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Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996




Announcing our new location We are pleased to formally announce that Associates in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery will be moving our medical office to a bigger, and brighter office as of October 23, 2017 at the following location: 100 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd. Worcester, MA 01608 Our telephone number and fax numbers will stay the same: Phone: 508-757-0330 • Fax: 508-752-9850

At Associates in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, every doctor, physician assistant, audiologist and staff member are here to ensure you receive the best possible quality care. We take pride in caring for your health and feel it is privilege to serve our community in this way.

We look forward to seeing you at our new office location in October!


Assoc. in Otolaryngology 10 2017.indd 2 432904 OCTOBER2017


9/14/17 12:06 PM

At Saint Vincent Hospital, our experienced team in The Center for Women and Infants is committed to providing individual and specialized care for you and your family. We offer expert pregnancy and childbirth care in Worcester that rivals any birthing experience in Boston, providing the safety, comfort, and convenience of delivering your baby close to home. Visit to learn more about the services and classes we offer.


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Dr. Serwacki obtained her doctorate in Counseling and School Psychology from the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. Specialties. Working with children, adolescents, and young adults with a range of neurodevelopmental challenges, including ADHD/executive functioning issues, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Language Disorders, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Tic/ Movement Disorders. She also evaluates children with complex medical, behavioral, and mental health concerns. Services. Neuropsychological evaluations, school program observations, consultation to parents/caregivers/schools/ treatment providers, and ongoing developmental guidance. 6 OCTOBER2017

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table of contents OCTOBER 2017 VOLUME 22


BEST OF 2017: Inside the celebration of our Best of 2017 Winners



How Women Can Start and Run a Successful Home-Based Business

BEST OF 2017: Inside the Celebration of our Best of 2017 Winners


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: October Calendar Of Family Events


CIRCLE OF FRIENDS: October Area Adoption Events

54 55 58

ADD TO CART: Our favorite October product picks


TAKE 8: Year of No Clutter Author Eve Schaub

Sydney, 8 Photography by Adam Perri

features 14

How Women Can Start and Run a Successful Home-Based Business


Simple Ways Parents Can Help Children Build a Positive Body Image


8 Ways to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

What Is Asperger Syndrome?


Will Do: An 8-Step Estate Planner for Parents

Could Your Child Be Dyslexic?


1,100 Square Feet: 3 Kids, 2 Parents, 0 Problems


Raising the Barre: Boston Ballet’s Landmark Program Brings Dance to All


Film Festival Promotes Awareness, Appreciation of People With Disabilities


Key Mental Health Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs

36 38 40

REEL LIFE WITH JANE: October Movie Releases

Ripe 12

Brings Dance to All

very special people

in every issue 8 10

the Barre: Boston 31 Raising Ballet’s Landmark Program

New Massachusetts Cheer Team Welcomes Children with Disabilities

Tips for Avoiding Halloween Allergy Scares

meet team president and publisher KIRK DAVIS

associate publisher KATHY REAL 508-749-3166 ext. 331



editor in chief MELISSA SHAW 508-865-7070 ext. 201

director of sales REGINA STILLINGS 508-865-7070 ext. 210

creative director and events coordinator PAULA MONETTE ETHIER 508-865-7070 ext. 221

account executive KATHY PUFFER 508-865-7070 ext. 211

senior graphic designer STEPHANIE MALLARD 508-865-7070

account executive MICHELLE SHINDLE 508-865-7070 ext. 212

account executive CHEYRL ROBINSON 508-865-7070 ext. 336

baystateparent is published monthly 22 West Street, Millbury, MA 01527 508-865-7070 It is distributed free of charge throughout Massachusetts.


Simply The Best! baystateparent recently honored its Best of 2017 winners at a party held at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester. Congratulations to all of our winners and thanks to all who voted!



add to CART The coolest stuff we found online this month

Dislike working out or playing sports while wearing your wedding ring? Check out Groove Ring, the firstever breathable silicone ring that’s lightweight, low-profile, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even better, Groove offers Groove Try On, a program in which you’ll get 5 rings to try on for 5 days. Choose what you like and send back the rest with no risk or shipping cost. $29.95.

Whether it’s adult-focused, like a Pats game, or as family-friendly as a Saturday afternoon sideline at the soccer field, October is prime tailgating season. The Tailgate Carrier from meori is the perfect sidekick, capable of easily holding up to 65 pounds of food, drink, and supplies. One section sports a removable cooler insert, while the other can house food, snacks, and anything else you need to haul. Two outside mesh pockets can hold a bottle opener and utensils and, even better, when it’s not in use it folds flat for easy storage, and empty weighs only 2 ½ pounds. $45.

Designed by two seventh-graders, Poketti are stuffed toys that offer more than just cuddly fun. Available in a variety of styles (like Flynn the Pig seen here), each plush toy sports a pocket on its back, the perfect place to stash a phone, notepad, glasses, or any small treasure. $12.95 and up.

Alexander Hamilton has been a hot commodity for the past two years, and his popularity continues with the release of his very own Who Was? book, Who Was Alexander Hamilton? Part of the best-selling, red-hot Who Was? series from Penguin, the book (written for 8- to 12-year-olds) follows his rise from orphaned child to Founding Father to his resurgence via the 2015 Broadway smash, Hamilton. This is a must-read for fans of the musical and the man.

Imagine never having to fold your child’s clothing again and their drawers are neat, clean, and organized. It can happen, thanks to Tidy Snap. Created by a husband and wife who were sick of their kids’ messy rooms and drawers, the product is an easy-to-use system in which children fold, roll, and snap their clothes into neat bundles. Tidy-Snapped clothes mean more room in drawers and allow children to easily see what’s available without rifling through. And the best part? It’s fun and easy for kids to use, so parents won’t have to lift a finger. $39.95. 10 OCTOBER2017


Tips for Avoiding Halloween Allergy



alloween treats don’t have to be tricky business for parents of children with food allergies. There are simple steps you can take to eliminate the trick from trick or treat. Wonder how to identify and avoid common allergens — like peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and egg — in a Halloween bag overflowing with sweets? Or what about knowing how to determine if that plain chocolate bar was manufactured on equipment also used to make candy containing peanuts and tree nuts? According to Allergy & Asthma Network, a leading patient education and advocacy nonprofit (, 15 million people — including 6 million children — have food allergies. Exposure to a food allergen can trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction, also called anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include itchy, red hives on the skin, swollen lips and/ or tongue, vomiting, coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Reactions can be truly scary — and not something to be careless about. Prevention is key. Parents should inspect their children’s Halloween candy and check each label carefully. Federal law requires food labels — even mini-size candy bars — to list any common food allergens. If one child in a family has food allergies and another does not, be sure to separate the candy with allergens so there’s no chance of accidental exposure. Do not try to guess if a candy contains an allergen. Call the manufacturer if you’re uncertain. If the label includes an advisory statement such as, “May contain...” or “Produced in a facility with...” there’s a chance the food allergen is present. Follow the advice of your healthcare provider. For many, avoiding these products is the way to go. More safety measures include: • Consider putting together a Halloween route consisting of family, friends, and neighbors, and ask them to put allergy-safe treats (apple, bubble gum, lollipops) in your child’s bag. Or request alternatives to snacks and candy, such as temporary tattoos, stickers, or novelty toys. • Consider trading in collected candy for other safe treats, prizes, or rewards. • Set a “No Eating During Trick-or-Treating” policy so children don’t eat a piece of candy before you can inspect it. • Teach children to politely refuse baked goods and homemade treats, such as cookies, cupcakes, or muffins. In addition to nuts, dairy, and eggs, baked goods may contain wheat and soy, two more common allergens. • Don’t leave Halloween candy lying around

12 OCTOBER2017

Halloween makeup may contain preservatives, including formaldehyde, which can cause a rash, swelling of the skin, or breathing problems. Again, check the product label and packaging for any warnings or call the manufacturer. Or you can test the makeup on a very small area of skin in advance of Halloween; if a rash occurs, do not use the makeup, advises the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Also, for kids with nickel and other metal allergies, check costume accessories such as crowns, wands, or fake jewelry that may contain nickel or cobalt, two increasingly common allergens that can cause a rash.

your home where food-allergic children can easily find it. If there’s an accidental food allergy exposure and anaphylaxis symptoms occur, the first line of treatment is an epinephrine auto-injector. This shot of adrenaline is safe, fast-acting, and helps treat allergic reactions. Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors — including on your Halloween route — in case a second reaction occurs. Seek follow-up medical care right away by calling 911.

Food allergies are not the only allergens to be aware of on Halloween

Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, is director of Food Allergy Advocacy, Education and Prevention for MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Food Allergy Center. He also an allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network, as well as co-author of Living Confidently With Food Allergy and is a voluntary consultant with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, School Health Service Unit.

Dressing up is one of the best parts of the holiday, but before reusing old costumes stocked away in your attic or basement, give them a thorough washing. They could be full of allergens, such as mold or dust mites, which can cause respiratory problems. Many costumes and masks are manufactured with latex. Parents of children with a latex allergy should verify what a costume or mask is made of before buying it or dressing up their child. Check the label for latex or latex products, but it’s best to contact the manufacturer directly.


Lots Brewing at MCU! Community Shred Day Bring your sensitive materials to MCU for secure onsite shredding by ProShred! Limit of 3 boxes per person. Items for shredding include: credit card statements, bank statements, tax forms, medical statements, or any paper that contains personal information.

Trunk or Treat Join us for our Trunk or Treat event – a fun, safe, and convenient way for children and families to spend time while enjoying treats, costumes and candy. MCU employees will be decorating the trunks of their cars and giving out candy to the children that visit their vehicles.

Both events will be held in the

MCU Parking Lot, 50 Main St., Millbury from 9 am - 12 noon!

Coffee, cider and snacks for all! FREE for MCU and the community

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Sholan Farms

Annual Harvest Weekend Festival October 7th-9th • 10am-4pm Entertainment on Sundays throughout the season U Pick Apples and Raspberries • Hiking • Seasonal Produce & Pumpkins Free Wagon Rides • School Tours & Outings

Come Enjoy a Picnic on our Beautiful Grounds! Twilight Hike (Weather permitting) Oct. 13th • 8pm

Visit our Christmas Tree Shop Opening Nov 25th at Sholan Farms Check website or Facebook for dates and hours

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How Women Can Start and Run a Successful Home-Based Business BY MELISSA SHAW


ou see it everywhere, from your community to your Facebook wall: More and more women are starting small or side businesses. Author and certified business coach Christy Wright, whose events and podcasts attract thousands of budding entrepreneurs each year, says women are in a perfect position to make that decision work for them and their family. “One of the best benefits of working for yourself or starting a side business, small business, or working from home is you can build the business around your life vs. the other way around,” she says. “You can work when you want to, how you want to, where you want to. You get to set this business to anything you want it to be. What an incredibly powerful situation to be in, especially as a mom, when you already have so many responsibilities.” 14 OCTOBER2017

It’s an opportunity more women are grabbing, but with it come challenges, which Wright seeks to help them conquer with her new book, Business Boutique. “That was why I wrote my book, to help women navigate creating that space, creating that business and best practices,” she notes. “It’s not having too much to do that overwhelms us. Women: We’re drivers, we’re doers. It’s not knowing what to do. The whole book is to show you exactly what you need to do to win.” It’s advice and experience Wright lives herself as a wife and mother to two sons under 2 and head of her own growing company: “I get it, I struggle with those same things! It’s continually evolving in my own life, and that’s one of the things that’s helping me coach others in this area: figuring out what’s right for you with your family, your season of life, and creating a life that you love and a schedule that is realistic.” Business Boutique is Wright’s seminar of the same name, reproduced in book form for those unable to attend her 1- or 2-day seminars across the country. “About four years ago, I started doing research on women and business, knowing I wanted to fill a need of helping moms turn their ideas into side and small businesses,” she says. “I did two years of research — focus groups, one-on-one interviews, surveys — that gave me the knowledge of the market in order to write the content that would be an event. We launched our first event in August 2015 and sold out 1,200 in Nashville.” Two more events followed the next spring, attracting 3,200 women. “So what was research before we launched our event became proven in the actual market through a year-anda-half of sell-out events,” she says.

“That led to, ‘Now we need a book to reach more people who can’t come to our events.’” In talking to and interviewing women, Wright says the same topics kept reappearing: “As I took notes — and I’m talking pages and pages and pages — the themes were glaring. They all said the exact same things to me with different words. I understand their concerns; I’m a mom, too. I know how vulnerable it is to put yourself out there in business, walk on a stage, and set yourself up to possibly be rejected. I feel that fear with them, I can empathize with

what if I fail?’ or, ‘What if someone is already doing it better?’ or, ‘I’m not business-minded, I can’t do this.’ If you looked at the most successful people in business — and none of them were not scared — they all persisted anyway. They all stepped into their fear and did it anyway. The fact that fear would stop them in their tracks, and they would live a lifetime without leaning into their dream, was shocking. It made me sad, and it made me that much more fired up for ‘I’ve got to set them free from this fear.’”

“I spend an incredible amount of time talking about pricing, selling, how to protect yourself and set yourself apart from the competition, and giving them permission to win, realizing it’s not selfish, it’s smart.” them. But then I can also lead them out of that to give them practical application of how to still win and turn those challenges into opportunities.” Despite the fact many prospective entrepreneurs are mothers, and may also hold another job on top of that, Wright says it’s not a concern about being overwhelmed that keeps many from taking a leap. Rather, it’s fear. “For most of these women, that was the #1 thing that stopped them from starting their business or growing,” she says. “That fear turned into 1,000 excuses they used as justification for not doing it. And none of those were real reasons. It was always, ‘But

Women’s unique business advantage — and weakness Wright notes female entrepreneurs have a hard-wired advantage they can leverage in business. “Women are, and research shows this, incredibly relational,” she says. “We value ourselves by our relationships: as a mother, sister, friend, fillin-the-blank. Women also, as a generalization, are more emotional. We process the world through our feelings, our intuition. Research shows within the first 5 minutes of talking to a man, he’ll tell you, in some way, what he

does. But within the first 5 minutes of talking to a woman, she’ll tell you how she feels. This is a language that we use, how we perceive the world.” Putting that research into a business context reveals how women’s natural tendencies can affect their endeavor and become a strength or a weakness: “Because women are so relational, we are fantastic at customer service. It’s who we are. Women intuitively know how to care for others. “Now, let’s look at the other side and how that’s a weakness. I want you to price your products and services according to what you’re worth, and I want you to sell your product and service with confidence. I want you to put yourself out there on the line and talk boldly about this business. OK, now we feel weird, uncomfortable. ‘I don’t know how to set myself apart without elbowing the competition out of the way,’ ‘I feel intimidated by this other mom because she’s doing it better,’ ‘I don’t want to charge that much because now I feel bad,’ ‘What if that mom can’t pay $25 for my product?’ ‘I feel guilty because I’m taking money from that mom.’ The very thing that is an asset is also a weakness. I spend an incredible amount of time talking about pricing, selling, how to protect yourself and set yourself apart from the competition, and giving them permission to win, realizing it’s not selfish, it’s smart.”

No Tricks! Just the treat of a cozy warm home this season!

