Long Island Family - November 2023

Page 1

NOV/DEC 2023


Let's Go to the


Donna & Mateo explore AMNH's Gilder Center and share on navigating museums with a child with disabilities


Thanksgiving A thankful daughter on continuing family traditions


Experience the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City


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Centers provide a controlled and predictable environment, which is important for children with developmental and behavioral disorders. This can help them to feel more secure and focused during therapy sessions and can also help the therapist to effectively manage the child’s behavior.

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In center-based ABA, children have the opportunity to interact with other children who are receiving therapy, which can be beneficial for their socialization skills. They can also participate in group activities and practice social skills in a structured and supportive environment. Home-based therapy, on the other hand, may limit a child’s socialization opportunities and can be isolating.

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 36

pg. 38 pg. 18

pg. 24



14 | In the News How to explain the Israel-Palestine conflict to kids

6 | Editor’s Letter

18 | Parties Best Party Places 20 | Education Best Tutoring & Test Prep Resources 22 | Holiday Fun Our favorite things to do as the holiday season arrives

8 | Mom Hacks What to do with your kids’ old toys 12 | Ask the Expert Your teen’s first gynecologist visit 38 | Mom Stories One family’s intergenerational Thanksgiving customs

23 | Special Child Tips and resources for emotional wellness for the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities 24 | Cover How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities

4 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

pg. 22

FAMILY FUN 36 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for November

DIRECTORIES 32 | Special Needs Listings

ON THE COVER Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuo.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Cover location: Many thanks to Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family




Nina Gallo Photography


It’s been a heavy last few weeks in the world. We write for a diverse community at New York Family. The Israel-Palestine conflict is a complex and sensitive issue. We are all saddened about what is happening. When writing about war, How to Explain the IsraelPalestine Conflict to Kids (page 14), we aim to foster peaceful dialogue while respecting our community and holding onto hope for a better future for all families affected by this conflict. November is a busy month; the fall weather and upcoming holidays mean cool things to do and events are happening. Check out our calendar (page 36) and Holiday Fun events (page 22) to start mapping out your family excursions. Every November, we highlight ‘Special Child,’ where we share resources for kids with disabilities. And guess what? Our

cover is my son Mateo, age seven (and me holding on to him so he doesn’t tackle the art). Thankfully, The Gilder Center has unique interactive exhibitions! We adopted Mateo as a baby (happy National Adoption Month!), and he was diagnosed with ASD at a young age. You can read more about my journey at newyorkfamily.com because this month’s issue isn’t about me. It is about the many New York families in the disability community and the challenges they face daily – many of whom want to get out and just Go to the Museum! (page 24). And we have them; we have listed our picks with the most accessibility so you can map out your family’s visit before you go and enjoy all the beauty these institutions provide us lucky New Yorkers! Donna

PUBLISHER: Clifford Luster EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Donna Duarte-Ladd ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Erin Brof ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Stacie Goldberg DEPUTY EDITOR: Jeannine Cintron DIGITAL EDITOR: Kaitlyn Riggio EVENTS MANAGER: Shara Levine REPORTER: Barbara Russo SENIOR ADVISER: Susan Weiss PARTNERSHIP MANAGERS: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Suzanne Cirigliano, Chris Cunnington, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Janine Mulé, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli MARKETING & STRATEGY DIRECTOR: Rosalia Bobé SALES & MARKETING ASSISTANT: Elana Cantor MARKETING ASSISTANT: Tilejah Gilead MEDIA SALES ASSISTANT: Anastasia Aktipis ART DIRECTOR: Leah Mitch WEB DEVELOPER: Sylvan Migdal GRAPHIC DESIGNERS: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti EDITORS AT LARGE: Serena Norr, Cris Pearlstein EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas EDITORIAL INTERNS: Marnie Dunbar


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New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2023 Queens Family Media, LLC

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mom hacks

What To Do With Your Kids’ Old Toys By BarBara russo


he arrival of fall means the holiday season is around the corner! It’ll soon be time to check off the items on your kids’ wishlists. But in the meantime, you might be wondering, “How will we have room for all these new toys?” Well don’t fret, because we put together a list of what to do with your kids’ old toys that they outgrew or just don’t play with anymore. From recycling programs to charitable donations, these suggestions will help ensure that the toys that brought your little ones so much joy will continue to do so for others. RECYCLING Mattel PlayBack Program shop.mattel.com This company has so many popular toys, including the famous Barbie! Its PlayBack program allows you to ship your kids’ Mattel toys–specifically Barbie, Fisher-Price, Matchbox and MEGA toys–back to the company, where they are then recycled and reused as contents in new products. (We know, it sounds sad, but it actually helps keep toys out of landfills.) To participate, go to the website and fill out a short form to receive a free prepaid shipping label. Package your toys, and then send ‘em on out. Hasbro Toy Recycling hasbrotoyrecycling.hasbro.com/en-us/toyrecycling Mr. Potato Head. My Little Pony. Playskool. These are just a few popular Hasbro brands that you can send back as part of the company’s Toy Recycling program, which is a partnership with recycling company, TerraCycle. Once you send back your toys, the company recycles them into new materials and products, including play

spaces, flower pots and park benches. Spin Master Free Recycling Program spinmaster.com Recycling is a popular suggestion on what to do with your kids’ old toys. Spin Master toys, which include PAW Patrol and Rubik’s Cube brands, can be recycled through the company’s free recycling program. The company, like Hasbro, does its toy recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle. Once you send back your Spin Master toys (you can see a full list of toys on its website), they’re cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled

8 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

products, such as park benches and picnic tables, instead of ending up in a landfill. Stuffed Animal Box terracycle.com/en-US/pages/zero-waste-boxfaq Your kids aren’t playing with their stuffed animals anymore, but it might seem horrifying to think of these beloved plush companions winding up in the trash. Well there’s good news: They don’t have to! You can purchase a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box (prices start at $110), fill it with your stuffed animals and send them out. The toys are then sorted and processed into raw materials that

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are used to make new products. LEGO Replay lego.com If your kids are ready to move on from their LEGOs, you can pass forward these muchloved toy bricks to kids in need. Just box up your bricks, print out a label and ship them out. Kids will get a box filled with a variety of bricks and elements to play with, as well as a cool activity booklet with some fun building activities to try out! GivinG Back Charities If you’re looking for more answers on what to do with your kids’ old toys, consider donating them to charities! Many charities such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army will resell your donated items and use the money to support their causes. If you have a new, unwrapped toy that you’d like to give, Toys for Tots is another option. It’s run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and their mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them to less fortunate children at Christmas.

Ways to Recycle Other Items

Now that you have a few tips on what to do with your kids’ old toys, here are a few bonus ideas for recycling other household items, too: Umbrellas. Broken or unwanted umbrellas can be upcycled into tote bags. The metal spokes can be recycled at a scrap metal facility.

Homes and Shelters That adorable teddy bear and plush bunny, and those beautiful dolls in your child’s old toy chest will almost certainly bring joy to children going through a difficult time. Consider calling local children’s and women’s shelters to see if they’re accepting toys, and if so, how you can go about donating. Churches, Synagogues and Other Religious Organizations Consider contacting these organizations to see if they know of any families in need who

10 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

Pet food bags. Dry pet food bags, once empty, can be used as trash bags or upcycled into tote bags. Paint. Through the PaintCare program, many stores accept unwanted paint for paint recycling. Check out paintcare.org for a store locator and instructions on how to make your donation.

can use toys. Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE) This wonderful organization provides comfort for children in traumatic or emergency situations through donations of stuffed animals, blankets, books, children’s clothes and baby items. This beautiful mission gives you the opportunity to donate these beloved items so that they can be used to comfort kids who need them, and not thrown away.

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November/December 2023 | Long Island Family


ask the expert

Your Teen’s First Gynecologist Visit By Serena norr


re you wondering when it’s the right time to have “the talk” with your daughter about their first visit the Gynecologist? Or what how to the “right” Gynecologist or maybe wha to share what will happen during a visit. During a recent interview, we spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers, a board-certified OB/GYN who specializes in adolescent gynecology. Dr. Rodgers shared more about the importance of gynecologic care and how to open up the conversation as early as age 9. Read on to learn more about getting your teen ready for their first visit to a Gynecologist. Is there a “right” time to start talking to your kids about their first visit to a gynecologist? As a NYC-based board-certified OB/ GYN and mom of three, empowering young women and helping provide them with a supportive environment to start their gynecologic care is very important to me. Recently, as a result of the overturning of Roe vs Wade and the subsequent increased media coverage of reproductive health, more parents and teens have come to me to have a frank discussion about “hard to talk about” topics. A good initiation point (if your teen has not inquired prior) is when it is time for your child to get the HPV vaccine. This is approved for both boys and girls starting at age 9. Naturally, your child may wonder, “Why do I need this?.” This presents an opportunity to start the discussion about reproductive health and safety. From there, one can continue to address puberty and the changes that are happening to your child’s body. Education is essential here. I find that explaining the physiologic purpose of our period gives teens a better understanding of why it’s important to be safe once she becomes sexually active, even if they are still unsure of their sexual identity. It is also important to start this dialogue even if they are not sexually active, or planning on being sexually active in the near future, so that they are empowered with accurate information when the time does present itself. Many parents are concerned that bringing up these topics may encourage their child to have sex earlier, but the medical literature does not support this. What age do you recommend girls go for their first visit?

