Long Island Family - April 2024

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april 2024 newyorkfamily.com Blooming Beauties Best Cherry Blossom Spots Your Kids & the Digital a ge An app-by-app breakdown Check out our special chilD Resources!


This summer, see your artists shine as they learn from the best professional teachers and artists in a magical woodland campus.

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Wheatley Heights, Long Island








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April 2024 | Long Island Family 3
631-499-8580 parkshoredaycamp.com DIX
AGES 2 – 15

F eatu R es

8 | i n the n ews

What IVF in New York looks like

12 | education

The value of a bilingual education

14 | c amp

Summer camp for preschoolers

16 | Tech

Social media & kids safety: an appby-app breakdown

stoRies & columns

6 | editor’s letter

18 | i n the n ews

Adventureland expands

34 | Travel

Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

38 | family fun

Where to see cherry blossoms

the special c hilD

20 | Special child

If you think your child is on the autism spectrum

22 | Special child

Dyslexia: Tips from an expert

26 | Special child

ADHD causes, signs and symptoms

32 | Bios

Your special needs community

FamilY F un

36 | c alendar

All the fun activities for April

Di R ecto R ies

28 | Special n eeds listings

on The cover

Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com

Cover Story: Mia Salas & Donna Duarte- Ladd

Produced by: Donna Duarte- Ladd

Shot on location at: The Soft Space by Mama Glow

Florals: Pic and Petal

4 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024 April 2024 NewYorkFamily.com
pg. 16 pg. 26 pg. 36 pg. 34
contents pg. 38
April 2024 | Long Island Family 5 LEARN MORE 516-234-ROCK MUSIC LESSONS DONE DIFFERENTLY GUITAR BASS DRUMS KEYS VOCALS Celebrating 41 summers of Fun Friendships and Memories! To schedule a tour and find out why there is nothing quite like a summer at Buckley in Roslyn, NY call us at 516.365.7760 or email us at info@buckleycamp.com

Cue Spring

April is the month of renewal!

This month, we have resources to assist parents and guardians in their Special Needs journey. Check out our helpful Tips on Dyslexia (page 22), the next steps if you think your Child is Autistic (page 20), and ADHD in children (page 26), as well as our Special Needs Resource list (page 28).

Speaking of journeys, we are in the digital generation, and it is vital to understand what kids are doing on their phones and tablets. Our Social Media & Kids App-by-App Breakdown (page 16) is a guide that breaks down kids’ popular apps and how parents/

guardians can prompt safety features to navigate these platforms.

Lastly, there are instances when many of us, tired of the cold weather, the multiple coat layers -when spring (finally!) hits us, and we go, oh -hey, and all that stomping around in the frosty weather is forgotten. For some, that oh-hey moment is when exquisite, delicate buds from Cherry Blossoms bloom throughout the city. Check out where to see these beauties (page 38)!


Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York!

Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

p u B li S her: Clifford Luster

e diTorial d irec Tor: Donna Duarte-Ladd

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6 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024 editor’s note
get i N tou C h
New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for for Overall Design and Bronze for Website General Excellence. 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. ©2024 Queens Family Media, LLC n ina g allo photography 2023
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The Future of IVF in New York

As many now know – in yet another shock to families and women’s rights since the reversal of Roe v. Wade in 2022, last month Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that embryos are considered children, a move that put many IVF (in vitro fertilization) services on hold throughout the state. While state bills protecting IVF treatments were rushed into proposal following the ruling, what could this entire legal process mean for the future of fertility treatment, especially in New York? Here’s what New York women and families need to know.

What is IVF, what is the Alabama ruling and how did it come to be? IVF is a type of reproductive treatment that many couples use when they are having trouble conceiving.

The Alabama ruling making headlines recently stems from a court case involving couples who had children via IVF at a fertility clinic within the state. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gives a summary of the case.

In short, the couples’ additional embryos were being cryo-preserved but were destroyed

during an incident at the clinic. The couples initiated lawsuits, with one claim brought under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Ultimately, the state’s Supreme Court said the embryos were, in fact, people.

The push to protect IVF in New York and across the country IVF is currently protected in New York State. It is even covered by health insurance in many cases.

Joanne Rosen, JD, MA, an expert at reproductive law and co-director, Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that it is unlikely that New York would halt IVF.

In fact, following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, New York has taken several steps to protect and expand abortion access. For example, the state has enacted “shield laws” to protect healthcare providers here who perform abortions from criminal prosecutions by states that ban abortion.

“New York has also placed a constitutional amendment on the 2024 election ballot that would guarantee equal treatment with respect to reproductive healthcare and autonomy,” Rosen said. “In

light of these strong protections for abortion access and reproductive autonomy, I think it is highly unlikely that New York state, either through court decision or legislation, would treat in vitro embryos as ‘persons’ for the purposes of wrongful death or criminal homicide laws.”

But even in a protected state like New York, lawmakers are concerned about the future IVF.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior senator, is taking precautionary action, calling for the passage of the Access to Family Building Act, legislation that would protect access to IVF and other fertility treatments.

Gillibrand called the Alabama court’s ruling “dangerous” with the potential to limit IVF across the country.

“This ruling could have extreme implications nationwide, including in New York,” the senator said. “It will make it harder for women to access infertility treatments, put doctors at risk of legal action and establish a dangerous precedent that may be used by conservative courts to issue similar rulings in other states.”

If put into law, the Access to Family Building Act would establish access to IVF

8 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024
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and other fertility treatments as a federally protected right.

“Women deserve to start or grow their families without government interference, and I’m committed to making sure they can,” Gillibrand said.

Elected officials from other states agree. Democratic senators from across the country, including states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida, support the Access to Family Building Act.

Many Republicans are in agreement with Democrats on the issue, too. The Alabama bills protecting IVF clinics from prosecution and civil lawsuits advanced with bipartisan support, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin, a Republican from Oklahoma, discussed his and his wife’s fertility issues on CNN last weekend, saying about the Alabama ruling, “This is not the position of the Republican party.”

He added that he’s hopeful the state legislature in Alabama “will resolve this issue” but will also support federal action if needed.

“This ruling ... will make it harder for women to access infertility treatments, put doctors at risk of legal action and establish a dangerous precedent that may be used by conservative courts to issue similar rulings in other states.”

What are New York women saying?

Upper East Side residents, Ashley Gildin Spitzer and her husband Jon, used IVF to conceive their ‘twiblings.’ After a daunting, multi-year process, Ashley finally became pregnant with her daughter while a surrogate gave birth four months later to her son. The couple’s daughter will be 3 in July, and their son will be 3 in November.

Spitzer said she was saddened when she heard about the Alabama ruling last month, describing it as “another thing to worry about” when it comes to women’s rights.

“This is science, and it’s helping so many families,” Spitzer said. “Fertility patients go through so much to get to IVF that they shouldn’t have to fear making decisions and the repercussions to start or grow their families.”

Kathy Shamoun, a New York-based acupuncturist, sees many patients at her practice who want to reduce their stress levels, including women who are undergoing IVF. She said she was “chilled” when she heard about the Alabama ruling.

“It’s chilling news for me because I am so staunchly an advocate of reproductive rights, and so staunchly an advocate for abortion as healthcare,” she said. “Removing abortion is endangering women’s lives.”

Shamoun also offered her thoughts on the economic side of limiting IVF in states such as Alabama.

“You better believe that IVF clinics in protected states where there are no restrictive abortion laws are welcoming with open arms the influx of money that people in Alabama can pay,” she said.

10 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024
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The Value of Bilingual Education

As New York parents, we’re all too familiar with the many options for school. We know how overwhelming (and time-consuming) it can be to research the different options and find out what would work best for your child. That’s why, we’re coming in clutch with your guide to all things bilingual education!

If you’re considering sending your children to a school that has a bilingual program, then stop the oh-so-exhausting research process now and check out our brief (but informative, as always) summary about what to expect. Bilingual education has become increasingly popular in New York and beyond, so we’ve got the scoop on why that is and how some of these programs are structured. Read on to find out if bilingual education is for your family.

History of Bilingual Education in NYC

Bilingual education has been around for quite some time now. Private schools each have their own founding stories, many dating back

to the early 20th century. But as for bilingual programs in New York public schools, bilingual and ESL education appeared in 1974 following a lawsuit against the NYC’s Board of Education for failing to educate Puerto Rican students with limited English skills. Since the implementation of the Aspira Consent Decree, New York ESL and Bilingual programs have expanded to serve students speaking over 145 languages. While bilingual education began primarily as a way for kids who speak their native language at home to learn English, it has since become attractable to parents of kids who already speak English natively. Why? Keep reading to find out!

Why Bilingual Education?

You may be wondering what all the hype is about bilingual education anyway. First and foremost, bilingual learning not only connects students with another language, but with that language’s culture as well. We all want to see our little scholars grow into wellrounded adults with a strong education, but we also want them to accept difference, celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and craft an open

mind. Bilingual education shows kids from an early age that their own language and culture is not the only one, and it broadens their perspective from New York to the greater world in which we are all a part of.

Not only do kids develop more inclusive views early on, but bilingual education instills empathy. Think about this: your child is learning to speak both English and Italian. All of their friends at school are too, but some of their friends in their neighborhood at home don’t go to a bilingual school. So your child has to think about this, and then decide to use English when communicating with these friends: in other words, they have to think about others before thinking about themself. While this quick decision-making process may seem trivial, it actually kick starts empathy, collaboration, and social emotional skills from a young age.