The key to work-life balance Work-life balance is a huge issue for moms, and adding a business (or one on top of a part- or full-time job) would seem to make that already difficult challenge impossible. But Wright employs and advocates a simple rule to keep it under control. “I don’t spend any time on things that are not important to me,” she explains. “I don’t say ‘yes’ out of guilt or obligation. I spend time on the most important things. Life balance is actually really simple: It means living from your values, doing only what’s important to you. When you start to do that you can be crazy busy, but you feel that sense of balance. That doesn’t mean your house is perfectly clean, that doesn’t mean your child doesn’t have a meltdown in the grocery store line. It just means you are using your most precious, valuable time only on what’s important to you. You know what those things are, you know what your priorities are, and you are present for them. When you’re with your kids, your phone is down, you’re present with them. When you’re working on your business, you’re focused on your business. You know what’s important and you spend time on those things.”

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3 Keys to Running a Successful Home-Based Business The lure of running a home-based business is attractive to many moms, one that would seemingly give them exactly what they need: a flexible schedule, working on their own time and terms. Yet that very flexibility can be their downfall. Business coach Christy Wright outlines three keys to doing it right. “There’s a big mistake that people make when they start their own business at home,” she says. “They don’t set themselves up to win from home. They have this idea: OK, I’m going to start a home-based business. What happens is they think they’re just going to mesh and merge their life and parenting and family with the business, and it’s going to be really easy and fun. The reality is it’s not easy or fun because they do it that way. In order to be success-

ful when working from home, you need three things that are really important, this is from experience and coaching others.” 1. You need a schedule. “You need working hours. You need to treat your business like a real job,” she explains. “It’s really tempting when you start a business to think, Oh I don’t have any boss to report to. I don’t have any annoying coworkers. I don’t have to go into the office. I can stay in my pajamas until 2 o’clock. But here’s what happens: Day after day, you’re in your pajamas until 2 o’clock. You feel unproductive. You’ve got orders, on top of laundry, on top of takeout food, on top of materials and supplies, and it begins to feel like the business is taking over your life, because it is. You need working hours. What are the hours you clock in and go to work? And when you go there, you work, you get stuff done. And when you leave, you’re done working. You give yourself permission to be off work.” 2. You need a dedicated space. “This could be a home office. This could be a craft room, attic, or extra bedroom you turn into something. You need a dedicated space that when you go there, you work and when you leave, you’re off work,”

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3. You need a shower. “You need to get ready for your day,” she adds. “Research shows we are more productive when we get ready for the day; we are more productive when we get dressed. I’m not saying you have to wear a button-up shirt and slacks, but you have to get ready. Treat it like you’re going out of the house. Take a shower, get ready as if you’re going to see people, and

go into your office and sit down and work. Now, that’s not to say you can’t sometimes be casual and be comfortable, but when we stay in our pajamas, we’ve got sweatpants and a messy bun on our head, we go in that space, even if we have a space and a schedule, we don’t feel as good. We’re not as productive, we’re not as alert.” Wright says a schedule, shower, and a dedicated workspace equal key mental preparation that will make home-based business women more productive in the long run. “We produce more when we actually get ready for the day, even if you’re working from home,” she notes. “Make it a routine, that you begin to treat your business like a real job. When you do, you will get more done faster because you’re more productive. You still reap all the benefits from working at home. You are your own boss. You get to set your schedule. If you want to schedule your working hours after you walk the kids to school or before a workout in the afternoon, you can do that. If you have these three things, you set yourself up to be successful and have some sense of sanity vs feeling like you’re unproductive, scattered, and the business is taking over your life.” — Melissa Shaw

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Wright says. “This is important for several reasons: It keeps you organized. All of your work things go in that space. They don’t get mixed up with your life things: kids, toys, homework, and food. It’s also an important visual cue for your family. Your kids know: When Mommy’s in the office, Mommy’s working. We don’t bother Mommy. When Mommy’s out, then Mommy’s off work. Your schedule coincides with your space. During your working hours you go in this space and you get your work done. And when you’re off work you can leave that space and you have permission to be off work and be present with your kids and not constantly thinking, Oh, I’ve got more to do, more emails to send, more orders to fulfill. It gives you this sense of sanity and separation when working from home. If not, it can feel very, very chaotic.”

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October Mom & Baby 21 & 22 Expo Sat. & Sun. 10:00am - 4:00pm Presented BY:

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Simple Ways Parents Can Help Children Build a Positive Body Image BY MELISSA SHAW


child’s body image continues to be a major worry for parents, and numbers from reinforce their concern:

• • • •

42% of first through third grade girls want to be thinner 81% of 10 year-olds are afraid of being considered fat 25% of teenage boys report being teased for their weight 53% of teenage girls already are, or think they should be, on a diet

Starting in her teens, Marci Warhaft struggled with body image and selfesteem issues, dangerous diets, and extreme exercise, which continued for years. Today she is a mother, author, body image expert, and contributor to The Huffington Post, who says parents can play a huge role in helping their children build strong, healthy self-esteem and tune out or debunk negative and harmful messages. How can parents share a body positive image and a healthy mindset with their kids? Really watch how they hear you talk about yourself. Let your kids overhear you say something nice about yourself, something like, “I love my arms because I get to hug you, and I love my legs because I get to dance. I love my belly because that’s where you were for 9 months” or “... because you like to lay your head there” — body-positive things. When they hear you say good things about your body, they know it’s OK to feel good things about their body. Take away any kind of glamour, fashion, or fitness magazine. Fill the 18 OCTOBER2017

house with pictures of family and friends. Because at least until they’re out there, in the real world, the pictures they’re going to be seeing are pictures of real bodies. When they do get inundated with these fake, manipulated Photoshop images, that will seem weird to them because they’ve seen pictures of people who are real and flawed and normal. Have conversations with your kids about who inspires them, people you know. Who do you look up to? Why do you look up to them? Then ask: Would you feel any different if they were taller, shorter, rounder? It’s going back to “and that’s why we love you, it’s about who you are, not how you look.” I think it’s really important to get your kids involved in some sort of extracurricular activity. If they have something else that they’re doing that makes them feel good about themselves, whether it’s a sport, art, music, or whatever, it’s something that they’re doing they can be proud of. And it’s somewhere where they’re with like-minded people, maybe a nice coach or instructor, who’s also validating them for their skill. That is really important because our society is so big on glorifying and glamorizing based on how we look. To have your kids feel good about something they do is really, really powerful. What can parents do when they

hear something from a child that is very irrational, such as “I need to lose weight” or “My belly is fat,” when they are in a normal weight range? Our gut reaction is to say, “That’s crazy, you’re not fat!” The problem with that — and I get it, I’m a parent, too — is that we’re making it like it’s the worst thing in the world, and we don’t want that. The better thing is to say, “What? That’s so weird. That doesn’t make any sense,” so there’s no panic. That’s much more

reassuring. Whatever their body is doing right now, it’s preparing itself. Their body is in transition, this is not where it’s going to stay. What they have to do is work with it, not fight it. What do you do when your children, especially those starting or in the middle of puberty, start to compare their bodies to those of peers? My best friend is 6 feet tall, I’m 5’5”. No matter what I do, I will never be 6 feet tall. There’s no better, there’s no worse. We have to concentrate on making our bodies the best they can be — and that

doesn’t mean the most muscular or skinniest. It means that it’s working the best. Be the best you you can be. And give yourself that chance, because you have no idea how amazing that could be. Be yourself, give it some time. This is a transitional time, and the last thing they want to do is mess with it. Work with it, be proud of it. Losing weight right now [during puberty] is losing strength and energy. That’s going to keep them from their goal, not get them there. What should parents do if they’re trying to share and instill body positive messages, but, say, a family member unwittingly keeps saying negative things, like, “She has such a pretty face, if she’d only lose some weight”? We have to be careful of other people, like friends or a grandmother, who come over and say, “Should she be having _____?” It has to be very clear to anyone who’s in contact with your kids: You don’t talk that way. It doesn’t matter who it is, it’s really important to stand up to them in front of your kids. Even if you don’t want to make a scene, acknowledge it, so your kid knows it was so important, and you so believe what you’re saying that you’re saying it right away. Just like if you don’t want someone swearing around your child, I don’t want someone talking about their diet or how much weight they lost around my kid. And you have every right to say that. I can see adults talking about eating or comments about their own body being a massive influence parents don’t realize. They don’t. Go to a restaurant or a coffee shop, the conversations! People say, “I shouldn’t have this cake, but…” or “I can have it because I went to the gym.” We don’t have to repent from or earn food. You hear it constantly. Society tends to focus on women when it comes to body image, but it’s equally serious for boys and men, correct? Yes, boys get it from two sides: They either think that they’re too big or too small. They’re stuck in the middle, and that’s a really tough place. Boys feel just as deeply as girls do, they just don’t have the vocabulary to express it. We don’t let them talk about it. What happens oftentimes with boys and body image, is they feel crappy about how they look, but it doesn’t come out the way we think. It will come out in dangerous behavior: alcohol, drugs, acting poorly in school. It stems from nega-

tive body image, but it’s easy to miss because it’s not showing in the same way. At school presentations, you speak to children as young as first grade via your Fit Vs. Fiction body image workshops ( What your goal? I want to help raise critical thinkers. I bumped into a mother once, her daughter was at one of my workshops. They were in a store and her daughter came over with a magazine and said, “This is Photoshopped. That is Photoshopped.” She was able to look at a magazine in a very different way. So instead of a message coming at our kids that makes them question themselves, I want them to hear that message and question the message. We have to be really proactive with positive messages and be careful with what we say. What if your child is overweight? How can a parent help? That’s a tricky situation because I’ll hear a lot of parents say, “I want to help them, but I don’t want them to feel subconscious.” The thing is, kids are smart. You’re not going to say to a kid, “No, you’re perfect” and they’ll believe it, when they know they could feel better. Make it a positive thing: “You know what? I’ve been feeling tired lately and I’d like to have more energy. Why don’t we start going for walks after dinner or to the park instead of sitting and watching TV? What if we look up new recipes or go shopping and cook together once a week?” You’re making it a positive thing. “We” — it’s a whole family thing, it’s a fun thing. Nothing about size, nothing about weight, it’s about how we’ll feel. Let’s feel better. The other thing I see all the time: Living a healthy lifestyle should not be something you do because you hate your body. It should be something you do because you love it. It’s something you want to do, not a punishment. You can’t lose weight to like yourself, you have to like yourself to lose weight. I used to take my kids to the park and do obstacles courses with them. It was just fun. Or have a dance party with your kids. Watching TV, during a commercial, challenge them to do a silly dance until the show comes back on. It’s just fun. There are so many creative little things you can do to get physical activity and have your children feeling good in their bodies. It’s just getting them loving their bodies and feeling good about them. It’s not a mirror and it’s not a size. It’s all about keeping it positive. It’s not how your body looks, it’s how it works.

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8 Ways to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

BY ELLEN SIRULL You buckle them into car seats, make sure they wear a helmet when riding their bikes, and keep a first-aid kit on hand at all times. As a parent, you do everything you can to guard your children’s physical safety, but do you know how to protect them from identity theft?

How common Is child identity theft?

More than 15,000 of the identity theft complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2016 affected children and teens (anyone age 19 and under), which represents 4% of all identity theft complaints for the year. The Identity Theft Resource Center (idtheftcenter. org), which tracks identity theft and data breach statistics, also reports that 4.4% of the identity theft victim calls they received last year involved child identity theft. While child identity theft accounts for a small portion of all fraud and identity theft, it can still be extremely damaging, especially when it goes unnoticed. Identity thieves can cause extensive damage to a child’s credit years before the crime is detected.

Why do identity thieves

target kids? Children can be seen as a treasure trove for identity thieves. Because they don’t pay bills, take out loans, or hold credit cards, children’s credit histories are clean slates identity thieves can exploit. Identity thieves also know that parents and guardians often don’t think to monitor their children’s identities or credit files. Many parents don’t discover their children have been the victims of identity theft until the child has to use his or her Social Security number for the first time, such as on college financial aid applications, or when applying for a first summer job or credit card.

20 OCTOBER2017

How thieves use children’s


Anything identity thieves can do with an adult’s personal identifying information, they can also do with a child’s information. For example, they may open credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, or other lines of credit in the child’s name. They may use the child’s information to open utility accounts or commit fraud on government, tax, health, or employment forms. Criminals may use a child’s identity to conceal their own in order to avoid arrest or prosecution. Because child identity theft can go undetected for so long, it can be very difficult to clear up the problems it causes.

Protection and prevention


While identity thieves are creative and motivated, parents and guardians still can do a lot to reduce the risk of their child becoming a victim of identity theft. 1. Protect your child’s Social Security number. Never share it with anyone who doesn’t have a very good reason for having it. For example, your accountant needs your son’s number if you’re declaring him as a dependent on your tax return, but the softball team he plays for doesn’t need it as identification. It’s always OK to ask for clarification on why your child’s (or your) Social Security number is needed before sharing it. Many times, it’s not actually necessary. Never carry your child’s Social Security card, just as you shouldn’t carry yours around. Memorize the number and keep the card stored in a secure place. 2. Monitor your child’s personal information. Unrecognized activity involving your child’s email address, phone num-

ber, bank accounts, or other personal information can be a signal that information has been compromised. Although a phone number may seem innocuous, identity thieves can use your child’s phone number to get access to accounts. Many companies use a phone number for identity verification. Caller ID spoofing allows identity thieves to make your child’s phone number appear when they call one of these companies. They also use automated callers (hoping to get your child to type in or record information), and some are brave enough to impersonate institutions and call your child directly. 3. Pay attention to privacy policies. Schools, clubs, dentists, doctor’s offices, sports teams, etc. — virtually everyone has a privacy policy that details how your child’s private information will be used, handled, and protected. Read these policies to understand potential sources of risk to your child’s information. Also, as mentioned above, you should always ask questions to clarify or understand more if you don’t understand any details or information included in a privacy policy. 4. Use your own information whenever possible. Parents often share information about their kids without thinking about it. For example, your daughter wants to enroll in a gaming store’s rewards club, and you open the account in her name. While organizations are likely not purposely misusing the information, it’s possible their data, including your child’s information, could be stolen or misused. Protect your child’s personal information by using your own instead, whenever possible. 5. Avoid oversharing on social media. Social media has become a great way to keep far-off friends and family up to date on what your child is doing. But identity thieves also

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documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards are unsecured in your home. Always lock doors and windows, set the alarm if you have one, and keep valuable documents in a safe or another secure, locked location. Fireproof safes that lock are good ways to keep information protected from various threats.

know social media can be a source of useful information. Avoid sharing personal information about your child on social media with anyone other than people you know personally. 6. Monitor your child’s social media and online activity. You may want to reconsider, or do more research, before you allow a minor child to have a social media account in his or her real name. It’s also important to closely monitor your child’s social media use to ensure you know who he or she is talking to and what they’re sharing online. 7. Keep your home safe. A break-in could net burglars more than just your physical valuables if important

8. Teach your children well. It’s important for kids to understand identity theft risks. Find age-appropriate ways to talk to children about the topic. You probably already do without even realizing it. For example, telling your young child not to talk to strangers includes her understanding not to tell them her name.


signs of child identity theft Although child identity theft can sometimes be difficult to detect, there are some signs to watch for: • Your child receives offers for preapproved credit cards. • You receive bills in your child’s name. • A collection notice arrives with

your child’s name on it. • Your application for government benefits for your child is refused because benefits are already being paid out to someone using your child’s Social Security number. • You receive a letter from the IRS saying your child owes taxes. Be aware, however, that any phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS is almost certainly fraudulent. The IRS communicates with taxpayers by U.S. mail only. If you suspect your child is a victim of identity theft, your first step should be to check his or her credit file. Contact a credit bureau to find out if a credit report already exists in your child’s name — there shouldn’t be one. If a credit report exists, you can look into options like a credit freeze.