Ideally, they should see an OB/GYN prior to becoming sexually active or certainly by age 18. As a gynecologist, many adolescents come to me with irregular or painful periods. Prior to this, I educate them about the other areas of reproductive health including contraception and sexually transmitted infection prevention. What should parents look for when meeting a new Gynecologist for their daughter? It is important to find a provider that is comfortable with the adolescent patient population. Young patients often have different physical, social and emotional concerns that impact their reproductive health and decisions. What is a Gynecologist is looking for in young women? It is always important to take into account the whole patient when providing medical care. A medical provider should consider not only the physiologic findings, but also how the patient’s social and emotional life can impact their health. When I speak with a patient about birth control, I want to understand what is happening in their life – and it is not all about sex. I want to talk about the regularity of their period, if they suffer from acne, if they have bad cramping, and, ultimately, how their period impacts their quality of life.

12 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

Contraceptive advice Do you have anything else to add? All contraceptive options are not created equal, and there is not a one size fits all solution. A few years ago, with the help of a college-age intern, I created a tangible box. This includes samples of the various options so they can physically see the differences between each while we discuss the pros and cons. For many teens, the ease and accessibility of an over-the-counter birth control pill will be a great option. It has very few medical contraindications which makes it safe for many patients. This being said, I would like to note that the pill is 98% effective in PERFECT use. However, this requires the patient to be compliant with taking a pill each day. For many (especially teens), remembering to take a daily pill can be a burden. For this reason, I tend to recommend longacting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). These must be inserted by a medical provider, but do not require daily maintenance. They are available in hormonal and nonhormonal options and are effective for extended periods of time. For example, those who wish to avoid additional hormones, may want to consider Paragard. This IUD is effective for up to 10 years. As an OB/ GYN, I encourage patients to consider their options. Additionally, they should have a conversation about what is best for them with their health care provider.


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in the news

How to Explain the IsraelPalestine Conflict to Kids By Jeannine Cintron


n the innocent mind of a child, war is incomprehensible. Most young people, if they are fortunate enough to live in a safe place, are not able to grasp the horrors that war brings. The escalating brutality between Israel and Palestine is something even adults can hardly bear to hear, so it’s understandable that parents might need help explaining the situation to their impressionable children. We’ve broken it down for you below with tips from experts, extra resources for parents, and simple explanations for kids. Editors note: We at New York Family understand that this is a highly sensitive topic. Needless to say, we do not condone violence or terroristic acts of any kind. As a family publication, our goal is always to ensure that parents are equipped with the resources they need to raise children, which is why we are sharing this information for families to aid in coping and understanding a frightening situation for kids.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. Why are Israel and Palestine Fighting? Your kids might be asking what’s going on. It isn’t easy to simplify a conflict that dates back decades (technically centuries), especially one with such strongly opposing sides. But you don’t need to dust off a history textbook to explain to your kids why Israel and Palestine are at war with one another. In the country of Israel, located in the Middle East between Africa and Asia, lies territory that is desired by both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The region is also known as the Holy Land and is considered sacred among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Since the 20th century, ownership and occupation of this land has been a major source of conflict between Jewish and Arab nationalists, leading to prolonged violence and political uproar. Unfortunately, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or injured as a

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result of this ongoing dispute. Obviously, there is a lot more to it than that, but children may not understand and are likely going to be sensitive to the details. The experts we spoke to recommend parents not share the depraved actions of terrorist organizations with children, which is why we have provided this simple explanation. If you or your child are interested in a more detailed (and unbiased) explanation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, we recommend reading these articles together: • kids.kiddle.co/Israeli-Palestinian_ conflict • reuters.com/world/middle-east/israelpalestinian-dispute-hinges-statehood-landjerusalem-refugees-2023-10-10/ • cfr.org/backgrounder/what-us-policyisraeli-palestinian-conflict What are the roots to the Israel/ Palestine conflict? While international affairs – even war – tend to be of little concern to most children, this particular situation, with its stomachchurning images of violence broadcasted live for the world to see, is likely to be more than just a passing topic at the dinner table. In the age of social media, the graphic footage is easily accessible to children. Whether your child has seen the


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unsettling details or simply overheard adults talking about them, they might be confused and upset by it all. After polling our followers on New York Family’s Instagram, we learned that 75 percent of the parents who responded have children who are upset by what is going on in Israel. According to Lauren Tetenbaum, a Scarsdale-based social worker specializing in maternal mental health, the most important thing is to open the lines of communication with your kids, whatever age they are, and to make them feel comfortable coming to you for information – just not too much information. “I have elementary school aged kids and I keep it very direct with them, and honest, and I don’t give more information than the question requires,” she says. “For older kids, you should still be direct and honest, but you may be a little more proactive with them. You might want to reassure them that your job as their parent is to make sure that they feel safe and can come and talk to you about everything. And I think in general the message is always that we want peace and safety for everyone.” While we are very fortunate to not be near the violence, it’s still a very scary situation. So how do parents approach the conversation in a healthy way that is both truthful and comforting for kids? “It’s important to acknowledge their worry and also acknowledge yours. As parents, we feel like we have to be superheroes, but I think that it’s really important to show your kids that you are scared too, to a certain extent, but also emphasize that we’re safe here,” Tetenbaum explains. “I think it’s natural for kids to experience a level of anxiety,” she adds. “So I would encourage parents not to think that it’s abnormal unless it becomes excessive, in which case I would encourage them to reach out for professional support. But otherwise I would acknowledge the anxiety and say ‘Yes, this is an anxiety provoking situation. All war is terrible and sad and scary and we wish it weren’t happening. And I’m always here if you want to talk.’” “I would avoid details of the violence and be very matter of fact about it,” Tetenbaum continues. “It is a hard balance between teaching them about what’s going on and building empathy, but also not terrifying them. “Let them know there are ways to help. We can show support, we can donate medical supplies and things like that. Because a lot of kids and grownups, of course, feel very helpless

“It is an extremely raw and current moment. Everyone’s processing a lot of emotions. It’s scary. It’s real time. So give yourself a break.” and giving back in any way that you can, can feel good and also, of course, is very much needed.” Not every kid is going to be upset or even aware of what is going on, which is a good thing. But should parents keep them in the dark if they are old enough to understand? Sort of, according to Tetenbaum. “It is an extremely raw and current moment,” she says. “So I would say to all parents don’t feel that you have to behave a certain way. Everyone’s processing a lot of emotions. It’s scary. It’s real time. So give yourself a break, if your kid isn’t asking about it right now. I think it’s fine to leave it alone to a certain extent. But you could make the statement ‘You know, there’s war and violence escalating in the Middle East. It’s terrible. Violence is never the answer. And if you have any questions, I’m happy to talk to you.’ And I think that that sets up children for success as empathetic human beings as global citizens because they should know what’s going on. But I don’t think you need to sit them down and hammer it home, especially when feelings are probably heightened for you as well right now.” Tetenbaum also stresses the importance of caring for yourself first. “Give yourself a break,” she offers. “I know that we’re all glued to the phones and the news. It’s not great for our mental health. And I know that to be able to turn it off is very much a privilege and obviously the closer you are to the conflict, you can’t. But to the extent that you can I would encourage it because it’s like constant trauma in your face, literally. And I would say volunteering and giving back and educating yourself on these issues are great action items that can make people feel a little bit better. But there’s no one right way to process any of this, so give yourself that kindness.” Tips for Parents to Help Kids Cope Experts from the apolitical organization NATAL, Israel’s leading trauma and resilience center, shared the following helpful advice on how to listen to and speak with children about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Be together and be present. It is important to be with our loved ones. Be present while with your children and communicate with them often. Call people you love on the phone and ask how they are doing. Tell your children phrases like, “We are together and taking care of each other.”

