into our mix of items. What’s next? We will all have to

Celebrating 30 years, Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester is thanking the larger community! Because of you, we continue to provide musical journeys that nurture the gift of imagination, inspire creativity and develop artistry. A nonprofit, Pakachoag has grown to become a center of diversity, offering programs in five locations, including Auburn (its home base) and Shrewsbury. It all has been

important benefits to the children who participate including improvements in their coordination, overall fitness, balance, focus, listening, self-esteem, selfexpression, rhythm and musicality. The pilot program began with 11 children, and has blossomed to 49 students, ranging from ages 7 – 18. Many of the original 11 children are still in the program and have flourished in their own special way.

wait and see! Keep up to date by following us on Facebook, under Everything Cutie and check out our website: www.ecistores.com

Because kids grow like weeds

possible thanks to the school’s team of over 20 faculty and their love for music that they share through 15 different educational programs, as well as over 25 performances by students throughout the year. The School’s Music Together® program (for children aged birth through five) attracts families from over 40 different communities in and around Worcester. To round out the celebration, the School has developed a new “Welcome Video” posted on the School’s web site; in October, Pakachoag hosted a special Community Thank You Celebration at Tuckerman Hall. For more information: www.pakmusic.org, info@pakmusic.org 203 Pakachoag Street, Auburn, MA 01501 508.791.8159 Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director

Magazine among other publications and broadcast media. Visit www.bostonballet.org click on ‘in the community’ for more information on Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives.

OPEN HOUSE LISTINGS CORNERSTONE ACADEMY November 4, 2012 1 pm - 3 pm 5 Oak Avenue., Northboro, MA 01532 Contact: kmcquade@cornerstoneacademy.org 508-351-9976 www.cornerstoneacademy.org FAY SCHOOL December 2, 2012 1 pm - 4 pm 48 Main St., Southborough, MA 01772 Contact: Nicole Casey 508-490-8201 www.fayschool.org HILLSIDE SCHOOL November 10, 2012 12 noon - 2 pm 404 Robin Hill Street, Marlboro, MA 01752 Contact: Kristen Naspo 508-485-2824 www.hillsideschool.net

SHOW &TELL ADVERTISING PROMOTION

Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Program has been recognized nationally in People

If you want to share your business’ accomplishments, news and milestones with the baystateparent Magazine community contact Stephanie Pearl at 774-364-0296 or email Stephanie at stephaniep@baystateparent.com.

“A Once In A Career Opportunity!”

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OCT. 2012

Is Looking For Multi-Media Advertising Sales Stars baystateparent FREE

Massachusetts’

Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES FOR A CAUSE

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Women’s Health FRAMINGHAM MOM FIGHTS FOR HER FAMILY HENNA ART EMPOWERS CANCER SURVIVORS HOW A LOCAL MOM TAKES HER WEIGHT LOSS SERIOUSLY Voted Best Parenting Publication in North America 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010

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The Baby Belly Bell SariBlue has combined our signature Turkish Evil Eye bead, intended to protect you and your unborn child from negative energy, with the subtle and lovely sounding Mexican Bola Chime, designed to peacefully soothe mother and baby. The exclusive SariBlue Baby Belly Bell is an excellent gift for any expectant mother or a special memento for yourself and your impending arrival. handcrafted…eco-friendly…customizable SariBlue www.sariblue.com

y r e V l a i c e Sp le p o Pe 30 34 36 40 41

MARRIAGE: A Casualty Of Special Needs Or Not? LIVING WITH CEREBRAL PALSY TRUST FOR THE FUTURE KNOWING WHERE TO TURN: Services For Special Needs BREAKING THE BAD NEWS steven king

28

SPEAKING OUT: Having A Voice In Their Own Future

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BAYSTATEPARENT 27

OPLE IALPE C E P VERYS

G N I K A E P S : T OU

BY

jennifer lucarelli

steven king

Having a Voice in Their Own Future

Melissa Reilly works with State Sen. James Eldridge at the State House.

When John Anton graduated from high school, he was faced with options for his future: work in a sheltered workshop or at a grocery store. “I worked in food services, and I wanted more,” he says. “And I wanted to go to the State House.” John, 46, of Haverhill, was diagnosed with Down syndrome as a child and says with the support of his mother and support staff, he has been able to make that dream come true. “I really wanted to do something to make a difference,” he said. “I attended a reception at the State House, and I brought my resume with me – that’s when it all started.” For the past four years, John has worked at the State House with State Rep. Mike Costello. “I’ve been working in the office answering phones, picking up mail, putting invitations in the calendar as well as researching legislative bills.” Since then, John has testified on 36 bills at the state house, and has begun working with the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC), an organization that advocates for families living with Down syndrome. “John is a self-advocate for the MDSC and is part of the self-advocate counsel where he lobbies for people with Down syndrome,” said Maureen Gallagher, executive director of the MDSC in Burlington. “He has lent his voice to the advocacy efforts, and he is currently advocating for the Real Lives Bill, which would give more flexibility to how individuals with special needs can spend the funding they receive and have them choose what they want for their care and future.” John says he loves motivating and educating

others about how their voice counts at the State House. “I was able to hire my own support adviser who has my best interests at heart, and now I have control over my own future,” he says. “I wanted a better life with a choice of who I could live with, and I wanted to be a valued member of the community. No matter what people want, they should have a voice in what they want for their own life.” John currently lives on his own in an apartment, but John has set his sights even higher – he wants to move to Washington D.C. and be an advocate on Capitol Hill. “I really believe that if you dream it, it can come true,” he says. “I’m going to be visiting Capitol Hill later this year, and I hope to meet President Obama.” Melissa Reilly, of Boxborough, is also on the self-advocacy council with the MDSC and also works at the State House with State Sen. James Eldridge. “I campaigned for him by holding signs in support of him and about two years ago, I started — John Anton working in his office,” says Melissa, 26, who also was diagnosed with Down syndrome as a child. “I asked if I could be an intern, and now I work on the computer, I deliver the mail, and I answer phones in his office.” As a child, Melissa was always interested in politics. “She used to read Newsweek and she was always interested in reading about the world around her,” says Annelies Reilly, Melissa’s mom whom she lives with. “She gets up early the days she works at the State House and lays out her clothes the night before – she really loves it.” Annelies says that she remembers when inclusion

reed young

“I wanted a better life with a choice of who I could live with, and I wanted to be a valued member of the community.”

John Anton is an advocate for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. 28 NOVEMBER2012

came to their school district. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Melissa had the opportunity to go to school with her peers and it was a great experience for her,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And now her peers are becoming her employers.â&#x20AC;? Inclusion began in the late 1970s and made it possible for many children with special needs to receive services in a public school classroom setting. Prior to the law, many children with special needs were taught in other classrooms or schools. Thanks to inclusion, Melissa and others like her have been educated in a public school classroom. Since graduating high school, Melissa has been working with State Sen. Eldridge and is also taking

classes at a local college. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For the past two years Melissa Reilly has been without a doubt the most consistent and dedicated intern in my State House office,â&#x20AC;? State Sen. Eldridge says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having known Melissa and her family since almost the day she was born, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had the pleasure to see her develop into an incredibly driven, positive and active young woman who is always seeking out more challenges and responsibilities in her life. At the State House, Melissa has become close not only with my own staff, but friends with other interns and staff, and always greets visitors to my office with great warmth and helpfulness.â&#x20AC;?

State Sen. Eldridge says Melissa is the perfect example of the new generation of young people with developmental disabilities who share the goal of complete self-sufficiency and who expect to be treated just like anyone else. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Her work, whether helping process constituent cases or being a self-advocate for other people with Down Syndrome, pushes me to work harder in the arena of public service for all of the people of Massachusetts,â&#x20AC;? he says. For more information about the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and the Real Lives Bill, visit mdsc.org.

provides a student-centered, nurturing environment to help individuals realize their full potential. â&#x20AC;˘ Psychoeducational Evaluations â&#x20AC;˘ College Placement â&#x20AC;˘ School Placement â&#x20AC;˘ Therapeutic Placement â&#x20AC;˘ Educational Planning 33 Lyman St. Suite 200 Westborough, MA 01581 73 Lexington St., Newton, MA 02466 508-870-1515/617-964-0440 Fax: 508-870-1505

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JOEJWJEVBMJ[FETVQQPSUTXIJMF navigating the social services TZTUFN'BNJMZ4VQQPSU4QFDJBMJTUT SFTQPOEUPFBDIGBNJMZTOFFET XJUIBQMBOOFEDPVSTFPGBDUJPO 'BNJMJFTUIFOXPSLPOFPOPOF XJUI*OGPSNBUJPO4QFDJBMJTUTUP FOTVSFUIFJSOFFETBSFNFUJO BUJNFMZNBOOFSBOEUPUIFJS DPNQMFUFTBUJTGBDUJPOTo learn more, please contact one of our convenient locations in:

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BAYSTATEPARENT 29

VERYSPECIALPEOPLE

shawna shenette photography

Kathleen Quinn hugs her children, Owen, 4, and Bridget, 7. Owen was diagnosed with Fragile X and was featured in last year’s November baystateparent Magazine.