And finally, studies have shown that bilingual education actually accelerates and improves many academic skills (that extend well beyond the classroom), such as reading levels, problem-solving, math competency, creative thinking, and more. Part of this

12 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024

is because learning two languages at once sharpens their memory, but it’s also because learning two languages shows kids that there is more than one way to approach something. Much like their decision to speak either language based on their situational context, they’ll likely look at challenges in the same way, whether that means coming up with multiple ways to build something STEM related or thinking about solving a math problem on a test in multiple ways.

Types of Bilingual Education

Now that we’ve covered our bases on why bilingual education is so popular, let’s go over the types of bilingual education, because yes, there’s even subcategories within the categories when it comes to New York education.

Public vs. Private : The first decision you have to make is whether you want to send your kids to a public or private bilingual school. Well, before that you should consider what foreign language you want your kids to learn. This is because public schools offer many English-Spanish programs, but if

Bilingual education shows kids from an early age that their own language and culture is not the only one, and it broadens their perspective.

you’re looking for Italian, German, or French bilingual education, you’ll likely have more options with private schools. This isn’t to say that you can’t find programs with these languages in public schools: many public schools offer Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Bengali, French, and more. But the catch is that if you don’t live in that district, you’ll have to apply to attend that school. As for private schools, your kids will likely have more focused attention on them and their language learning because of the smaller number of students. Many bilingual private schools have two teachers in every classroom

— one who natively speaks English, and the other who natively speaks the other language that the school teaches. Both public and private schools have their pros, but if you are hesitant to browse private schools because of financial circumstances, be sure to check out their admissions pages first. Many New York private bilingual schools offer generous financial aid and scholarships, so don’t let this deter you!

English as a Second Language vs. Dual Language : Does your child speak another language at home and you want them to learn English through school? If yes, then English as a Second Language (ESL) is the bilingual education format that you’re looking for.

If your goal is for your child to learn two languages simultaneously (half instruction in one language and half in another language), then Dual Language is the right fit.

Hopefully this guide summed up bilingual education for you. If you’re considering sending your little one to a bilingual school, check out our round up of the Best Bilingual Schools in New York!

April 2024 | Long Island Family 13

The BEST Summer Camps for Preschoolers

Finding the right summer camps for preschoolers is essential, especially finding the perfect camp fit. It’s much like searching for the ideal daycare, nursery, or pre-k school for kids this age; you want the right camp, for they are still little! We want them to interact with their peers, learn to meet new friends, and be in a safe and supervised environment.

Summer camps for pre-k kids offer a range of activities and serve as an extension of what they have been learning in school. Camps, whether sporty, crafty, or in nature, are opportunities for this age group to continue to work to develop their social skills development, independence and confidence, creativity and imagination, cognitive skills, and emotional regulation.

If you are searching for a summer camp for your little one, we have camps worth checking out on Long Island. Happy Summer!

Camp ‘R’ Us

Locations in Baldwin, Bellmore, Deer Park, East Rockaway, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Melville, St. James, Syosset, Valley Stream, and Williston Park campsrus.org

516-935-CAMP (2267)

At Camps ‘R’ Us, the Tiny Tots® program blends summer camp excitement with preschool education for children ages 3-5. This unique experience includes classroom time with activities like learning centers, circle-time, and storytime, guided by certified teachers. It focuses on enhancing fine and gross motor skills through a wellrounded curriculum.

Beyond the classroom, children enjoy classic camp activities such as arts and

crafts, games, sports, dance, water play, and outdoor exploration. The aim is to combine fun with learning in a nurturing and safe environment, ensuring kids love every moment. Camps ‘R’ Us is dedicated to providing an enriching experience where children can thrive, have fun, and grow during their summer camp adventure.

Oasis Day Camp LIU Post

720 Northern Blvd Brookville NY 10591 oasischildren.com/liu-post Liupost@oasischildren.com

Oasis Day Camp LIU Post is located on over 350 acres of lush green spaces and shady outdoor meadow as well as amazing athletic facilities. The campus also boasts indoor airconditioned classrooms, a lunchroom, a gym and theater, music and computer rooms, as well as a salt-water pool! Programs for ages 3-15 are sure to interest any child with fun, safety, and family-like care in everything we do.

YMCA Summer Day Camp

121 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove, NY 11542 855-2YMCALI

camp@ymcali.org ymcali.org/camp

Make a Splash this Summer with the YMCA Summer Day Camp! Specialized kiddie camp program for ages 3-5 is designed to provide both physical growth and socialization through fun-filled early childhood activities. Experienced staff design camp days that balance the physical and creative with both structured and imaginative play. Campers enjoy swim lessons, arts & crafts, sports fitness, STEAM activities, outdoor play, water activities, special events and more! All indoor activities are held in the comfort of air-conditioned facilities. *Child must be potty-trained. Please follow up with a specific camp for further information. Two-week camp sessions run July 1-Aug. 23. Camp locations in Bay Shore, East Hampton, Glen Cove, Huntington, and Patchogue. Visit ymcali.org/camp to register.

14 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024

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April 20 (Healthy Kids Day)

May 18 | 10am-11:30am

April 2024 | Long Island Family 15
Please visit YMCALI.org/camp for details.

Social Media & Kids Safety

An app-by-app breakdown

Social media is constantly in the news, as well as the safety of kids and how they use it. Here in New York City, Mayor Adams is currently one of the leading voice on the effects of social media on young people’s mental health.

Last year, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory stating that “More research is needed to fully understand the impact of social media; however, the current body of evidence indicates that while social media may have benefits for some children and adolescents, there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”

Yet, our kids, for the most part, will have social media in their lives even if they do not own a phone or are on an app. For us parents who allow our kids to be on certain apps know that social media opens up their children to new ideas and experiences, but it can also be scary. As parents, we want to ensure our kids are staying safe. Yet this can be tricky when we don’t know what content they’re seeing on their phones or tablets.

That’s why we put together an easy guide on kids’ safety on this age group’s favorite social media platforms. We’ll cover what controls the platforms offer to ensure content is right for a young audience.

While some platforms offer a “kids” version of the app, others have a strict 13+ age restriction. So it’s super important that you see which apps your kids download and make sure they’re entering their birthday right.

Read on to learn more about privacy, messaging, and parental controls for kids on social media.

Instagram safety measures

Privacy: In our opinion, Instagram is one of the leaders in safety initiatives in social apps. If you’re under 16, your account is set to private by default. This means anyone who wants to follow your kids will have to send them a request. Strangers won’t be able to see or comment on

their posts unless they accept the request.

Messaging : Instagram restricts people over 19 from sending private messages to teens who don’t follow them. If an adult tries to message your child (and they don’t already follow that adult), the adult will get a notification that DM’ing them isn’t allowed.

Other protections : There are several other safety measures in place for teens on Instagram. For example, the content they post won’t be shown to suspicious adults in Explore, Reels of “Accounts Suggested for You.” Adults flagged as suspicious also won’t be able to see teen accounts in follower and following lists, see who likes posts, or see comments from teens on other posts.

Tools for parents : Instagram’s Family Center is helpful for it guides parents and guardians on managing their teens’ activity on the platform. It includes tools such as setting time limits, managing who can message their teen, viewing their activity, and controlling who can see their teen’s posts. This aims to provide parents with greater supervision and management over their teen’s Instagram experience, promoting safer and more responsible usage. Several controls are available to parents to help monitor your child’s activity on Instagram. Parental Supervision lets you set time limits, schedule breaks, see their time spent on Instagram, see their followers and who they follow, shared connections, who they’ve blocked or reported, and see their privacy setting selections.

Something worth knowing : Instagram will also allow you to request your child’s photo removed from an account.

YouTube and YouTube Kids safety measures

In total transparency, we have teenagers, and there is no way that our tweens and teens want anything but YouTube, not YouTube kids. YouTube kids are for the younger set still in the sweet phase and will not go the sneaky path and search for content they know 100 percent would not be okay for the devoted adult who cares about their mental and social growth.

For instance, at home, this editor uses trust in what our teenagers search for, and so far, it is going well. However, every tween/teen experience is different. If you wish to have some management over your child’s YouTube experience, you can set up a supervised YouTube Account. You can place some firewalls; however, they are not impenetrable, and inappropriate content can find its way in.

YouTube Kids : YouTube has an entirely secure experience for kids with YouTube Kids. It’s a family-friendly version of YouTube that uses automated filters to ensure the content shown is appropriate for kids.

Tool for Parents : Parents have full access to YouTube Kids, making it easy to know what your kids are watching. You can create individual profiles for each of your kids, decide what content to make available for your kids, set a timer to limit screen time, see recent videos your kids have been watching, and more.

Something worth knowing : If content that isn’t family-friendly shows up on YouTube Kids, you always flag it for removal from the app or block the account entirely.

There’s also a built-in timer to help limit

16 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024

your kid’s screen time. It can stop the app when their time is up so you don’t have to do it yourself!

TikTok safety measures

This is the tough one, as kids are obsessed with this app. While guiding younger kids on watching TikTok is more manageable, the older kids can be a different story. Many reports have deemed this particular app as dangerous.

Privacy : TikTok offers “Family Pairing,” which pairs your account with your kid’s account. This gives you access to more privacy, content, and well-being settings and helps you see what your kids are watching. You can even turn searching on and off within the app if you don’t want your kids to search for things independently.

