New York Family - April 2024

Page 1

APRIL 2024 established 1986 NEWYORKFAMILY.COM





Registration is now open for all YMCA Summer Day Camps at dozens of convenient locations throughout all five boroughs. We’ve got camps for every child, including traditional camp and specialty camps offering everything from sports to STEAM! Swimming is available at most camps, and we’ll work with each camper to strengthen their swimming ability during their time at camp.


• Talented and experienced staff

• Amazing and uplifting camp spirit

• Make new friends and build self-esteem

• Instructional swim lessons

All branches that host summer day camp are hosting open houses from 10 AM – 12 PM on APRIL 20 and MAY 11.




2nd-4th kids

5th-7th tweens

I Wanna Be... A Techie!

I Wanna Be... A Sports Doctor!

I Wanna Be... An Archaeologist!

I Wanna Be... A Marine Biologist!

Math Mania! Mini-Camp

Coding + Animation

Remarkable Robots + Marvelous Machines

Potent Potions + Fizzing Formulas

Rocket Science: Destination Mars

Rockin' Robotics

Coding + Game Development

Chaotic Chemical Reactions

Architecture + Engineering

April 2024 | New York Family 3 Sign up for Launch’s exciting and educational one-week STEM summer camps with topics rotating weekly! STEM Camps BIG savings! multi-camp discounts Two UWS Locations at 81st Street (Amsterdam) and 65th Street (CPW) • 1010-600-212 • Also at Launch: Math Programs • STEM Classes • Holiday Camps • Private Tutoring 4:1 camper-to-staff RATIO real world math + science... out of this world fun! summer 2024 r • • • • • • • • • • • • •


8 | In the News

What IVF in New York looks like

12 | Mom Stories

Connecting with other moms

16 | Education

The value of a bilingual education

28 | Tech

Social media & kids safety: an appby-app breakdown

52 | Cover Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn


6 | Editor’s Letter

24 | Ask the Expert

Coping mechanisms for new moms and knowing when therapy may be the next step

32 | Family Fun

Where to see cherry blossoms

50 | Travel

Family visit to Universal Studios Hollywood

58 | Family Day Out

The Morgan Libary takes a closer look at the beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter


36 | Special Child

If you think your child is on the autism spectrum

38 | Special Child

Tips from an expert on dyslexia and early intervention

42 | Special Child

ADHD causes, signs and symptoms

48 | Bios

Your special needs community


56 | Calendar

All the fun activities for April


20 | Bilingual Education Listings

44 | Special Needs Listings


Photo: Yumi Matsuo |

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez |

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 | April 2024 APRIL 2024
pg. 52 pg. 28 pg. 42 pg. 56 pg. 32
April 2024 | New York Family 5 Phone: (631) 686-1600 ext 414 @Knoxschool LONG ISLAND’S OLDEST ESTABLISHED PRIVATE SCHOOL SPRING OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 27, 2024 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM register now! UNLOCKING STUDENT POTENTIAL SINCE 1904 Premier Boarding & Day School for Grades 6-12 + PG Phone: (631) 686-1600 ext 414 Email: @Knoxschool LONG ISLAND’S OLDEST ESTABLISHED PRIVATE SCHOOL SPRING OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 27, 2024 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM register now! UNLOCKING STUDENT POTENTIAL SINCE 1904 Your Journey Begins TODAY! Premier Boarding & Day School for Grades 6-12 + PG Phone: (631) 686-1600 ext 414 Email: @Knoxschool LONG ISLAND’S OLDEST ESTABLISHED PRIVATE SCHOOL SPRING OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 27, 2024 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM register now! UNLOCKING STUDENT POTENTIAL SINCE 1904 Your Journey Begins TODAY!

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 38), the next steps if you think your Child is Autistic (page 36), and ADHD in children (page 42), as well as our Special Needs Resource list (page 44).

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 28) is a guide that breaks down kids’ popular apps and how parents/ guardians can prompt safety features to navigate these platforms.

Black Maternal Health Week is honored from April 11–17 this month. It is also National Minority Health Month. April’s

cover mom, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (page 52), is a strong advocate for maternal health for Black mothers who, through loss, got the “Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law” passed. Rodneyse shares about her path to politics, raising her toddler, and being thankful for her strong support system.