MARRIAGE:

a casualty of special needs

OR NOT? BY

Rob and Stacey Jackson, of Holden, take a boat ride with their daughters, Megan, 10, and Allison, 7. 30 NOVEMBER2012

kathleen quinn, LICSW

Raising a child with special needs is an enormous stressor on even the best of marriages, and the statistics are terrifying – it has been reported that as many as 80-90% of marriages end in divorce when there are children with special needs in the family. On the flip side, statistics show as many as 18 percent of couples report an increase in marital closeness, and, once the child hits age 8, statistics show there is no difference in the rates of divorce than with the general population. All couples need is to maintain their marriage as if it were a garden with careful tending and attention, but couples raising a child

with special needs must be even more prudent in preserving and protecting their marriage. Truthfully, what I’ve found – both as a social worker and as a parent of a child with special needs – is that if you have a strong and healthy marriage with love and good communication then the strengths you share as a couple will help you through when your marriage faces difficulties. If your marriage has prior cracks and fissures, often those will widen and expand until you fall through. Many couples of children without special needs stay together ‘for the sake of the

become paralyzing, and parents can become debilitated with mental health symptoms of hopelessness, pessimism and anxiety, while other parents develop substance abuse and addiction problems in attempts to cope with their strong emotions. Some parents distract themselves by throwing themselves into work, hobbies or other activities that take them outside of the home. Often, one parent assumes more care for the child than the other parent. One parent is often home all day while the other works. This can create resentment, but also a sense of immersion – that the care-taking parent knows the child ‘best,’ that they know the best treatment for the child, best way to deal with behavior, what medication needs to be administered and when. They know the name of every professional involved in their child’s life; they are present at every appointment and school meeting. Their

attended Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. in March of this year to ask local legislators to support bills that would help children with special needs. I loved going to Advocacy Day – as a writer, social worker, big mouth and advocate for all children, it was something that fit my personality and fed and nurtured my soul. I loved connecting with other parents as assertive as I was. I also attended Fragile X conferences in Massachusetts, Miami and Connecticut. I have made friends across the world that also have children with Fragile X. Insanely, I also opened a small private practice with some co-workers while still working fulltime at my non-profit agency. To add to the insanity, I enrolled myself and our son Owen in a research study at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, which required five monthly trips to California.

jeff valois photography & design

children’ and ‘fake it’ until the kids go to college. For many parents of children with special needs, there is no college waiting at the end of the child-raising rainbow – no end in sight for parenting, attending, helping, saving and caretaking. The stress of raising a child with special needs fast forwards the relationship, and what takes decades in a ‘typical’ marriage can take only years or mere months, and the fissures crack wide open and the marriage breaks. There are many things couples can do to protect and insulate their marriage; there are local and national resources, support groups, counseling and other places to seek help. A marriage where both people are committed to each other and both make an effort to communicate, make time for each other and participate in a child’s treatment, is one where the bond will grow and strengthen through the years – because both parents are the only ones who truly understand the daily struggles and an individual child’s needs. After a diagnosis of special needs, parents react with shock and denial. It is a grieving process similar to one of death – because in fact, there was a death, a death of dreams and hopes that parents have for their children – that they will grow up, go to college, get married and have their own children. A death of a future life they thought they would have is reshaped by doctors appointments, specialists appointments, feeding tubes, occupational therapy, MRIs and CAT scans, gluten-free diets, physical therapy, speech therapy, medication administration and psychiatrists. Parents go through stages of shock, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. This cycle doesn’t necessarily ever ‘end’ as parents grieve through the years, watching other children experience where their child ‘should’ be developmentally – starting kindergarten, playing school sports, going to prom, graduating high school and attending college. Acceptance comes with time and then needs to come again and again and again. The impact of having a child with special needs on a family is multiple and affects all areas of a marriage. It is a drain on money, on time and on energy. It is often socially isolating. Parents may not know anyone in their area coping with similar issues – or know anyone at all who has children with special needs. Even when extended family is supportive, there are feelings of “No one understands. No one understands my pain, my loss, my emotions and what I deal with on a daily basis.” If the condition is hereditary, there is enormous guilt of having ‘caused’ it. And when there isn’t, there is still tremendous guilt of “What did I do? Should I have done something differently? Should I have eaten better? Not smoked? Been on bed rest? Not tried for a third child?” Parents may blame themselves or each other and become intensely angry or guilt-ridden. There is an enormous fear of the future – how will my child be treated? Who will take care of them when I’m gone? And in cases of severe medical issues – Will they be alive tomorrow? It’s a life of living day to day, often in the midst of crisis. Some parents continue to troll the Internet, looking for cures and solutions, while other parents become avoidant and withdraw in sorrow. The depression and fear can

The Hamburger family of Lancaster.

life often revolves around their child’s care. The other spouse can feel left out and minimized in their child’s life, while the ‘main caretaker’ can feel overwhelmed and resentful. As the parent of a son with special needs, I recognize more than most what can ‘go wrong’ in a marriage. Devastated by our son’s diagnosis of Fragile X in March of 2010, I began writing a blog to cope. I was extremely depressed and even suicidal at times, as I had ‘caused’ his hereditary disability. Finally, after a year of grief and mourning, my work supervisor actually wrote in my annual job evaluation that one of my goals was “To have fun.” I took that to heart and started a monthly women’s dining club. I began to make efforts to reconnect with friends, I became involved in organizing my high school reunion. I started participating in a local Fragile X support group and especially enjoyed our monthly “Fragile X Moms’ Night Out.” Later that year, parts of my blog were published in baystateparent Magazine (November 2011 issue), and our beautiful blonde son was featured on the cover. I

I threw myself into advocacy, education and bettering myself. Meanwhile, my husband struggled with depression and acceptance of our son’s diagnosis, withdrawing into himself. Our marriage communication, which was never good to begin with, deteriorated to the point that we literally stopped talking and were living separate lives. We have currently been separated for six months. Elisha and David Hamburger of Lancaster understand the problems a marriage withstands when raising a child with special needs. Four years ago, they were happily raising their young daughter Lucy. To all appearances, Lucy was a sweet and easygoing baby. When Lucy turned 9 months old, she was not hitting her milestones, and Elisha could see that Lucy’s cousin, younger by only two and a half weeks, was doing many things that Lucy wasn’t. Elisha called her pediatrician, who recommended Early Intervention Services. When Early Intervention (EI) conducted Lucy’s assessment, Elisha was shocked to find out Lucy was ‘delayed across the board.’ They quickly changed pediatricians (another

common issue for parents – pediatricians who tell parents “Oh, they’ll be fine! Kids develop differently!” meanwhile the child is actually lagging significantly behind, and therefore not receiving an appropriate diagnosis and services). During Lucy’s first appointment with the new pediatrician, Elisha heard terms like “neurologist” and “geneticist” and walked out of the appointment “crying and devastated.” “We had 9 months of thinking everything was OK – and suddenly it wasn’t,” Elisha said she initially “cried all the time” and couldn’t talk about it. They went to neurology appointments and when Lucy was only 18 months old she had a MRI. Her parents were told in an off-hand comment by the neurologist “Oh, she’ll never be normal.” At this time, Elisha was pregnant with their second daughter. Eventually, after months of testing that never identified a formal diagnosis, they ended up at Children’s Hospital in Boston in the “Brain Malformation Clinic” where Lucy was diagnosed with a small brain malformation, global delay and low muscle tone. “I had a horrible time in the beginning, but was able to deal with it faster,” Elisha says. “I was with it more – Early Intervention appointments, doctor appointments, it was in my face every day, so I had to accept it faster. Dave would get really sad, and I was able to comfort him.” Both Dave and Elisha report times of intense sadness but “never at the same time. We were always able to support each other through the other’s hard times,” she says. “Things became such a whirlwind,” Elisha says. “We didn’t expect therapy, EI visits and full-time preschool at age 3. It became so time consuming that our marriage became ‘business-y and informational.” “The whole thing has been exhausting,” Dave agreed. “At the end of the day sometimes I just want to be alone. I can find myself for weeks on end just wanting to be by myself after the kids go to bed.” The way they each go about coping is common in couples, Elisha says “Now, I tell everyone about Lucy’s disability” where David says, “I don’t tell many people, I don’t bother. There are maybe one or two people I talk to – they are generally supportive and will ask about her latest doctors’ appointments and how she is doing.” Elisha says when Lucy was 3 and attending preschool, Elisha started going to the parent support group at the school. “It was a huge help – they were the first group of people I could relate to,” she says. Elisha also connected with a neighbor who also had a daughter with special needs and “she was fantastic. I have been lucky to have her support.” Elisha agrees with feeling that ‘she knows best for Lucy’s care.’ “I like to compare it to if I went to Dave’s work and told him how to do his job. I know I get cranky and bossy, I spend so much time getting the lists done I end up treating him like a third child.” “I do hate it,” Dave says. “I think I internalize it and end up blowing up two days later at something unrelated. I try to understand it because I know her job isn’t easy.” When asked what has helped their marriage, Elisha starts to speak, pauses, and then wells up with tears. BAYSTATEPARENT 31