Other protections : TikTok offers granular controls to manage what your child can do and see on the app. These include filtering comments, blocking accounts, setting screen time limits, and disabling video downloads. You can also set a daily screen time limit so your kids don’t spend too much time scrolling.

Our kids will have social media in their lives even if they do not own a phone or are on an app.

Something Worth Knowing : Beyond

Family Pairing, you can also turn on Restricted Mode. This hides content that might not be appropriate for kids and teens.

Snapchat safety measures

Privacy : Snapchat has several controls in place to give you peace of mind that your kids are using the app appropriately. First, contact settings for teens are set to friends and contacts only by default. This means adult strangers can reach out to them. They can also only share their location with friends on Snap Map. Teens often get reminders to review and update their privacy settings and security, ensuring they don’t get hacked.

Messaging : Only friends can communicate one-on-one on Snapchat for teens. So unless they are friends on the app or they have

their contact already in their phone, the adult wouldn’t be able to contact your child. Teens also don’t show up in search results, which is intentional so their accounts are less discoverable to adults. If at any point your kids feel uncomfortable talking to someone, they can block the account so they’re not able to reach out again.

Other protections : Snapchat actively reviews and recognizes severe harms, and they’ll disable those accounts causing them. They make it difficult for bad actors to rejoin Snapchat, therefore keeping the app a safe place. Their Global Trust & Safety Team works 24/7 so they can act quickly on inappropriate behavior.

Tools for parents : Parents can set stricter content limits beyond the ones already in place. Snapchat’s Family Center allows parents to monitor who teens are talking to on Snapchat and set Content Controls.

Something Worth

Knowing : Snapchat also does its best to show age-appropriate content to teens via Stories and Spotlight. They’ve developed accurate detection tools to find and prevent harmful public accounts from showing their content to teens.

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New Rides Coming to Adventureland

The rides are part of a $10 million expansion plan as part of Adventureland’s partnership with Catholic Health.

The rides are Moon Chaser and the Jr. Pirate Ship, which will be open this season. Additionally, a ride called Wave Chaser will open next year. Officials at Adventureland said that more rides are planned for the future.

“We can’t thank the people of Long Island for having the patience,” Steven Gentile, Adventureland’s operations manager, said at a Tuesday news conference announcing the expansions. “We can’t thank the people of Long Island for their support, ongoing support for us being here for 60 plus years. And we really can’t help but think the support they were

getting from Suffolk County and the Town of Babylon.”

The former Pirate’s Cove has been retired, and will be rebuilt as Legacy Corner.

“If everything goes as planned, we plan to have legacy corneum fully completed by the year 2028,” Gentile added.

Additionally, Adventureland’s City Hall will be transformed into a first aid center, which will be known as the Catholic Health Wellness Center.

“We’re just going to create jobs in construction, and we’re going to create 50 to 70 seasonal jobs,” Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine said. “So those college kids coming home, there’s a place to work this summer

and have a lot of fun. I can’t wait to take my grandchildren here. This is what Adventureland is about.”

Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaeffer told reporters that investing in Adventureland was investing in the Long Island community.

“I remember coming here when I was growing up,” Schaeffer said. “And it’s always been the place where you can put a smile on anybody’s face no matter what he or she is going through.”

Adventureland Amusement Park is located at 2245 Broadhollow Rd, Farmingdale. Learn more at adventureland.us.

18 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024
local spotlight
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Steps to take if you think your child is on the spectrum

Many parents have that ‘a-ha’ moment when they realize their child may have a more profound challenge than previously expectant. Unlike your friend’s kid at the same age, your child has trouble maintaining friendships, struggles to communicate, or demonstrates repetitive body movements. Perhaps they have difficulty relating to the world around them and seems inflexible with their thoughts and behaviors. If you notice these characteristics, don’t ignore them. While your child could be delayed, it may be wise to seek a professional opinion and check if your child may be on the autism spectrum.

Learn the Milestones

Many children with autism show developmental delays early on and don’t meet typical milestones. For instance, by 6-9 months, most babies can sit up without support, babble sounds, and respond to their name. By 9-12 months, babies typically grab objects and toys, crawl, and stand independently. Most children can walk independently between ages 1-3, climb stairs, jump, stack objects, speak in short sentences, and follow basic directions. Between ages 3-5, children can typically toss a ball overhand, get dressed independently, and draw a full person with all features. Children ages 6-12 generally have developed strong friendships with peers and are usually independent in completing their school work. If you notice delays or regression in any of these milestones and your instincts tell you something is off, your child may be at risk for autism.

Identifying Autism

If you think your child has autism, take action. The sooner you identify and address autism, the better it will be for your family. Speak to your child’s doctor; he or she may inquire as to whether all developmental milestones have been met and may recommend an autism screening. This screening typically consists of a series of yes or no questions regarding symptoms. If your doctor suspects

that your child may have autism, your child may need to have a full diagnostic evaluation by an ASD specialist. Typically, the evaluator will observe your child, ask you as the parent a series of questions, fill out questionnaires, and administer a series of tests to your child. These factors will allow the evaluator to identify whether or not your child may have autism so you can take appropriate action for a concrete diagnosis.

Your Child Receives an ASD Diagnosis — Next Step

First off, don’t panic. There are many resources and a great deal of support available for children with autism, and your child is certainly not alone! However, the earlier you intervene and seek your child’s services, the more gains you will see. Once you receive the diagnosis, which typically includes a full report, read it thoroughly and review the evaluator or doctor’s recommendations. Reach out to your child’s school to let them know about the diagnosis and inquire about creating an IEP (Individualized Education Program) to map out the services your child will receive based on their needs. These services may include special education classroom placement, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, physical therapy, social

skills groups, etc. Also, learn what you can do at home to help your child, such as creating a set structure and routine and rewarding good behavior. The more you can work as a team with your child’s doctors, educators, and therapists, this will help provide consistent support to your child.

Many children with autism are kind, loving, high-achieving individuals who have countless gifts. With the right support, your child can succeed academically and thrive in life.

Dr. Emily Levy is the founder of EBL Coaching, a tutoring program that specializes in one-onone home and on-site instruction for students in grades preK-12 in NYC, NJ, and Westchester. She is also the author of Strategies for Study Success, a study skills workbooks series emphasizing test taking, note taking, reading comprehension, writing, and executive functioning strategies, and the Flags and Stars Orton Gillingham student workbook series. These books are currently used at schools nationwide. Dr. Levy studied at Brown University and later received her Masters Degree in Special Education and her Doctorate Degree in Education. She has spoken nationwide on research-based methods for teaching students with and without learning disabilities. Dr. Levy is currently the Director of EBL Coaching’s learning centers.

20 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024

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Early Intervention for Dyslexia

Helpful tips from an expert

Statistics from the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity show that dyslexia affects 20 percent of the population and accounts for 80 to 90 percent of all those with learning disabilities, making it the most common neuro-cognitive disorder.

While dyslexia is a chronic condition that’s rarely cured, early identification and intervention can help build essential skills for reading, writing and comprehension.

Early signs of dyslexia and intervention practices may vary from person to person. We sat down with Dr. Rebecca Mannis, learning specialist and founder of Ivy Prep, about signs of dyslexia that parents can look out for and what intervention may look like.

What are some early signs of dyslexia that parents can watch out for?


• Delayed language development

• Difficulty following multistep directions

• Frustration in communicating – difficulty retrieving words or labels

• Difficulty sitting and retaining the story at circle time

• Meltdowns over communication and transitions

Preschool/primary school

• Difficulty with rhyming (ex: Dr. Seuss books) or appreciate language nuance (ex: getting the joke in Amelia Bedelia books)

• Lack of recall for reading common “sight words” they often see, such as “love” or “taxi”

• Lack of interest in reading or writing

• Contrast between strong interest in hearing stories (being read to) and interest in learning how letters fit together to make words

• Difficulty with segmenting words into sounds (c-a-t) or syllabication (clapping out the syllables in their names “Ga-bri-el”)

• Hesitation about attending school or academic performance

• Difficulty “encoding” or writing short words that can be sounded out or remembering the spelling of “Dolch List,” high

frequency (common) words like “love” or “mother”

• Reversing letters

• Skipping words when read aloud

• Slowness at blending sounds of words or recalling what sight words “say” (lack of fluency/automaticity)

• Dysgraphia, or difficulty in the motor planning of how to hand write letters

What does early intervention for dyslexia look like?

This depends on the individual child’s learning profile and what is being done on-site (or not provided) at the school. Some

children require specialized schools for dyslexic students, where systematic, multisensory approaches are used on a daily basis and across the classes a child has each day.

Other students can thrive with customized support outside school with learning specialists who are trained to interpret test findings and develop an intervention plan that speaks to the specific child and the specific school’s curriculum.

This is where it is particularly important for parents to do their homework. Not all learning specialists have the same training or vantage point about support, and it is big business.

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There are different philosophies and approaches, and sometimes what is presented as “evidence based” is actually a cookie cutter approach – or the wrong pacing and sequence for your child’s particular needs.

For example, if a student needs high repetition of information or to preview information in order to keep up with the class work, then it is important for a learning specialist to design sessions that balance the specific instruction for underdeveloped skills that are not course-related (for example, how to divide long words into syllables) while also using the child’s homework spelling list or the sight words in their science chapter to manage schoolwork and get that real-time reinforcement of reading strategies that speak to the daily experience in the classroom.