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 32)!


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

Email us at and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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6 | April 2024 EDITOR’S NOTE
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
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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 | April 2024
in the news


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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 | April 2024
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How to Connect with Other Moms

“Parenting is lonely,” they said. By they, I mean everyone I encountered when pregnant with my first son in 2018. Among the many nuggets of unsolicited new-parent advice I received from well-meaning friends, family, and strangers, this one I took to heart. I worried about feeling happy after I did the big scary act of giving birth. I’d read the statistics about postpartum isolation and maternal depression. In a 2018 study, the British Red Cross found that 83% of mothers surveyed had feelings of loneliness, while 43% said they felt lonely all the time. Another survey found that 90% of new mothers felt lonely since giving birth, with over half feeling they had no friends at all.

My Journey to Mom Friends I should know. In the early weeks of parenthood- determined to beat the odds, I willed myself to leave the house with my three-week-old and our cockapoo dog in tow. After marking the occasion with an Instagram photo of the milestone, an old

college friend slipped into my DMs. She could tell from the background of my photos that I lived around the corner from her in Brooklyn. Also, postpartum, she nudged me to attend a coffee with a few new moms from the area who were also figuring it out. She was the brave and experienced second-time mom in our neurotic first-time mom circle, boldly showing us how to strap our car seats into taxis so we could easily make it to happy hour. So began our maternity leave bender. Each day at 4 PM, 10 infants napped in a row of strollers while their moms traded newborn stories. Although only acquainted for three months, processing birth trauma, lactation, and sleep deprivation bred immediate intimacy and made the everyday slog of raising young children fun and funny. In spite of that shared profound experience, COVID-19 scattered everyone in different directions almost two years later. While the love and respect for each other remained, the group chat text messages eventually slowed to silence. It seemed mom friendship required close geographic proximity to sustain, especially in a global pandemic that reduced one’s village to one’s house.

Alone, but never alone, in my new Westchester suburb, I faced the daily challenge of caring for my child without nearby family or my network of drinking biddies. As I did in Brooklyn, I looked to my neighborhood streets to find a maternal connection. During the March 2020 lockdown, my once eerily desolate neighborhood of empty nesters began to come alive with frazzled young mothers escaping from the city with baby carriages. From six feet away, we made connections and then alliances. Our wandering became routine. Twice a day, we circled a nearby pond, feeling naughty for walking the line of social distance but desperate for real-world connection. Eventually, we let our kids play outside–and then inside. It felt wrong but also necessary. Sharing the manual labor of feeding, supervising, entertaining, and transporting young children made the burden lighter and more joyful. Humans are social creatures. We are not meant to do this alone.

While my network of local moms grew during this time of record loneliness, this tale of love and friends is not true for

12 | April 2024
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all. Rather, as a 2020 Cigna Health study revealed, loneliness has steadily risen since the 1990s and shows no sign of marked improvement. Whether you blame it on the pandemic, our collective dependence on screens for interaction, the decline of religion to foster community, or the rise of individualism versus the collective – humans are increasingly going it solo as a species. With great solitude comes great anxiety and the physical and mental health decline that comes with it. Add maternal hormones and the stress of working while caring for young children to the equation; mothers without the necessary support are heading for collapse.

Tips when seeking mom connection I offer my story to inspire faith in the power of parent connection. However, Rome was not built in a day. If you find yourself struggling to create social connections in your hometown, here are a few learned tips.

Seek support : The depression and anxiety that can come with motherhood is real. A mental health professional can help you to cope if you open yourself up to

Sharing the manual labor of feeding, supervising, entertaining, and transporting young children made the burden lighter and more joyful.

support. As Lauren Tetenbaum, Westchesterbased mother of two and social worker specializing in maternal mental health, puts it, “Motherhood can be extremely challenging, but you do not have to face it alone.” Medication, meditation, and therapy are available to help regulate your body and mind so you can meet the challenge of social connection.

Get out there : Standing on the sidelines, waiting at the pediatrician, or stuffing pizza in her face at a birthday party, your children’s friends’ moms are already a part of your daily interaction. Lean into the opportunities that

raising children together creates organically. Even if you feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation at a local pharmacy, Tetenbaum encourages, “people do want to connect and make friends, just like you.”