What to do if your child’s identity Is


If you discover evidence of child identity theft, you should act quickly to:

• Notify the credit reporting agencies that fraud has occurred on your child’s file and ask them to investigate. • Notify the business or financial institution that issued the credit or loan. Let them know the account was fraudulently opened in the name of your minor child. Ask them to investigate. • File a police report with your local law enforcement agency. • File a fraud report with the FTC online ( or by calling 877-438-4338. Child identity theft can be a scary crime for parents to face, but with some vigilance and preventive steps, it’s possible to reduce the risk that your child will become a victim of identity thieves. Ellen Sirull is senior manager of content at Experian Consumer Services, a division of Experian (, the nation’s largest credit bureau. She helps consumers learn about credit, personal finance and identity theft protection.

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An 8-Step Estate Planner for Parents BY MARYJO KURTZ

Do you have a will? Chances are that you don’t. A 2016 Gallup poll survey shows that only 44% of Americans have a will, a notable drop from 51% in 2005. This is alarming news, especially for families with minor children, because it means that a significant number of parents are trusting strangers in the court system to make crucial decisions about the care of their children. Let’s change that. It’s time to prioritize estate planning. Read on to find out how to put your plan in place.

the children, and someone who you do not want raising your children may win,” Spring noted.

Make a plan To help you put a strong plan in place for your family, here’s estate planning broken down into eight

choose a guardian, and can it be our parents or siblings?” She recommends parents consider “someone who will raise your children with values similar to yours, so the child’s upbringing will be as close as it can be to what it would have been if the parent had not died.”

You be the judge “The only reason we didn’t have a will was because we could not agree on guardianship for the kids,” said Beth*, a divorced mother of two girls. “I would have selected my sister, but my ex didn’t like her. He would have selected his sister, but I didn’t like the way she was raising her boys. We couldn’t agree. We couldn’t even talk about it. So no will.” Beth’s story is common. According to Carolyn Spring, an estate planning and elder law attorney in Westborough, debating guardianship is a common reason why parents delay a will. Other reasons include cost, time, and simply not wanting to deal with the topic. “People always believe it can be dealt with later, which is not always true,” she said. If you die without a will, the court system will choose a guardian for your children. The judge will try to make the best decision based on available information gathered about your family. But without a will, “there may be a custody battle for 24 OCTOBER2017

steps. Block off time on your calendar now to discuss these and consider your wishes for each. With this information in place, you are ready to create your estate plan. 1. Name a guardian One of the top questions Spring hears from parents: “How do we

If a grandparent is young and healthy, then he or she may be a good choice, Spring said. If considering a married sibling, she advises naming only the parent’s sibling and not the in-law. “The brother-in-law or sister-in-law may not always be married to the sibling,” she cautioned.

2. Arrange a trust Simply put, a trust is where you place your financial assets. This can be as basic as a savings account, or it can be structured in a more complex way to suit larger financial needs. There are three parties involved with a trust: the grantor (you), the trustee (the person you put in charge of the trust), and the beneficiaries (your children, for example). Spring said that parents often ask why they need a trust. “The answer is that minor children cannot manage their own money,” she said. The terms of a trust can be outlined in your will. This is called a testamentary trust, and it is put into place when you die. Another option is to establish a revocable living trust. This is put into place while you are still alive. You can maintain the trust as its trustee. The advantage to this type of trust is that it can ease the transition of your assets to your beneficiaries upon your death, saving time and legal expenses. “A family’s circumstances determine which type of trust is most appropriate,” Spring noted. 3. Choose an executor The executor oversees that your will is carried out as planned. Choose someone whom you trust, and designate this person in your will. The responsibilities of the executor include paying outstanding expenses, distributing your assets as directed, and representing you in possible legal disputes among your

heirs. If you do not choose an executor, the probate court (a court that specializes in closing estates) will select someone to represent you. 4. Set up a durable power of attorney A durable power of attorney authorizes someone to handle business and financial matters for you if you should become incapacitated. This is established in a separate document from your will. This should be someone you trust, a person who has the time and responsibility to handle this duty. 5. Establish a healthcare proxy Similar to a durable power of attorney, this document identifies the person who will take responsibility for making decisions on your behalfshould you become incapacitated. The difference is that this person is specifically designated for medical and end-of-life issues. Choose someone who you trust understands your healthcare wishes and will advocate on your behalf. Mark your calendar with a reminder to update your durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents. “[They] can grow stale,” cautioned Boston and Lynnfield Attorney Kimberly J. Baker Donahue of KJB Law Firm. “Often banking and other institutions will not accept a very old document.” Donahue recommends updating both documents about every five years. 6. Secure your beneficiaries In addition to naming beneficiaries in your will, you should also review other financial assets, such as your retirement accounts and insurance policies. These will likely not be mentioned in your will, so it is important to update beneficiary information. Review not only the names on these accounts, but also the contact information for those involved. Now is the time to make any needed changes. 7. Plan your funeral By creating a document outlining your final wishes, you will help grieving friends and family members make final arrangements. Would you prefer a burial or cremation? Is there a special place where you would like to be buried? Are there meaningful readings or songs that you would like at your memorial service? These are the types of questions to consider. Document your desires and include this in your estate plan. 8. Make it legal Now that you have a plan in place, make it legal. To finalize a will in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

you need to sign it in front of two witnesses. You and the witnesses must be at least 18 years old and fully understand what you each are signing. Include contact information for your witnesses with their signatures so that a probate court can contact them if needed. Your will does not need to be notarized to make it legal in Massachusetts. It is always recommended that you work with an estate planning lawyer to create these documents, as this is the best way to guarantee your wishes are met and binding in a court of law. Estate planning costs vary greatly between services and lawyers, so you should call around for a fair price. Be clear about what types of documents you want to include in your plan. If you are a single parent, you will be asking for a will (referred to as Last Will and Testament), a durable power of attorney, and a healthcare proxy. Couples will double the request, as each spouse will have his or her own set of documents. You can expect that a single set of these documents will range in price from several hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on the complexity of your requests. If money is tight and you cannot afford a lawyer, you can do it yourself. This is only recommended if you have simple directives and your will is not likely to be contested. There are several websites that offer templates to help you write a will. Another cost-effective strategy is to put your plan together and then pay to consult a lawyer with questions you have.

Change of plans When there is a significant change in your life, you should revisit your estate plan to update it. “Parents should always keep their estate plan in the back of their minds and perhaps revisit it every couple of years to make sure it still meets their goals,” Donahue said. “If there is a change in circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in income, divorce, remarriage, death of parent, birth of a child, or something else that impacts your life, that would warrant revisiting the plans.” She also noted that a change in the lives of your children might be reason to update your will. “A long-term injury or illness requiring perpetual care, a substance abuse problem, a spendthrift problem, for example — these are all possible reasons to revisit your plans,” she added. Often, the hardest part of making an estate plan is getting started. With this eight-step guide, you will secure your will your way and protect the future of your family. “Know your goals,” Donahue advises. “When in doubt, look at the plan and make sure it accomplishes your goals.” *Name changed by request


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1,100 Square Feet:

3 Kids, 2 Parents, 0 Problems BY MELISSA SHAW

“Children” and “minimalism” are two words that, at first glance, don’t seem to jibe, but author Rachel Jonat is happy, living proof that, indeed, they do. Since 2010, Jonat, her husband, and three sons ages 8 and under have chosen to live in a 1,100 square-foot condo in downtown Vancouver, an experience she has turned into The Minimalist Mom, a book of practical advice and strategies in which she explains how a lifestyle with less stuff can yield more happiness and greater peace of mind. It all began with the birth of the couple’s first son in 2010. The family was living in their downtown Vancouver condo and loved the experience so much, they didn’t want to move to the suburbs. But her son, Jonat admits, “was not an easy baby. I had a baby who didn’t sleep really well, so I kept buying things people said may help.” Adding those purchases to the “standard” baby gear and gifts from wellmeaning friends and family meant mounting clutter and stress in an 26 OCTOBER2017

already stressed-out new mom’s life. “By the time he was 8, 10 months old, I would just throw the things into the closet,” she remembers. People would stop by with gifts, and Jonat says she was so tired, she didn’t have time to process what they were or if the family needed it. Instead, she’d simply toss the gifts into the closet. “Our home became much harder to maintain and keep tidy,” she says. “I felt so stressed out in this space.” Her sister began sharing articles on minimalism, which prompted Jonat to think, Wow, we need this. “We spent three months radically decluttering. Our home was so much easier to clean and more enjoyable to be in.” The couple sold things they didn’t need and paid down debt. Jonat now calls the minimalist lifestyle “an incredible gift” for her family. “Minimalism has really made our 1,100 square-foot condo super livable and enjoyable with three young kids,” she says, adding: “We’re not extremists, we have a dining room

table. My kids have some toys. Where minimalism kicks in is you start seeing it’s not necessarily about my square footage, but about what we have in there.”

An ‘unexpected’ career Like many in a variety of endeavors, Jonat, who pre-kids worked in corporate marketing, started a personal blog (theminimalistmom. com, which she continues today), sharing it with friends to keep herself accountable. She began reading and interacting with the minimalism blog community, which led her to submitting a personal essay to The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading newspaper. That led to radio and TV interviews and a 2014 book, Do Less. “This,” she admits, “is a very unexpected career path.” Jonat describes The Minimalist Mom as a “different kind of baby book,” one she hopes would be a most effective baby shower gift. “I hope people will read it and take

what works for them,” she says. “That’s a big part of the book: Your life is not everyone else’s life. You should be building a lifestyle around what works for you. You should be thinking about your baby gear in terms of what works for you, not necessarily, ‘This is the hot stroller all my friends have’ — but they don’t live in a three-story walkup.” Having your first child is a momentous event, and in the U.S. and Canada, “we mark that event and the preparation for it with stuff,” Jonat notes. “What stroller are you going to get? What’s your nursery going to look like? Most new parents at some point feel very overwhelmed with it, that they have to collect all this stuff.” And, in hindsight, many realize they didn’t need the majority of what they were given or bought. “It tends to accumulate in the home, you start becoming overwhelmed with the exersaucer you keep tripping over, or cleaning the stuff, maintaining the stuff, finding the stuff.”

Jonat equates the months leading to a child’s birth to wedding preparation: “A lot of it is about spending and planning, and then you get past the wedding and you’re, like, ‘Oh, this is really about the marriage. We’ve prepared and spent and really focused on this one day, when it’s really about the years after and investing in those years in non-monetary ways.’ It’s so easy to confuse preparation with buying things. This book is about ways to step back and look at how to prepare to be a parent outside of buying stuff, be it asking for help or creating a network of people who are going to support you when the baby arrives, to preparing in other ways with your partner, dividing household tasks before the baby arrives.” In the book, Jonat offers three different levels of simplification, so readers can customize their approach to one that best fits their lifestyle. “What I love about simplifying and minimalism is people can dial it in to the degree they want,” she says. “If you say you want to simplify, it doesn’t mean you have to give absolutely everything away. You can tidy up certain corners of your home or your life that’s not giving back to you and still keep hobbies. When you get rid of stuff, it brings into view what you really want to spend your money and time on.” Jonat notes she didn’t use a particular decluttering system and she didn’t touch her husband’s office. The lifestyle has grown on her husband over time, she says, especially as over the years he saw a happier, less-stressed wife, an easier-to-maintain home, and an increased ability to pay down debt. “He’s into it,” she adds. “He’s not extremist, but he’s supportive of the level we take it to.”

But what about the toys? Keeping an infant relatively decluttered is one thing, but what happens when the child grows and wants the bane of most households? Jonat’s sons, who grew up in this lifestyle, don’t miss what they never had: a room cluttered with an abundance of toys. “They love going to friends’ houses for playdates, to check out all their toys,” she notes. A minimalist lifestyle has had the side effect of the boys being consciously selective of what they own and its value. “My oldest really wants to get a model train set,” Jonat says. “He’s wanted it for 6 months. We keep coming back to it and saying, ‘It’s really expensive and we won’t have the room for it.’” Jonat and her husband told their son that in order to finance the

model trains, he would need to sell many of the wooden trains the children have been collecting for years, both for money for the new purchase and for a space to enjoy it. “We keep posing that question, ‘Which one do you want?’ and he has to come back to, ‘My brothers and I all use the train set and we get a lot of joy out of it, so, you’re right, we don’t really have space for these model trains.’” She also notes the boys are far from deprived on traditional giftgiving occasions, which Jonat uses to their collective advantage yearround. “They get showered with gifts on Christmas and their birthday from their grandmother. We let them have the joy of opening it, but they’re so overwhelmed they don’t remember everything they got,” she notes. “We put out a third of their gifts and they play with those. I usually end up returning a bunch and storing some, and we slowly let them out over the year.”

Keeping up with The Joneses Jonat and her husband employ the same, “think it out/wait it out” strategy when it comes to their own wants, as well. She notes that the pressure of just spending like everyone else is tempting, especially when social media allows for friends to easily share their latest purchases, vacations, and more. For example, since she and her husband moved into their condo, Jonat has always wanted to redo the kitchen. “I looked at getting it done and we were right at the max of where we stretched ourselves to get into this home. We just couldn’t do it, and it always bothered me,” she says. “Since really getting into minimalism, it just doesn’t bother me. I see the weight of the money we would spend on a kitchen renovation; it would take away from so many other areas of our life. It’s not worth it, and minimalism has given me that: What does that equate to in hours worked, or years you’re going to have to make that payment? At times, it’s an unsexy thing to talk about, but it’s very real and very motivating to me, to look at those numbers. Do I want to buy the stroller that’s $300 more? What could I do with that $300 instead? We talk things out and we wait. I do a lot of waiting if I think there is something I would like to buy and add to the home. We’re slower to pull the trigger on buying things, but we’re willing to spend more and buy more quality items that will last us longer.”