Similarly, it is critical for parents to identify professionals who can balance traditional print tools, such as workbooks and games that reinforce the skills, with adaptive technology. This is where parents can feel particularly frustrated, as neuropsychologists are not educators, and educators are not neuropsychologists.

Approximately 80 percent of my clientele and I start with a consultation where I provide a chart review to demystify the test findings to help parents “connect the dots” between their observations, test findings, and working with schools or other stakeholders.

There is a huge element of “caveat emptor,” since so much of this is not licensed and these high stakes serials can overwhelm kids and parents alike.

Even when specialists have licenses, there is wide variability in skill set, how intervention sessions are constructed, and even attitudes about which support is needed.

For example, at times language specialists or occupational therapists will feel there is more work to be done in grade 4 or 5 in shoring up underdeveloped language or fine motor skills, while other specialists may feel that the priority needs to shift toward teaching students how to communicate better in writing or use adaptive tech, dong so with an eye toward ongoing challenges in processing speed, word finding or handwriting.

How can parents and schools support a child with dyslexia?

Support for dyslexic students is equal parts, art, science, and alchemy.

It’s critical for there to be a systematic approach. Sometimes that means using very similar materials in both outside support and

“There are different philosophies and approaches, and sometimes what is presented as ‘evidence based’ is actually a cookie cutter approach – or the wrong pacing and sequence for your child’s needs.”

during the academic day or in reading intervention at school.At other times, it makes more sense to “divide and conquer.”

For example, at school, a teacher may be focusing on how to write a paragraph with a topic sentence, three supporting details, and a conclusion using a “quick outline” that is very structured, streamlined, and predictable.

In remediation, it can be very helpful for the outside specialist to use the same “quick outline” that the teacher uses in history class. And it may be important to work on writing while using the History assignment if the child is fatigued or has other after-school activities that day.

However, the outside learning specialist may also be incorporating instruction in how to use a predictive word processor, or in helping the child with expanding his vocabulary, so that he doesn’t rely on a narrow lexicon of words to communicate his point in the essay.

Similarly, it may be that at school, the teacher is working on a particular spelling curriculum, where the focus is on spelling words with particular prefix patterns.

In outside support, those words can be practiced, but it’s important to use particular methods that are aligned with the child specific type of dyslexia to ensure that appropriate visual cues or phonetic (sound-letter) patterns are reinforced.

The truth is that this takes a great deal of expertise and time in order to identify ways that support can be integrated while also being realistic about what each individual can contribute to this process.

In the absence of this, it can be very time-consuming and confusing, and also frustrating, not only for the children, but for their parents.

In my practice, I am in frequent contact

with other stakeholders, and typically serve as a case manager, who integrates that information, not only to demystify the process, but also to help parents identify signposts that they can be looking for both to monitor their children’s growth, and to determine the best investment of their resources and the child’s time, if they’re not satisfied with the child’s development.

Another element of providing services to the child and family is helping parents truly understand the different philosophies and methodologies that are available to help children with disabilities.

For example, many specialists will encourage a multisensory, phonics based approach that reinforces sound patterns for children since about 60 to 80% of children with dyslexia have difficulty with phonology, or linking letters to sounds.

However, the research on these highly structured methods and their efficacy with children with more spatial difficulties, sometimes called “NVLD,” or nonverbal.

Learning disorders are mixed. In that situation, a child may need a well developed, but more eclectic approach that helps them for example, to memorize and write sight words, words like “though” or “again,” words that cannot be sounded out phonetically.

Similarly, there are some schools that believe strongly that in the lower school grades, adaptive technology should not be used with children, while other outside specialists or schools integrate technology as a literacy tool for children with developmental dyslexia from the get-go.

Because there is such a wide wide range of approaches, and often neuropsychologists don’t know the nuts and bolts of how these programs are implemented for specific curricula, it is important for parents to understand that, just like learning to read is developmental.

In the same way, learning how to line up your ducks in a row to best serve your child at a given time is an extended learning process – and process of collaboration and empowerment – for parents, as well. No one cares about a child more than a parent, so it is critical to take care of yourself so that you can manage the long haul, along with your spouse and child.

What do accommodations typically look like for dyslexia, at home and in the classroom? What would workarounds look like in everyday life?

Accommodations can look different for children, depending on their learning profile, their school, their grade level, and the situa-

April 2024 | Long Island Family 23

tion in which accommodations are necessary.

For a child with language-based dyslexia in the early grades, accommodations might take the form of an alternate method of assessing a child’s spelling, or having an extra set of workbooks to keep at home for use with the outside specialist. The child may be permitted to write fewer spelling sentences on his exam.

That child might need access to a computer in grade 3 to write his weekly journal so that he can focus on expressing his ideas without being encumbered by dysgraphia, or handwriting difficulty.

At grade 5 or 6, that might take the form of being able to have extended time on a test or to take a standardized test in a room over multiple days. Similarly, the child might require some adaptive technology or access to a textbook website, where the child can find PowerPoint slides to preview key terms or information that they will be studying in science class.

Upper school or college, that might take the form of having an advisor, who is attuned to their learning issues, and who can guide them in managing multiple classrooms and teachers. Similarly, children may require the accommodation of being able to substitute the format of a “computer-delivered” standardized admissions or achievement test, instead taking the test in a traditional booklet format.

That means that the child can write into a test booklet with a proctor. Copying his answers onto a Scantron or “bubble sheet,” rather than needing to visually track the paragraph on a computer monitor.

This is a critical accommodation because many standardized tests are moving toward “computer- adaptive,” or mini computer tests, which are actually constraining for students who have a more gradual learning curve, visual deficits, or a slower processing speed.

Similarly, a dyslexic child who has slow processing speed or working memory difficulty may need extra time to complete certain assignments, or may need assistance with laying out a plan for how to manage school and extracurricular activities in light of their slower processing speed or executive function difficulties.

Students in high school or college may also need approval to tape record lectures, or have access to teacher notes or classmates notes if they’re not able to process as much detail as necessary in real time during the lecture.

This is why it’s critical to identify specialists who can mystify neuropsychic, test findings and help parents and students to work with the school around accommodations,

“Children can develop ‘metacognitive awareness,’ or an understanding of themselves as learners, and why certain approaches can be particularly helpful for them.”

curriculum, and intervention.

Support from parents is important for children with dyslexia. How can parents show their emotional support for their dyslexic children?

Any time that a person‘s own development takes a course that is not “typical,” this places a stressor on the individual and the other people in their life.

Whether it’s learning how to tie your shoes, how to memorize the spelling words, or adapting to college textbooks and lectures as a gifted, “twice exceptional” dyslexic, ultimately developmental, learning problems are a lifelong process of learning, adaptation, and advocacy.

The upshot is that over time, children can develop “metacognitive awareness,” or an understanding of themselves as learners, and why certain approaches can be particularly helpful for them. Over time and significant support and practice, this helps kids learn how to be their own “change agents.” However, this is a gradual process, and developmental learning problems, especially for bright kids, in demanding learning environments, is a gradual experience.

It is important for parents to recognize this, so they can think tactically about how they can support their children while also taking care of themselves.

Whether it’s having sufficient time to work out or finding a sounding board to talk about frustrations while also being there to help your child with extra homework, parents need to plan for the immediate and for the long run.

That may be a matter of doing some careful looking at how you will fund outside support for your child for the long run, or how to give attention to siblings and their needs. This can be a difficult, disheartening, and stressful experience for even the most determined, loving, supportive and capable

of parents.

Aside from taking care of themselves and building a village of outside resources, whom they respect, parents can model for their children along the way.

For example, just as children may require more time in order to research and write a term paper if they are dyslexic, parents can model for their children how they are breaking down the process of updating their resumes or planning of family trips by working in manageable chunks.

In addition, it is important for parents to remember that their job is to be parents and not educators or interventionists. Otherwise, the task and frustration of helping kids manage learning issues for the long run can really interfere with a parent and child relationship and can be disheartening for everybody involved.

Most importantly, parents can help their children, identify factors that contributed to their own success, or what it is that children feel need to be done differently in order for them to have a better experience in a similar situation in the future.

For example, if a child is able to juggle the start of baseball season in his Little League team and preparing for the spelling bee, parents can encourage their children, self reflection, or metacognitive awareness, by asking them some open, ended questions. “What do you think made the difference when you were going to have a busy day of both Little League tryouts and reviewing all three vocabulary lists?”

This opens the door for the child to then reflect and share so that you can plan. For example, he may say, “It was very helpful that my learning specialist and I wrote the words on flashcards last week. This meant that all I needed to do was practice spelling.” Or your child may feel that it was helpful when you and he use Scrabble letters for him to practice the spelling of the words or when you had located a website that let him practice unscrambling words in an app.

It may be that your child felt better having had a quiet day before so that the reduced transitions left him feeling more rested and able to juggle Little League and the preparation for the spelling bee.

The more you help your child self reflect, the more you can help him, celebrate his success, identify what he feels and be his own change agent. It can make the difference, and he will see you as the support and sounding board who is cheering him on through this developmental journey.

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ADHD in Children

Symptoms, causes and treatments (other than medication!)

Ithink my 12-year-old daughter has ADHD, but she’s not (yet) been diagnosed. Why? Because when I finally decided to have her evaluated, after years of being on the fence about it, I was advised against “opening that can of worms" as long as none of her teachers had ever recommended it.

Can of worms? Really?

While none of her teachers ever expressly recommended an evaluation, I always heard things like “takes forever to complete classwork” and “has trouble focusing” and “gets distracted easily.”