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Provide information. Provide essential, reliable and focused information. It is important to help children understand what is happening and it is not recommended to hide information, but on the other hand, there is no need to go into too much detail. It is important to reduce children’s (and adults’) exposure to media, especially images and content that are inappropriate for their age, despite them being rapidly disseminated on many platforms. Leave only one device on in another room so you can be updated as needed. The news and social media are full of images and videos that are unsettling and can linger in our thoughts for an extended period. Despite the natural temptation to watch, it is important to be responsible with such media and not disseminate it. Normalize and accept. Explain that this situation arouses feelings of tension, apprehension and anxiety in everyone. Give legitimacy to everything they share with you – explain that physical and emotional reactions (fear, crying, tremors, confusion) are a normal reaction to this situation. Relax and ground yourselves. Inhale deeply, let your mind wander to happy places, and embrace one another. Engaging in physical activities such as stretching, yoga, jumping, strength training, or dancing can be significantly beneficial. Offering a helping hand and sharing a smile – even a forced one – are two powerful gestures that provide strength during challenging times. And lastly, don’t stay alone with your thoughts. How to Help Those Affected in this war: If you would like to donate to aid in relief efforts, here are some reputable charities to look into: • The United Jewish Appeal Israel Emergency Fund (ujafedny.org) • Jewish National Fund-USA (jnf.org) • Mercy Chefs (give.mercychefs.com) • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (donate.unrwa. org) • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (jdc.org) • International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC.org) • World Central Kitchen (wck.org)

New York FamilY partNer

Friends Academy Success in Middle School, High School and Beyond


s anyone who has lived through it can tell you, middle school is one of life’s most crucial phases. It’s where many have their first academic successes and where most develop the social and emotional patterns that define them. In other words, it’s where people become who they will be for the rest of their lives. Friends Academy, a Quaker institution in Glen Cove, NY, knows how important the middle school years are. So much so, that unlike most public and private schools, they offer a comprehensive fouryear program that begins in fifth grade. This four-year program affords students the opportunity to move through the multi-layered transition of adolescence by giving them the time and consistency they need. Friends Academy Middle School is a relationship-based program – starting students in fifth grade gives faculty the opportunity to get to know students earlier and more deeply. Friends Academy combines experiential learning with real-world collaboration – always preparing students for its rigorous Upper School – and for the challenges beyond. As each year builds upon the years prior, students gain confidence and learn lessons about accountability and responsibility, all while

being given the space they need to make the mistakes that are integral to learning. Friends Academy is rooted in Quaker pedagogy, which means that the school teaches students to see and share the unique light that is in themselves and in others. At Friends Academy, that looks like teaching students to think critically, to be comfortable with nuance, to respect the points of view of others, and to embrace that everyone is unique. In addition to academics, Friends Academy allows students to explore their potential by offering a full slate of extracurricular activities. There are numerous opportunities for community service, as well as healthy academic competition in many disciplines, including STEM, entrepreneurship, and the arts. “Our Middle School students develop autonomy and self-advocacy, forge their identities, and learn to value others’ perspectives while simultaneously engaging in a challenging curriculum and real-world experiences,” says Middle School Principal Christine Saunders. Across all grade levels, Friends Academy engages students with an inquiry-based model based on collaboration, curiosity, problem-solving, reflection, and access to real-world professionals.

Importantly, enrollment in the Friends Academy Middle School is an excellent way to ensure placement in the waitlisted and #1 ranked Friends Upper School. Families can learn all about what makes the Friends Academy Middle School experience unique by going to friendsacademy.org to download The Family’s Guide to Middle School ebooklet. They can also request more information, arrange a campus visit or attend an Open House. Visit friendsacademy.org or call 516-676-0393 to find out more and talk with a member of their Admissions staff. Open Houses Friends Academy is holding their only Open House of the season. Tour their beautiful 65 acre campus, their high-tech Makerspace where students have robotics and coding classes and meet their Head of School Paul J. Stellato, their Principal, teachers and students. Middle School: Wed., Oct. 25: 9am-10:30am Because Friends is a K-12 school you can attend an Open House for every age: Upper School: Tues., Oct. 24: 9:30am-11:00am Lower School: Thur., Oct. 26: 9am-10:30am Please RSVP to see why Friends may be the smartest investment for your student’s future.

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family




Birthday Party Places


earching for a birthday party should not be stressful; it is all about fun, right? But when it comes to our kids, we parents want them to experience the most memorable birthday that will provide memories for years. So, yes, there is a bit of pressure as birthdays are a big deal, especially for our kids. This is why we have found party spots for you that do all the work. This way, you can enjoy the day along with everyone else. From spots perfect for little ones to middle schoolage kids to those picky tweens and teens, we have some great party recommendations. All you need to do is choose the one that works for you, and it’s all a cakewalk from here. Happy festivities!

Celebrate like a rock star with music parties at Bach to Rock! They offer music-themed birthday parties for kids and adults, as well as party packages for corporate events. Their parties are a blast for guests, giving everyone the chance to learn and perform hit songs — even if it’s their first time playing an instrument. Their Rock City Birthday Party is perfect for kids 4 to 6 years old who love music, exploration, and creativity. At their Karaoke Birthday Party for ages 6 and up, partygoers get to sing one of their favorite songs and record in a real studio! Rock Birthday Party for ages 7 and up gives partygoers the chance to perform in a real rock band!

Adventureland Long Island 2245 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale, NY 631-694-6868 adventureland.us Host an unforgettable birthday party at Adventureland Long Island! Their birthday parties are a whirlwind of excitement, featuring heart-pounding rides, endless games, delicious food and a whole lot of fun. Guests can choose from Adventureland’s fantastic party packages that are carefully tailored to their needs. Little adventurers will be all smiles zipping around on roller coasters, splashing on water rides, and testing their skills at thrilling games. When it’s time to refuel, Adventureland’s mouthwatering food options will keep everyone satisfied. Join the fun at Adventureland Long Island and make your birthday one to remember!

Bounce! Family Entertainment Center 330 Michael Drive., Syosset, NY 516-762-1300 bouncesyosset.com Bounce! Family Entertainment Center is an indoor birthday party and play space in Syosset, NY that is perfect for birthday parties, group events, open play, and more! Bounce has the best party packages on Long Island. They offer multiple awesome attractions for birthday parties, including trampoline courts, Adventure Zone, bumper cars, laser tag, soft play, arcade games and more! After the activities, guests enjoy some delicious pizza & cake.

Bach to Rock 1015 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY , 631-201-1686 bachtorock.com/portwashington portwashington@bachtorock.com

Monster Mini Golf 645 Stewart Ave., Garden City, NY 516-279-4433 monsterminigolf.com/gardencity 410 Commack Rd., Deer Park, NY 631-940-8900 monsterminigolf.com/deerpark As you step into a world of monsters, prepare

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to be greeted by friendly human staff who will help you customize every aspect of your child’s party according to their preferences.

addition to miniature golf and thrilling arcade and redemption games, the locations offer additional attractions. Monster Mini Golf in Deer Park offers a Laser Maze and a Virtual Reality experience. The Garden City location offers a Laser Maze, Bowling and a Virtual Reality Experience. Monster Mini Golf is indoors, ensuring that your event will never be affected by the weather. Saf-T-Swim Multiple Locations in Nassau and Suffolk, Little Neck 866-723-3794 saf-t-swim.com info@saf-t-swim.com Saf-T-Swim turns every celebration into a splashin’ good time! Their parties feature certified lifeguards, personalized party areas, and welcoming warm-water pools, ensuring that both children and parents create cherished memories.These familyfriendly swim parties are versatile, ideal for birthday celebrations, team gatherings, fundraisers, and any special event. The stress of planning vanishes as a dedicated pool party specialist guides you through every detail, from setup to cleanup. Safety remains of utmost priority, with trained lifeguards ensuring secure celebrations for young swimmers. They offer a variety of pool party packages, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your family. Each package includes a private party room, private use of indoor pool, a special keepsake gift for the birthday child and more! Celebrate your birthday at Saf-T-Swim - where memories are made, rain or shine!

Monster birthday parties are designed to create an unforgettable experience for your little one and their friends. They are filled

with laughter, excitement, and plenty of monstrous fun, with private party rooms decked out in spooky decorations. In

Urban Air Lake Grove 3147 Middle Country Rd., Lake Grove, NY urbanairlakegrove.com Make your kid’s birthday party epic at Urban Air Lake Grove, where they take care of everything so you can enjoy the party. All party packages come with a dedicated host, arcade cards, a t-shirt for the birthday kid, party favor scratch-offs, Urban Air socks, tableware, balloons and water for each jumper. All packages include two hours table or room rental (plus setup and cleanup), after which you can stay another hour in the park to continue the fun! Experience all your favorite attractions, including Long Island’s tallest Sky Rider, bumper cars, virtual reality, climbing walls, ropes course, warrior course and dozens of trampolines. Packages start at $369. Book today and have the party of the year!