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Riding the wave Minimalism has become a major movement over the past couple of years and garnered much press and attention. And Jonat says it’s important to realize what minimalism is not. “There’s still room for fun and it’s not deprivation,” she notes. “For

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There are dozens of books on decluttering and minimalism, along with websites, blogs, and online resources. But the bottom line is: Do what works best for you. Decluttering is an “intense and emotional process,” Jonat admits. “I really try and caution people to not think they’re going to get it all done in two weekends. Set some moder-

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some people, it would not bring them happiness, but it does for a lot of people. There’s still room to have nice things, but you have things you actually use and like. Since we’ve embraced minimalism as a family, I feel like we’re much more into investing in higher–quality things when we do buy stuff because we’re not people who casually shop.”

ate goals.” For instance, aim to get rid of 2,018 things in 2018. Or put a cardboard box in a corner of various rooms. As you go about living and come across something (a duplicate or something you don’t use, need, or is broken) throw it into the box. At the end of the month, go through the box and ask what can you do with these items. “It’s a way to make progress and see progress without getting overwhelmed,” Jonat says. “If you have a large home and your guest room is packed with stuff, it will take you a long time to sort things out and decide if you want to hold on to it, sell, or donate. Peeling things back in layers is the easiest way for most people to get started and keep going.”










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What Is Asperger Syndrome? Could Your Child be Dyslexic? New Massachusetts Cheer Team Welcomes Children with Disabilities







oston Ballet’s groundbreaking Adaptive Dance program celebrated its 15th anniversary this year and continues to empower students with disabilities — and their families — in incredible, unexpected ways extending far beyond the studio. “This has been better than anything I could have ever hoped for,” said Monika Ostroff, whose 10-year-old daughter Danniah is beginning her third season. Run under Boston Ballet’s Education & Community Initiatives (ECI) arm, Adaptive Dance is comprised of three specialized dance classes: one for people with Down syndrome (ages 2 through adult), another for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ages 5 through adult), and a third inclusive class for students of all abilities (ages 5 through adult). Held across Boston Ballet’s Boston, Newton, and North Shore studios, the weekly classes — the first of their kind — pair dancers with licensed physical therapists, professional musicians, and specially trained Boston Ballet faculty to offer world-class instruction to all. As its Adaptive Dance introductory video begins: “At Boston Ballet, we believe that dance is for everyone.” “The goal of the program, and our entire department, is to create access so everyone can enjoy dance, share the love of dance together, and experience it,” said Portia Abernathy, ECI assistant director. “It’s something we’re proud of and see as important to cultivating the next generation of arts participants and arts goers.” “Our students are amazing and so talented,” said Emily Singleton, an Adaptive Dance instructor and ECI 30 OCTOBER2017

the Barre:

n Ballet’s

rk Program Brings Dance to All faculty member. “I think there’s probably a preconceived notion that this would be a watered-down version of dance, but it really isn’t. The kids really rise to the high expectations we have of them. If we keep our expectations high, they’ll keep meeting them.” “Our curriculum is aligned with our Boston Ballet School system and Boston Public School standards,” Abernathy added. “We aim to set a high bar and our students reach it. They learn the technique.

Dancers are placed in classes according to age, and Abernathy reports that five adults with disabilities are employed with ECI as teaching assistants for the younger classes: “We hope there’s a lifelong pipeline of engagement so that our students can start at 2 and never leave and even move into the teaching role if they choose.” The September through May program, which consists of 50 parttime employees and volunteers, culminates in a May Showcase

need to be able to show it. It’s so empowering to see them get out there, perform, and be proud of what they’ve done. It’s a great culmination of the program.” “I cry every year, usually not for my kid, either,” Ostroff laughed. “Everybody is there in this one big celebration of these kids and their families. You wish it could be longer because you want to stay in that moment. And it comes at the same time as all the other kids’ recitals, so it feels like part of the

“Boston Ballet is awesome about not seeing limits. No matter where you go, most people will give you an explanation, ‘This child can’t do X because of….’ They don’t do that. They believe every kid can do everything.” — MONIKA OSTROFF, ADAPTIVE DANCE PARENT

They learn the vocabulary. They perform and all the while have a really wonderful time. There are accommodations and modifications in place to make sure it’s accessible, but it’s definitely not watered down.” “Boston Ballet is awesome about not seeing limits,” Ostroff noted. “No matter where you go, most people will give you an explanation, ‘This child can’t do X because of….’ They don’t do that. Everything is fair game and they’re very good about what they do. They believe every kid can do everything. The kids rise to the occasion.”

event, in which all classes perform for their families. “It’s a really fun opportunity to see all the students’ progress and really show off their stuff,” Abernathy said. “When all the groups are together, the younger families can see some of the older students and really see what’s possible, and the older students and families can remember how far they’ve come.” “Some of my students with autism are sensitive to noise and light, and here they are out there with loud music dancing,” Singleton added. “It’s the most transformative thing. Dance is a performance art, you

full extracurricular movement, which I think is very important to [Danniah].”

Benefits beyond the studio Adaptive Dance classes have proven to be a place where students can make great strides in several areas, starting with physical development, Abernathy said. “We really see students improving their balance and coordination, a lot of their gross motor skills

that may be delayed in terms of meeting milestones,” she noted. “There’s something about dance that all of a sudden makes meeting these milestones and learning these techniques, balance, and coordination a lot more fun. All of a sudden, when you’re in a group setting and the music is playing, and everyone is having a really joyful time, you don’t realize you can balance on one foot for 8 seconds.” In any studio, dance classes teach students far more than just how to execute a jazz square, or the difference between first position and fifth position. Learning technique, following choreography, and making corrections takes attention, concentration, and focus. The same holds true in Adaptive Dance classes, Abernathy said, making them a place where students learn realworld skills that will benefit them far beyond the barre. “Students have improved self esteem, feeling a sense of leadership and pride and also self control, not only over their physical body, but the ability to wait, the ability to work together,” she said. They also make progress interpersonally, she added, improving their ability to work with peers, the physical therapist, musicians, and instructor to move and create dance together: “There’s a lot in the dance studio you learn and skills you develop that are really transferrable to many other aspects of life.” Ostroff can attest to that. When Danniah was 7, Ostroff longed to enroll the music- and dance-loving girl, who has autism, in a dance class, only to find there weren’t any offered locally for her age. “I felt really bad. She’s always known the kids in her class go off BAYSTATEPARENT 31

and do things. They play soccer or lacrosse or dance. They talk about all that stuff and she didn’t have any of that in her life.” Ostroff searched online for a specialized dance class and found the Adaptive Dance program — 90 minutes away from her home near New Hampshire’s seacoast. Despite the considerable commute, she enrolled Danniah two years ago, and said she’s astounded at its myriad effects on her family. “My thought was, OK this is great, I’m going to drive an hour and a half to give this kid a chance to dance for an hour. That’s not what happened; it literally opened up a whole different world. What was magical is she and I both came away with some really good friends that I don’t think either of us was planning on,” she said. “The whole class is pretty tight knit. It’s become way more than just dance.” Ostroff and her daughter have been skiing with friends from class and regularly get together yearround. “Kids on the spectrum, at least my kid, tend to be highly routineoriented and ritualized. Because of Boston Ballet Adaptive Dance and because I’ve met these other people, my daughter has been motivated in the most natural way to make progress in other areas.” And in very unexpected ways. Ostroff points to a recent trip to Story Land, a place in which her daughter typically had a very set

32 OCTOBER2017

routine in terms of the few rides she would enjoy and in what order. When she recently visited the park with a friend from her Adaptive Dance class, Ostroff reports Danniah enjoyed a multitude of rides she never would have attempted before — and loved it. “These are things she would not do, and we wouldn’t have had that opportunity if we hadn’t been with our dance friends,” Ostroff notes. “It’s been awesome. I can’t even tell you how amazing it’s been.” The connection with other families they met through dance and the ability to simply meet up at a local festival and enjoy the day together have delivered Ostroff a parenting benefit those outside the special needs community may take for granted. “She’s my only child, I don’t have a lot of ‘normal’ parenting experiences other parents have. It’s not like I’ve never been someplace with neurotypical kids and their parents, but we don’t have the same commonalities,” she explained. “This has connected me to people in that same situation, so we have our same ‘normal’ experiences. “Connection is healing, and it’s vital to be healthy in life, and I was really missing some deeper connections because there was such a lack of commonality between me and my other friends,” she continued. “And now, having this niche group has just been such a blessing for the whole family, it’s almost hard to put it into words.”

Reaching beyond geographic limits As the first specialized dance class for children with special needs, over the years Boston Ballet began fielding questions about their model from dance professionals beyond Eastern Massachusetts. “In the beginning, it was less formal,” Abernathy said. “People would call or email or stop by for a visit, and we were finding there was more and more demand. We were getting more inquiries from people saying, ‘We want to do this work and we don’t exactly know how. Can you tell us what you do? Can you tell us how to do it?’”

This led to the creation four years ago of a two-day teacher training conference, where studio owners and dance professionals come to Boston to meet the Adaptive Dance team and learn how to create their own program. This summer, the conference hosted 60 international participants who came to learn from Adaptive Dance staff and hear from students’ parents, as well as partners such as Boston’s Children’s Hospital. “It’s been very powerful to see this impact spread,” Abernathy said. “We only have so many studios and so many staff, so of course there are limits to our capacity. But through this training it almost, in a way, feels limitless.”

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Film Festival Promotes

Awareness, Appreciation

of People With Disabilities

©Stuart Bernstein 2017



ye-opening, thoughtprovoking, a catalyst for enriching conversation. This is what the ReelAbilities Film Festival promises audiences each year as the largest festival in the United States dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Launched in 2007 by disability activists and film professionals through JCC Manhattan in New York City, the ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival was the first of its kind to present a series of award-winning films by, about, and for people with disabilities. The festival has since expanded to more than a dozen cities across North America — Boston among them — as well as Canada, and soon, Mexico. The Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival began in 2012 as a program of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, a nearly 30-year-old organization that presents an annual 34 OCTOBER2017

event screening the best contemporary films on Jewish themes from around the world. “There were always good disability-

of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. “Then, in 2011, I answered a call from Saul Schottenstein Foundation B in Cincinnati, Ohio, about taking the

“The ReelAbilities films have taught me so much. I have completely changed my understanding of people with disabilities — how much I have in common with them, what they’re capable of, that they lead full lives.” — Jaymie Saks, executive director, Boston Jewish Film Festival

themed films playing in the Boston Jewish Film Festival, and we used to talk about whether we should put together a disability festival,” said Jaymie Saks, executive director

ReelAbilities Festival national. We were put in touch with the Ruderman Family Foundation to help bring it to Boston, and we were off and running.”

The Ruderman Family Foundation ( — an organization that has been committed to advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities for almost 14 years — remains the largest sponsor of the Boston festival. Other Boston festival sponsors include the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation, Nancy Lune Marks Family Foundation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Special Needs Financial Planning, Emerson College, Mass Cultural Council, Jewish Community Day School, El Al Airlines, Peapod by Stop & Shop, PLAN of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, and Rockland Trust Bank. Community partners — many from disability organizations within the Greater Boston area — also help spread the word about the event and participate in the festival. “We’ve had a lot of discussions in our organization about whether

our purpose is to provide a mirror for people with disabilities to see themselves on screen or a window for people without disabilities to see the lives of people with them,” Saks noted. “Of course, it’s both. We welcome everyone. Our audiences are a strong mix of people with disabilities, people who are familiar with disabilities (through work or family), and people who are there to see a great film because they’re interested in the topic.” “One of our Foundation goals is to educate a wide audience about inclusion,” added Sharon Shapiro, trustee and director of the Boston Office of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Film, because of its entertainment value, does that in a way that maybe can’t be done as effectively through other means.” The Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival is held each spring at wheelchairaccessible venues throughout the city. Past locations have included Emerson College, the Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts and area theatres, schools, and libraries. Films are chosen from a base list provided by ReelAbilities’ New York headquarters (for which they have secured screening rights, captioning, etc.), as well as strong local content. The documentary Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing, highlighting the emotional and physical recovery of individuals whose lives were forever changed by the event, is one example of local content that was a natural fit for the festival. Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Globe Docs, a documentary film festival hosted by Boston Globe journalists, co-presented the screening on the closing night of the 2016 festival. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure that we screen high-quality films that people want to come see and will have a good experience seeing,” shared Mara Bresnahan, Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival director. “We offer a well-rounded slate covering different disability topics (autism, visual impairment, physical disabilities, mental health, etc.) and create really great conversations after the films. Having a panel discussion or a film director or film subject there to talk about the issues in the film is an important part of our programming and enriches the experience for the audience. We have such a great depth of [disability-focused] resources in Boston that we’re able to build some really meaningful conversations.” “Generating conversation is an important part of any film festival,” Saks added. “Otherwise, you can sit home and watch the films. The conversations we generate in listening to people’s points-of-view and comments about what they have just seen are what make the difference and what make our work so valuable.” A noteworthy post-film discussion

from a past ReelAbilities festival included two individuals with autism who were unable to communicate verbally, but were able to answer audience questions using keyboards that were connected to iPads and projected onto a screen for audience viewing. All ReelAbilities films are recommended for ages 17 and older, unless otherwise noted, and most screenings are free to the public, due in part to requirements of the venues hosting them. Other screenings (more commonly opening and/or closing nights) are offered at a nominal charge. Complimentary tickets are available for groups from agencies serving people with disabilities. Information about the Spring 2018 festival will soon be available at Before then, audiences can enjoy ReelAbilities films that are included in the Boston Jewish Film Festival taking place from Nov. 8-20. Information about and tickets for this festival can be found at Feature film Keep the Change, a winner of multiple awards at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, is one notable film that will be screened. It explores the love story between two people with autism who meet in a social skills group in New York, and features lead actors (and a number of supporting cast members) who are on the autism spectrum. There has been much conversation and consternation about the casting of individuals without disabilities in the roles of people with them. The Ruderman Family Foundation has been particularly motivated to bring this casting issue to the forefront. “Issues of inclusion continue to be a challenge in the entertainment world,” Shapiro said. “The ReelAbilities Film Festival in Boston showcases the talent and accomplishments of people with disabilities and reminds us of the value of inclusion in mainstream films.” “The ReelAbilities films have taught me so much,” Saks added. “I have completely changed my understanding of people with disabilities — how much I have in common with them, what they’re capable of, that they lead full lives. The [ReelAbilities] program has had a huge impact on me, and it’s amazing to see it have that impact on other people, as well.” Individuals or groups interested in attending and/or supporting the Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival can visit to learn more and sign up for the festival mailing list. Filmmakers interested in submitting disability-themed films for consideration can contact Boston Festival Director Bresnahan at, or submit to ReelAbilities’ headquarters in New York (via for consideration for all ReelAbilities festivals.