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is described as a chronic neurological condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. It is one of the most common mental conditions in children. Around 6 million children ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed in the U.S. alone, according to the CDC.

Despite the staggering statistics, I think a lot of people - even professionals, apparently - have this stereotypical view of ADHD that it's just an excuse for lazy or bad behavior, one many parents use to medicate their children into being good without even considering whether other treatments are available. That stigma leads a lot of parents (myself included) to assume medication is the only way to treat it, and that the medication will turn their kids to zombies anyway.

But if your child is showing signs of having a developmental disability like ADHD, don't be like me and wait until they are halfway through middle school before you finally decide to take action just because a teacher never told you to. No one knows your child like you do, so if you are concerned, have them evaluated and know there are options beyond medication (and also know that medication might actualy end up being the right choice for your family).

I spoke to Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a board certified cognitive specialist, Brain Wellness Expert, and author of Back on Track: A Practical Guide to Help Kids of All Ages Thrive , which delves into developmental red flags, to learn more about ADHD, why diagnosis seem to be

on the rise and what parents can do if they are concerned.

ADHD Signs & Symptoms in Children

Hyperactivity. According to Dr. Jackson, the “H” in ADHD, as in hyperactive, tends to be more noticeable in younger children. "The older your child is, the less likely you are to note the hyperactivity,” she says. “The hyperactivity component tends to be the piece that draws attention the most. It’s disruptive in the classroom, at the dinner table, on playdates. So oftentimes, the first sign or symptom that parents see is the hyperactivity impulsivity, because of all the disruptions happening.”

Inattentiveness . “What is much more easily missed is the inattentive type of ADHD,” she continues. “And that one becomes more evident the older a child gets, because with that you don’t have the loud disruptive behaviors, but you see heightened challenges with executive functions. This is going to be the child that does the homework and forgets to turn it in. And as a parent, you’re like, ‘Are you kidding me? You already did the hard work!’ You find yourself saying, ‘why didn’t you just…’ all the time. Why didn’t you just remember to bring your lunch with you in the morning? Why didn’t you just turn in your homework?”

Limited Attention Span . We all have a natural window of attention, according to Dr. Jackson, and our attention develops with age and maturity. “A two year old is only going to do a thing for two to four minutes at a time. But by the time they get to kindergarten, a child should be able to sit in the circle and participate for a longer period of time. So as a parent, if you’re not seeing your child’s natural window of attention improving over time, and if everybody else in the class is able to attend to the task long enough to complete it, but your child’s needing redirection or needing to bring it home, that is a red flag.”

Task Switching . Executive functions are our ability to achieve a goal, like turning in homework to get good grades. Individuals with ADHD have a harder time with task switching and with executive functions. “Let’s

say I’m working on a project and my phone dings to tell me I have a text message. I’m going to shift my attention to my text message,” says Dr. Jackson. “Task switching should remind me to go back and finish the project that I started. But with ADHD, it’s harder task switching when the brain is not remembering to go back and finish what it started. Lots of started things don’t get completed.”

Emotional regulation . People with ADHD tend to have difficulty managing frustrations. We all have a point where we get frustrated and upset, or we cry when we’re really angry or we lose our temper. “With ADHD there’s an immaturity in some of those networks and pathways in the brain, and so the upsets can happen more frequently,” Dr. Jackson says. “They can last longer and they can be bigger. And so if you’ve got a daughter that’s really dramatic and always getting super upset with friends, that can be a red flag. Or a boy playing on the playground who gets super upset because people aren’t following directions, that can be a red flag. And again, we all have a threshold of when we lose our temper. But if it’s happening more consistently than peers that are appropriate in their development, that’s a concern.”

Causes of ADHD

So what causes ADHD? That’s the million dollar question, Dr. Jackson says. “There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to ADHD. Both genetics and environmental factors can play a part. If a child experiences trauma, abuse

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or neglect, it can interfere with development.

"But there’s also the times where I meet a parent with two kids, same household, same environment, same genetics, and one child is thriving while the other faces challenges with ADHD.”

Technology & ADHD

I asked Dr. Jackson if the overuse of technology is a factor in developing ADHD. “I’m not going to say that scrolling social media and gaming causes ADHD, but what I am going to say is that the individual with ADHD is going to be even more susceptible,” she says. “When we’re spending large chunks of time, scrolling the Internet, whether we’re watching YouTube videos or Tik Tok, videos or gaming, the type of attention we’re using is heightened attention. And when you’re in that hyper focused mode, you lose awareness of time and of what’s happening around you. It’s why when you go to bed at night and say ‘I’m just going to check my phone for a minute,’ before you know it an hour passes and you’re still scrolling.

“Hyper focus is incredibly fatiguing on the brain. It makes the brain exhausted. Let’s say you’ve got an eight year old who just spent two hours on Tik Tok or watching YouTube videos or gaming. When you ask them to stop, you’re going to get tears, pushback, negative behavior. It’s not just that they don’t want to stop. It’s that we just allowed them to completely fatigue their brain and their resources. And now we’re asking them to be able to regulate their mood and emotions.

“When you watch something that you

like, funny dog videos for example, there’s a dopamine release in the brain.that gives you a burst of energy.

“So when a parent asks why they can game for an hour but they can’t do 20 minutes of math, it’s because gaming is short bursts of attention strung together with a dopamine reward in the brain. When you’re doing math, there’s no dopamine reward in the brain. So our kids are exercising their reward-driven pathways, not sustained attention. The individual with ADHD is starting with a brain that’s already fatigued, so they’re going to fatigue even faster. And that dopamine is hitting them hard and so they’re going to gravitate towards those activities even more. As parents, we don’t want to ban things but be mindful of the balance. So say, ‘sure, you can spend 20 minutes online, but you’re going to get your homework done first. We shouldn’t have you gaming and fatiguing the brain before you do homework. And then we don’t want it in the hour before bed because it can disrupt the ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep.”

ADHD Treatment

Speaking of quality of sleep, that’s one of the components to managing ADHD on a daily basis to support the level of function that you currently have. Dr. Jackson recommends making sure kids are getting adequate sleep and eating nutritious foods. “We know that sugar drives inflammation and so does highly processed food. Inflammation is like asking your brain to function with fog. What you eat matters,” she says


To medicate or not medicate, that is the question. There can be many side effects related to ADHD medication, and so naturally parents might be hesitant to try it on their child. Conversely, some parents might think medication is the easy cure-all their child needs to get back on track.

Anytime there’s medication, there’s a trade off, Dr. Jackson explains. “There are pros and cons, risks and benefits that it’s important for parents to understand. We talk to so many families that are getting pressure from teachers or from other adults in their life to medicate their child. But that is a decision solely between the parent and the physician, that should not be based on outside pressure from others.

“I don’t ever want a parent to feel guilty about a decision they make. But there’s this misnomer that we’re going to start medication and all of our problems are going to be solved. It’s difficult figuring out what’s the right medication

for your child, the right dosage and combination. And what works now might not work six months from now. So it’s not always the quick, easy fix that parents think it’s going to be.

“What we know from the research is that there’s an impact on growth and development. A child that has been medicated over time might not grow to their full height. We know within the first several months of taking medication, there’s not always long term change in the grades and learning outcomes. So the studies were mixed in terms of how it helps with academics and learning. A lot of kids experience decreased appetite, so we have kids that already have immaturity and brain development, and our foods that we eat fuels the growth and development of our brains. We’ve got an immature brain and a suppressed appetite, and that worries me for the future development of that brain."

Brain Balance

While medication can help, there are other treatment options that parents might not be aware of. Dr. Jackson is Chief Program Officer for a company called Brain Balance, which is a program that builds and strengthens networks and pathways in the brain through specific stimulation, exercises, and activities. “I always say we exercise the brain the way you use it in real life," she says. "At Brain Balance, we’re engaging multiple different senses while a child is doing coordinated, fast, accurate eye movements with auditory processing, visual processing, body coordination, rhythm and timing, exercising and engaging as many networks and pathways as we can simultaneously. And then we engage those pathways over and over to make them stronger, faster, more efficient.”

A child does not need an official ADHD diagnosis for this kind of non-medicated treatment, either. Nearly 10% of kids in the US right now qualify for that diagnosis, but nearly 17% of kids qualify for what is called a subthreshold diagnosis, meaning they’re falling just shy of the criteria. I think this is really important because the kids can still be struggling to keep up, to pay attention and to regulate mood and emotions. With subthreshold ADHD, there’s immaturity of the brain, but maybe not quite to the extent of full ADHD, so they don’t qualify for a label or a diagnosisand would not be prescribed medication - but that doesn’t mean that they still don’t need help and support.”

To learn more about Brain Balance, go to brainbalancecenters.com. Dr. Jackson’s book, Back on Track, is available on Amazon.

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autism Behavioral consulting Services

Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA 516-851-8330


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, Verbal Behavior Training Techniques, Behavior Management Strategies, Home/ School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services, Crisis Intervention and Prevention, Home-Based Services and Parent Education Training.

comprehend the m ind p.c . 114-20 Queens Blvd., Suite CS 2, Forest Hills 718-441-0166


Comprehend the Mind is a group of school and neuropsychologists that diagnose and assess a variety of conditions. Neuropsychological, educational, speech and language, and psychiatric evaluations are performed to help you understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and plan for their educational success and emotional well-being.

d ragonfly a pplied Behavior analysis pc

550 North Country Road Saint James, NY 516-531-3673



Dragonfly ABA aims to offer exceptional ABA services throughout Long Island. They provide school, home, BIS, and center-based

opportunities for early learners and young adults with disabilities all year round. Each individual’s plan is customized to their specific needs, and Dragonfly ABA encourages parent involvement and education. Their team undergoes ongoing professional development training and consistent supervision to ensure clinical excellence with each of our clients.