Prioritize passion : When you pursue the things that interest you, you will likely discover your people. Tetenbaum prescribes finding opportunities within your community to reconnect with the activities that brought you joy before having children. In addition to locating like-minded peers, it will boost your confidence and create a stronger sense of identity, which attracts more people to you.

Whether you are struggling through the early days of motherhood or the social isolation from moving to a new town, take a leap of faith and leave the house. Moving from the couch to the crosswalk put me on the path of meeting local women who make the darkest days of parenting feel brighter. Together on the road from tummy time and tantrums to coxsackie and carpools to exams and empty nesting, we begin as moms and become just friends.

14 | 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

16 | April 2024

ngual school

The École is an independent French-American bilingual school serving an international community of Maternelle-to-Middle School students in New York City’s Flatiron District.

Come and find out more about our unique bilingual program and meet members of The École community during our in-person Open Houses.

For more information see our website or contact

Pre-Nursery to Kindergarten

206 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10010

1st Grade to 8th Grade

111 East 22nd Street

New York, NY 10010

April 2024 | New York Family 17

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!

18 | April 2024
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Previous knowledge of French is not needed for Nursery, PreK or Kindergarten.

Carousel of Languages

1309 Madison Avenue, New York NY

92nd&93rd Street

212-501-8524 or 917-940-9917

Carousel of Languages provides the proven brain-building benefits of early foreign language exposure for infants, toddlers, and young children. Focused on the most crucial language learning window, ages 0-5, Carousel Teaching System®, their researchbacked signature curriculum, emphasizes the importance of multisensory learning through verbal, visual, and tactile association in a nurturing, playful, immersive classroom environment, enriched with exquisite custom learning materials. Founded in 2000, over 10,000 children taught! Register today for 2024-25—lessons in 12 languages!

Collina Italiana Italian Language and Cultural Center

1556 Third Avenue, Suite 602603, New York, NY


Discover the joy of learning Italian at Collina Italiana! Italian instructors at CI are passionate about sharing their language and culture. Children will embark on a delightful journey into the heart of Italy, no matter their current language skills. Summer Mini camp, suitable for kids aged 3-10, is a wonderful kickoff point. Kids will learn Italian through fun games, lively music, energetic dance, and so much more. Can’t make it to the camp? No worries! Collina Italiana offers private and group classes all year round.

The École

111 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

646- 766 1843

Located in Manhattan’s vibrant Flatiron District, The École is an intimate, independent French-American bilingual school that cultivates an internationally-minded com-

munity of students from 2 to 14 years old. The team at The École believes that the goal of education is to develop wellinformed, well-rounded, responsible, and compassionate students who can create and connect to a world filled with possibilities. Find out more about The École at an Open Houses or on a private tour.

German-American School Manhattan

GSM Preschool: 85 Warren St., New York, NY 10007

GSM Dual Immersion K-5: 74 Warren St., 646-869-1152 info@germanschoolmanhattan. org

GSM uses small classes to make a big impact.

The English curriculum that is offered starting in Kindergarten, exposes students to the modern standards of ELA, complementing the German Curriculum that stems from a long tradition of educational pedagogy. GSM teaches a bilingual program of inquiry and

is an IB PYP candidate school. In the context of a globally connected future, GSM values academics, arts and activism, raising future leaders that dare to make a difference. Enrolling Preschool (3s & 4s) and Lower School K-5. Knowledge of German is not a prerequisite to apply.

German International School New York (GISNY) White Plains, NY 10605

914- 948-6513


Discover German International School New York: The Path to Excellence from Pre-K to Grade 12! Close to New York City, the beautiful campus with green spaces can easily be reached by bus from Manhattan. They’re the only ones offering the New York State High School Diploma and German International Abitur in the tri-state area. With their bilingual, science-centered curriculum, they nurture curious, analytical, and global citizens. No German required

20 | April 2024 BILINGUAL EDUCATION DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement
Their world is waiting. April 20, 2024, at 10am (in person) May 15, 2024, at 3pm (virtual) Join our Open House Bilingual PreK to grade 12 program with emphasis on sciences and languages Nature-based early childhood education on a 20 acre green campus near NYC Dual diploma: NYS High School and German International Abitur No German required for PreK and Kindergarten
April 2024 | New York Family 21

for Pre-K or Kindergarten. Their world is waiting.