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Key Mental Health Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs BY MARSHAL D. HANEISEN If the universe operated on a hardship law of equilibrium, parents of a child with autism would never have to worry about the car breaking down. Parents of a child with chronic medical issues would never lose a home to foreclosure. A parent of a child with emotional and behavior disorders would never become a single parent because of divorce. But having a child with complex challenges does not mean all other areas of life fall together seamlessly. These families also face typical pressures from financial worries, job stress, and relationship dynamics, all while juggling busy schedules with medical appointments, school meetings, and therapies for their child. Sometimes these parents may feel like it is all too much, which may trigger guilt. And when they see other people’s Facebook posts featuring happy outings, perfectly cooked meals, and fun-filled family vacations, they may feel jealous or sad. It is important for parents to pay attention to these emotions and tend to their own mental health. Research shows parents typically have higher levels of stress than non-parents, according to

Kirstin Brown Birtwell, Ph.D., licensed psychologist at The Lurie Center in Lexington, a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment clinic providing lifelong care for people with autism and autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, and other developmental delays. Research also shows that parents of children with special needs, including parents of children with chronic illness, exhibit higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than the general population of parents, she added. “It is important for readers to understand that this elevated stress is simply a by-product of the circumstances, an understandable and normative approach to this type of life,” she said. “Logistical, time, and financial demands are out-weighting the parent’s resources. Cortisol levels are at the max all the time, causing physical and medical side effects. The most important effects from my perspective are the mental health concerns.” When elevated stress exists day-to-day, it may be difficult to recognize signs of mental health struggles. While specific symptoms of different mental health disorders vary, Birtwell suggests a reliable indicator is a general feeling of being unable to


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manage your emotions well. “When our emotional resources are low, we are not able to put our best self forward and deal with things appropriately. When our emotional and stress levels are high, cognitive function and processing decreases. We really need to keep ourselves in check and manage our emotions,” she said. Parents should also consider their typical functioning and be aware if there has been a change. If they feel their emotional response is impacting their relationships, marriage, parenting, or work, they should seek professional help, Birtwell advised.

Two types of coping strategies Psychologists categorize coping strategies into two groups: adaptive and maladaptive. Examples of adaptive strategies include healthy eating, exercising, and mindfulness meditation. There is a tremendous amount of research on the power of mindfulness to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Maladaptive strategies are behaviors such as substance abuse, overeating, ignoring self-care, and catering to the concept of avoidance. These are less-efficient ways of coping that can be quite detrimental over time. “Parents of autism engage in quite a bit of avoidance as a coping strategy, pushing their own needs aside. That might work for a day, but in the long term problems snowball,” she said. Seeking peer support can be an adaptive behavior. All parents can benefit from a sense of support from other parents, Birtwell noted. That support might be as simple as going out for coffee with someone or as much as registering for a parenting

group series and dedicating oneself to attending all the meetings. “We have a tremendous amount of resources in Massachusetts. I want to encourage parents to understand it is well worth their time, money, and resources to seek out these supports. It is action in service of your family,” she said. While adaptive strategies are helpful, it is also important to recognize when to seek medical help. Typically, parents know and understand they are exhibiting mental health symptoms, but often they are focused on just getting through each day. Other parents might convince themselves that they are just going through a rough patch that will change in time. In either situation, the parent’s mental health struggles are left unaddressed and untreated, she said. Because mental health is such an important factor for parents and caregivers, many community support websites, such as Autism Speaks (, the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (, and Lives in the Balance (, address the subject and provide links to resources. But discussing mental health with a medical professional is key to personalized care. Parents don’t need to meet stringent cutoffs for depression and anxiety, they can have subclinical needs that may benefit from treatment, Birtwell said. “I definitely think more and more mental health awareness is appearing in general outpatient and annual visits. When interfacing with a medical professional and they ask questions about your own well-being, be as honest as possible,” she added. “Despite the context of having an individual with high needs, it is of utmost importance not to kick the can down the road. Systemic change can really help.” Birtwell recommends the website parentshelp-, which includes a 24-7 stress line for support and online parent support groups. Websites allow parents to poke around and not feel stigmatized. She encourages parents to get connected with their community, whether geographic or by their child’s diagnosis. This connection could include Facebook groups, which can be a place for sharing triumph and hardships. “Parents are much more apt to try and deal with negative emotions and not say they need more social support. We really need to take action. It is really important for parents to realize their wellbeing is directly impacting their children. There is also an important correlation between a parent’s mental health and their child’s. So it is important to take care to be your best self,” Birtwell noted. With appropriate mental health care, parents of children with special needs may be able to become more aware, appreciative, and in the moment, which is a powerful parenting strategy. They may develop a fresh appreciation for more joyful parenting moments. Birtwell said mental health care can help parents reconnect with all facets of life that are important — leisure, growth, personal life, and parenting. Marshal D. Haneisen is a freelance journalist, writer, and creative writing instructor. She lives in Fitchburg with her husband, son, and a variety of pets. Her son has a dual-diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism, and her experience as a parent of a child with special needs inspires some of her writing for various publications, as well as for her blog, Information about Marshal’s writing and workshops can be found

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Ethan Barnes, 17, has dreams of working in the motion picture industry, and has been creating costumes and movie props for years. While other kids his age may include sports, dance, or other interests in their senior portraits, Ethan wanted to include one of the Spiderman costumes he made himself.




always knew our second son wasn’t like the rest. He is very creative, allowing himself to be fully consumed by movies and television. After seeing The Lion King on Broadway, he became Simba. When he was Tarzan, he insisted on wearing only a small cloth wherever he went! We spent mortgage payments on Steve’s Handy Dandy notebooks, tan pants, and green striped shirts. And we have purchased more Spiderman costumes, Harry Potter wands, and lightsabers than we care to count.

When Ethan was 8, his doctor sat us down for a very important meeting: “Your son has Asperger’s.” We must have looked puzzled. “It’s a form of autism,” he said. “Asperger’s?” I turned to my wife Kristen and asked, “What the hell is Asperger’s?” Neither of us were quite sure, but we were going to find out. Our quest to learn everything about Asperger’s began. What we learned is that it is a deeper level of patience and understanding.

We learned that the outside world is not always nice.

world, and everything in it, just a little differ ently than most.

We learned what it was like to fight for someone who couldn’t fight for themselves.

They are also a group who are more intelligent than most of us put together.

We learned that as a parent, your ability to fight will be tested.

They are very passionate.

We learned that you have a lot more fight in you than you think. We learned that developing a tough skin is a necessity.

They are caring. They are very driven. And they can be wildly funny! They are artists, scientists, and inventors.

We learned that there is a group of quiet people out there who are amazingly intelligent.

They have, and will continue to, change the world for the better.

They are a group of people who view the

And, yes, most are painfully shy.

38 OCTOBER2017

Reward yourself by getting to know someone on the autism spectrum. It will be more rewarding than you could ever imagine. Not only am I proud to say, “My son is Ethan Barnes,” I am also proud to say, “and he has Asperger syndrome.” Along with his wife Kristen, Richard Barnes is a parent to four children. Both photographers, Richard and Kristen operate Barnes Portrait Design in East Brookfield. When not working, they love to spend time with their kids, outdoors, and traveling to Disney World, Ethan’s favorite!

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Timing, as they say, is everything. Especially when it comes to detecting dyslexia in children. 40 OCTOBER2017

Why is early detection so important? Basically, children must learn to read, and from then on, they read to learn. Developmentally, kids have a brief, precious window of time during which they get to learn the mechanics of reading. Past that window, they must be able to read well to continue learning. The difficult truth of the matter is that 130 years after the first medical documentation of dyslexia, it is still missed more often than not. Estimates are that 1 in 10 people is dyslexic, and most never get diagnosed. There are varying degrees of symptomatology and a broad spectrum of affected abilities that contribute to the difficulty of diagnosis. Dyslexia occurs when the brain develops and functions differently. It’s a neurological difficulty with decoding the written word, not an intelligence issue. The written word is a code that requires the brain to match seemingly meaningless marks on a page with the sounds we’ve heard from birth,

and not all brains are structured or wired to do this effortlessly. Dyslexia is often hereditary, and rarely gets noticed until a child enters school and begins to struggle with literacy. A dyslexic myself, I felt like a normal, happy kid until entering first grade. Then things changed quickly. I couldn’t understand why I struggled with reading, writing, numbers, sequencing, and directions. I was working as hard as I could, but nothing fell into place for me like it did for the other first graders. I fell farther behind year after year. My story is not unique. To complicate matters, dyslexia has sibling conditions, and any or all of these symptoms can be experienced: • Dyscalculia (trouble with math, numbers, sequencing, sense of direction, and time management). • Dysgraphia (illegible handwriting or printing, incompletely written words or letters, poor planning of space [running out of room], strange

contortions of body or hand position while writing, struggle or inability to take notes, which requires thinking, listening, and writing simultaneously). • Dysphonia (difficulty differentiating and interpreting the different sounds of spoken words). • Dyspraxia of speech (misspeaking words, and/or halting speech. This aspect of dyslexia occurs when the brain has problems planning to move the body parts [e.g., lips, jaw, tongue] needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words). • Dyspraxia (an issue that involves the whole brain, affecting functions such as gross [large] muscle movements and coordination, fine motor skills [pen grip, unclear hand dominance, trouble fastening clothes and

tying shoes, difficulty writing on the line on paper], clumsy, accidentprone behavior due to proprioceptive challenges [telling where the body is in space], trouble telling right from left, and erratic, impulsive, or distracted behavior). What do all these aspects have in common? They are structural brain differences that mean that reading, writing, math, spelling, and more will never be automatic. A dyslexic person will never read or perform other affected tasks quickly. No matter how brilliant a dyslexic student may be, these tasks will always be laborious. Dyslexia robs a person of their time. Without accommodation in the classroom (such as extra time for reading and writing tasks), there can be a tremendous strain to keep up. Dyslexia and its siblings are like having a dial-up brain in a highspeed world: Our buffer gets full quickly, and that buffer has to clear before anything else can get done, sorted out, or retrieved. If a child or student is struggling with experiences like these, please don’t assume that they are lazy, unmotivated, inattentive, or unintelligent. Dyslexia is not an intelligence problem, a character issue, a nutritional deficiency, or a lack of focus. Learning disabilities do not equate to thinking disabilities. If your preschooler has trouble identifying rhyming words, pronouncing words, calling things by the right names, following instructions with more than one step, or if they speak less or use fewer vocabulary words than their peers, screening for dyslexia is advisable. Delayed language development is often the first sign of dyslexia in preschoolers. Is there a history of reading or spelling difficulties in the parents or siblings? Dyslexia is highly heritable. Kindergarteners and first graders with dyslexia could exhibit frustration with reading, complaining that it is too hard. (They are good at disappearing when it’s time to practice reading!) They often are unable to

sound out even the simplest words because they can’t easily connect a sound to its matching letter. Great problem solvers and guessers, they often supply their own narrative to an illustrated book based on the pictures. They may say ‘‘kitty’ or “kitten” instead of “cat,” for example, even though “cat” is used in the story. Signs of low self-esteem and shame show up early for dyslexics. Children especially experience low selfesteem in situations in which they believe they are destined for failure. Thus, kids with learning problems feel most vulnerable in settings in which their learning difficulties are obvious and exposed, such as in the classroom. Low self-esteem can show up in a number of ways: • Quitting or outright avoidance of difficult tasks. • Being disruptive or clowning. • Poor eye contact, slumping posture, and reluctance to talk or engage in conversation. • Impulsivity. • Becoming aggressive or bullying. • Negative self-talk: I’m stupid, I can’t do anything right. When children with dyslexia understand what’s going on with their brain and are taught how to make things better, the difference in their outlook is astounding. Early detection and intervention are keys to giving kids with dyslexia a good foundation in reading, but also a good foundation for developing coping skills that will give them hope and the ability to live up to their full potential. Don M. Winn is an award-winning author and dyslexia advocate. He has written numerous articles about dyslexia and helping struggling readers. His blog archives are available at

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New Massachusetts Cheer Team Welcomes Children with Disabilities BY MICHELLE PERRAS-CHARRON, PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH BROOKS

What if there was a place where a child’s disability did not matter? What if a special place existed where everyone was simply on the same team — working together, helping each other, cheering each other on? The Challenger Cheer team of South County Pop Warner Football and Cheer is that place. Here, children with a diverse variety of special needs meet three days a week and literally cheer for each other. The Challenger program is new to South County Pop Warner this fall and is the only program of its kind in the Central Mass League, which reaches far beyond the middle of the state, extending into Connecticut,

42 OCTOBER2017

Rhode Island, and Vermont. The mission of the Pop Warner Challenger Division is to bring the Pop Warner experience to boys and girls with special needs between the ages of 5 and 18. Challenger Cheer teams are non-competitive, however, they do perform for audiences and cheer at football teams. Central Mass Pop Warner Football and Cheer is headed by Ginger Ferraro, who serves as cheer and dance director. She is also the assistant coach for the Challenger Cheer team of South County, which she helped establish this year alongside her daughter, Ashley Ferraro, who serves as head coach.

After seeing other Challenger teams across the country, Ginger said she wanted to offer a Challenger team for children with physical and/or mental disabilities in Central Massachusetts. And although she’s been trying to establish one for the past five years, there just wasn’t enough support — until now. “We really pushed and pushed this year,” she says. “It’s really exciting, and we’re thankful that this year it took off. We’re hoping it will continue to grow each year.” Bonnie Czernicki, whose 8-year-old son Matthew has Down syndrome, says she was skeptical of the program when she enrolled Matthew

in August. She had tried other local sports organizations, including Challenger teams, but often found they still ran at a faster pace than he could handle. “With cheering, it’s very repetitive and there’s a routine,” Czernicki says. “I think that is comforting for him.” She adds that being part of the South County Challenger team is comforting for her, too. “It’s nice for me, as the parent, to be with other parents that understand,” she notes. “Even though the children on the team have different disabilities, we all have a common bond.” The Challenger Cheer team initially piqued Czernicki’s interest partly

because Matthew’s older sister was a cheerleader. She reports Matthew is thoroughly enjoying being on the team of six, where he is one of two boys. Aside from the routine and repetitive nature of cheer, Czernicki also credits Head Coach Ashley Ferraro’s structuring of the class, which is specifically designed for children with special needs. “Ashley is amazing because she is a special education teacher,” Czernicki says. A Pop Warner cheerleader from the ages of 7 to 15, Ashley also cheered for her high school, and later at Westfield State University. She earned an undergraduate degree in special education and has been a teacher in Springfield for the past five years, working with children with autism while continuing her studies in a graduate program. “I jumped on the opportunity to coach,” she says. “It’s an incredible opportunity for children with special needs to do something they’re not often given the chance to do.” Ashley says she uses a color-coded visual schedule board at practice, dividing activities into 10- to 15-minute time blocks so the children know what activities to expect and what’s happening next. She also uses a timer to help transition from one activity to the next, which can be difficult for children with special needs. “I’m taking things I’ve learned in the classroom and applying it to this program,” she adds. “I hear stories from other parents and teachers about how difficult it is for [special needs] kids to participate in programs, because programs offered through towns and cities are often not accommodating. There’s a certain population of kids who have more significant needs, and there’s just not a lot out there for these kids.” The Challenger team also takes part in “team time” during practices, an opportunity for the kids to get to know one another through crafts, games, dancing, and team-building activities. During team time, the children learn how to get along with each other, share, and interact. “We want them to walk away feel-

ing good about themselves,” Ginger Ferraro says. “We’re setting goals for the kids, but at the same time we want them to have fun.” To accomplish this, adjustments are made during practice based on how the kids are reacting, she notes.