“We always say we wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else,” she finally says. “I couldn’t imagine anyone else by my side. He’s been my rock, and I love him to death. His mom says we make a good team.” They make a point to get away together – this year they attended Laconia Bike Week and made weekend trips to Sarasota Springs and Vermont. “It’s my favorite thing - to have two days to refocus on us,” says Elisha. Dave agrees and adds “I love our week-long family vacations too. Going to the lake house is great for me.” Dave also tries to do ‘little day-to-day’ things for Elisha. “Just last week he grabbed both of the kids and took them to the grocery store. That was huge for me, and I was just so grateful,” she says. They continue to work on their communication. “I communicate a lot. I talk all the time. I tell him if I’m upset, and I cry if I need to. Dave has always worked on needing to communicate more,” Elisha says. “Elisha is more accepting,” Dave says. “I’m still, to this day, researching developments online. Lucy doesn’t have a formal diagnosis, and it still gives me hope that she may be OK. I’m the dad, and I want to ‘fix’ it – it still bums me out.” They agree that having a child with special needs bonds them. “We share those moments – will other kids be accepting of her? How will birthday parties go? We don’t want her to feel left out,” he says. “It’s all those little things that we experience together.” They also agree that their envisioned path has changed. “We’ve always wanted to retire to Maine when the kids were adults. Now that’s changed - maybe Lucy will come with us.” Stacey Watrous Jackson and her husband Rob of Holden echo many of the sentiments expressed by the Hamburgers. Stacey and Rob are both engineers who met each other in college, and Stacey is currently serving on the Holden School Committee as the liaison to the Special Education Advisory Counsel. They have two daughters, Megan, 10, and Allison, 7. “Megan was our first child, both a normal pregnancy and birth,” Stacey says. “We noticed she was missing her early milestones – she didn’t crawl until she was 15 months, didn’t walk until she was 2 years old. At 15 months, we started Early Intervention. We dragged her to so many appointments to try to find out what was wrong that she ended up developing a huge fear of doctors.” They knew something was wrong, but doctors couldn’t find a formal diagnosis. Many of their family and friends said, “Oh, she’ll be fine. Kids develop at different rates. When my kid was that age they didn’t (insert milestone here).” Stacey and Rob continued to search for answers, and Stacey says, “We are both engineers! It was awful having a problem, but not having a name.” Eventually Megan was diagnosed with “Global Developmental Delays,” Childhood Apraxia and Global Dyspraxia, but no cause or reason has ever been found for her delays. “It’s been hard. It takes a lot of acceptance. We are both engineers and we are both 32 NOVEMBER2012

‘black and white.’ What is the reason? What is the root cause?” Rob says. Stacey recognized the problem first, “Rob wasn’t home with her all day, and he didn’t see other kids. It wasn’t as obvious to him. I think dads compartmentalize and think it will all be OK – they are often the ‘fixers and providers,’ and they can’t solve the problem.” “It gets overwhelming,” Rob agrees. “There was one birthday party I took Megan to – it became so evident to me at that party the difference between Megan and the rest of the kids. That broke me. But you need to tuck it away – you need to open up and embrace it so you can be supportive of your spouse and get the kids the services

educates people so they can help their own children” while Stacey says it also serves as “networking” and as a way for her to connect with other families who have children with special needs. “It’s easier for her to be the ‘clearinghouse’ of information,” Rob says. “But I know every single one of Megan’s workers, providers and therapists.” “We need each other,” Stacey says. “We can’t go it alone and survive.” Both Stacey and Elisha were women who reached out to me when my blog was published in baystateparent. “Your blog was one of the things that first helped me – it made me realize that I wasn’t alone in the emotions I was feeling,”

If your marriage has prior cracks and fissures, often those will widen and expand until you fall through. they need,” Rob says. “Accepting it is qual to supporting mom. They are often on the frontlines and facilitating services. Support is important. I’d encourage dads to try to learn, go to therapies – the moms can’t do everything and dads need to be available to assist. Stacey needs to leave the house, and I need to be involved. I can’t just go to work, come home and expect to have the 1950’s housewife waiting!” Stacey and Rob say they have been a great team through it all. “We’ve always been on the same page,” Rob says. “When Stacey was overwhelmed, I would know when she was – and I supported her.” It helped that Rob communicated and understood. “I won’t push him to do everything that I am involved with – if I think he should attend something I will ‘strongly’ encourage it (conferences, etc.),” Stacey says. “But Rob is always at the ‘big’ appointments and meetings – every neuropsychologist appointment, every IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting, and every psychiatrist appointment. It helps that he works locally and his schedule is flexible. Even this afternoon we are taking the girls to the dentist – and we are taking two cars so he can leave from the appointment to the airport for a work trip.” Early on in their daughter’s diagnosis, Stacey says, “We were alone on an island – we didn’t know anyone or anything. We only had each other.” Stacey soon got involved with SEPAC and Rob has connected to a coworker who he talks to about his daughter’s special needs. Stacey’s involvement with SEPAC is “an extension of who she is” says Rob. “She

Elisha says. Stacey reached out to assist me – I was in her town and school district, and she invited me to join SEPAC and it’s online informational bulletin board. I can echo what both women have said – raising a child with special needs makes you re-think your vision for the future. Personally, I think there are many unhappily married couples who ‘stay together for the sake of the children,’ waiting for their children to leave the house before they divorce. When you have child with special needs, this may never happen. I realized “What am I waiting for? Why am I ‘waiting’ to be happy?” The decision to separate from my husband was the most difficult one I ever made, and the stress of it caused a 40-pound weight loss and handfuls of hair to fall out from stress. I am content in my decision, realizing that I always need to make a concerted effort to be happy NOW, that there is no time to wait, the future is uncertain and there are no guarantees - that I must simply make every day count and be the best parent and person that I can be. I must be able to listen to my gut instinct, listen to the whispers in my head and be able to look in the mirror and be happy with the person that I am today. And I am proud of the person I have become. Both the Hamburgers and the Jacksons have common strengths in their marriages that professionals recommend to reinforce and maintain while parenting children with special needs.

Some tips: Talk openly about problems and issues when they occur. Communicate with each other your fears and emotions. Deal honestly with your frustrations and the complications that can arise from parenting a child with special needs. Expressing them, tolerating them from the other parent and nurturing each other is helpful to getting through difficult times and getting back in line. “You’re in it together.” Responding to challenges together, both parents learning about the diagnosis and both parents attending all major appointment and IEP meetings is important to a marriage. Both parents then feel capable and knowledgeable in coping and discussing a child’s diagnosis and needs. Seek support and assistance - from family, friends, providers and support groups. Make connections to other families who ‘understand’ what you are coping with and educate friends and family so they can also help as needed. Other families who have children with special needs are often the best resources of information and help prevent feelings of social isolation. Take time to continue to pursue activities that renew you as individuals – hobbies, interests, exercise, even work can help maintain a sense of your identity as an individual. Seek counseling when needed, the sooner the better. It can be an effective way to restore balance when life gets rocky. It can also help couples learn to express emotions and frustrations, and learn to be patient with each other and their different styles of coping. Above all, make time for each other. Just 20 minutes a day, talking and reconnecting, is critical for a marriage. It’s important that couples carve out time alone, to be with each other and ‘reach out’ to each other, rather than withdrawing in.

Parents can also find support at: The Federation for Children with Special Needs, fcsn.org/index.php FAMILY TIES - A Network For Families & Professionals Supporting Children & Youth With Special Needs, 1-800-905-TIES (8437). Massachusetts Family Voices, a Family to Family Health Information Center massfamilyvoices.org/ And the book Married with Special Needs Children – A Couples Guide to Keeping Connected by Marshak and Prezant. Kathleen Quinn, LICSW, lives in Holden with her two children, Bridget, 7, and Owen, 4, and their three Labradors. Owen was diagnosed at 20 months old with Fragile X, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and known cause of autism. Kathleen has a private counseling practice in Holden and also blogs about raising a child with a disability.

Making a Difference For over 18 years, Beacon has been providing ABA services in the homes of families affected by autism. Beacon works collaboratively with families to develop measurable goals and provide services based on current research. Please call our referral line to arrange a home visit with one of our BCBA Regional Directors. s!CCOMMODATINGTOFAMILYSCHEDULES s&AMILYPARTICIPATION INCLUSION ANDCOACHING s3ERVICESFROMEARLYCHILDHOODTOYOUNGADULT s0SYCHOLOGICALAND.EURODEVELOPMENTALASSESSMENTS s3ERVICESAVAILABLEACROSS-ASSACHUSETTS

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Living with

Cerebral Palsy BY

bonnie j. toomey

Julia Richards loved directing the third and fourth grade integrated social studies play on Ellis Island.

isaiah habib

“I expected them to say the worst,” said Lisa Richards, who remembers crying all the way to St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton, where their daughter, Julia, had been in the neonatal intensive care unit for weeks. But when the team of doctors explained that little Julia’s muscles might not work, Lisa experienced a flood of relief; she and her husband, Leo, had already lost their first child, Mary, almost a year earlier. She just wanted to take her baby home. She wanted people to say, ‘It’s okay’ and to be happy for them. Dan Habib takes video of his son, Samuel, while he takes a swing at a baseball.

“So I finished the film and in some ways it was selfish, I wanted to change the world for Samuel.” — Dan Habib

Diagnosing Julia Julia was born 9 weeks premature. At 5 ½ weeks a brain scan revealed a mass – acute bilateral periventricular leukomalacia, which meant the ventricles of her brain had shut down. She was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she turned 1. Lisa says that Julia, who just turned 10, is the reason they decided to have more children – Patricia and Catherine, twins who are 6, and Abigail, who is 2 going on 20. Lisa wants people to look past Julia’s wheelchair. “You’ve gotta meet Julia to know there’s nothing wrong with her!” she says about her daughter who can light up a room full of kids. In the beginning Lisa had to get over what she calls, “the pity parties.” She learned to put 18-month-old Julia’s disability in perspective when she saw her daughter climb a small rock wall at the playground with the help of her teacher. “For the first time I saw the things Julia could do instead of what she couldn’t,” she said. “She may never go to Harvard, but guess what? Only a few do, and walking down an aisle, who says she can’t do that?” The hope the Richards from Framingham have for Julia is the same they have for all of their girls: happiness and a good education.