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family




Tutoring & Test Prep Resources

By New york Family


roviding our children with the best possible support is paramount in the ever-evolving education landscape. Whether mastering academic subjects, preparing for standardized tests, or cultivating critical learning skills, the right resources can make all the difference. Finding the perfect blend of guidance and resources is crucial, as every student’s needs and goals are unique. From one-on-one tutoring to cuttingedge digital platforms, we have trusted resources throughout New York that can shape a brighter future for your child. Check them out!

Online SBT Spanish Academy sbtspanish.com contact@sbtspanish.com SBT Spanish Academy empowers teenagers for success in the AP® Spanish Language and Culture Exam with their specialized online lessons. Experienced instructors are dedicated to guiding young learners through the intricacies of the exam’s curriculum. SBT Spanish Academy offers premium 1-on-1 online tutoring designed to meet the unique needs of teenagers preparing for this challenging test. With flexible scheduling and personalized guidance from their native-speaking educators, students can confidently master Spanish. Begin the journey to exam success today. Contact them at 516-360-9963 or visit sbtspanish.com for a complimentary demo lesson. Achieve your language goals with their unwavering support. Queens Ivy Prep 108-21 72nd Ave, Forest Hills, NY 718-261-4882 ivyprepschool.com

info@ivyprepschool.com Ivy Prep is a prestigious 30year private tutoring school dedicated to achieving top standardized test scores and academic excellence. We help students for admission to elite high schools, Ivy League universities, and gifted programs. Our comprehensive offerings include SAT, PSAT, ACT, APs, SHSAT, SSAT, Hunter High school exam, and college application guidance. We are experienced teachers, college professors or licensed high school educators from esteemed institutions, offering flexible small group or one-on-one, in-person or online lessons tailored to each student’s needs.

Long Island Sylvan Learning of Mineola 393 Jericho Turnpike Mineola, NY 11501 516- 368-0823 locations.sylvanlearning.com/us/mineola-ny sylvanofmineola@gmail.com We know how hard you’re working to help get your child’s skills and grades up. If you don’t see a difference, turn to Sylvan. They can help you get beyond the symptoms and find out what’s going on. Sylvan offers support in reading, writing, math, and SAT Prep. Their assessments pinpoint precisely where to focus to make the most significant difference, and their teachers are experts in today’s teaching methods. They can guide your child through their learning plan so you quickly see a change. You aren’t in this alone! Sylvan is here for you. Call them today. Bronx/Westchester Sylvan Learning Centers 850 Bronx River Rd, Bronxville 914 -327-2926 sylvanlearning.com/bronxvilleny 57 Wheeler Avenue, Pleasantville

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914- 313-8007 sylvanlearning.com/pleasantvilleny Sylvan Learning is the industry leader in providing supplemental education to prekindergarten through 12th-grade children in Reading, Writing, Math, SAT/ACT Prep, and homework support. Sylvan’s teachers are certified and specially trained to provide the best-individualized instruction to each student using SylvanSync™ technology for a truly engaging learning experience. The Sylvan approach is designed to help each student grow in knowledge and confidence. There are programs to fit every family’s busy schedule and budget. For more information, call (914) 579-2584 for the Pleasantville location or (914) 327-2926 for the Bronxville location. Ask about New Family savings on a Sylvan Insight Assessment.

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November/December 2023 | Long Island Family



Festive Holiday Fun


ue the hot chocolate, bring on family time, holiday lights for however you celebrate- the holiday season starts now. We are excited to share the events our amazing partners are holding this season! So dress warmly and remember to take a pic or two! Christmas Spectacular Radio City Music Hall, NY, NY Make this holiday season truly unforgettable. See the Rockettes live in the Christmas Spectacular, debuting on November 17 at Radio City Music Hall. Secure your tickets now and begin creating cherished memories. Legoland Bricktacular 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710 914-775-6015 legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester Ho-Ho-Whoa! Budding builders can get in

the holiday spirit with LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester’s Holiday Bricktacular event starting this November! From November 25th to January 1st, LEGO lovers of all ages can witness each attraction transform into a winter wonderland, full of holiday LEGO creations, merry LEGO experiences and hollyjolly surprises that are sure to delight. The 15th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop presented by Jenny Allen / Compass

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greenwichreindeerfestival.com Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, “North Pole on North Street,” 437 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 Santa and his three live reindeer return to Greenwich for the 15th year. Meet the reindeer, get your child’s photo with Santa (that benefits kids in crisis), write letters to Santa, enjoy the reindeer coloring station, and participate in the two Mercedes-Benz kids electric car raffles. Visit the beautiful Christmas shop and get your Christmas tree at Sam Bridge Nursery!






How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities BY DONNA DUARTE - LADD


here are layers to being a parent of a child with a disability. As a mother of a 7-year-old who is Autistic, there are many challenges. One thing I have learned is that every parent’s journey can have similarities yet also look different. The truth is, there are times I ace parenting Mateo, who is considered severely ASD and is non-verbal, and then there are times my whole being is tested. One of these challenges is going somewhere unfamiliar, and museums are on this list. We’ll save airport and new city experiences for another issue. Lesson learned: a few years back, I took my son to a fantastic museum while we were visiting family in California, and while the museum was unique for kids, it was so overstimulating that there was frustration and tears all around. Most unknown spaces are still challenging to visit, but I have learned that having a game plan before we go somewhere new is essential and helps the entire family enjoy the experience. Things like having a map of the museum and picking out the area that will be safe and welcome are essential for us. If there is a quiet room or pockets of quiet nooks, that museum has visitors for life. We use the family bathrooms like an office; they are our saviors- we can regroup fast and not worry about our guy sprinting off. My family loves it when a museum has a social narrative; we can talk about the upcoming visit and what we will see and show him how to visit it. I also bring snacks, and I have never had a security guard make me toss a snack when I explain that my child will not eat the food at a museum cafe. Again, every family has different

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

24 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

The American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation 415 Columbus Ave AMNH is a museum that families visit regularly as it is never-ending in all it offers. This museum’s adventure is endless, from the Hall of North American Mammals to the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and more. For people with disabilities, the museum provides much support, and we recommend visiting the accessibility section of its site to map out your visit. The services that stand out: service animals are welcome, and there are excellent tour programs. For Autism families, The Discovery Squad, in collaboration with the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, can, on specific Saturdays, explore activities related to the Museum halls before the museum opens. Science Sense Tours for blind or partially sighted visitors can check out this monthly tour, where specially trained museum tour guides spotlight specific themes and exhibits through descriptions and touchable objects. In circling back to mapping out your visit, the museum offers an actual route app for free. The Explorer app will help you to find accessible (with directions) routesand the best part is to see where the elevators are. Choose the accessible route and receive turnby-turn directions. And there is more. Your admission also works for AMNH’s newest addition, The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Fun things you can do are bug out at the Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium, gawk at the gorgeous architecture, and, for a fee, visit the gorgeous exhibits the Invisible Worlds and the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium.

needs, but this is how we navigate visiting a museum with Mateo. We compiled a list of museums that we feel go the extra mile regarding accessibility for families with disabilities. If you do not see one of your favorite museums on this list, please visit their website to check that it has what you need to support your child on your next visit. You can also find more general museum articles on newyorkfamily.com, such as our favorite children’s museums, Best Family Museums on Long Island, The Best Train Museums in NY and the Surrounding Area. We love our museums, and so do kids with disabilities!