Meghan Rith of Northbridge enrolled her 8-year-old twin daughters, Zahra and Zoey, in the program after learning about the team on Facebook. She thought the program sounded promising, and her daughters were excited to give it a try. Rith, whose daughters are both on

the autism spectrum, says she has enrolled them in other activities in the past, but has yet to find the right fit — until now. Like fellow parent Czernicki, Rith also attributes her children’s success thus far to Ashley’s class structure,

as well as her understanding of the children’s needs. “Ashley is the most important part of the team,” Rith says. “She’s really the glue that holds the team together.” While the class is very structured, it progresses at a pace her daughters

are comfortable with, Rith adds: “Having a routine is crucial to keeping my girls engaged, but it’s at their pace. My girls can sit down if needed, because they feel safe enough to take a break.” Rith echoes Czernicki, explaining it’s also a judgement-free zone for parents: “I feel very relaxed here, where in other settings I was tense. We probably wouldn’t be doing an extracurricular if we weren’t on this team. It’s been three weeks so far, and that’s the longest we’ve lasted anywhere.” Rith hopes Zahra and Zoey, who both struggle with social interactions, make new friends and feel the comradery that comes from being part of a team. While South County Pop Warner is based in South Central Massachusetts, Ginger Ferraro says the Challenger team is not confined to the area and can accept children from anywhere in the state. More information about the Challenger team can be found at or by emailing Cheer Coordinator Bridgette Ebbeling at Pop Warner regional cheer competitions will take place next month in Springfield, where the Challenger team will perform for an audience. The first week of December, the team hopes to travel to the Pop Warner National Championships at Walt Disney World, where again, they will have the opportunity to perform noncompetitively. “I want them to feel like they can do whatever they set their minds to,” Ashley says. “Their disability does not limit them, but makes them unique and awesome.” Michelle PerrasCharron is a freelance writer and mother to four school-aged boys in Western Mass. A Navy brat and also the wife of a retired Air Force Captain, she loves writing about people and all topics related to parenting. She also enjoys running and a strong cup of coffee.

We’re Here to Help Whether your loved one with special needs is an adult or a child, we can help with: • Special Needs Planning • Guardianship & Alternatives • Transition Planning & Adult Services • Advocacy Visit to learn about our October 28th seminar “How to Administer a Special Needs Trust.” Contact Frederick M. Misilo, Jr., Esq. 508.459.8059 or

Art by Dominic Killiany, an artist living with autism


Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! - Dr. Seuss

Courtesy The Hanover Theatre


Family Volunteer Day. Oct. 14. Canton. 44 OCTOBER2017

Photo courtesy The Westminster Cracker Festival

Courtesy of the Springfield Museums

Courtesy of Brookwood Community Farm

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Live. Oct. 7. Worcester.

Children’s Literature Festival. Oct. 14. Springfield.

Westminster Cracker Festival. Oct. 21.

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! MELTDOWN WARNING: Before you pack up the minivan, please confirm your destination. Although we’ve done our best to ensure accuracy at press time, things can and do change.

1 Sunday

The Amazing Kreskin. Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. 8 p.m. One of the world’s greatest mentalists brings his talents and his six-decade career to the Regent Theatre as he dips into your minds. Purchase ahead. $22.50-37.50 regent

Nature and Art Discovery. Museum of American Bird Art, 963 Washington St., Canton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Enjoy a story, playing, and hiking in nature, and create art during this thematic exploration into the natural world. For ages 2 to 6. Sundays. Register ahead. Member children $8, nonmember children $9, adults free.

Courtesy The Discovery Museums

7 Saturday

Ninjago Event. LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Assembly Row, Somerville. Activities include a scavenger hunt, appearances from Kai, and a skills competition. Tickets start at $17.50. Invisible Life: Exploring the World through Microscopes. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 1:30 p.m.3 p.m. Journey into the world of the microscopic as we learn about early microscopes, try modern ones, build simple microscopes, and use a macro lens to capture images. Recommended for ages 5 and up with adult. Register ahead. Members $10, nonmembers $20.

2 Monday Especially for Me: Morning for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children. Children’s Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Join in all the fun during this special morning exploring the Children’s Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods during our inclusive and accessible nature playscape, with ASL interpreters and snacks onsite. Register ahead. Free. Puppet Pals. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Songs, stories, and lots of puppet friends, with a craft to follow. For ages 3 to 5. Free.

3 Tuesday Make a Mess: Artists on a Roll. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and use balls dipped in paint to roll your way to a brilliant work of art. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Especially for Me: Sensory-Friendly Afternoon. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Explore the entire campus at your own pace, during these events with lower crowding and a quiet space. Register ahead. Free. Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Science. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Drop in and experiment on pumpkins, as we feel them, float them, guess how

National Chemistry Week Celebration. Oct. 23. Acton.

many seeds they contain, and more. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

4 Wednesdays Early Explorers. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 10:30 a.m.12 p.m. Move, learn, and create as we explore the natural world through movement, games, stories, and art. For families with children ages 3 to 6. Tuesdays. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free. Coyote Club. Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont. 3:30 p.m.5 p.m. Enjoy this program aimed at expending pent-up energy, as we learn to problem-solve and work together. For ages 5 to 9. Register ahead. Members $15, nonmembers $18.

5 Thursday Snip and Tear. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and show off your scissor skills, try cutting for the first time, or use your hands to tear a collection of confetti. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Where’s the Milk? Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Lend a hand with morning chores, as we feed the cows, try our hands at milking, and enjoy a dairy treat. For families with children ages 3 to 8. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50.

6 Friday Music and Movement with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 9:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Move, make music, listen, learn, and get a multi-sensory workout with our favorite Kindermusik educator. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Hispanic Heritage Month Program. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy Hispanic art, music, and dance as we celebrate this vibrant culture. Through Monday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. First Friday Night Free. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 4:30 p.m.8:30 p.m. Enjoy free admission and explore the museums at night. Non-perishable food donations for the Acton Food Pantry and Open Table of Concord and Maynard accepted. Free. Fall Harvest Festival. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Join us for a family-friendly evening of seasonal eats and fall fun, during this familystyle meal of salad, pizza, and desert, featuring fresh Drumlin Farm produce and meat, lawn games, and tours of our fields. Register ahead. Member adults $35, children $15; nonmember adults $42, children $15. Stars Over Springfield. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Join members of the Springfield Stars Club for skygazing in the Science Museum’s observatory, or if overcast, a planetarium show. $3.

Apple and Ag Days. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.. Celebrate the harvest and beautiful New England as our costumed interpreters harvest apples, potatoes, carrots, and beets, meet our oxen, and learn more about the heritage breed animals. Through Monday. Free with admission. Adults $28, youths ages 4 and up $14, children age 3 and under free. Columbus Weekend Apple Festival. Lanni Orchard, 294 Chase Rd., Lunenburg. Pick your own apples, bouncy house, games, hay rides, and more. Douglas Octoberfest. Main St., Douglas. Street fair includes vendors, crafts, food, games, entertainment, rides. Cranberry Harvest Celebration. 158 Thionet Rd., Wareham. Juried crafters, activities for children, animal shows, cooking demonstrations, food, pony and wagon rides. Admission $10; $5 for seniors and military; children under 7 free. Fall Festival. Blue Hills Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave., Milton. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Create autumn memories and enjoy live animal presentations, beekeepers, apple cider pressing, face painting, crafts, and more. Through Sunday. Members $6, nonmembers $8. Harvest Weekend Festival. Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant St., Leominster. PJ Masks Live! Boch Center, 270 Tremont St., Boston. 10:30 a.m. Based on the top-rated animated Disney Junior TV series, Catboy, Owlette, Gekko, and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring worldclass production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity. Six shows through Sunday. Tickets $25+. Everyday Engineering: Balls and Ramps. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in as we construct and create with repurposed and recycled materials to form mini-rollercoasters, straightaways, loop-daloops and more. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Tangled. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Enjoy a screening of this BAYSTATEPARENT 45

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! demonstrate techniques using skeletons of modern animals. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $12, children ages 3 and up $8, ages under 3 free.

animated Disney film taking a spin on the traditional Rapunzel tale. Free.

Photo by Vivien Killilea /Getty Images for KIDZ BOP

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Live. The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 2 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Enjoy as the #1 PBS KIDS series takes the stage on a new adventure in the Neighborhood of MakeBelieve where Daniel learns just what it takes to be king. $29-$39. A Musical Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. 4 p.m. & 8 p.m. This concert stages some of the most notable hits and rock operas to reach Broadway, including Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Phantom of the Opera. $22.50-$37.50.

8 Sunday Harvest Fest. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy the abundance of the New England landscape, learn about Native American gardening and how Native peoples prepared for the winter, taste local fruits, and more. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children ages 5 to 13 $6, children under age 5 free. 9th Annual Oktoberfest and 12th Annual HONK! Parade. Harvard Square, Cambridge. Beer garden, food, live entertainment, vendors, family activities. 12th Annual New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival. City Pier 3, New Bedford. Chowder and soup from more than 20 area restaurants, live music. Adults $18, Children 6 to 12 $5; free for ages 5 and under. Nature and Nurture with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Explore the great outdoors as we sing songs, take a nature walk, read a story, or make a craft. Recommended for ages 2 to 4. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

KIDZ BOP Kids. Oct. 28. Boston

Family Autism Event. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Enjoy an outdoor special musical activity with All Hands Drumming. All three floors of the museum will be open to provide a quieter option. Register ahead. Free.

Archaeology Discovery Day. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Join us for a hands-on mock archaeological dig, as we use special tools to excavate fragments of the past. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $5, children under 2 free.

Hands-On History: Archaeology. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 1 p.m.4 p.m. Get hands on with this program focusing on Native American artifacts through the Archaeological Institute of America. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, children $5, children 5 and under free.

Fall Open House. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10 a.m.5 p.m. Enjoy free admission and special events at the MFA’s annual Fall Open House, as you dance your way into the museum, hear a concert, and join a tour exploring showdowns in art. Free.

9 Monday Morningstar Access. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 8 a.m.10 a.m. Enjoy this opportunity to visit the museum when there are only a few visitors, and families can explore with greater peace. Register ahead. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free.

Columbus Day: Discover the ICA. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. We open the ICA doors for free during Columbus Day, and encourage all to stop by for our exhibits and installations. Free. Zooarchaeology Laboratory Open House. Peabody Museum of Archeology & Ethnology, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge. 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit as our researchers

Historic Games. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Join us for some Columbus Day family fun, as we bring out games and toys replicated from the 1800s, including table-top bowling, marble shooting, spinning tops, and more. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children ages 5 to 13 $6, children under age 5 free.

10 Tuesday Dance and Movement Class. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10 a.m.10:45 a.m. Enjoy as the Joanne Langione Dance Center presents a music and movement class for toddlers and preschoolers. Recommended for ages 2 to 5. Free. Tinker Tuesday: Open Studio. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.11 a.m. Drop in and explore the possibilities of reusing what we usually throw away. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Henry Bear Playdate. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Hear the story of how Henry Bear built a cabin, climbed a mountain, and hiked to Fitchburg, with a craft to follow. Members free; nonmember children $5, children 4 and under free.

11 Wednesday National Fossil Day: Meet a Paleontologist. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate National Fossil Day with ancient trilobites, sea scorpions, saber-toothed cats, giant ground sloths, and more. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $12, youths ages 3 and up $8, ages under 3 free. hmnh.

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KidsCon & CAMP EXPO 2nd


Saturday, January 27 • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sponsored By

46 OCTOBER2017


Reserve your booth today! Contact Regina regina@ baystateparent. com 508-865-7070 x 210

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Wednesday Wonderings Nature Play. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Explore the museum grounds and trails, and dive into a new nature theme with stories and activities to help unlock the wonder of the natural world. Recommended for ages 2 to 5. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children ages 5 to 13 $6, children under age 5 free. ARTfull Play. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Engage with art, stories, materials, nature, and new friends during multi-sensory activities. Recommended for ages 2 to 5 Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children 12 and under free. Backyard and Beyond: What’s the Weather Wednesday. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Join us in the Discovery Woods to celebrate whatever weather Mother Nature decides to give us today through a special activity. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

12 Thursday Mirror, Mirror What Do You See? The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10

a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and join us as we play with different kinds of reflections and experiment by using mirrors to create symmetry, refract light, and expand our fields of vision. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Wonders of the Animal Kingdom. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Investigate the lifecycles of some amazing animals, as well as how they eat, smell, and survive. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9, children under 1 free. Little Red Hen. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Help us make bread as we grind the grain, mix, knead, and shape the dough, and visit the hens to reenact the story of the Little Red Hen. For families with children up to 8. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50. Veggie Art. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon. 10 a.m.11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. -2:30 p.m. Use a variety of fruits and vegetables for printing, painting, and creating beautiful art, while discovering how they grow. For ages 4 to 6. Register ahead. Members $9, nonmembers $12.

Take Aparts. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in and take a look inside telephones, computers, radios, and more during this discovery of circuit boards and the inner workings of everyday electronics. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Chinese Bilingual Storytime. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 4 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Enjoy this special bilingual storytime with stories, songs, and movements in English and Chinese. For ages 3 to 5. Free.

13 Friday Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Enjoy nature-based activities pegged to the weather in Discovery Woods or our adjacent conservation land. Designed for ages 2 to 6. Fridays. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Star Wars Reads Party. Worcester Public Library: Burncoat Branch, 526 Burncoat St., Worcester. 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Make a Star Wars craft, play a game, take a picture with our giant Kylo Ren, and enjoy edible Ewoks, galactic

snacks, and party favors. For ages 6 and up. Free. Friday Night Science. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Discover the strength of air with our scientific wind tunnel, parachutes, and helicopters, as we explore the wonders of wind. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9, children under 1 free. Pumpkin Carving. Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary, 1417 Park St., Attleboro. 4 p.m.6 p.m. Help staff at Oak Knoll as we carve pumpkins for our Halloween Spooktacular. For families with children ages 3 and up. Register ahead. Free. Block Party. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy an awesome block party at Boston Children’s Museum, featuring music, arts and crafts, dance, storytelling, and more. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free.

14 Saturday Family Volunteer Day. Brookwood Community Farm, 11 Blue Hill River Rd., Canton. 10 a.m.11:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Join in as we

Join us on December 2, 2017 for the event that is sure to ignite your holiday spirit! The Diane Kelley Holiday Spectacular is back for it’s 6th season at the beautiful Hanover Theater.

Get your tickets now for this holiday event featuring local talent of all ages!

Tickets available at

76 Central St., W. Boylston 508-835-2678 BAYSTATEPARENT 47

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! work with our hands outdoors, and find out where our food comes from. Register in advance. Free.

they are hired by a powerful alien race to protect their precious batteries from invaders. Free.

Children’s Literature Festival. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Enjoy a day filled with books, costumed characters, and authors, as we explore, create, and play games in a celebration of children’s literature. Free with admission. Adults $25, youths ages 3 and up $14, children under 3 free.

Halloween Spooktacular. Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary, 1417 Park St., Attleboro. 4:30 p.m.8:30 p.m. Enjoy this fun, non-scary Halloween event, as visitors travel through pumpkin-lit trails and are greeted by forest inhabitants who share the history of the sanctuary and nature through skits and stories. For families with children ages 3 and up. Register ahead. Free.

34th Annual AppleFest. 499 Mountain Rd., Wachusett Mountain, Princeton. Over 75 craft fair & farmers’ market booths, family entertainment, pony rides, jugglers and magicians, and more. Through Sunday. Adults $11; Children 6 to 12 $6.