Including Samuel “Federal law (IDEA) mandates that ALL 34 NOVEMBER2012

children, regardless of their ability, receive a free and appropriate education in a typical public school classroom whenever possible.” -Individuals with Disability Act of 2004. “Sam is the same kid he was before he got the diagnosis,” says Dan Habib, a photojournalist who turned award-winning filmmaker to help raise awareness of the benefits of inclusion. Dan began working on “Including Samuel” when Sam was fighting for his life in the hospital. Dan wanted people to get to know his son who wrestles with his older brother, loves t-ball and wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. Dan and his wife, Betsy learned early on to be transparent with their own fears when it came to parenting their oldest son, Isaiah who is now 16. They believe if parents don’t share they are also scared – the sibling risks feeling isolated. The important thing is that parents create a vision for their child, which might be one of friends, school, employment or even college and to be realistic with concrete goals like being happy and enjoying life. “It helps tremendously if couples can be on the same page–we both came out of it with inclusion as the key–and it has driven every decision.” says Habib. It’s going to take a generational change, added Dan, who says disability rights are a civil right, much the same as gay and women’s rights. These are permanent changes which we have achieved as a society, but we will have to get through extreme prejudice and systematic segregation particularly in education so that gains can be made. Even kids without disabilities learn better in classrooms where there is inclusion. They learn patience and appreciation. He doesn’t want Samuel to be deprived of higher learning just because of his cerebral palsy. “So – I finished the film – and in some ways it was selfish, I wanted to change the world for Samuel,” Habib explains. Go to www.includingsamuel.com to learn more.

Graham Gets Moving Graham was born in England 16 years ago. Randi Sargent had a perfectly normal pregnancy and although she had an unplanned c-section, he came into the world a healthy baby who scored high on the Apgar scale. At close to 6 weeks old things began to change. “We noticed his head control wasn’t as good as we’d like, they called it benign congenital hypertonia, but at 6 months he could not sit up and at 9 months could not reach for a block. A parade of people came in and out of the Sargent household, speech pathologists and therapists, trying to figure it out. “That part was really hard, we didn’t know what it was - technically Graham had all the symptoms of cerebral palsy,” says Randi. The Sargent family moved to Sudbury and when Graham turned 3 he started therapeutic horseback riding at “Friends for Tomorrow” in Lincoln. “They do a lot of fundraising, I encourage parents to ask for scholarships,” says Randi, about a therapy which costs around $55 an hour. Graham goes to Mass Hospital School in Canton Monday through Friday. “Most of Graham’s schooling is not inclusive because he has intellectual challenges as well,” explains Randi, “he’s an easy-going kid, but he is 110 pounds and 5’5” so I can’t lift him like I used to be able to.” At school he loves radio stations, swimming, movies, snacks and activities with his friends. “I wanted him to be there to get the therapies and the social aspects to help foster his independence,” says Randi, who is on the Board at Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston. In 2008 the Sargent Family received aid from Mass Catastrophic and Children’s Fund which helped them to buy an accessible adaptive van so they can take Graham anywhere now. His health and happiness are first, but at the same time they don’t dwell on his disability. In September the Sargent family went camping together at Miles Standish State Park. Graham, an adaptive skier, enjoys

the sport with his dad and he crosscountry skis at the Weston Ski Track with his family. He also loves baseball, books and one of his favorite movies is Star Wars. Randi hopes that maybe Graham can help deliver books in a library or even work in Home Depot someday, maybe greeting customers. When it comes to his 11-year-old sister Liz, they have a great relationship. “There is a bond, but she is not his caregiver – he won’t let her – he’s still her big brother.” Both Graham and Julia use augmentative communication devices, such as DynaVox, which allow them to use visuals to make choices and to communicate. Graham has a DynaVox mounted on his wheelchair, and he signs. “He can pick eggplant parmesan off a menu, for instance,” says Randi, who founded sayitwithsymbols.com, a resource for parents and teachers who support non-verbal children with autism, speech delays and communication disorders. Graham’s doctor is Dr. Brian Snyder, from Children’s Hospital in Boston. “He’s awesome, he’s the nicest man ever,” says Randi, who takes Graham to a cerebral palsy clinic every month where he gets to visit with Dr. Snyder and is measured for his ankle split orthotics and spinal orthotics. In the summer of 2011 Graham had double hip, double knee, and all the tendon releases- surgeries, which many kids with cerebral palsy have to face in order to improve mobility. “According to United Cerebral Palsy, an estimated 764,000 children and adults in the United States manifest one or more of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Currently, about 8,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with the condition each year, and between 1,200 - 1,500 preschool age children are recognized each year to have cerebral palsy.” –Children’s Hospital

Maximizing Mobility “CP is a huge grab bag – all it means is you have a brain injury that’s non-progressive, which can run the gamut of being mild to severe,” says Dr. Snyder, an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Snyder explains that you can have a physical disability and be cognitively age

appropriate or have no physical disability and cognitive impairment. “It comes down to what part of the brain took the hit,” he says. “In CP, you lose some of the functions which cause the reflex - that circuit is open and the muscle is always sort of on- if the muscles are not subjected to normal forces like standing, walking, and running, they are always contracted and over time affects the joint and bone- at that point my job is too fix the muscle – bone problem.” Patients often receive Botox to help relax that tight muscle – and doctors try to use physics to help a child. “I try to straighten out the spine by maintaining the spine in a normal alignment that helps to maintain functional capability. It is a multi-modal approach and at the end of the day the child still has CP.” Dr. Snyder is a straight shooter – he tells his young patients he’ll allow them to do the most they can – he explains his goals so the child knows what to expect from surgery. Snyder says, “Most kids are very interested to do whatever they can to help themselves, while they don’t like surgery or braces they’ll do it because it helps them to do what they want to do.” “I go to sleep at night feeling if I can improve someone’s quality of life then I can make the world better, and I know I’ve made a difference.”

Looking to the Future Dr. Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Director of Program in Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology in La Jolla, CA. was among the first to identify neural stem cells, according to Dr. Brian Snyder “Our hope is that in years to come we can name it all,” Dr. Evan Snyder says, who also happens to be Dr. Brian Snyder’s brother. By definition CP is non-progressive and is not life threatening. “Most people think it stems overwhelmingly from birth injury, but only 9 to 13% of it is from a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain during birth, most of the cases you can’t pinpoint a

single gene or event – it’s like a wire gets crossed and it is a fundamental problem which cannot be reversed unless we can go back to when the sperm fertilizes the egg,” says Dr. Evan Snyder, who cautions parents of children with CP to be wary of junk science and scams that charlatan types will try to sell. Just the same, it is something that researchers hope to target someday. “Something will happen soon, it’s not like a floodgate will open and all these therapies will come flushing – more like little insights will dribble out bit by bitthen later the target drug and maybe 10 years later a drug to make that cell move in the right direction,” he says. He emphasizes that our own body has its own stem cells. Some parents don’t like to hear that children with cerebral palsy must remain vigilantly vigorous in all their therapies because activity makes the person’s own stem cells move, act, and change. Whatever rehabilitation they are doing, do it even more. That is what makes connections move to the right places and does help prevent muscle atrophy. Enriched activity and stimulation is the key. This is the initial practical component, which has come out of stem cell research, that will lead to further discovery. Bonnie J. Toomey is a Massachusetts parenting columnist and blogs at parentforward.blogspot.com.

Helpful Resources Miracle League of Massachusetts (adapted softball with a brand new accessible ball park) www.miracleleagueofma.com Mass Family Voices (a project of the Children’s Federation). The listserv is a good local resource for families with special healthcare needs: massfamilyvoices.org The Arc: www.nea.org/specialed/ ideareauthsummary05.html The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program: mass.gov/dcr/universal_access/

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Any parent lost and confused about planning for the financial future of their special needs child can take heart: They’re not alone. Nearly 60 percent of all parents caring for special needs children say, “There is too little information available about financial assistance, and 55 percent said that it is very difficult to find,” reports a survey completed by insurance company MetLife. Only a small fraction of parents with special needs children, about 21 percent, were “familiar with the steps needed to plan for a lifetime of financial assistance for their dependents,” said MetLife in its study of more than 1,000 caregivers and parents of special needs children across the United States, completed in October 2011. Here in Massachusetts legal and financial experts experienced in working with parents with special needs children echoed many of the survey’s conclusions. “Ninety percent of the people I see don’t know what to do (when it comes to financial planning) for their special needs child,” says attorney Gina Barry of Springfield. We’re educating people all the time. “The most common thing I see is parents leaving their assets to the child’s sibling in the hopes that they will look after the child with special needs. That’s the worst plan,” she says. As an adult, the sibling could look at their special needs brother or sister (when they’re also an adult) and notice they’re living in subsidized housing, their medical bills are paid, see they’re receiving a

36 NOVEMBER2012

doug page

monthly stipend from Social Security and conclude they really don’t need any of the money mom and dad thought they left behind for their care, Barry says. This assessment can result in the sibling “taking care of themselves (with the inheritance), not their sibling with special needs,” she says. Even a will, the usual document parents use to spell out how they want their money spent after they die, often doesn’t legally obligate the child to spend their parents’ money on their sibling with special needs, Barry says.