LONG ISLAND MUSEUMS BY BARBARA RUSSO, additional reporting by Diana Kelly Levey

Cradle of Aviation Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City Wheelchair access: Yes Social guide available: Sensory map: No Explore this aviation and spaceflight museum that commemorates Long Island’s part in the history of aviation. Long Island Children’s Museum 11 Davis Ave., Garden City Wheelchair access: Yes Social guide available: Yes Sensory map: Yes This fun museum has so many features that make it accessible and inclusive for visitors of all abilities. First, it hosts Friendly Hours, which are monthly museum times designed for families with children with disabilities. During these hours, adjustments are made to the museum’s lighting and sound. You have to pre-register for these time slots, and you can see a schedule of upcoming friendly hours at licm.org. Then, there’s a sensory room, which provides a respite for kids with sensory sensitivities who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed during their visit. Check out the LICM4all app that lets you see social guides, interactive itineraries and more. The museum and its theater is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are also available at the Information Desk for visitor use throughout the museum. The Whaling Museum and Education Center 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor Wheelchair access: Yes

Explore maritime history at this museum that focuses on Long Island’s whaling heritage. Exhibits include displays about whale bones and whale evolution, scrimshaw and whalebone art, and a fully equipped 19th century whaleboat with original gear. The museum is accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs, and service animals in compliance with ADA are welcome. If you’re looking for a more quiet time at the museum, you might want to consider visiting toward the end of the day. Nassau County Museum of Art 1 Museum Drive, Roslyn Harbor Wheelchair access: Yes Social guide available: Yes Sensory map: Yes Explore art and culture at this popular museum that is accessible to all visitors and is equipped with both ramps and an elevator. Sensory tool kits are available at the admission desk. Designed to provide a multi-sensory museum experience for people with ASD, the kits come with items including texture squares, stress balls, loofah, liquid motion bubbler, visual aids with pictures and guided prompts to help lessen the stress someone might feel during their visit. You can take the kits home, too! Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale This event venue provides access for visitors with disabilities. This includes accessible entry doors, restrooms, suites, ticket windows, drinking fountains, concession counters and seating areas. Check out the Long Island Nets basketball or the New York Riptide lacrosse teams in addition to other shows and events throughout the year. The Long Island Aquarium 431 East Main St., Riverhead Wheelchair access: Yes Dive into fun at the Long Island Aquarium, where kids will see some amazing animals, including a giant Pacific octopus, sharks and lots of other gorgeous fish, otters, eels and more. The facility is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities. There are ramps, elevators and handicap-accessible entrances and bathrooms all around. Just keep in mind, the facility doesn’t have a dedicated parking lot. But, it’s part of the Riverhead Parking District, so you can use free, municipal parking lots throughout town, several of which have handicap parking spaces. Service dogs are welcome.

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family




DiMenna Children’s History Museum Located in the lower level of New York Historical Society 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) Families can explore the nation’s historical narrative and the vibrant tapestry of New York City through captivating exhibits illuminating prominent historical figures’ life journeys from childhood to adulthood. The facilities, galleries, and auditorium are wheelchair accessible, with complimentary wheelchairs for visitors. For those who are blind or visually impaired, free verbaldescription docent-guided tours are available by appointment in conjunction with museum admission. For deaf or hard-of-hearing museum go-ers, most exhibitions are accessible for T-coil hearing aid users. T-coil compatible audio guides are available, also free of charge with admission. ASL interpreters are available but must be scheduled to accompany docent or educator-led group tours, such as school trips. Appointments for these services can be made by contacting access@nyhistory.org. The Guggenheim 1071 Fifth Avenue While the Guggenheim is an art space with its renowned modern and contemporary art collection, it is also one of the world’s most famous museums. Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, its building is iconic. Although the building is stunning, it may feel out of reach if you are a parent of a child with disabilities. Thankfully, the museum has helpful resources to aid parents on their museum visit. There are ADA-compliant bathrooms located on Levels 1 and 7. There is plenty of room for wheelchairs; however, the High Gallery does not have wheelchair access. The space is quite open, so if your child is sensory sensitive, you may want to download the sensory map (guggenheim.org/accessibility) that maps out the areas (usually with seating) that tend to be quiet, less crowded, and low light. For your ASD child, there is also a social narrative map. For visitors with low vision or who are blind, Mind’s Eye Tours runs excellent tours that share through verbal descriptions, conversations, sensory experiences, and clever practices. These free tours should be emailed (access@guggenheim. org or call 212 360 4355. a week before the program you would like to attend.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, W 46th Street From checking out historic planes, a prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise, a dieselelectric powered submarine, and more, families can spend an entire day at this museum by discovering history through Interactive exhibits and artifacts through hands-on experiences while learning about American military and aerospace technology. The Intrepid Museum has a robust roster of programs for kids with disabilities -we recommend checking out their accessibility page for all their offerings. For blind and visually impaired visitors, there are verbal description and tactile guides that use raised images, Braille, and large print, as well as (ALDs) including stereo headphones, single-ear headphones, or T-coil compatible induction loops are available to borrow at no cost to something pretty cool like a talking pen. Autism kids aged 3 to 18 and their families can sign up for a free program called Early Morning Openings on Saturdays. There are also sensory-friendly evenings for teens (14+) and adults with Autism who can have a fun evening after hours. As we mentioned in the intro, it’s easy for sensory-sensitive kids to get overstimulated; before you start exploring the museum, pick up a sensory bag for noise-reduction headphones and fidgets. There are also visual vocabularies, checklists, scavenger hunts, and activity sheets for all public programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028 People worldwide visit The Met, one of New York’s most extensive museums. This is something to remember when visiting, as it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. The museum features gorgeous paintings from renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vermeer. The Met houses sculptures where kids can look at Greek and Roman statues and contemporary pieces. There is also ancient, Asian, European Decorative, modern art, and more. The Met supports many people with different disabilities. On the museums’ visibility section, a parent can find helpful resources for visitors on the Autism Spectrum such as tips, social narrative, Tour Visual Checklist, Sensory Friendly Mapand more. There are also art workshops for kids, teens(and adults) who are Blind or Partially Sighted. Visitors can also find programs in American Sign Language, with Sign Language interpretation and real-time captioning. For

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caregivers of visitors with disabilities, head to the museum ticket counter, where you can pick up a free ticket. MoMA 11 West 53 Street For modern and contemporary art lovers, New York (again) has one of the best in the world. From paintings by Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein to world-famous photographers (Irving Penn, anyone?), sculptures, film and media art, design and architecture, and more, MoMA is one outstanding institution to visit. For families with disabilities, you can find Sensory and Social guides. Guide dogs and trained service animals are welcome, and while the pet guinea pig may bring comfort, they must stay home. For wheelchair access, look for a security or a guest guide so you do not have to wait in line. MoMA works with Art inSight, and blind or low-vision visitors can download recorded verbal descriptions of several artworks on the free Bloomberg Connects app. Email AccessPrograms@ moma.org at least two weeks in advance for a touch and description tour. Visitors with disabilities are eligible for a discounted admission of $18, and admission is free for an accompanied—care partner. A huge favorite the museum features are the QR codes placed throughout the Museum. These QR codes include maps, additional artwork information, verbal descriptions, and assistive listening for sound artworks created to enhance your visit. There is no sensory room if your child tends to be sensory sensitive, but on the MoMa site, you can find a sensory map of quiet spaces within the museum. Whitney 99 Gansevoort St · (212) 570-3600 There are many reasons to head to the West Village; one is to spend time at the iconic Whitney Museum. The Whitney focuses entirely on American art, with each floor presenting vibrant and unique art, such as Georgia O’Keefe Edward Hopper to Layla Ali. And for our kids with disabilities and challenges, this museum offers support. The Whitney gets very busy- for wheelchair visitors, there is a helpful map; for kids on the ASD spectrum, a social narrative can be downloaded (all of this can be found under the Accessibility tab on the museum’s site) to help with the visit before you arrive. Service animals are welcome at The Whitney, and if your child needs an ASL-English interpretation, Live

Providing a wide range of services for individuals with autism across the US and Puerto Rico. Our mission is to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential by providing educational and therapeutic programs tailored to their specific needs.

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captioning, or Verbal description for their public programs and events, these services can be requested in advance. Parents with Sensory Sensitive kids will appreciate that the museum offers sensory-friendly artmaking workshops on select Saturdays before the Museum opens. Visit their events pages for postings. Bronx Zoo 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY Visiting the zoo, especially in New York, is both a fun and educational experience. It also can be an all-day excursion as there is a lot of ground to cover. First, zoos can be pretty noisy, and the areas that tend to get congested are Bug Carousel, Wild Asia Monorail, Children’s Zoo, and Budgie Landing. Rhino Garden and Zebra Hill are quiet zones if you need quiet time. Working with KultureCity, you will find signage identifying quiet zones; pick up a complimentary (to be used during your visit) sensory bag that contains fidget tools, noise-reducing headphones, and more. Trained service dogs are welcome, but remember to check in with admissions when you arrive for a service dig admission pass. If you

or your child needs a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) to experience the zoo, please go online to the site’s accessibility page to learn how to request a PCA in advance. All buildings are wheelchair accessible; however, certain areas require size, such as the Wild Asia Monorail. (open from May to Oct), it is accessible for manual wheelchairs up to 26 inches wide. Still, motorized scooters or wheelchairs more than 26 inches wide will need (with assistance, the staff is not allowed to transfer guests physically) to use an appropriate-sized wheelchair (available at Monorail platform) or onto a Monorail seat. We recommend downloading the access map on the Accessibility page of the Bronx Zoo’s website, as it provides helpful information from accessible routes, low-light exhibits, touch exhibits, and more. The New York Botanical Garden 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458 The NYBG is a true gem for New Yorkers at 250 acres, and as one of the world’s most extensive and known botanical gardens, it is perfect for families to visit. It is also rich in history, where you can explore

plant collections and learn about culture, conservation, and more. It is also home to the famous (usually March) Orchid and Train (November) show. For people with disabilities, you will find that ticketing booths and trams are equipped with T-coilcompatible induction loops. For large-print and regular-print transcripts of the audio tours, head to the visitor center’s information booth to pick these up. Trained Service animals are welcomed; for a service dog, you must obtain a Service Dog Admission Pass. Power-driven Wheelchairs, scooters, and power-driven mobility devices are permitted, and manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. On the NYBG website, you can download the accessibility guide for wheelchair routes, a social guide to prepare your child before your visit. You can also pick the guides up in the Garden. Check out the accessibility page for free upcoming tours for people with disabilities, such as ASL and sensory experience tours. This artcle was edited for brevity, for the full list of museums visit newyorkfamily.com.