The Princess Bride & Cary Elwes Conversation. The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 7:30 p.m. Enjoy as this romantic and comedic cult-classic follows a courageous princess who crosses paths with marauders and past love, with a discussion with film star Cary Elwes to follow. $29-$39.

Rockport Harvest Festival. T-Wharf & Downtown Rockport. Food, music, family activities. Free. Diwali Celebration. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate this festive holiday as we explore the sights, sounds, and spirit of this holiday honoring cultures of India. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. All About Bees. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in and join a researcher from Tufts University as she shares her work studying honey bees, try some hands-on activities, and discover some fascinating facts about these buzzing pollinators. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Prowlers of the Night. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Join us as we explore nocturnal animals through hands-on activities, experiments, games, and crafts to answer questions on grey foxes, owls, and more. Members $5, nonmembers $8.






GROUPS OF 10+ CALL 617.532.1116 Boch Center is a trademark of The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Elderberry Sumac Syrup for the Whole Family. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Join the Boston Food Forest Coalition as we learn all about this delicious herbal syrup, prepare a batch together, and bottle up some with jars from home. Register ahead. Free. Leaf Peepers Family Program. Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Gather colorful leaves on a walk through one of the sanctuary’s beautiful wooded trails, and collect leaves, branches, and bark to trace and craft with after the walk. Register ahead. Member adults $7, children $4; nonmember adults $10, children $6. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Follow Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians as

15 Sunday Apple and Ag Days. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.. Celebrate the harvest and beautiful New England as our costumed interpreters harvest apples, potatoes, carrots, and beets, meet our oxen, and learn more about the heritage breed animals. Free with admission. Adults $28, youths ages 4 and up $14, children age 3 and under free. CatVideoFest. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 7:30 p.m. Enjoy The cats are back by popular demand, for a 75-minute romp through the internet’s finest cat videos, with the goal of raising money and awareness for Boston’s Forgotten Felines. Advance $12, day-of $15.

16 Monday Sophisticated Stores. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 7:30 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Enjoy cool, strange, weird, and wacky picture books and brownies. For children in grades 3 and up. Free.

17 Tuesday Dance Party. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Move to the grove as we play music and allow kids and caregivers of all ages to dance together. Free. Take Aparts, Jr. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and grab some tools as we discover the inner workings of household gadgets and gizmos. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Your Nose Knows. Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Visit some of the aromatic spots

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! at Habitat and get a chance to use our sense of smell, before making some animal nose masks. For families with children ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $6, nonmembers $8. Backyard and Beyond: Upcycling. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop-in as we upcycle Discovery Museum t-shirts into reusable shopping bags while exploring the concept of reuse and conservation. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

18 Wednesday Colorful Leaves. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon. 10 a.m.11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Discover why leaves change colors and why others stay green all winter, during this program featuring an outdoor exploration and colorful art project. For ages 4 to 6. Register ahead. Members $9, nonmembers $12. Upbeat Music. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Enjoy this exciting rhythmic music and movement classic, as we learn multicultural drumming patterns and explore movement and dance while singing songs. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Pigs and Potatoes. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Dig, harvest, and pig out, as we harvest potatoes, feed the pigs, and make a potato treat for our own. For families with children ages up to 8. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50.

19 Thursday Doggy Days: Howl-o-ween. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and help Abby, our certified Therapy Dog, play doggy dress-up and vote for the costume that you think she should wear while trick-or-treating. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

20 Friday Take Aparts Art. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in and get ready to turn trash into treasure as we combine some inner workings of household gadgets with other recycled and repurposed materials to make one-of-a-kind sculptures and collages. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Family Game Day. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Drop

in for family games and activities, as we present games, building materials, and other activities for all ages. Free. Halloween Hike at Boo Meadow Brook. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester. 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Meet our resident spirits during a gentle guided tour through the woods on the trails lit by softly glowing luminaria, and meet old favorite and new characters on your walk as you learn about some of the creatures of New England. Register ahead. Members $6, nonmembers $7. The Price is Right: Live. The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 8 p.m. Watch as television’s longest-running and most-popular game show comes to life in front of your eyes, during this energetic, frantic, and festive showcase. $35$55.


21 Saturday


Candy Chemistry with Mom or Dad. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Discover the physical and chemical properties of candy and sharpen your math skills while making fudge, chocolate, and other yummy allnatural treats. Recommended for ages 6 to 9. Members $30, nonmembers $35. Register ahead. 37th Annual Mass Audubon Farm Day. Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Winslow Cemetery Rd., Marshfield. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tractor-drawn hayrides, live bluegrass music, educational presentations, games, crafts, artisans, delicious food.

Visit for dates, rates & times. *4 Drink limit on beer per person.

Westminster Cracker Festival. 10 Village Sq., Westminster. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Live music, arts & crafts, beer garden, kids activities, and more. Free. Chatham Oktoberfest. Gould Park, Chatham. Featuring beers, kid’s crafts and games, entertainment, and food trucks. Massachusetts Mom & Baby Expo. DCU Center, Worcester. Learn about all the resources, services, and products available to you to help you have a healthy pregnancy, birth, and new parenting experience. Coupons, samples, raffles, and more. Adults $5, children free. Through Sunday. Boo at the Zoo. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy family activities, creepy crafts, games, costume contests, a haunted maze, and, of course, all your favorite Stone Zoo animals during our weekend celebration of Halloween. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $16.95, children ages 2 to 12 $11.95, ages under 2 free.



The Ultimate Children’s Discovery Farm

Special Farmland Events For October

October 21 -22 & 28 – 29 Moo Moo’s Halloween Party: Come in your favorite Halloween costume and join Moo-Moo in our SPOOKtacular parade featuring your farmland friends. *Paint a pumpkin, play some fright-free games and see what other special surprises are in store this Halloween season. Events run 11 to 3 Sat and Sun. (*additional fee) U-Pick Apples & Pumpkins (Check on availability) Birthdays Groups Private Outings & More

Visit * for more info, or call (978)422-MOOO (6666). Adults must be accompanied by a child 12 years or younger at Davis Farmland

$2 OFF! General admission at either Farm park! Good for up to 4 people. Exp 10//31/17 Not valid with other offers, discounts, packages or special events. BSP10 S T E R L I N G ,


©2017 Davis Farmland

BAYSTATEPARENT 49 DFL BSP10 4.5x11 AD 9-9-17.indd 1

9/9/17 11:38 PM


Photo by Karen K & the Jitterbugs, courtesy Amazing Things

Safety Day. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Meet firefighters from the Boston Fire Department and learn how to prevent burn injuries, dress up as a firefighter or medical professional, practice safety techniques, and visit the teddy bear clinic. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. Pumpkinfest. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Celebrate the fall harvest by creating your own carved pumpkin, playing pumpkin games, and enjoying some fine fall food. For ages 5 and up. Register ahead. Member children $8, nonmember children $10, adults free. Scavenger Hunt Challenge. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Join us during this Scavenger Hunt Challenge as families must work together to follow the clues around the grounds and museum buildings. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children ages 5 to 13 $6, children under age 5 free. Special Storytime: Tom Sullivan. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Enjoy this classic clash of the colors in ‘Blue vs. Yellow’ straight from the author as he visits our reading library. Free with

Karen K and the Jitterbugs. Oct. 28. Framingham.

admission. Adults $9, youths $6, children under 1 free. Cars 3. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Enjoy this Pixar/Disney animated film bringing the entire Cars gang back together for another adventure. Free.



FIRST and THIRD TUESDAY of each month 10:30-11:15 AM

Build a Bat House. Blue Hills Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave., Milton. 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Enjoy this workshop as you gain knowledge and the experience needed to successfully provide a home for the mysterious flying mammals of bats. For ages 6 and up. Register ahead. Members $8, nonmembers $10.

Happier Valley Family Comedy Show. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 3 p.m.-4 p.m. We let creativity flourish in an accepting atmosphere, during this hour-long, all-new, created on-the-spot, improv show. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Member adults $9, children $4.50; nonmember adults $10, children $5. Halloween Hike at Boo Meadow Brook. Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester. 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Meet our resident spirits during a gentle guided tour through the woods on the trails lit by softly glowing luminaria, and meet old favorite and new characters on your walk as you learn about some of the creatures of New England. Register ahead. Members $6, nonmembers $7.

22 Sunday Boo at the Zoo. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy family activities, creepy crafts, games, costume contests, a haunted maze, and, of course, all your favorite Stone Zoo animals during our weekend celebration of Halloween. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $16.95, children ages 2 to 12 $11.95, ages under 2 free. Artbarn Community Theater Performance. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St.,

Now offering Infant, Toddler, and Preschool specials!

“…Mary was a bookworm. Sometimes when her siblings went out to play, she’d stay at home reading. Other times when she joined them, as often as not she’d eventually slip away to a secluded spot where they’d find her later, engrossed in a book.” — From A World More Bright: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Isabel Ferguson and Heather Vogel Frederick

In this children’s program, young visitors will not only listen to stories but also engage in playful activities. Recommended for bookworms 5 years old and younger with adults. No registration required. 200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston MA 02115 For more information, please contact our Educational Programs Coordinator 617-450-7203 | 50 OCTOBER2017

• We accept qualified Vouchers and provide drop-in care • We offer an innovative fun curriculum consisting of STEAM learning, Robotics, Playdoh Creation, Yoga and Tumblebus • Come see first hand what makes us different!

Call us today to schedule a tour! 508-251-0322

Check us out on Facebook!

416 Boston Post Rd. East #5, Marlboro •

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Boston. 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Enjoy a fantastic family-friendly performance by the Artbarn Community Theater. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free.

Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Celebrate this ancient Festival of Lights with family and friends through lively music, dance performances, artist demonstrations, and more. Free.

Hidden History Hike: Archeology Remains in Our Local Woods. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 1 p.m. Join local archaeologist Kimberley Connors to discover the hidden history of the Great Hill Conservation Area, and discuss how humans were able to survive and thrive in this rich environment. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

Framingham High School’s Halloween Concert. Amazing Things Arts Center, 160 Hollis St., Framingham. 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Enjoy the award-winning songs of the FHS Madrigals, during this special presentation of autumnal tunes on the doorstep of Halloween. $5.

ARTfull Explorations. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Investigate ideas and material inspired by themes and artists on view in the Sculpture Park. Designed for ages 5 to 12. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children 12 and under free.

23 Monday MFA Playdates. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15 a.m.11 a.m. Bring your toddler to enjoy storytime and looking activities in the galleries, followed by thematic artmaking. Recommend for ages 4 and younger. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths 7 and up $10, children 6 and under free.

24 Tuesday National Chemistry Week: Colors on the Moooove. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as we bring chemistry to get colored dye moving in cool ways, and experiment to see how atoms and molecules in milk and soap act in crazy ways when mixed. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. discoverymuseums. org.

26 Thursday Spooky Science. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Become a crazy scientist, but beware as things might fizz, freeze, pop, or wiggle in our lab. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9, children under 1 free. National Chemistry Week: Spooky Science. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Use a little spooky science to create a strange substance that flows from liquid to solid. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Mischief Managed: Harry Potter in Concert. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 8 p.m. The Harry Potter Soundtrack Orchestra returns to the Berklee Performance Center for another night of wizarding adventures. Advance $12, day-of $15. berklee. edu/events.

27 Friday Special Storytime: Tad Hills. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 11:30 a.m. Enjoy as the bestselling feathered friends Duck and Goose get ready for trick-or-treating, as we come together in costume and meet author/illustrator Tad Hills. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, children under 1 free.

National Chemistry Week: Chemistry Rocks. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Drop in for this fun, handson exploration of rocks and minerals from salt to graphite. Through Friday. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

KidsJam. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy this all-ages dance party, featuring a live DJ, dance lessons, games, and of course plenty of dancing. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free.

Owl-o-ween. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Visit an owl before we create owl masks and prowl about, during this fun, inspired evening. For families with children ages up to 8. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50.

28 Saturday

25 Wednesday Diwali: The Festival of Lights. Museum of

Put the Garden Bed to Bed. Brookwood Community Farm,11 Blue Hill River Rd., Canton. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Enjoy as we find out what happens underneath the soil when frost arrives, why we plant certain crops at the end of the season, and prepare the garden to “sleep” during the winter. Recommended for ages 3 to 8. Register ahead. Families $15.

Play Date: Fire for the Imagination. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Ignite your imagination just in time for Halloween as we explore ways artists work with materials, shapes, and scale, from sketching to puppet-making. Free. Hillside Halloween. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Bring a goodie bag and collect treats at all the museum buildings, enjoy a scavenger hunt, play historic games, enjoy crafts and stories, and more. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children ages 5 to 13 $6, children under age 5 free. Karen K and the Jitterbugs. Amazing Things Arts Center, 160 Hollis St., Framingham. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Bug out with Karen K in her imaginary backyard fort where she makes music with her friends, the Jitterbugs. Adults $8, children $5. A Mystery at the Museums. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Find out who stole the Celestial Evening painting from the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, as you visit the scene of the crime, create a secret identity, and enjoy a trunk or treat. Free with admission. Adults $25, youths ages 3 and up $13, children under 3 free. Zoo Howl. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy family activities, creepy crafts, games, costume contests, a haunted maze, and plenty of fun visiting our animals during this spooky celebration before Halloween. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $19.95, children ages 2 to 12 $13.95, children under 2 free. National Chemistry Week Celebration. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Put a lab coat on, and try some geology-themed chemistry experiments. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. Capturing Skeletons with Pencil and Paper. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Get ready for Halloween by looking up close at real animal skeletons, as we explore a variety of different animal bones, and practice realistic drawing techniques. For ages 9 to 13. Register ahead. Members $25, nonmembers $35. KIDZ BOP Kids. Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Pl., Boston. 6 p.m. Enjoy the “Best Time Ever” tour as it comes to Boston with a brand-new live show. Sing and dance along during this family-friendly live concert, including BAYSTATEPARENT 51

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OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! new choreography and an eye-popping new set Creepy Crawlies. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, design. $28-188. 280 Eliot St., Natick. 1 p.m.2 p.m. Get up close and personal with tarantulas, Halloween Night Hike and Hayride. amphibians, snakes, and even some cool cockWachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 roaches during this creepy critter exploration. For Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. families with children ages 4 to 16. Register ahead. Experience the sounds of the night on a guided Member adults $13, children $7; nonmember hike, make a Halloween craft, enjoy a hayride, adults $15, children $9. warm up at the bonfire, and join us for some goodies. Register ahead. Member adults $7, Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerts for children $4; nonmember adults $10, children $6. Very Young People. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. Enjoy as Boston Symphony Musicians come Halloween Prowl. Moose Hill Wildlife together with children and their families for live, Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon. 6:15 interactive performances. Free with admission. p.m.-7:30 p.m. Celebrate the autumn holiday in Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 a fun, non-scary way, as we discover the history free. of Halloween, encounter costumed characters, enjoy a candlelit trail and campfire, and more. Sleepy Hollow-een Tour. Concord Museum, Recommended for ages 4 and up. 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Through Sunday. Register ahead. Member adults Join us for this special Halloween event as we $13, children $7; nonmember adults $15, children take a guided tour through historic Sleepy Hollow $9. Cemetery and learn about the lives and deaths of past Concordians. Members $5, nonmembers $10.