What to do Barry and others were adamant about how parents could protect money they want used for their child with special needs long after they have passed away. The first and most important step, they say, is to find an attorney specializing in preparing a “special needs trust,” which ensures that money parents set aside for their child with special needs will be used only for that child’s care. This trust, experts say, allows parents to transfer money, like an individual retirement account, for example, without it being subjected to estate taxes, which are usually imposed on a child receiving funds from their parents after they passed away. By putting money into a trust, experts say, the child with special needs will qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from Social Security. The trust also prevents siblings and anyone else from potentially

using the money for their own benefit. This is because the trust requires someone to manage the money, called a trustee. The trustee can be the sibling, but some parents need to be cautious and appoint two trustees like one of their children and an attorney for example to ensure the money is spent as they intended, Barry says. “To qualify for SSI, the child cannot have more than $2,000 in assets,” says Cynthia Haddad, a financial advisor in Winchester, who works with parents of special needs children. “The trust is a way to hide assets, but still enable them to be used for the special needs child.” Parents can deposit money into the trust, like they would a savings account, or they can place their financial assets, such as individual retirement accounts, proceeds from the sale of their house and life insurance policies, into the trust upon their death. Stephanie Timmons, a mom of a special needs child who works with Appel Insurance Advisors in Newton, says the permanent life insurance policies parents can buy to fund the trust range in value from $125,000 to over $1 million. For example, a couple in their mid40s in excellent health might purchase a $500,000 policy. The annual premium would run about $2,500. Once both parents have passed away, the policy’s cash value could be deposited into the special needs trust. “(Having a child with special needs) is an emotional journey,” Timmons says. “You’re planning your child’s entire life.”

Once the child is 18, parents can file for SSI, which is paid through the Social Security Administration (SSA), says SSA spokesman Steve Richardson in the Boston office. The amount of money the child receives each month depends on a number of factors, including the parents’ household income, how many children are in the house and where they live, he says. “SSI is a welfare-based program,” says Richardson. “There’s also a disability evaluation process that determines if someone qualifies for SSI.” To facilitate the evaluation process, he says, parents, when visiting their local Social Security Office to file for SSI, should have copies of their child’s medical records, including medical identification numbers, lists of medications the child is taking, dates of hospital and clinic visits and phone numbers for doctors who have treated the child. Once the adult child qualifies for SSI, they’re automatically enrolled in MassHealth, a health insurance program.

Other Ways to Help Another resource for parents is The Arc of Massachusetts, headquartered in Waltham, with 17 chapters around the Bay State. It’s been helping families since 1954, says Executive Director Leo Sarkissian. The Arc’s website, (www.arcmass.org) provides links to attorneys and others who work with children with special needs. Sarkissian says if children with special

needs, once theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re adults, are working, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a chance they wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t qualify for MassHealth, which is part of Medicaid and a welfare program. Instead, he says, they may qualify for Commonwealth Care, a health insurance program for low- to moderate-income Bay State residents. Commonwealth Careâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website (massresources.org/ commonwealth-care.html) provides information about eligibility. Sarkissian says parents thinking their child with special needs should live away from them, in Section 8 housing, should gather information from the Citizensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Housing and Planning Association website, located at www.chapa.org. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parents should apply to as many housing authorities as possible,â&#x20AC;? Sarkissian says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Approval might take 18 months or longer.â&#x20AC;? Section 8 housing, Sarkissian says, will cost the adult with special needs about one-third of their monthly SSI. This kind of housing, Sarkissian says, usually comes with staff, assisting with cooking, cleaning and laundry. Another website parents might find helpful is www.specialneedsma.com, which lists doctors, dentists, attorneys, financial planners and state agencies working on behalf of special needs children.

Insurance Health insurance can also be an issue at times. Cynthia Haddad says parents should explore the health insurance policies theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re buying through their employer to learn about benefits that may be available for their child. She also says the new federal law that allows parents to keep their children on their employerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health plan, up until the age of 26, should assist them with paying for care for their child. Of course, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always the possibility that that a parentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health insurance provider will not pay for something the child needs. If this happens, Sarkissian says parents could consider holding a fundraiser. If your child requires equipment, like a wheelchair, but your insurance company will not pay for it, Jerry Mogul, the executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children in Boston, says parents could go to NEAT Marketplace in Hartford, Conn., (www. neatmarketplace.org) for low-priced, used equipment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are the only place I know that accepts donations of power wheelchairs and sells them,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been there several times and enjoyed looking at the wide array of equipment they have.â&#x20AC;? Mogul also says parents â&#x20AC;&#x153;can borrow equipment or get a loan for equipment through MassMatch (massmatch.org/findat/borrow.php), run by the Mass Rehab Commission.â&#x20AC;? Another option is to contact The Health Care Division thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part of state Attorney General Martha Coakleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office. The Health Care Divisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website, at www.mass.gov/ago/bureaus/publicprotection-and-advocacy/the-healthcare-division/, says it will â&#x20AC;&#x153;mediate

consumer disputes with health care payers and providers.â&#x20AC;? It is also reachable at 888-830-6277. Here are some websites and telephone numbers parents might find useful: Attorneys: Gina Barry, www.baconwilson.com, in Springfield at 413-781-0560. Brendan King, www.estatepreservationlaw.com, in Worcester, at 508-751-5010. Financial Planner: Cynthia Haddad, www.shepherdfinancialpartners.com, in Winchester at 781-756-1804. Insurance Advisor: David Appel, www.appeladvisors.com, in Newton at 617-332-7900. Social Security Administration: Information can be found here, www.ssa.gov/disability Steve Richardson stresses that the best way to make a claim for SSI for your special needs child, once they turn 18, is to visit the Social Security office nearest your home. He strongly recommends that parents not just look at the SSAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website to determine whether their child will qualify for SSI. He says parents should bring as much information as possible about their childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s condition, including medical records, telephone numbers of doctors who treated the child, medical identification numbers, dates of hospital and clinic visits. More is better, he says. The SSA needs to determine that the child is disabled in order for them to qualify for SSI.

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MassHealth, an Insurance Program: Information can be found here, www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/ departments/masshealth The Arc of Massachusetts: www.arcmass.org or call 781-891-6270 The Health Care Division of State Attorney General Martha Coakleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office: Information can be found here, www.mass.gov/ago/bureaus/publicprotection-and-advocacy/the-health-caredivision/ Buying Low-Priced, Used Equipment Like Wheelchairs: NEAT Marketplace in Hartford, Conn: http://www.neatmarketplace.org. Loans for Equipment Your Special Child Might Require: MassMatch: www.massmatch.org/ find_at/borrow.php Doug Page is a freelance reporter living in Medfield with his wife and two children.

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joseph presti, esq.

hen parents find out their child has special needs and requires services, they may not know where to turn. There are state and local agencies, advocates and attorneys that can help. The Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) is an autonomous department within the Massachusets Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, formally the Department of Education. The website address for the BSEA is www. doe.mass.edu/bsea and should be visited since it contains a wealth of information and all services they offer are free of charge. I performed my internship at this department while in law school and I must praise the dedicated staff of attorneys, mediators and support people who deal with the school departments and frustrated parents on a daily basis. Since IDEA mandates that special education law must exhaust all administrative law options before a case can move to the court, the BSEA is the last stop in this process. Whenever a parent rejects a proposed IEP or a mediation or hearing is requested, it is the BSEA who is notified or hears the grievance and hands down a legally binding decision in the case of a hearing. Although some people may be skeptical about the impartiality of the staff of the BSEA, since they are state employees and work for the Department of Education, you shouldn’t be. The hearing decisions are heard by, researched and written by attorneys and also reviewed by supervising attorneys. The failsafe in all of this is that a decision is subject to appeal, should the law be applied incorrectly. There are several services offered by the BSEA that could be particularly helpful. If you are about to attend an IEP meeting and don’t have representation, or feel insecure in your role regarding the IEP process, then you can call the BSEA and request

to speak with the head of mediation. They offer a program in which the head of the department will attend your IEP meeting and observe the meeting. His role is not to offer you advice, but to be an equalizing presence. The thought is that with him attending the meeting the school department will not say or propose anything that violates your rights. It is not his duty to prevent you from signing a bad IEP but he may answer questions about the process should an issue arise that you question. A simple call to him can answer a lot of questions about this program. A very important thing to remember is that the BSEA cannot and will not offer free legal advice regarding strategy or what should or should not be included in an IEP. Mediation is also a free service offered that could offer a solution to an impasse in the negotiating process. A professional mediator will sit with the parents and school department and listen to both sides. Both sides will then separate and the mediator will shuttle between both parties and attempt to have both sides come to an amicable agreement. Recently the BSEA published a Pro Se Guide which is a step by step guide through the hearing process. It is incredibly helpful and should be read even if you have representation so that you can become familiar with the process. It is an absolute necessity if you are representing yourself. Although going Pro Se is your right, it is not recommended. The statistics show that Pro Se parents are at a distinct disadvantage and lose a majority of their cases when going up against a school’s attorney who is trained in special education law. Attorney Joseph Presti can be contacted at 978-837-8717 or by email at joepresti@hotmail.com. The information above is not offered as legal advice, please contact an attorney should you have any questions.

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The Richards boys, Nick and Charlie, 10-year-old twins, Harry, 7, right, and Jack is 3 months old love hanging out.