Does Your Child Struggle With Dyslexia or Other Learning Challenge? Your Journey Ends Here!

Vincent Smith School (Est. 1924) Grades 1-12

• Dyslexia, Anxiety, Special Education • Small Classes (Avg. 5 Students) • On-site Related Services • Warm, Family Environment

CALL 516.365.4900 for more information or email admissions@vincentsmithschool.org 322 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington (516) 365-4900 • vincentsmithschool.org 28 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

The The Hagedorn Hagedorn Li�le Li�le Village Village School, School, Jack Jack Joel Joel Center Center for for Special Special Children Children (HLVS), (HLVS), is a not-for profit program that provides services for infants and children is a not-for profit program that provides services for infants and children up up to to 12 12 years years of of age age with with learning, learning, language, language, social social delays, delays, motor motor impairments, impairments, and au�sm with no direct cost to families: and au�sm with no direct cost to families:

•• Evalua�ons Evalua�ons •• Early Early Interven�on Interven�on (Birth-3) (Birth-3) •• SEIT SEIT •• CSE CSE I�nerant I�nerant Services Services •• ABA ABA Home Home Programs Programs

Related Related Services: Services: •• Speech Speech •• OT/PT OT/PT •• Parent Parent Training Training •• Family Family Support Support Services Services

Special Special Ed Ed Classes: Classes: •• Preschool Preschool (3-5) (3-5) •• School School age age (5-12) (5-12) •• Inclusion Inclusion

750 750 Hicksville Hicksville Road, Road, Seaford, Seaford, NY NY 11783 11783 516.520.6000 516.520.6000 •• www.li�levillage.org www.li�levillage.org

Funded Funded and and regulated regulated by by Nassau Nassau County County (NCDOH) (NCDOH) and and Suffolk Suffolk County County (SCDOH) (SCDOH) Departments Departments of of Health Health & & NYS NYS Educa�on Educa�on Department Department

Providing Providing Services Services for for over over 50 50 Years, Years, The The Hagedorn Hagedorn Li�le Li�le Village Village School, School, Jack Jack Joel Joel Center Center for for Special Special Children (HLVS), is a not-for-profit program that provides services for infants and children up Children (HLVS), is a not-for-profit program that provides services for infants and children up to to 12 12 years of age with learning, language, and social delays, motor impairments, and au�sm with no years of age with learning, language, and social delays, motor impairments, and au�sm with no direct direct cost cost to to families: families: Early Early Interven�on Interven�on (El) (El) and and Commi�ee Commi�ee for for Preschool Preschool Special Special Educa�on Educa�on (CPSE) (CPSE) services services are for children who have or who are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability. are for children who have or who are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability. Evalua�ons Evalua�ons must must be be referred referred by by NCDOH/SCDOH NCDOH/SCDOH for for El El and/or and/or to to the the local local school school district district for for CPSE. CPSE. Services are provided based on an individual child's elegibility as established by NYS DOH and/or Services are provided based on an individual child's elegibility as established by NYS DOH and/or NYS NYS ED department and local government at no direct cost to parents. Parents are responsible for ED department and local government at no direct cost to parents. Parents are responsible for fees/costs fees/costs associated associated with with children. children. November/December 2023 | Long Island Family



Caring for the


Tips and resources for healthier well-being of the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities BY INCLUDENYC


s caregivers, we all grapple with the impact of stress in our lives, and how we experience, respond to, and manage it can vary greatly. This is no different for children, teenagers, and young adults. Stress management influences our well-being and profoundly affects the children under our care. In the following, we present some fundamental guidelines to help you navigate the effects of stress in your life, along with valuable resources for local mental health support. Stay connected with the people who matter and support you. Be mindful of the time spent on social media or news sources that may overwhelm or drain your energy. Dedicate daily moments to enjoyable activities! Whether through exercise, playing sports, board games, or planning quality time with your children and family. Create a space for daily tranquility to allow your mind to relax. Be a role model for positive selfcare practices, including taking breaks, nourishing your body with healthy food, staying hydrated, engaging in regular physical activity, and ensuring adequate sleep. These practices should benefit not only yourself but also your children and loved ones. Remember, taking care of your emotional well-being is vital for your sake and those you care for. Mental Health Resources NYC Well provides free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health, and substance misuse support, information, and referrals. You can reach the toll-free helpline 24/7 by phone, text, and online chat. Mental health professionals there can connect you to the services you need. To contact NYC Well, call:

1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) 1-888-692-9355 (Español) 711 (TTY for hearing impaired) You can also reach NYC Well by texting “WELL” to 651-73 or visit their website for more information. NYC Well counselors are available 24/7. They can provide bilingual help in Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Additionally, NYC Well offers translation services in more than 200 languages. Health insurance is not required. Depending on your phone/text service, you may be charged a fee. Autism Speaks (Autism Speaks.org): A pretty famous non-profit in the U.S. is all about spreading the word on autism, supporting people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families, and doing some solid advocacy and research. It all started back in 2005 when Bob and Suzanne Wright decided to make a difference after their grandchild was diagnosed with Autism. NAMI-NYC (naminycmetro.org) supports families and adults affected by mental illness, including classes, 30+ support groups, family mentoring, and a Helpline.

30 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

Their Helpline can be reached at (212) 6843264. Vibrant Emotional Health (vibrant.org) provides people with emotional support and care. It runs innovative community programs for people at all stages of life and crisis lines, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. INCLUDEnyc (includenyc.org): Provides information and support to families of children with disabilities or delays, helping caregivers understand available resources and navigate special education, health services, and other support systems. Parents can also find peer support through INCLUDEnyc support groups in English and Spanish. Parent to Parent of NYS (ptopnys.org): This organization is all about giving a hand to families dealing with special needs, disabilities, or chronic illnesses. They’re on a mission to connect parents and family members looking after loved ones with disabilities. They want to create a support squad where families can chat, swap stories, and give each other much-needed emotional aid.

Love alone can’t protect a child with special needs If you’re caring for a disabled child, spouse, sibling or parent, the Law Ofϐices of Andrew M. Cohen can assist you with the following: • Preparing a will and advanced directives • Establishing a supplemental needs trust

• Understanding current government beneϐit

programs for individuals with special needs

• Handling guardianship proceedings • Special Education Law

• Creating the letter of intent

• Elder law and long-term care planning

What rights do students have? Children do have legal rights, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law designed to ensure that all students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education that meets their unique needs and prepares them for the future. Safeguarding legal rights is often critical to a student’s success. In situations where school districts aren’t in compliance, the Law Ofϐices of Andrew M. Cohen can advance a resolution that best serves your child’s well-being and education.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

Long Island



1100 Franklin Avenue, Suite 305 Garden City, New York 11530 (516) 877-0595

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family


SPECIAL CHILD DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement

Appletree ABA

ADAPTIVE AQUATICS Swimming lessons tailored to your kiddos individual needs! Our Adaptive Aquatics program is tailored to meet the unique goals of every swimmer, fostering water comfort, emphasizing water safety, and providing swimming instruction, regardless of individual physical or developmental challenges. The Benefits: • Overall Better Physical & Mental Health • A positive and enjoyable water experience • Water safety skills and life-saving techniques • And many more

Scan to find a location!

1-866-723-3794 Saf-T-Swim.com 32 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

100 Duffy Avenue, Suite 510, Hicksville NY 516-881-5373 appletreeaba.com info@appletreeaba.com Appletree ABA is committed to providing high-quality and compassionate ABA therapy services to individuals with autism and their families. They utilize evidence-based practices, collaborate with families and professionals, and offer an individualized approach tailored to promote meaningful change. They offer in-home ABA services across Nassau County NY. They work with most major insurances and accept private pay clients.