The h agedorn 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.

long i sland Speech

Nine locations lispeech.com

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, Auditory 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.

28 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024 special n ee D s Di R ecto RY | Special Advertising Supplement

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

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

• Evalua�ons

• Evalua�ons

• Early Interven�on (Birth-3)

• Early Interven�on (Birth-3)



• CSE I�nerant Services

• CSE I�nerant Services

• ABA Home Programs

• ABA Home Programs

Related Services:

Related Services:

• Speech

• Speech



• Parent Training

• Parent Training

• Family Support Services

• Family Support Services

Special Ed Classes:

Special Ed Classes:

• Preschool (3-5)

• Preschool (3-5)

• School age (5-12)

• School age (5-12)

• Inclusion

• Inclusion

750 Hicksville Road, Seaford, NY 11783

750 Hicksville Road, Seaford, NY 11783



• www.li�levillage.org


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

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

Providing Services for over 50 Years, The Hagedorn Li�le Village School, Jack Joel Center for Special Children (HLVS), is a not-for-profit program that provides services for infants and children up to 12 years of age with learning, language, and social delays, motor impairments, and au�sm with no direct cost to families: Early Interven�on (El) and Commi�ee for Preschool Special Educa�on (CPSE) services are for children who have or who are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability.

Evalua�ons must be referred by NCDOH/SCDOH for El and/or to the local school district for CPSE. Services are provided based on an individual child's elegibility as established by NYS DOH and/or NYS ED department and local government at no direct cost to parents. Parents are responsible for fees/costs associated with children.

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

April 2024 | Long Island Family 29


Multiple Locations in Nassau and Suffolk, Little Neck 1-866-723-3794



At Saf-T-Swim they prioritize swimming as a vital life skill, ensuring all children, regardless of challenges, learn water safety basics. Their Adaptive Aquatics program provides a safe environment, tailored to each child’s abilities. Instructors specialize in teaching diverse abilities like ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy. Programs like Therapeutic Aquatic Program (T.A.P.) and Adapted Swim Levels offer customized lessons for individual goals and interests, ensuring every child can enjoy the water safely and confidently.

School of rock

Forest Hills - Coming Soon

Huntington - 145 East Main Street

Queens - 34-43 Francis Lewis Blvd Ste 2

Rockville Centre - 197 N Long

Beach Road

Roslyn, 915 William Avenue

Syosset/Oyster Bay - 180 Michael Drive 516-243-ROCK(7625)

schoolofrock.com/stonewhite School of Rock’s program caters to all students. Fostering inclusion and creativity, our program provides tailored music education, embracing each individual’s unique abilities. Through personalized instruction and supportive environments, students explore the joy of music while enhancing social skills and self-confidence. School of Rock’s program embodies our commitment to empowering every aspiring musician, ensuring that music truly becomes a universal language of unity and expression

Tiegerman School

100 Glen Cove Avenue, Glen Cove, NY 11542 516-609-2000


Rosemarie King, Admissions Coordinator


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.

vella consulting i nc Port Washington, NY 917-578-2724



Identifying the appropriate setting or level of care can be overwhelming and Vella Consulting has extensive experience with traditional

and non traditional settings to support various diagnosis and concerns. Placement options can include day schools, traditional boarding schools, short term and/or long term residential settings, young adult programs, college and more. Services are provided for children, young adults and adults. Therapeutic and Education Alternatives includeTraditional Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools,Wilderness Programs for Adolescents and Young Adults and more.

winston prep long i sland 30 Deforest Road, Dix Hills 631-779-2400



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.

Our research-based model results in extraordinary transformations for students with learning disabilities.

Percentage of Winston Prep students graduating high school



3 0

30 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024 special n ee D s Di R ecto RY | Special Advertising Supplement
here Learning is Transformative Long Island Campus
more at winstonprep.edu
the QR code to visit our LI Campus
Faculty to Student Ratio
in Each Class
Average Number
Time Spent in 1:1 Focus Program Each Week
5 hours over 99



Saf-T-Swim brand Certified™ Adaptive Aquatics instructors have experience teaching the necessary skills at the appropriate time for children with a variety of special abilities, including:


• Autism or ASD and other related developmental challenges

• Cerebral palsy

• Down syndrome

• Sensory struggles

• Other physical challenges

Scan here to learn if Adaptive Aquatics is the right choice for your swimmer!

April 2024 | Long Island Family 31

All parents need resources, information, and guidance. These tools help aid our children with their needs and growth.

Special needs parents lean on helpful information and especially count on a community to assist them in their special needs journey. It is those insider tips, those teachers, experts, and schools we need to know about and make a difference in our child’s life.

Here are people who are part of our (and your family’s!) Special Child Community.

Steven nunez

Swim Instructor, Adaptive Aquatics / SafT-Swim Swim School

Steven Nunez, a respected Saf-T-Swim instructor, has taught Adaptive Aquatics for 7 years. His greatest joy is witnessing students conquer their fear of water, fostering a sense of freedom and self-expression. Steven emphasizes patience and adaptability, tailoring each lesson to the student’s abilities. Some students progress to full strokes, exceeding the Saf-T-Swim’s Adaptive Aquatics program. Steven advises instructors to collaborate with families, celebrate small victories, and tailor communication to each student’s needs for effective teaching.

Deanna ibanez

Director of Center-Based Services, Dragonfly Applied Behavior Analysis PC

Deanna oversees the early learner center at Dragonfly ABA as a Licensed/Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Special Education with a concentration in ABA at JMU. She then received her Masters in ABA at LIU. Deanna is motivated by the success she witnesses while working with her clients and values the connections with each child and family! She also loves educating BT’s and watching them grow in BCBAs themselves!

Sanam Hafeez

CEO, Comprehend the Mind P.C.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, is a NYS licensed Psychologist. Dr. Hafeez founded CCPS, (Comprehend The Mind) in 2006 for neuropsychological assessments. Dr. Hafeez has taught at many universities and speaks as an expert on a variety of educational, medical and legal platforms. Dr. Hafeez is highly sought out by the media, as an expert on various issues. She advocates for the neurodivergent and the underserved. Dr. Hafeez enjoys her time most with her twin boys.

Jon feingold

Executive Director, The Hagedorn Little Village School

Dr. Feingold earned his B.A. from SUNY Albany, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Hofstra University. He is a certified school psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed psychologist. He began working with HLVS in 1995 and has served as executive director since 2009. Dr. Feingold maintains a part-time clinical practice, serves on the boards of several programs, and has presented at conferences throughout the world. He enjoys the support of his wife Iris and daughter Sammy.

Janine Stiene

Owner and CEO, Long Island Speech

Janine Stiene (MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH), is a licensed speech-language pathologist, teacher of the speech and hearing handicap and trained myofunctional therapist with over 24 years of experience. Stiene is the owner and CEO of Long Island Speech, a private speech pathology practice with nine locations across Long Island, and the founder and CEO of Spot Pal, a tongue training appliance designed to teach proper lingual resting posture and support the elimination of a tongue thrust.

ellenmorris Tiegerman

Founder and CEO, Tiegerman Schools and Tiegerman Community Services

Ellenmorris Tiegerman, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Tiegerman School (1985) and Tiegerman Community Services (2010). She has advanced degrees in speech language pathology, special education and social work. Ellenmorris has lectured extensively on topics related to children with disabilities and their families, and educational politics. She has been involved in many research projects and is the author of several textbooks.

32 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024 special n ee D s Di R ecto RY | Special Advertising Supplement s pecial n ee D s c ommunit Y
Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print & digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York. Visit newyorkfamily.com to check it out and sign up for our weekly newsletters!
s pecial n ee D s c ommunit Y

Lisa Vella is an Educational and Therapeutic Consultant who provides guidance when an alternative setting is needed. Lisa has many years of experience in the field of education and administration and supervision of schools. Vella started as an educational consulting and therapeutic practice because she was passionate about helping families heal. She started Vella Consulting to help parents of children with special needs receive continuous and carefully individualized support.

Keith Oncale joined the Winston Prep Faculty in 1999. He served as dean of students and academics at WPS Manhattan campus and the Connecticut campus, before being named head of school at the Long Island campus when it opened in the fall of 2018. Keith has worked with children who learn differently for over thirty years. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in liberal arts/humanities from Southern Methodist University.

April 2024 | Long Island Family 33

Family Visit to Universal Studios Hollywood

My family and I needed a break from the New York winter, and with a lengthy school break on the horizon, I booked a trip to sunny California. That was the easy part. Now, what to do? That was an even easier decision, with a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood at the top of our list.

As a parent of four children spanning the ages of 7-16, I knew that Universal Studios Hollywood would make everyone happy with so many of the rides and attractions based on their favorite films and television shows. But Universal Studios Hollywood isn’t just an amusement park, it’s an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’ve entered the worlds of Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, and more.

Before beginning our adventure, we made sure to download the parks mobile app. The mobile app was essential for our day out; we documented where we parked our car, saw which rides were available along with wait time and height requirements, used the interactive map to navigate the park, explored dining options, checked characters meet and greet times, reviewed the schedule for the incredible live performances, and found where to shop for souvenirs and apparel.