BY

It

was the email I had been dreading. My 10-year-old twins had tried out for their school play, and this was the much-anticipated cast list. As I quickly scanned it, I saw that one had been given a very small speaking role. Great! But his brother was nowhere to be found. That single email determined the evening we were going to have. In my quest for the easy button of parenting, I had privately hoped that both boys would be treated as a set. Please, just this once? It would make our lives so much easier. Scuffles about fairness happen in every family but what rockets our sibling situation to a whole new level of angst is that one of my twins has special needs. Guess who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get the part in the play? You got it. I figure his disabilities had nothing to do with it, as he was in very good company in the chorus, but I always wonder. Breaking disappointing news to Charlie has sadly become a way of life. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sorry that he canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t play soccer because he canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see well enough and his doctors donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want him doing it. Yes, his brother got a part in the play, but being in the chorus is just as important. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sorry that he has to have another surgery. Sorry that his eye was removed. Sorry that heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the only kid in the class who wears a hearing aid. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry for it all. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a delicate dance trying to keep my son positive about his life when there are many days he feels as if everything he touches breaks or what he tries doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work out. When things get particularly rough, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll remind him that his story isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t over yet, and he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know where his life might take him; that things wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always be this way.

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Though at 2 a.m. I often question my own motherly wisdom and wonder if heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll end up living with us forever, bagging groceries as a career and moonlighting as a Michael Jackson impersonator since heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very good at that. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s invitations to birthday parties, play dates or sleepovers, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learned that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the â&#x20AC;&#x153;sped worldâ&#x20AC;? and then thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s everybody else. Sometimes they intermingle but as the kids get older they become more aware of differences. The friends are harder to make and sustain and when a connection is made itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often with another special needs kid which brings yet another set of challenges and stories I will someday share as they are too good to keep to myself. Parenting is hard work and instilling respect in your kids is important, but especially when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a child who people often pity and allow behaviors to slide in deference to an attitude of, â&#x20AC;&#x153;poor him, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been through so much.â&#x20AC;? I get it. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m 10 years into this journey and never dreamed of pegging a kid in a hospital bed as a tyrant, but I have. For Charlieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s longer hospital stays, I had noticed that some of the kids who had been on the floor for a while acted like spoiled little dictators. Brats, actually. Who knew? The parents were either too beaten down or felt too sorry for their kids to say no and the nurses were there to provide anything to make the child comfy and happy. You want ice cream and mac and cheese for every meal? Why sure! Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been through so much. I worry about my other kids, particularly Nick. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve half-joked with my husband that we should start socking away money for his future therapy fund since being Charlieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s twin has caused extra emotional

ZZZSDNPXVLFRUJ distress to an already emotionally- charged kid. After the birth of our fourth child this past summer, we asked Nick to dole out Charlieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s allergy meds once and somehow he made it his job. I knew things werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t balanced when I asked my husband one day if Charlie had received his daily dose and his response was, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know, ask, Nick.â&#x20AC;? Hey, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 10 years old too. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong with this picture? Nick has had to ride the short bus every day of his school career, watch his brother go through endless surgeries and grapple with his disability issues, but perhaps most significant is the tempering of his own success and happiness in deference to his brotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feelings. Like some form of a subconscious survivorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guilt, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as if he can never fully celebrate his own triumphs because Charlie is always right there. Though in typical sibling fashion there are many times when Nick will rub something in his face. Clearly there are no saints here. Getting back to the school play, my husband and I decided to tell each boy alone in our bedroom. Surprisingly, Nick was disappointed that he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get the role he tried out for, but was happy to have any part. He then wanted to know about his brother. As usual, Charlie was a trooper. Sure he was bummed out, but he was happy that his best friend got a leading role and by the end of the night he was congratulating Nick on his role too. I was proud, but hopeful that someday soon weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be rejoicing over something working out for Charlie. Until then, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be in the basement practicing his moonwalk.



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Peer into the Past in Petersham BY

julia quinn-szcesuil

or kids who love the outdoors or who are fascinated by the changes Mother Nature brings, a day trip to Harvard Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Harvard Forest and Fisher Museum is the place to go. The Petersham-based research center allows Harvard students and faculty to study the rich, protected natural landscape, the animals that live there and the changes they both endure and recover from. But the public is welcome to roam its extensive trails that wander through fields, woods and even swampy land. The Fisher Museum is a treasure and worth the trip alone. My girls, Caroline and Jillian, and I thought the museum would be interesting, after all it is filled with 23 dioramas depicting how the local landscape changed over the last three centuries. The dioramas show how native plants and native animals adapt to the changes in the environment, giving kids a chance to see how every action they might take in nature affects what already exists. The Fisher Museum is the brainchild of Harvard Forest founder Richard Fisher and philanthropist Dr. Ernest Stillman. In the 1920s, they commissioned Bostonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guernsey and Pitman studios to create these dioramas that freeze history. The project started in 1931 and ended 10 years later. I will be honest, I was unaware of the beauty these dioramas present. These are works of art that allow you to get lost in each story. Each diorama has more than six months of work in it, with artists using only a few materials to create the scenes. These are a very dramatic human interpretation of all the changes the land has seen. My girls were fascinated by the dioramas, even if one of them was a little reluctant to visit the museum. And, no, this is

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not really a hands-on museum (that is for outside), but it is very calming as the dimly-lit interior focuses your attention on the glowing lights from the dioramas. Situated at just the right height for kids, these dioramas takes you to another time. The tiny figures of trees, animals, grasses, ponds, buildings and equipment were made by teams of artists who used the thinnest copper wire, wax, copper plate and clay to make everything. Although youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll want to just explore, be sure to grab a scavenger hunt sheet at the entrance so kids can search each diorama for the smallest figures like a lunch box, a woodpecker or an outhouse (always a conversation starter!). Start at the first diorama, a depiction of the land in central Massachusetts before settlers arrived and started making changes. Called the presettlement forest of circa 1700, this gives a great start to the story that unfolds with each segment. As you move to other dioramas, you see the same area advance through the settlersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; arrival â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when they used the land for farming or logging â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to their departure when it offered no more or railroads beckoned with better land. The kids loved looking at the dogs, the little pumpkins in the 1830 diorama, the small painter in the 1930 piece and the firefighters filling up a fire engine from a pond. We learned about all the things we do not normally see from our 21st-century lives: how forest fires can actually bring some good by enriching the soil and how forest management issues, like thinning or clearing, are done to help the forest thrive. Most of all, we learned a whole lot about conservation. It is hard to ignore how drastically man has changed the surrounding habitat when you see it in

by man or by things like hurricanes and how animals and plants adapt. This trip demonstrated so clearly the enduring tenacity of the land, animals and people. The enormity of the changes brought both by man and by nature is shown right in front of you, but even destructive changes bring rebirth of some kind. Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer living in Central MA with her husband and two daughters. Harvard University Harvard Forest and Fisher Museum

its 1700 state. The appreciation we all gained from these dioramas is lasting, and the lessons are some we still talk about. I liked the message of rebuilding after devastation because it is a metaphor for so many of the small and large tragedies that comprise our lives. The earth showed us that even when things looked their very worst, life manages to go on, even if it is not the same. Don’t leave unless you explore some of the more than 3,000 acres available to the public. Trails start between the museum and the original farmhouse. The land was originally a farm run by the Sanderson family, and today you can walk, bike, scooter or even ride a horse on the trails (anything with a motor is not allowed). The trails will please families looking for a challenge or those who just want to wander. Trails range from ¼ to 1 ½ miles long and are clearly mapped out. Make sure to get a map, which will give some historical facts about the land use and management. The kids liked to see what a clearcut actually looks like, where there was once a forest fire and how some trees grow in open areas and others grow in swamps. One of the best things about the Harvard Forest is the chance to see stands of really old trees, like the 240-year-old stand of hemlocks or the swamp-loving black gum trees that have grown for 400 years in the Black Gum Swamp. The trees, which tend to be the oldest trees in a given New England state, are generally not seen because they are not in clearings or forests that most people explore. The sight really makes a connection with the kids, especially after seeing the dioramas. And it is nice to explain to the kids that scientists study how forests grow and respond to major changes brought

324 North Main Street, Petersham 978-724-3302 harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu Trails open daily. Museum open, May through October, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends from 12 to 4 p.m. Parking available on site. Julia Quinn-Szcesuil highly recommends buying a copy of New England Forests Through Time by David Foster and John O’Keefe as a souvenir. The book explains each diorama.

Pet a goat, chicken or llama.