Autism Behavioral Consulting Services Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA 516-851-8330 kbottalico2002@yahoo.com An Educational Consultant serving Queens and Long Island and the NY Metro area. Working directly with families, services include: Evaluating placement and service options; Accompanying parents throughout the entire CPSE or CSE process which includes meetings, screenings, observations and extensive education history reviews. Other services include Staff Training, School-Based Consultation, FBA Assessment and BIP Implementation, ABA and Verbal Behavior Training Techniques, Behavior Management Strategies, Home/ School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services, Crisis Intervention and Prevention, Home-Based Services and Parent Education Training.

They can properly diagnose ADHD from a learning disability, and anxiety from autism. They use highly sensitive tests and include parent and teacher data to support assessments.

The Hagedorn Little Village School Jack Joel Center for Special Children 750 Hicksville Road, Seaford 516-520-6000 littlevillage.org jon.feingold@littlevillage.org The Hagedorn Little Village School is a not-for-profit school highly regarded for providing outstanding educational and therapeutic services for children with a wide range of developmental disabilities. HLVS provides year-round programs and services that include diagnostic evaluations and treatment, early intervention, a preschool, an elementary school, SEIT and related services.

Gersh Autism 631-385-3342 info@GershAutism.com gershautism.com Gersh Autism provides a wide range of services for individuals with autism across the US and Puerto Rico. Their mission is to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential by providing educational and therapeutic programs tailored to their specific needs. The organization offers a range of services, including early intervention, preschool and K-12, life skills and transition services for young adults. They are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with ASD and their families.

Comprehensive Consultation

Long Island Speech

114-20 Queens Blvd, Suite CS2, Forest Hills 180 East 79 St. Suite # 1C, New York, NY comprehendthemind.com Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. is a group of neuropsychologists who work as a team to help you understand your child’s functioning, from cognitive, to academic to neurological.

Nine locations lispeech.com Long Island Speech Long Island Speech is the leading speech therapy provider on Long Island with 9 locations in Nassau and Suffolk County. They specialize in Myofunctional Therapy, PROMPT, Voice Disorders, Fluency, Augmentative Communications, Articulation, Feeding Therapy, Audi-

Helping you create a bright future for your child

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CONTACT US: 516-881-5373






516-881-5050 www.appletreeaba.com 100 D����������������e �������cks��ll��������ork 11801

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family


SPECIAL CHILD DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement

Autism/Behavioral Consulting Services • Staff Training • School-Based Consultation • FBA Assessment and BIP Implementation • ABA and Verbal Behavior Training Techniques • Behavior Management Strategies • Home/School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services • Crisis Intervention and Prevention • Home-Based Services and Parent Education Training • CPSE/CSE Advocacy & Meeting Attendance

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Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA —NYS Certified School Psychologist—

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is now part of

tory Processing, Expressive/ Receptive Language Disorders and so much more. Long Island Speech participates with most major health insurance companies and offers evening and weekend hours. Call 844-5-SPEECH to schedule your first appointment, or visit LISpeech. com.

Law Offices of Andrew M. Cohen, P.C. 1100 Franklin Avenue, Suite 305, Garden City 516-877-0595 amcohenlaw.com ac@amcohenlaw.com Love alone can’t protect a child with special needs. The Law Offices of Andrew M. Cohen provides personalized, high-quality special needs estate planning and special education legal services. Whether your needs are simple or intricate, the Law Offices of Andrew M. Cohen can help you achieve your objectives through careful legal planning. All clients are provided with high quality, personalized and timely legal services at a reasonable cost. Attorneys Cohen and Adler-Greene also conduct free workshops on several topics for agencies, schools and parent groups.


Mommybites.com provides expertly curated resources for all parents in the New York area, including our most popular feature — our mom-generated nanny board — the best online source for parents to find vetted (by other parents), experienced nannies and childcare providers who want to work in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

Visit Mommybites.com; we can’t wait to see you there!

34 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

Multiple Locations in Nassau and Suffolk, Little Neck 866-723-3794 saf-t-swim.com info@saf-t-swim.com Discover Saf-T-Swim’s Adaptive Aquatics Program, designed to cater to each swimmer’s distinct needs, promoting water confidence, prioritizing safety, and offering instruction despite physical or developmental challenges. Their program yields numerous advantages, such as enhanced physical and mental well-being, a joyful water experience, crucial water safety skills, and life-saving techniques. Join us on a journey where every swimmer thrives, regardless of their unique abilities.

Tiegerman School 100 Glen Cove Avenue, Glen Cove, NY 11542 516-609-2000 Tiegerman.org Rosemarie King, Admissions Coordinator rking@tiegerman.org Tiegerman is a NYS approved non-public school program (K-12) for students with special needs. Our campuses in Nassau and Queens Counties serve students throughout Long Island and the five boroughs. Tiegerman’s innovative program specializes on the relationship between language development and academic success, providing intensive language immersion and academic instruction while meeting the individual needs of each student. To find out more, visit our website at tiegerman.org and register for a tour.

The Vincent Smith School 322 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington 516-365-4900 vincentsmithschool.org/ lbekore@vincentsmithschool. org Since 1924, Vincent Smith School has been Long Island’s premier school for differentiated instruction in grades first-12th for students with learning difficulties. They are known for their individualized programs for challenges like Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorders, or ADHD. Your child will find a supportive and nurturing environment at Vincent Smith.

Winston Prep Long Island 30 Deforest Road, Dix Hills 631-779-2400 winstonprep.edu kpreston@winstonprep.edu Winston Preparatory School Long Island is a leading school for students with learning differences, including dyslexia, ADHD, and nonverbal learning disorders. Learn more about their nationally recognized program at winstonprep. edu.

ho we are Winston Preparatory School is a leading school network for students with learning differences, including dyslexia, executive functioning difficulties (ADHD), and nonverbal learning disorders (NVLD). Winston Prep Long Island offers Rolling Admission

inston Prep by the Numbers hours


Average Time Spent in one-to-one Focus Program Each Week

3 0

Overall Faculty to Student Ratio

Average Number of Students in Each Class

Learn more at winstonprep.edu

Long Island Campus

Scan the QR code to visit our LI Campus

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family




Great Pumpkin Smash Fall Festival WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 – 4 pm WHERE: Science Museum Of Long Island, 1526 N. Plandome Road, Manhasset AGES: All WHAT: Come out for a day of fun, food, live music, and pumpkin smashing to celebrate the fall season and raise money for a good cause. WANT TO GO?: $15; $10 ages 10 and younger. smli.org

“Wonder Journey” – LuminoCity Festival WHEN: Nov. 9-Jan. 7, Thursdays – Mondays, 4:30 – 9:30 pm, except Nov. 23. WHERE: Eisenhower Park, 1899 Park Blvd, East Meadow AGES: All WHAT: Experience the largest immersive wonderlands of lights in Nassau County featuring scenes from Alice in Wonderland, a Winter Fantasy area, and Christmasville! WANT TO GO?: $34-$36. luminocityfestival.com

Veterans Day Family Festival & Wheels of Honor Car Show

Disney On Ice comes the UBS Arena from November 15 to 19. Hempstead Tpke. Uniondale AGES: All WHAT: Cheer on the Long Island Nets as they take on the Greensboro Swarm! WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $16. nassaucoliseum.com

Disney On Ice presents Magic in the Stars

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 11, 12 – 5 pm WHERE: The Samanea Mall, 1500 Old Country Road, Westbury AGES: All WHAT: Get ready to admire some stunning classic cars along with live music, food trucks, art, vendors, and more! WANT TO GO?: Free. eventbrite.com

WHEN: Nov. 15-19, Fridays – Sundays, 11 am, Saturdays and Sundays, 3 pm WHERE: UBS Arena, 2400 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont AGES: All WHAT: This exciting show includes 56 of your favorite Disney stars, including Mirabel, Woody and Buzz, Tiana, Moana, and more! WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $33. ubsarena.com

Long Island Nets vs Greensboro Swarm

Magic of Lights

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 13, 7 pm WHERE: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255

WHEN: Nov. 17-Dec. 30, Fridays and Saturdays, 5 – 11 pm, Sundays – Thursdays, 5 – 10 pm WHERE: Jones Beach State

36 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

Park, 1 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh AGES: All WHAT: Drive through dazzling holiday lights featuring scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $20 per standard vehicle. magicoflights.com

Trolls Breakfast

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 19, 12 pm WHERE: Jeanne Rimsky Theater At Landmark On Main Street, 232 Main St. #1, Port Washington AGES: All ages WHAT: Twist and Shout to the music of The Beatles at this concert for kids! WANT TO GO?: $15. landmarkonmainstreet.org