With our tickets in hand and the mobile app downloaded, we were ready for a day of fun! As we approached the park we immediately noticed the iconic rotating Universal Studios Globe made famous by its appearance at the beginning of all Universal Pictures films. Just beyond that we had our very own red carpet moment, just like the movie stars do, where we had our picture snapped on our way to the entrance. When we entered it was as if we were transported to old Hollywood and I immediately started taking pictures as I walked through the streets and storefronts inspired by the era.

Top Rides and Experiences to Visit at Universal Studios Hollywood

Our game plan relied heavily on our Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app because we chose the rides based on the estimated wait times provided. But we didn’t just hop from ride to ride- we explored the areas surround-

ing them as well. Our first stop was Springfield: Home of the Simpsons where we felt like we stepped into the world of Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Maggie.

There we were able to explore the landmarks made famous from the hit television show including the Kwik-E-Mart, Krusty Burger (where you can have an actual Krusty Burger!) Moe’s Tavern and the Krustyland. Like any good theme park, Krustyland has a variety of carnival games where players can try to win The Simpsons themed stuffed prizes. Carnival games range from challenging to easy and are not included in your Universal Studios Hollywood admission. My younger ones wanted to play, so I chose a game for them where everyone automacially wins a prizemeltdown averted! Besides carnival games, there is also the “The Simpsons Ride” where we rode along with The Simpsons family in a simulated roller coaster as we tried to escape the clutches of Sideshow Bob- the former sidekick to Krusty the Clown. “The Simpsons Ride” ride contains drops, sudden turns, and lots of humor and was a hit with everyone.

Next we headed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where despite being a family of muggles, we were granted entry. We got to soar above the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and learned how to approach a Hippogriff on “Flight of the Hippogriff.”

Helpful Tip : If you’re with a kid that isn’t

ready for the excitement of Harry Potter and wants to sit a ride out you can take advantage of the parks “child switch option,” where one of the adults can wait with that child while the rest of you rides. Once you are finished, you can switch places so whoever rode can stay with the child, and the adult who sat out can enjoy the ride. This option is available all over the park.

After, we made our way through Hogsmeade (usually only open to wizards, witches, and other magical beings), where were could grab a pint of Butterbeer, find the perfect wand, shop for all of our wizarding needs, and send a postcard via owl just like they do in the Harry Potter movies and books.

Minion Land was next on our list and was anything but despicable (see what I did there?). We were turned into Minions on “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and saw what pets do when we aren’t around on “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash” rides. Next, we checked out the “Super Silly Fun Land”

34 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024

playzone, inspired by the carnival scene in the film Despicable Me, which has a water play area perfect for cooling off on a hot California day, a dry play area for the younger ones to climb and slide, and the “Silly Swirly” Minion themed ride offering a bird’s eye view of Minion Land. There are also carnival games, including “Super Silly Space Killer,” just like they played in the movie.

Welcome to Jurassic World. If the Jurassic Park films made your heart race, wait until you take on “Jurassic World – The Ride.” What started off as a relaxing cruise to see dinosaurs suddenly took an unexpected turn when we found out that some of them escaped, and our boat ended up taking an 84-foot plunge!

Helpful Tip : This plunge looked too scary for my 7-year-old, so he sat this one out. I sent my older kids without me and took the little guy to the DinoPlay area next door where he happily climbed, dug for fossils, explored a full-size T. rex skull, and more!

But no journey to Jurassic World is com-

plete without seeing dinosaurs up close, and you can do that at the “Raptor Encounter ” featuring everyone’s favorite Velociraptor, Blue, along with a Triceratops and a Baby Raptor led by a Jurassic Park dinosaur guide who told us all about these prehistoric creatures.

With major Nintendo fans in our family, there was no way we wouldn’t cover every inch of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. This area of Universal Studios Hollywood opened a little over a year ago and captures the magic and fun of the Super Mario Bros. games and all of the characters they encompass. So how does one get to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD? Through a green pipe, of course! As we walked in, we were instantly transported to the Mushroom Kingdom featuring Princess Peach’s castle, oversized mushrooms, spinning gold coins, Venus Fire Traps, Bowser’s castle, and more. This immersive experience also offers interactive games, the opportunity to meet Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad, and a chance to play “Mario Kart” like never before when

we put on special goggles and took on Team Bowser in “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.” Although my family has played “Mario Kart” at home numerous times, this was a completely different experience and included new to us technology.

While having all of these mini adventures, we almost forgot that Universal Studios Hollywood is a real working movie and television studio, and to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, we took The World-Famous Studio Tour. With Jimmy Fallon as our virtual tour guide, we spent about an hour learning about the history of Universal Pictures and touring the backlot where we recognized streets and neighborhoods from shows like “The Good Place” and the new “Quantum Leap.” But this isn’t your ordinary movie studio tour because we also a flash flood, a too close for comfort encounter with the most infamous great white shark of all, Jaws, plus experiences with King Kong and the Fast & Furious. The hour flew by and it gave us a new appreciation for what goes into the films and the television shows we watch, and like everything else in Universal Studios Hollywood- we had fun!

What You Need to Know About Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City, CA.

General Parking before 5pm starts at $32 and $10 after 5pm.

Single and double strollers are available for rent or you can bring your own. A single stroller rental is $25 and a double is $35.

The mobile app is available for free on Google Play and the AppStore.

Tickets start at $109 for 1 day general admission and $159 for 2 day general admission. For an additional $20 to your park admission you can enter an hour early to experience SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.

Universal Express tickets start at $209 and includes general admission and express access to rides. (At this time “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” is excluded from Universal Express. See website for additional details).

For more information, visit Universal Studios Hollywood on their website and give them a follow on Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, and YouTube.

Thank you Universal Studios for the park experience , all opinions are my own and I have not been paid for this review

April 2024 | Long Island Family 35
Photo by Shara Levine



dinosaur daze

when : April 6-7, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm

where : Garvies Point Museum, 50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove ageS: All

whaT: Have a roar-some time talking with dino experts, exploring genuine fossils, digging for “fossils,” making a dinosaur craft, and more.

wanT To go?: $5. garviespointmuseum.com

The peking acrobats

when : Saturday, April 6, 2 pm

where : Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville

ageS: All

whaT: These acrobats perform daring maneuvers in such arts as cycling, tumbling, juggling, somersaulting and gymnastics during a relaxed, sensoryfriendly performance.

wanT To go?: Tickets start at $38.75. tillescenter.org

Solar eclipse viewing party and activities

when : Monday, April 8, 12 – 4 pm

where : Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City

ageS: All

whaT: Put on your special glasses and witness a phenomenon you won’t see again for decades!

wanT To go?: Included with admission:$16-$18. cradleofaviation.org

13th annual all kids fair

when : Sunday, April 14, 10 am – 4:30 pm

where : Samanea Mall, 1500 Old Country Road, Westbury

ageS: All

whaT: Check out 80+ familycentered exhibitors, three

bounce houses, face painters, photo booth, balloon artists, cotton candy, characters, many activity areas, and much more.

wanT To go?: $5-$10; free for children younger than 1. allkidsfair.com

owl prowl family workshop

when: Friday, April 19, 7 – 9 pm

where : Science Museum Of Long Island, 1526 N Plandome Road, Manhasset

ageS: All

whaT: Learn about Long Island’s native owls, dissect owl pellets to discover what they eat, and visit homemade owl nests before settling down for a campfire and some s’mores.

wanT To go?: $20 ages 3 and older. smli.org

a dream is a wish princess concert

when : April 20-21, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 am, 11 am, 1:30 pm & 3 pm.

where : The Madison Theatre, 1000 Hempstead Ave., Rockville Centre

ageS: All

whaT: Go on a magical journey with some of your favorite princesses and sing along to Disney favorites like Let It Go, Part of That World, Something There, and more.

wanT To go?: Tickets start at $30. madisontheatreny.org

playful garden cart planter

when : Saturday, April 20, 10 am

where : Garden City Lowe’s 700 Dibblee Drive, Garden City

ageS: 5 – 12

whaT: Kick-off spring with your little builder as they create a garden cart planter to take home.

wanT To go?: Free. (516) 794–6531, lowes.com

Town of hempstead car Show

when: Sunday, April 21, All day.

where : 1300 Lido Blvd., Point Lookout

ageS: All

whaT: Check out all years, makes, and models of cars, trucks, and motorcycles!

wanT To go?: Free. townofhempsteadcarshows. com

Brick fest

when : April 27-28, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm where : Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale

ageS: All

whaT: Be amazed by life-sized LEGO models, engage with the most hands-on attractions, build a Guinness World-Record Setting Mosaic, and more!

wanT To go?: Tickets start at $33. (516) 654–8203, nassaucoliseum.com

early Bird with Bluey and Bingo

when : Wednesday, April 24,

36 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024
celebrate s pring a ppreciation day in stony Brook Village on a pril 20.