Come to Heifer International’s Overlook Farm in Rutland, MA, for a Celebration of Living Gifts, great alternative gift shopping, and activities with some of the farm animals from our development projects around the world. Take pictures with the animals, purchase an animal for a family in need, and buy gifts from around the world in our shop. Enjoy hot cocoa and cider, make gingerbread animal cookies and warm yourself by a bonfire. HEIFER LEARNING CENTER AT OVERLOOK FARM | 216 WACHUSETT STREET | RUTLAND MA, 01543 (508) 886-2221 | WWW.HEIFER.ORG/OVERLOOKEVENTS

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Easy access to Internet pornography creates awkward opportunities for parents and kids to talk BY

44 NOVEMBER2012

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Some parents are lucky. One day they are looking at their browsing history, trying to find a catalog item they visited a few days before, and they notice a site that has an odd name. They click out of curiosity and that’s how they find out their son is looking at pornography. I, on the other hand, am not so lucky. I walked into my 12-year-old son’s room to deliver laundry (the door was open), and he slammed the laptop shut and gave me the most shame-faced look I have ever seen. I had a couple of options, one of which was to ignore his behavior, but I am not built that way. I asked him what he was looking at and sat next to him so we could look together. If there was such a thing as disapparating (a la Harry Potter),

my son would surely have been anywhere else on the planet. I knew what was coming, or so I thought, as I imagined videos on the order of the late night TV ads about sexy singles hotlines. What I saw instead was an extreme close up from a camera angle I still cannot figure out. Oy! I played it cool, “Let’s get rid of that,” and asked Josh* if he’d been looking at a lot of sites like that. He said no, it was the first time (I looked at the browser history later that day and he seemed to be telling the truth). When I asked him why, he said he was curious, that some kids at school were talking about a site they found, and he wanted to check it out. And when I asked him how he found it, he gave me the simplest answer, “I just

Googled ‘porn.’” Just to be clear, I am a fan of the Internet. You can find infinite of information, you can keep in touch with friends, you can look up the adult translation of texting acronyms like LMAO, ROFL and YOLO. But there are so many things online that are not appropriate for children of any age. And we all know this is going to happen; no matter what conversations you have or which parental controls you have in place, sooner or later, your child will find a site like this. Josh was near tears he was so ashamed of getting caught in the act, so to speak. I kept my voice level and said, it’s OK, this is what boys do, they are curious, and the computer is an easy route. Beyond that, all I could

say was â&#x20AC;&#x153;how about you and Dad talk about what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at and why we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t condone that in our house.â&#x20AC;? Rest assured that conversation would never be initiated by either my son or my husband, but that is a whole other story. So my question for the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;how do we keep our children safe while using a technology that provides such easy access to everything? As parents, we surf online to our best advantage, but, because we arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t out looking for pornography, we mentally push away the reality of how easy it is for kids to click their way to these sites, either intentionally or unintentionally. Many sites that are for children have links that will take them places parents would not allow them to visit. And the idea of trying to police the Internet is overwhelming. To get some better information, I spoke with Marje Monroe, founder and director of ChildrenOnline.org, a woman and an organization dedicated to helping parents raise kids safely online. Marje is energetic and passionate about her work, which includes more than 20 years as an educator and counselor. For her, my story had a very familiar ring to it. When you find yourself in this situation, Monroe says it is important to â&#x20AC;&#x153;be honest and clear and loving. Tell your son â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;this is normal, kids explore, but we love you and we want to keep you safe and a lot of what is on the Internet is inappropriate. We do not want you looking at that kind of site.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; What you say is almost less important than how you say it. It is important to strike a balance without getting emotional or judgmental.â&#x20AC;? Monroe uses love, care and clarity as her watchwords. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard for a parent to get their head around how protecting their child online is no different than putting up gates when babies start to walk or holding your 5-year-oldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hand while crossing the street; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about keeping them safe,â&#x20AC;? says Monroe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And we have to remember technology is a tool, and we are in charge of the technology.â&#x20AC;? Monroe suggests establishing the technology culture in your house early on by â&#x20AC;&#x153;looking at technology through the lens of child development.â&#x20AC;? It is important to establish rules that become the norm in your house. Rules may evolve as children mature, but they are always about keeping

children safe. itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not unlike how you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cross the street by yourself alone at age 5, but you when you demonstrate you are ready for that next step, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll let you take it. The rules in every house are different, but you could start with some basic steps, depending on your childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ages. Limit a childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maximum screen time to two hours a day. All access to the Internet is in a public placeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;living room, kitchen, family roomâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; anywhere parents are as likely to be as the kids. This creates an understanding that you can see what they are doing at anytime which creates a filter. No Internet access in their bedrooms. All devices should be in a central spot

If your tween/teen complains about a right to privacy (which is a debatable topic and the debate shifts depending on your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stage of development), remind them, the Internet is different, there is no privacy online. It is also wise to point out to a child of any age that things are not always what they seem online: ads for â&#x20AC;&#x153;freeâ&#x20AC;? things may direct you to a purchase site and collect information about you that may be for business purposes or may be for something more sinister. With one click of the mouse you could be on a site that may release a virus, potentially destroying your computer. Unlike TV, movies and other forms of media, the Internet does not have any controls, no rating system to identify what is

I played it cool, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s get rid of that,â&#x20AC;? and asked Josh* if heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been looking at a lot of sites like that. to charge overnight. Children are not bringing their phones or tablets or whatever into their bedrooms where people can reach them at all hours. Mom and dad must have passwords and access to telephone texts, twitter, tablets, Instagrams, etc. Use whatever parental controls are available. For parents who wish to be extremely vigilant, you could use key logging software, which captures every keystroke. Monroe acknowledges this is not an easy task. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Depending on their age, children will fight you hard on whatever rules you choose for your family. As a parent, you need to buckle down, grit your teeth and continue the mantra, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I love you, I want to keep you safeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. You can negotiate as the child gets older, but establishing the safety culture early on is important.â&#x20AC;?

childrenonline.org commonsensemedia.org/advice-forparents/internet-safety

appropriate for what age. As to how to direct your child to sites that can more appropriately satisfy their curiosity, there are age-appropriate sites that answer everything from â&#x20AC;&#x153;where do babies comeâ&#x20AC;? from to â&#x20AC;&#x153;how do I avoid getting pregnant?â&#x20AC;? But you need to vet the sites yourself. The sites are as varied as the values and rules of different families. The site I find appropriate for my child may strike another mother as too mature for her child or simply offensive. Use technology to your advantageâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Google the topics you think might be just around the corner for your child. If you search â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening to my bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfectly normal,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be introduced to a whole range of good books to help start some conversations for a range of ages. By the way, when I first spoke with Marje, she told me that despite my initial feelings, I really was lucky to have

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caught my son while he was online. Many parents have no idea their children are seeing these sites and do not have the opportunity to get a conversation going. I waited a week to see if my husband would have â&#x20AC;&#x153;a talkâ&#x20AC;? with Josh. When that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen, I orchestrated a meeting for the three of us. Together we told Josh that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like pornography because we find it demeaning to both partners, it does not reflect the actions of a loving couple, and it will give him the wrong idea of how he â&#x20AC;&#x153;shouldâ&#x20AC;? behave and how he might expect his future partner to behave. We told him when he is mature enough to be in an intimate relationship; he will find his way with that person and experiment in a safe environment. When he is older, he may have his own opinion about pornography, but for now, he has to live with ours. I am quite sure Josh wanted the earth to open up and swallow him whole, but I am hoping he will remember the gist of the conversation. And I imagine we will be having it again several times in the years to come. For more information about keeping your child safe online, check out these resources.

safekids.com fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/ net_safety.html connectsafely.org/Safety-Advice-Articles Katherine Jacante is a writer and mother of two teenagers living in Central Massachusetts. She uses a pseudonym to protect her relationship with her children and other families who may recognize themselves in these articles. *The names of the subjects in this series of articles have been changed to protect their privacy.

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BAYSTATEPARENT 45

MOMS ROCK!

Miranda Greenhalgh Of RUTLAND Age: 32 Mom of: Natalie, 4, and James, 3 Occupation/Business: Owner of Owl and the PussyCat Cakes, Safety Data Analyst at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University

BY

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ost of Miranda’s day is spent analyzing safety information. That is, until she comes home from her day job and spends family time with her two kids. Then, while her kids are fast asleep, a different side of Miranda comes out – the baker in her. “I’ve always been artistic,” said Miranda Greenhalgh, of Rutland. “When my kids were younger, I wrote, illustrated and self-published a children’s book Rapid Duck. I love wildlife, and in the story, the duck rides the rapids and has quite an adventure.” Miranda also played in a community orchestra as well. “By day, I’m a very left brain oriented person,” she said about her job at Sunovion in Marlboro where she is safety data analyst. As part of her New Year’s resolution, Miranda signed up for a cake decorating course at A.C. Moore. “Then I started begging my friends to make cakes for their kids to practice what I learned,” she said. “Soon after that, Owl and the PussyCat Cakes was born.” Thanks to the help of her stay-at-home husband, Miranda has been making cakes and cupcakes all year and her business has expanded online and around the world. “For some reason we have a big following in Australia – through our website, people in Australia have been ordering, so it’s been great.” Miranda said her husband had a computer repair business that closed down during the recession, so he handles the business side of things. “I get to create, which is what I love,” she said. “He’ll even bake some of the cakes during the day if he has time and he’s always getting me the ingredients for them.” From birthday to wedding cakes and special orders including kid’s character 46 NOVEMBER2012

cakes and even an iPhone cake, Miranda says if you can dream it, she can make it happen. “I love brainstorming ideas with customers and the sky is the limit,” she said. “If you can imagine it, I can bake it.” How is Miranda so successful? She said that her family has a “together we can” attitude. “I work very hard for my company during the day and they are really supportive of having a worklife balance,” she said. “I try to be very organized – I use my iPhone to organize everything.” She also splits her time well. “Whatever I’m doing at the time, I’m focusing on,” she said. “If I’m at work, then I’m working hard and when I’m with the kids, I’m getting good quality time with them,” she said. “I try to be present in the moment.” Even her two kids, Natalie, 4, and James, 3, get involved in the cake company. “They have t-shirts that say cake decorator and quality control officer,” she said. “We don’t have them do our customer cakes, but they help with our test cakes.” In addition to her cake making business and her day job, Miranda also teaches an online class through Northeastern University. “Once the kids go to bed, I get a lot done,” she said. “I log into my course and answer questions, I do invoices for the cake business and then I get the cakes made.” She also supports local and national charities through her cake business. “We’re working with Birthday Wishes through giving cakes once a month for birthday parties and we’re hoping to work with Icing Smiles, a national organization that works with parents and children and brings birthday cakes for children and their siblings who are in the hospital.”