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 18, 9:30 – 11 am WHERE: United Skates of America, Inc., 1276 Hicksville Road, Seaford AGES: All WHAT: Come meet your Favorite Trolls Poppy Branch and Guy Diamond while enjoying a buffet breakfast WANT TO GO?: $22. unitedskates.com

Pictures with Santa

The Rock and Roll Playhouse Plays Music of The Beatles for Kids + More

How Animals Prepare for Winter

WHEN: Nov. 24-Dec. 23, Weekdays, 1-4 pm and 5-8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 1 pm, and 2 – 6 pm. WHERE: Hicks Nurseries, 100 Jericho Turnpike, Westbury AGES: All WHAT: Bring your camera to capture photos with Santa! WANT TO GO?: Free. hicksnurseries.com

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 – 11:30 am

NOV/DEC WHERE: Hempstead Lake State Park AGES: 6 and older WHAT: Explore the winter behavior of animals and see how they adapt to make it through the cold months. WANT TO GO?: $4. parks.ny.gov

AGES: 6 and up WHAT: Bring a flashlight and your imagination to learn about mystical creatures on this unique night hike! WANT TO GO?: $4. parks.ny.gov


WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 am – 5 pm WHERE: Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport AGES: All ages WHAT: See a live exhibit of rescued raptors, with a bald eagle, falcon, golden eagle, owls, and hawks along with activities for children including arts and crafts, face painting, and more. WANT TO GO?: $1020; Members: $5-$10. vanderbiltmuseum.org

American Girl LIVE! in Concert WHEN: Friday, Nov. 3, 6:30 pm WHERE: Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main Street, Patchogue AGES: All WHAT: Sing along to your favorite American Girl songs and Iconic music from each decade in this 90-minute experience that will get you out of your seats and dancing in the aisles! WANT TO GO?: $55-$85. (631) 207–1313, patchoguetheatre.org

Princess Tea Party WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 4, 1 – 2:30 pm WHERE: Ballet Long Island, 1863 Pond Rd, Ronkonkoma AGES: All WHAT: Dress up in your royal best for a ballet performance featuring some of your favorite Princesses, take photos with them and enjoy tea, lemonade, cupcakes and cookies. WANT TO GO?: $22. (631) 737– 1964, balletlongisland.com

Mystical Creatures WHEN: Friday, Nov. 10, 7 – 8:30 pm WHERE: Connetquot River State Park Preserve, 4090 Sunrise Highway, Oakdale


Raptor Day: Meet Live, Rescued Birds Up Close

Science Saturday: World Science Day for Peace and Development WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 11, 1 – 2 pm WHERE: Long Island Science Center, 401 Tanger Mall Drive, Riverhead AGES: All WHAT: Commemorate Science Day for Peace and Development by coming together to engineer your own boats! WANT TO GO?: $20; $15 museum admission for adult; free for members. sciencecenterli.org

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 16, 4 – 5 pm WHERE: The Hampton

Catch American Girl LIVE! at the Patchogue Theatre on November 3. Library, 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton AGES: 8 – 12 WHAT: Learn about chemistry and baking techniques while whipping up some delicious pumpkin muffins. WANT TO GO?: Free. myhamptonlibrary.org

Holiday Princess Tea Party WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 19, 10 am, 12:30 pm & 3 pm. WHERE: Long Island Aquarium, 431 East Main Street, Riverhead AGES: All WHAT: Your little Princess will dance and sing with all of her favorite Princesses, enjoy white glove tea service with finger sandwiches and sweets, and take your own photos to cherish. WANT TO GO?: $49.95; $44.95 children 2-12; $10 ages 2 and younger. longislandaquarium. com

Pickle Party!

The Long Island Aquarium hosts a Holiday Princess Tea Party on November 19.

WHEN:Sunday, Nov. 19, 1 – 2 pm & 3 – 4 pm. WHERE: The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor AGES: All WHAT: Sample delicious pickles, decorate a pickle jar, make your own pickles, and more.

WANT TO GO?: $25 participant; $20 members. cshwhalingmuseum.org

Cat Kid Comic Club Musical WHEN: Nov. 19, 3 pm WHERE: Staller Center For the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook AGES: 5 – 12 WHAT: This “supa” awesome laugh-out-loud family adventure stars Dav Pilkey’s Cat Kid and Molly Pollywog as they teach 21 rambunctious baby frogs how to make their own comics! WANT TO GO?: $10-$25. (631) 632–2787, stallercenter.com

Girl Scout of Suffolk County’s Holiday Light Show WHEN: Nov. 25-Dec. 30, Tuesdays – Sundays, 5 – 8:30 pm WHERE: Southaven County Park, 761 Victory Ave. Yaphank AGES: All WHAT: Walk through over 1/4 mile trail filled with displays, some designed by Girl Scouts, and take photos at special areas like at the giant Christmas tree, visit Santa for a photo, and more. WANT TO GO?: $15. gssc.us

November/December 2023 | Long Island Family


mom stories

Family Traditions One family’s intergenerational Thanksgiving customs By Drew Kramer


ifting a turkey is a big event,” my mother admits. She accepted the responsibility of hosting Thanksgiving this year, a holiday she owned every year since I was a child. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. My older cousins made their pilgrimage from upstate New York to stay with us for the long weekend. Our family came together from all corners of Long Island to honor a day celebrating gluttony and our country’s complicated colonial history. Like good Americans, in the kitchen we trust. In the wee morning hours, during the “ugly phase” of the holiday preparation, the ritual dressing of the bird took center stage. “18 pounds of pure poultry,” my mother announced in her annual impersonation of Julia Child, your French chef. As the years went by, the size of the bird ebbed and flowed with the loss and gain of family. In recent years, with the expansion of our modern family to include step-brothers, in-laws, and 10 grandchildren, the invite list hovers around 30. After raising her hand to host in a family group text, I messaged my mother separately to assure her that I was up to the task if she decided she wasn’t, even the day before. Since moving to suburbia four years ago, I’ve stepped up to bring family together when she could not. My mother is a caretaker. In the 20 years since my stepfather’s Parkinsons diagnosis, my mother’s capacity to find joy in the manual labor of the holidays waned. “I feel like I have reached a point in my life where I recognize that, mentally and physically, I cannot do what I used to do. My husband is ill. I find myself anxious at the thought of a big event,” she acknowledged. In the irreverent, dark humor we share, she declares, “I pass the torch. The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” When I mention my 30 person holiday guest list, people are shocked by my appetite to take on extra work while raising two young

boys. Yes, the torch comes with domestic responsibility, but with great responsibility comes great purpose. Like my mother, I feel the magic in bringing family together for joy. It is important to me to bring familiar faces and flavors to my table in the name of tradition and kinship. It is important to me to provide a forum for cousins to come together for mischief and forward momentum. If their relationships fade, so too do the ties that connect our people for generations to come. Someday, when I’ve passed the torch to my children and theirs, I hope they’ll draw from the menu of family recipes that filled our bellies and hearts in the warmest moments of a calendar year: Cousin Dineen’s kugel; my late Aunt Debbie’s carrot soufflé; my mother’s turkey. These are the flavors that bind. Everyone does their part to keep the party alive. As a spectator, my mother is happy to bring whatever she can to ease the pain of hosting the holidays. She delights in making her signature dishes the family craves without the stress of planning and cleaning. In corners of my basement, I squirrel away folding tables and chairs. I Pinterest compostable tablescapes because I cannot sacrifice style or sustainability, while prioritizing ease in executing a celebration for 30. My family comes with food in hand, rolling up their sleeves to clean a platter and unclog the drain. The holidays teach me that

38 NewYorkFamily.com | November/December 2023

I am not alone in this. In the wake of Covid isolation, I am a conduit for connection. After years of uncomfortable distance, we are all making up for lost time. In this season of my life, I find purpose in bringing people together. As my Millennial generation grows into middle adulthood, our Boomer parents move into their golden years. This holiday season, many of us are grappling with the weight of the torch we’ve inherited. As a family leader, sandwiched between young children and aging parents, I urge you to rise to the occasion. Fight through the host anxiety, culinary pressure and cleaning exhaustion for the important milestones of the year. Let people bring food and pull up their sleeves in the kitchen. Use paper plates. Ask for help and watch relationships grow through the shared creation of this beautiful moment. When the dishes are cleared, the leftovers stored, and the grandchildren are taking apart your couch to erect a fort, sit back with your wine and know that you too are building something. Feel gratitude and connection to the generations of family that roasted the turkeys that brought all of you to this day. Know that someday, when the pounds of pure poultry become too great for you to carry, you will lean on the foundation you and generations of others established to keep the family flame ablaze.

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