29 Sunday

Zoo Howl. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy family activities, creepy crafts, games, costume contests, a haunted maze, and plenty of fun visiting our animals during this spooky celebration before Halloween. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $19.95, children ages 2 to 12 $13.95, children under 2 free.

30 Monday Preschool Science Class. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Learn some beginning science concepts with the help of books and fun activities, as you explore technology, engineering, and math topics. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. Free.

31 Tuesday

Open House

Sunday, November 5, 2017 1:00-3:00 pm Beginners (Age 3) to Grade 6 Co-Educational Financial Aid Program Exceptional Secondary School Placement Afterschool Extended Day

The Chestnut Hill School

Educating. Engaging. Inspiring.

428 Hammond Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 617-566-4394

52 OCTOBER2017

Make a Mess: Pumpkin Take Aparts. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as we explore all parts of a pumpkin, from squishing its guts to counting its seeds, to knocking on its body. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Halloween Forest Hunt. Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Celebrate Halloween morning by going on a special Forest Hunt, as we search for Halloween-themed items, use special masks, and sing a Halloween song. For ages up to 5. Register ahead. Members $6, nonmembers $8. Backyard and Beyond: Halloween Hike. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Get dressed up in your Halloween costumes and take a walk through the woods with us, as we use a trail map and compass to discover treats along the way. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Drop-In Halloween Crafts. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Come to the library for some fun Halloween crafts, where costumes are encouraged. For ages 2 to 5. Free.



October’s Child: Aaliyah

Do you STAND OUT in the crowd? baystateparent

is looking for a standout MULTIMEDIA ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE who is a leader in the field Send your resume to Regina Stillings, director of sales at and stand out with our award-winning print, online, and digital products Full and part-time positions available 54 OCTOBER2017

Aaliyah is a funny, sweet 11-yearold girl of Cape Verdean and Lebanese descent who likes to please others. She loves doing her hair, painting her nails, and playing with dolls. She is helpful and takes pride in her loyalty to friends and family. Aaliyah would like to be a doctor when she grows up because she enjoys helping those who are in need. She also likes pets and has thought about becoming a veterinarian.

Aaliyah does well academically with the appropriate supports in place. She follows an Individualized Education Plan and performs one grade level below peers her age. Aaliyah does her best when given emotional support and structure in her everyday life. She has had some emotional struggles and is currently placed in a residential program. Aaliyah has been there for a year and is doing well, and is ready to join a family. Aaliyah is searching for a loving, supportive home with a mother and a father or two mothers. Her social worker is open to considering families with or without other children in the home. Aaliyah is legally free for adoption and there is an Open Adoption Agreement in place. She also has two younger brothers with whom she would like to maintain contact . For more information about Aaliyah, or the adoption process in general, please contact Department of Children and Families Adoption Supervisor Grace Kirby-Steinau at (508) 929-2033. The DCF Adoption Office in Worcester holds monthly informational meetings about the adoption process. Please call (508) 929-2143 for specific information about the next meeting.

Circle of Friends Sunday, Oct. 1: The Adoption Option. Jordan’s Furniture, 50 Walkers Brook Dr., IMAX Conference Room, Reading. 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. This event is for anyone interested in adopting children or sibling groups from foster care. You will be able to learn about the adoption process, meet waiting children and their social workers, and talk with families who have adopted. There will also be games, food, and fun. For more information, call 800-882-1176. Tuesday, Oct. 4: Western Region Adoption Info Meeting — Department of Children and Families, 140 High St., 5th Floor, Springfield. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (413) 452-3369. No registration required. Wednesday, Oct. 11: Central Region Adoption Info Meeting — ADLU

Worcester. 13 Sudbury St., Worcester. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. (508) 929-2413. Monday, Oct. 16: Northern Region Adoption Info Meeting, Jordan’s Furniture, 50 Walkers Brook Dr., IMAX Conference Room, Reading. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. No RSVP required. Email for more information. Monday, Oct. 16: Southern Region Adoption Info Meeting, Canton Police Department Conference Room, 1492 Washington St., Canton. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. RSVP: (508) 894-3830. Wednesday, Oct. 18: Boston Region Adoption Info Meeting, DCF Boston, 451 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. 617-989-9209.

If your group or organization is presenting a program for adoptive families, and you would like to include it in baystateparent magazine, please send information to

My Little Pony: The Movie • • • •

New movies coming to theaters this month By Jane Louise Boursaw

Wonderstruck • Rated PG for thematic elements and smoking • In theaters Oct. 20 • OK for kids 9+ • Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels


Based on Brian Selznick’s criticallyacclaimed young adult novel, this movie tells the story of Ben and Rose, children from two different eras who secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known, while Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his home and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out on quests to find what they are missing, which unfold with mesmerizing symmetry. Directed by Todd Haynes, this movie stars Oakes Fegley, Millicent Simmonds, Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams.

Rated PG for mild action In theaters Oct. 6 OK for kids 4+ Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels.

This new animated movie finds a dark force threatening Ponyville. The Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship and save their home. This movie features all-new music, with the Mane Six characters voiced by Tara Strong, Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Ashleigh Ball. Voice talent also includes Kristin Chenoweth, Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Liev Schreiber, and Taye Diggs.

Goodbye Christopher Robin • Rated PG for thematic elements, some bullying, war images, and brief language • In theaters Oct. 13 • OK for kids 6+ • Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels. This film offers a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie) and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books, the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the first World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?


1 Reel - Even the force can’t save it. 2 Reels - Coulda been a contender. 3 Reels - Something to talk about. 4 Reels - You want the truth? Great flick! 5 Reels - Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Louise Boursaw is the editor of reellifewithjane. com and

Empower Our Youth YOGA FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS • • • •

Yoga Yoga Yoga Yoga

calms the mind and body strengthens muscles and lubricates joints moves the digestive and lymphatic systems increases balance Unplug & Be Mindful Yoga 696 Plain Street #5 Marshfield, MA 02050 | (339) 526-9234 BAYSTATEPARENT 55

Get Fresh

at these Pick-Your-Own Farms & Orchards! Come and experience being on a farm and spend the day at Lanni Orchards! New this year Happy Apple Corn Maze

Pick your own Apples, Pumpkins “YOU WANT FRESH YOU WANT LOCAL”

Visit our website or Facebook for more fall events! 294 Chase Rd Lunenburg • 978-582-6246 for PYO information Open daily 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

PYO Apples, Pumpkins and Berries

Fall Hours 9-6, 7 days a week Every Saturday until Oct. 15th Live Music, Beer, and Wine from local breweries and wineries

Bakery and store with fruits, veggies, local honey, and local syrup

Hayrides and festivals through the season Clearview Farm, 4 Kendall Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564 Farm (978) 422-6442 •

Let’s Go...


& PUMPKINS TOO! in their seasons.

Visit our Farm Store & Kitchen

(800) 628-4851 455 Highland Ave Phillipston, MA

for delicious cider donuts, pies, apple crisp, ice cream, our own fudge & more. Visit our New Barnyard & Children’s Playground Weekend Wagon Rides Become a Facebook fan!

508-393-6406 234 Ball St., Northboro, MA

Open 5 days a week. October pick your own Apples & Pumpkins

Thursday, Friday & Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Sunday & Monday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm 44 Old Worcester Road, Charlton, MA 01507 (508) 248-7820 •

56 OCTOBER2017

U-Pick Apples and Seasonal Produce Open 7 days 10am-5pm Christmas Tree Shop in November Call 978-840-3276 or visit website or facebook for hours • 1125 Pleasant St. • Leominster Like us on for exclusive offers!


Big Joe

the Storyteller

Storytelling fun for Birthday Parties, Schools, Daycare Centers, Library Programs, Special Events and TV Featuring: • Original & Classic Stories • Puppets, Props and Surprises For Bookings and Info Call: 617-713-4349 E-mail: Visit me on the web at:

All Ages. Birthday Parties, Schools, Fairs, Day Care Centers, Etc.

Hostess Wanted! Host an online party and build a home library for FREE! 617-633-2832


October INDEX

Alphabetz Learning Center................................ 50 Associates in Otolaryngology............................... 2 Big Joe Productions........................................... 57 Big Y Foods, Inc................................................. 11 Boch Performing Arts Center............................. 19 Boch Performing Arts Center............................. 48 Boston Paintball................................................ 57 Charlton Orchards............................................. 56 Children’s Development Network, Inc.................. 6 Children’s Orchard-Westboro............................. 16 Clearview Farm................................................. 56 Commonwealth Ballet....................................... 35 Community VNA................................................ 41 Davis Farmland................................................. 49 Diane Kelley Dance Studio................................. 16 Diane Kelley Dance Studio................................. 47 Doctor Tony Saito.............................................. 21 Ecotarium......................................................... 53 Fletcher Tilton .................................................. 43 FMC Ice Sports................................................... 59 Hanover Theatre............................................... 33 Harrington Oil................................................... 15 Heywood Hospital............................................. 39 Lanni Orchards.................................................. 56 Legoland Discovery Center Boston..................... 51 Mall At Whitney Field........................................ 15 Mary Baker Eddy Library.................................. 50 May Institute..................................................... 36 Millbury Federal Credit Union............................ 13 Mom & Baby Expo............................................ 17 Needham Montessori School.............................. 25 New England Cord Blood Bank Inc..................... 36 Oak Meadow.................................................... 28 Pakachoag Community Music School................. 52 Red Apple Farm................................................ 56 Reliant Medical Group....................................... 23 Reptile Circus.................................................... 57 Roger Williams Park Zoo................................... 22 Rosalita’s Puppets.............................................. 57 Sholan Farms.................................................... 13 Sholan Farms.................................................... 56 Shrewsbury Children’s Center............................ 27 Special Needs Law Group of Mass...................... 37 St. Peter Central Catholic Elementary................. 21 St. Vincent Hospital............................................. 3 The Chestnut Hill School.................................... 52 The Children’s Workshop................................... 27 Tougas Family Farm, LLC................................... 56 Ultimate Obstacles............................................. 42 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 37 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 46 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 60 Unplug & Be Mindful Yoga................................ 55 Wachusett Mountain.......................................... 28 Westminster Village Foundation......................... 47 Women’s Health of Central MA............................ 5 YMCA Central Branch........................................ 41 BAYSTATEPARENT 57


with Eve Schaub Vermont author and mom Eve Schaub ( previously set her family on an adventure in her well-known first novel, A Year Without Sugar. For her next project, she set her sights (and her family) on the 567-square-foot, jam-packed spare room in her home, a spot/nemesis she nicknamed “Hell Room”. In her latest book, Schaub recounts her Year of No Clutter, an incredibly funny, relatable read for moms. She shared with us her realizations, challenges, and the state of Hell Room today (see below).


Why has clutter and organizing become so hot? In the majority of human history, there was pretty much never enough “stuff” to go around. Now we have an ever-increasing ability to produce goods faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. There’s lots more stuff to go around, but way down deep in our reptilian brains, we still have this deepseated, biological urge to save things.


What advice do you have for readers who have their own Hell Room? I implemented the “Kitchen Timer” rule: I had to work in the Hell Room for 15 minutes each day. Once the timer went off, I was allowed to leave. But, amazingly, nearly every time the timer went off, I’d have gotten enough accomplished that I felt motivated to stay a little longer. Every time I could see more space opening up, I’d feel energized about what I had been able to do.


Another new motto: “Decide Now.” During the Year of No Clutter, it occurred to me: How is “clutter” different from a “mess”? I realized a mess is pretty straightforward. If the kitchen is a mess, you go in and clean it up. But clutter? No one can solve your clutter for you. This is because clutter is all about deferred decisions — items that don’t really go anywhere because we haven’t fully decided where or if they fit into our lives. Once I realized this distinction, I found it very helpful and empowering; the key to cleaning out my clutter was making decisions — thousands and thousands of decisions.


What was the No. 1 lesson you learned over the year? One of the biggest: I am not alone. I’m amazed at the fact that every person I talk to about my book has a direct connection to the problem of too much stuff — either they have a stuff problem or someone they know does.

Another important realization: Decluttering isn’t something you have done and then it’s over. It’s something you do; it becomes a part of the way you live. Just like making your bed in the morning or brushing your teeth, decluttering has now become a part of my regular routine.


in this process — this was my last chance to stop on the road to being someday featured on Hoarders. The second was simply practice. I realized that the getting-rid-of-stuff muscle in my brain had lain unused so long, it had atrophied. So using it more and more, making lots and lots of decisions all the time, seemed to inoculate me to a degree against the tendency to obsess over one thing or another.


What was the hardest category of items to part with? My kind of clutter is largely about memory and sentiment. While I can pretty easily talk myself into getting rid of unneeded things that are still “perfectly good,” it’s the sentimental stuff that no one else would want that gets me every time.

How did this process change you? I realized that the root of cluttering, for me, comes from an almost paralyzing fear of making a mistake. If I never made a decision, I’d never have to worry about having made the wrong one! Once I understood that this was what I was doing, I gave myself permission to make “mistakes.”

What was the most surprising aspect of this journey? Toward the beginning of the project, I made the decision that there was going to be a fair amount of sadness. Because I had experienced loss so keenly in the past over things I had gotten rid of, I fully expected the process to be very sad and upsetting. What surprised me tremendously was that this time it wasn’t. I attribute this largely to two things: First, I had a newfound sense of what was at stake

7. 8.

How is Hell Room now? I love that I come home now, and I’ll call to my girls and say “Where ARE you?” and they’ll answer back, “We’re in the ART ROOM!” It’s no longer the Hell Room. And they’re using it: making projects, sewing, painting, looking for the button container and actually being able to find it. That’s what we all want our home living environments to be, isn’t it: usable, functional, enjoyable.

Photos courtesy of Eve Schaub

If your motto previously was, “When in doubt, don’t throw it out!” what is it now? “Be suspicious!” I am now highly suspect of any new item coming into my house. Where is it going to go? Is it worth the space and

energy that it will take up in my house and life? I have small new habits, such as when I come home from a play, recycling the program right away, or deciding not to feel guilty about giving away a gift that I know I’ll never use.

58 OCTOBER2017

Making a Difference One Skater at a Time





Admission only $5! Rental skates available for $5 Fun, affordable family outing Schedules available online

Learn basic skating skills Ages 3 and up 7 week sessions Fun & safe atmosphere


Introductory hockey school Ages 3 - 16 Superior skating & skill instruction

888-74-SKATE |


Oh, Baby – Do We Deliver! Nine months is a long time to wait for your special delivery, so when the big day finally arrives, you want to be sure you and your baby have the very best care. Moms in Central Massachusetts trust UMass Memorial to deliver the greatest experience, from excellent preand post-natal care from our obstetricians and family medicine partners, to a wonderful birthing experience at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester or UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster. With nearly 5,000 babies born at our hospitals each year, our team most definitely delivers! For added confidence, you have direct access to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Worcester.

Let UMass Memorial be your delivery destination. To learn more about your women’s health team and to make an appointment, call 855-UMASS-MD.




t s e B

OF 2017

If you’re expecting, you’re in the right place. 60 OCTOBER2017


October 2017 baystateparent


October 2017 baystateparent