9:30 – 11:30 am

where : United Skates of America, 1276 Hicksville Road, Seaford

ageS: All

whaT: Get your skates on and groove to the beat as you glide across the rink with your favorite blue heeler.

wanT To go?: $16. unitedskates.com


alice in wonderland

when : March 23-April 28, Saturdays, 10 am, Sundays, 10:30 am

where : John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport

ageS: All

whaT: Follow along as Alice ends up in Wonderland and tries to navigate this off-kilter world while trying to find her way back home.

wanT To go?: $20. engemantheater.com

Sunday funday: amazing a xolotls

when : Sunday, April 7, 1 – 3 pm

where : Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown

ageS: All

whaT: Meet several axolotls and learn all about their unique adaptations through fun activities. Create a cool axolotl craft to take home.

wanT To go?: $15 per child; $5 per adult. (631) 979–6344, sweetbriarnc.org

kvell Together at the SyJcc: passover Treats


when : Sunday, April 7, 2 – 4 pm

where : Suffolk Y JCC, 74 Hauppauge Road, Commack

ageS: All

whaT: Come out for a “bake and taste” of some favorite Passover delights like Matzah Layer Cake, Macaroons, and Matzah S’mores, just to name a few!

wanT To go?: $25 per family; $18 members. syjcc.org peter rabbit

when : Wednesday, April 17, 11

am & 12:15; Saturday, April 20, 1 pm.

where : Ballet Long Island, 1863 Pond Rd, Ronkonkoma ageS: All

whaT: See the world of Peter Rabbit brought to life on stage through the art of ballet.

wanT To go?: $8-$22. theballetcenter.org

princess Tea party

when : Sunday, April 21, 10 am, 12:30 pm & 3 pm.

where : Long Island Aquarium, 431 East Main Street, Riverhead ageS: All

whaT: Your little royal will dance and sing with all of their favorite Princesses and enjoy formal white glove tea service while you capture the photos

of a lifetime.

wanT To go?: $51.70; $46.53 ages 3-12; $10.35 ages 2 and younger. longislandaquarium. com

celebrate earth day at caumsett with nyS dec ranger ron

when : Monday, April 22, 10 am – 2 pm

where : Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, 25 Lloyd Harbor Road, Huntington ageS: Ages 5 and older whaT: Learn about animals of all kinds and their environments. Bring your questions to ask the ranger and then take a self-guided walk around the park to see if you can spot any wildlife.

wanT To go?: Free. parks. ny.gov

earth day eco workshops: environmental explorations

when : Tuesday, April 23, 10 am – 12 pm

where : Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport

ageS: 6 – 11

whaT: Learn about the diversity of Earth’s wildlife, touch corals and shells, and create a portrait of your favorite animal.

wanT To go?: $40; $30 members. vanderbiltmuseum. org

goin’ Quackers with Suffolk county farm

when : Friday, April 26, 10:30 – 11:15 am

where : Children’s Museum of the East End, 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton

ageS: 2.5 – 8

whaT: Enjoy a morning of fun with Suffolk County Farm! Meet a duck and learn all about our feathered friends. Includes book reading and craft!

wanT To go?: $25; $5 member. cmee.org

disney’s finding nemo Jr.

when : April 20-28, Saturdays and Sundays, 2 pm, Sundays, 11 am, Weekdays, 1 pm

where : Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 East Main St., Smithtown

ageS: All

whaT: Everyone’s favorite clown fish goes on an underwater adventure in this modern Disney classic featuring your favorite songs from the hit film.

wanT To go?: $25. smithtownpac.org

Spring appreciation day

when : Saturday, April 20, 1 – 3 pm

where : Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main St., Stony Brook

ageS: All

whaT: Bring the family out for live music, a car show, a petting zoo, scavenger hunts and tours at the Stony Brook Grist Mill.

wanT To go?: Free. stonybrookvillage.com

April 2024 | Long Island Family 37 APRIL calendar
samanea mall hosts an a ll Kids Fair on a pril 14. Brick Fest brings legos to nassau coliseum on a pril 27 to 28.

Where to See Cherry Blossoms

Vibrant views on Long Island

Cherry Blossoms popping up throughout the island are a sure sign that spring has sprung. Winter’s been pretty warm this year, so cherry blossom season is right around the corner. There’s even a few places where you might be able to catch some blooms right now!

Start planning your cherry blossom viewings now! We’ve rounded up some of the best spots to see these beauties!

Old Westbury Gardens

71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury, NY

This historic mansion sits on 200 acres of beautifully maintained formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds and lakes. Come springtime, around mid-April, visitors can see beautiful cherry blossom trees in addition to the many vibrant - and even some rare - flora found in its many gardens. To prepare for the spring opening, over 7,000 tulip, hyacinth, daffodil and allium bulbs are planted in late fall in The Walled Garden’s Lower Terrace. Old Westbury Gardens will open for the spring season on April 1. Visitors are welcome to walk the grounds solo or take a guided tour.

Bayard Cutting Arboretum

440 Montauk Highway Great River, NY

A tree-lover’s paradise, the Bayard Cutting Arboretum features a wide variety within the landscape of this park, including an abundance of cherry blossoms in early spring. Visitors to this beautiful park can even go to their website for a Tree Explorer Map detailing exactly which ones are where.

Planting Fields Arboretum

1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay, NY

This 409-acre site’s landscape was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, famed for their design of NYC’s Central Park. With over 20 gardens to explore and five miles of woodland trails, you’ll

see stunning cherry blossoms as well as magnolias, azaleas and dogwood trees. For a little extra arboreal fun, visitors are invited to bloom bingo by downloading a printable bingo board and seeing how many blooms you can find!

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve

25 Lloyd Harbor Rd, Lloyd Harbor, NY

See cherry blossoms on this beautiful estate extending into the Long Island Sound. You’ll be able to explore the blossoms through hiking and nature trails. Caumsett’s garden serves as a picturesque floral oasis, perfect for viewing blossoming trees on the island’s North Shore.

Greenport Village Cherry Blossom Festival

68320 Main Rd, Greenport, NY

Greenport was named by Forbes as one of the prettiest towns in America, making it one of the best spots around to see the cherry blossoms when they come into bloom. Greenport also hosts a Cherry Blossom Festival every year. Take a self-guided walking tour through the blooms and enjoy blossom-themed refreshments and gifts from

local businesses.

Mill Neck Manor

40 Frost Mill Rd, Mill Neck, NY

Mill Neck Manor comes with a historic charm that makes it a unique spot to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms. As you admire the cherry blossoms, you’ll also be able to view stained glass windows depicting Shakespearean plays and other examples of beautiful ceilings and woodwork.


Sakura Matsuri: Cherry Blossom Festival

100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook, NY

A favorite spring event that many Long Islanders wait for is heading our way at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University on April 21. Check out the cherry blossoms while enjoying drums and the display of Japanese cultural exhibitions. There will also be Koto plays, Japanese traditional dances, martial arts demonstrations, handson bonsai workshops, calligraphy workshops, ikebana flower arrangement, tea workshops, manga drawing, origami paper folding, kimono dress-ups, and cosplay for all ages.

38 NewYorkFamily.com | April 2024
Family Fun

Park Shore Country Day Camp is Where Magic Makes Memories

three generations of Long Islanders have fond memories of Park Shore Country Day Camp, the Dix Hills institution for ages 2 through 15 that opened its gates in 1959.

The camp opened its doors over 65 years ago to fulfill the needs of Baby Boomers’ parents for a safe and fun environment where their kids could spend their days during summer vacation.

Today, those needs are as urgent as ever, and Park Shore Day Country Day Camp continues to answer the call for parents and kids alike. “I am proud to say that our commitment to creating lifelong memories and fostering a sense of community remains unwavering. We look forward to welcoming campers to join us in celebrating the joys of summer for generations to come,” says current camp director Bob Budah.

Friendship, adventure, and personal growth have long been the pillars of the successful day camp experience, and today, those beliefs continue to inform the Park Shore experience. Through a variety of programs and experiences, Park Shore Country Day Camp prioritizes the following goals for each camper:

A screen-free connection with nature . Kids swap the online for the outdoors to foster a sense of wonder and adventure.

Friendships built for life

Free of everyday distractions, kids have a chance to meet and bond with new people in a way that goes way beyond the summer months.

Challenges that build character Camp gives kids many opportunities to step outside their comfort zone and develop confidence and resilience.

A sense of tradition brought about by ritual . From Color War rivalries to summer’s first splash in the pool, camp rituals and traditions emphasize community and continuity.

A celebration of individuality Campers are free to discover and invent

new identities and interests, free from the expectations of classmates, teachers, and teammates.

Play as a way to learn valuable life lessons . From developing empathy for fellow creatures and other kids to learning how to cooperate and work as a team, camp gives kids an invaluable education that will stay with them for life

Now in its 66th year, Park Shore Country Day Camp continues to innovate. “Each year,” Budah says, “we add new facilities and activities. It’s why parents and campers look forward to what awaits them

each year.”

Those facilities now include three heated pools and three pool slides, a baseball dream field, batting cages, pitching machines, a professional-sized soccer field, a bungee trampoline, a skytrail ropes course, a rock wall – even an ATV off-road adventure course.

In addition to a full menu of sports, activities range from the extreme to the more cerebral, with arts & crafts, tiedying, a maker space room, and Zumba among the most popular choices. All of these facilities and activities are anchored by a summer calendar that is as full as the summer itself. From talent shows to Caribbean Craze Week to Super Soaker Shootouts, the fully vetted counselors and staff of Park Shore Country Day Camp put their all into making sure kids have a great time.

This year, camp kicks off July 1 and concludes August 23. Enrollment is fast, easy, and available online. There are payment plans and sibling discounts, and families can choose between 2-8 weeks and 3-5 days. The camp provides transportation, a t-shirt, and before- and after-camp care, as well as towel service.

To learn more, request information, or request a tour of the camp, go to parkshoredaycamp.com.

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