One of her best creations that she’s most proud of is a life-size, 6-foot tall, stackable Angry Birds cake. “You could actually play it and it had chocolate wafer cookies fastened with screws to one side of the cake boards,” she said. “It was a groom’s cake for a wedding – that was fun to make.” For more information about her cakes, visit opccakes.wordpress.com or their Facebook page facebook.com/opccakes.

Take 15 with Miranda: 1. Family philosophy: We take a holistic approach. The overall health and happiness of the family as a whole is most important – including that of Mom and Dad. Kind of a “If Momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy” approach, except it’s true for all four of us. 2. Family pet: two kitties – Andy and TJ, and two goldfish – Squeaky and Jack Sparrow (named by the kids). 3. Social media mentality as a parent: My main concern with social media is how it will affect my kids when they get older. That much public information and the opportunity for casual cruelty and bullying via the Internet and Facebook terrify me on their behalf. 4. Favorite family past-time: Camping, biking, hiking, kayaking and beaching. This time of year, apple picking and pumpkin farms are also a big favorite. 5. What we like most about Rutland and why: We moved here because we were looking for small, tight, supportive community for our kids to grow up in.

That is exactly what we have found. We love being able to walk down the street to Evans Farm to get our eggs on Saturdays, to be recognized at soccer practice by our customers and attend all the town functions for the 4th of July. 6. Mentors: My mom is the toughest person I know. She was a stay-at-home mom for my brother and I – a sacrifice I am grateful for every day. She is smart and well-educated, and deals gracefully with a chronic pain condition now that would floor anyone else. She taught me how to cook, sew and to run a house, not because it’s necessarily a woman’s job, but because everyone should know how to take care of themselves and be self-sufficient if they have to. 7. A typical “proud mom” moment: I love that moment when they do something new for the first time and their face lights up because they realize they can do it now. Often my little guy will yell “Mommy I did just great!!” 8. Typical Greenhalgh day: The kids usually get us up before the alarm clock around 6. I get ready for work and we all have breakfast together. Mike and I go over the shopping and “to-do” lists for the day. I’ll go to work, and while I’m there the kids may have preschool or may help Daddy with chores, shopping, or the days’ baking. I get home around 5 – from then to bedtime is Family Time. We’ll play with the kids – usually craft projects, puzzles, games, or outside if the weather is good. Then dinner, bath and reading time before bed at 8. After the kids go to bed, Mom and Dad get back to work. I’ll log into whatever course I’m teaching to update lectures, answer student questions or grade papers. I’ll do the daily bookkeeping for the cake

business. Once the computer work is done, Mike and I will finish the baking projects for the following day – custom cakes for clients, dozens of cupcakes for markets or fairs, and/or polymer clay cake toppers ordered through my Etsy site. We are in bed by 11 to get a few hours of sleep before it starts all over again! 9. Your kids’ favorite books right now and why: “The Busy Body Book” – all about our bodies and how they work. They are very keen on figuring out how all their parts work and what happens when they eat something (and where babies come from, but we’re not getting too specific there).

“in the moment” with them, putting everything else out of your mind. Parenthood isn’t a spectator sport – if they are on the playground – play with them. Teach them their letters and to tie their shoes – don’t wait for school to do it. Most importantly, listen to them. Give them a chance to tell you their worries, their fears, and their triumphs (what they are proud of, not necessarily what you are, or what society praises). 12. Secret to a good family relationship: If something is important to one, it’s important to all. That means helping my son with his current puzzle obsession, answering my daughter’s infinite stream of questions on her topic of the day, making sure my husband gets time to go biking and giving myself a break sometimes, too. 13. Favorite places to visit in Massachusetts and why: Wachusett Mountain for hiking, skiing, or their family events. This is extra-special for us because we got married at the ski lodge. Also the Pioneer Valley (Amherst, Northampton) as we both went to UMass.

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Miranda Greenhalgh, of Rutland, makes cupcakes with her husband Mike and two kids Natalie, 4, and James, 3.

10. Wish for my kids: I want them to grow up to be kind people, to respect and see value in others, and especially in themselves, no matter where life takes them.

14. Current family obsessions: Understandably, my kids are obsessed with what their next birthday cake will look like. Every cake I make (even ones for bridal showers), my son says he wants for his birthday. Sadly, both kids are going to have to wait because their birthdays are months away.

11. Parent Involvement means: Doing the best you can every day to be engaged in your children’s lives – to spend time

15. One sentence to describe me: As is true for everything worthwhile in this world, I am a work in progress.

Also “Over and Under the Snow” – they love anything to do with wildlife and the animals that live near them.

BAYSTATEPARENT 47

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TAKEGOODCARE

THE

Heart OF THE MATTER

BY

tom ulrich, courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital

When her twins were born, everything seemed to be going according to plan for Emily Duhe. “My husband and I wanted lots of kids, and we were so happy to start a big family,” she says. Within a couple of months, though, it was clear that one of the twins, Allie, was in trouble. “We brought her to the hospital thinking she had pneumonia,” Emily says. “That’s when they found multiple defects in her heart.” It’s a familiar story. Margaret Narolis’ son Logan was also born with a major heart defect. “When Logan was born we were told he’d need to have multiple surgeries to reconstruct his heart,” she says. The two families, separated by thousands of miles—the Duhes live in Louisiana, the Narolises in upstate New York—both came to Boston Children’s Hospital looking for better treatment options for their children’s damaged hearts. They found what they were looking for. Logan and Allie are now part of a small group whose hearts are beating with the help of a new expandable replacement valve—one that essentially can be made to grow as they do. Both children had damaged mitral valves, a key part of the heart’s machinery. This one-way valve helps move oxygen-rich blood into the left ventricle; from there, it gets pushed out to the rest of the body. Surgeons need to repair malfunctioning mitral valve for proper health, but the surgery poses a unique set of challenges. “In some ways, repair of the mitral valve is still more of an art than a science,” says Dr.

Sitaram Emani, a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Boston Children’s. “It is structurally challenging from a surgical standpoint, and there are a lot of critical structures very close to it that restrict what you can do.” While surgeons prefer to fix a child’s existing mitral valve if they can, sometimes it’s just beyond repair, and replacing the valve becomes the only option. But replacement isn’t necessarily a one-shot deal. “Children often outgrow a prosthetic valve within months to years after implantation, requiring multiple replacements over time,” Emani explains. And multiple replacements mean more surgeries - both a huge expense and a huge strain on a child’s growing body. Furthermore, there are no commercially available valves small enough to use in infants and newborn children. Emani wanted to find a solution for kids, particularly infants, who need a new mitral valve, but one that could be made to grow with the child, sparing them multiple surgeries. What he came up with was a modified version of what’s called the Melody valve. It’s an expandable prosthetic valve originally designed as a replacement for the pulmonary valve (the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs). While the Melody is meant to be used at its full size, Emani noted that it still functions even when only partially expanded, opening the door to using it in infants and babies. By trimming the valve and cinching it down to its smallest size, Emani has been able to replace Logan’s

Dr. Emani

and Allie’s mitral valves, as well as those of three other infants, with Melody valves— marking the first time this valve has been used for mitral valve replacement. For both Allie and Logan, the modified valve helped them keep their whole hearts. And the change since their valve replacements has been remarkable. “By Allie’s third surgery, her skin was grayish, she looked really unhealthy,” Emily says. “After Dr. Emani put the new valve in, she was pink and smiling. And a few weeks later, the team was able to expand her valve to fix a leak just by using a catheter, instead of having to carry out another surgery.” “When we first took her back to her cardiologists here, they didn’t recognize her because she looked so healthy,” she adds. “Logan got his valve nine and a half months ago,” says Margaret. “It’s the longest he’s gone without having to go to the hospital or have surgery. He’s 25 months old now, and he’s doing the best he’s ever done.” Neither child is completely out of the woods, but their futures look bright.

“The doctors back home told us that she might only live to her teens,” Emily says of Allie, who is now nearly 2. “The doctors at Boston Children’s have never talked about mortality.” Both families are also relieved that by opting for the modified Melody and not a mechanical replacement valve, they’ve avoided the need for blood thinners and the complications that come with them. “By going this route, we could potentially leave the modified valve in place until a patient reaches adulthood, reducing the number of operations and the risk of lung swelling related to valve leakage,” Emani says. “And as these patients grow, we can expand the modified valve by cardiac catherization. It’s much less invasive than open-heart surgery and requires less recovery time.” To learn more about what Dr. Emani and his colleagues have done with the modified Melody for mitral replacement, visit our Heart Center at childrenshospital.org/ heart.

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Our Readers are Looking for Services for Their Families From...

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and a whole lot more! Let baystateparent help you get the word out about your business. Stephanie Pearl 774-364-0296 or email stephaniep@baystateparent.com 50 NOVEMBER2012

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To advertise call Stephanie Pearl at 774-364-0296 or email stephaniep@baystateparent.com CPRCLASSES CPR Training & Re-certification CPR Angel Professional/ Healthcare provider level CPR AED /First Aid

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FRAMINGHAM MOM FIGHTS FOR HER FAMILY HENNA ART EMPOWERS CANCER SURVIVORS

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November 2012 baystateparent Magazine