HudsonWay Immersion School

55 West 52st New York NY 212-787-8088

A PreK 2s – Grade 8 Mandarin and Spanish full immersion school where children learn the same academic content taught in other top private schools and public schools, but in two languages – English and Mandarin or Spanish. Through a combination of academic rigor, small class sizes and full immersion, students consistently outperform monolingual peers, while developing high proficiency in a second language. Students who complete the program through middle school achieve high levels on AP language tests. Approximately 90% of HudsonWay graduates are admitted to their top choice independent school.

Lycee Francais de New York

505 East 75th Street 212-369-1400

La joie means joy in French, joy in learning and joy in growing at one of NYC’s (and the world’s) most renowned bilingual schools: Lycée Français de New York. In Nursery, Pre-K and Kindergarten, each class is taught by both a French-speaking and an English-speaking teacher throughout the day. Preschoolers learn skills in reading, math and writing; and self-expression through art, music, and movement--in French and in English, with plenty of time for play. Getting an early start makes all the difference in new language acquisition, and children (and families!) with no previous knowledge of French are welcome across their preschool.


International School

225 East 43rd Street, New

York, NY 10017

Admissions@lyceumkennedy. org


Lyceum Kennedy International School offers two unique bilingual programs: FrenchEnglish, Nursery – 12 th , and Japanese-English, Nursery –Kindergarten. Lyceum Kennedy prides itself on its individualized student support, smaller classes, and rigorous curricula to help students reach their highest potential. The school’s transformative education promotes global citizenship and cultural competence in a truly diverse and international environment. Additionally, Lyceum Kennedy’s 11 th and 12 th grade students pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, supporting a wider range of secondary education opportunities, both domestically and internationally.

German American School


German-American School offers a once-a-week accredited after-school language program. The school has been teaching German since 1892 when it focused on children of German immigrants. Today it teaches children of all ethnicities. Students graduate with the NY State Regents (FLAC) exam.

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Petits Poussins Daycares & Preschools in Manhattan and Brooklyn welcome a unique diverse community and apply their core values, Love, Fun, and Duty, in their curriculum and foundation. Their French, Spanish, and English-speaking teams motivate and guide their Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers in becoming independent, confident, and

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caring students in a bilingual setting. Their “Little Chicks” teams live by their mission to “raise socially conscious global citizens”. Visit their website or centers and discover top-notch schools where children flourish in an amazing global environment.

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them the ability to communicate with Chinese speakers anywhere in the world.

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Rella’s Spielhaus, Manhattan’s first German Nursery and Preschool offers part-time and full-time care for children 5 months to 5yrs. The curriculum creates a stimulating mix between a child-centered NYC Early Childhood Curriculum and a culturally rich German curriculum. Music education, soccer and dance are part of the weekly enrichment classes. In a calm and joyful atmosphere, the native

April 2024 | New York Family 23
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The Baby Blues, Stress or More?

Coping mechanisms for new moms, and knowing when therapy may be the next step

When my youngest was a little over a year old, I went for my annual medical and shared with my doctor that I was losing my hair and felt deep bouts of sadness and stress. I explained that my son was adopted, so I could not be going through postpartum.

My doctor let out a bit of a gasp. “You don’t have to give actual birth to feel these stresses,” she shared. I found out later that what I was feeling was called Adoption Depression, essentially the postpartum term for when you adopt. Time has passed since that doctor visit, and I have learned whether you call it the baby blues or postpartum depression when we are in the throes of it, many of us tend to dismiss it as part of the norm of being a new parent or having a newborn. Sure, a learning curve is involved when having a new human to care for while carrying your family, working, and balancing life. But when is it more? When do you need to talk to someone, get out with friends, or seek professional help such as therapy?

We connected with Jessica Alonso, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist at Two Chairs who helps clients deal with their challenging feelings safely and practically. She thinks it’s crucial for all of us, especially new moms, to lean on our community during rough times and significant life changes.

What are some signs that the anxiety and depression a mom is feeling is more than typical stress or “baby blues”?

While it is definitely expected that one

of stress associated with becoming a parent, particularly a mother, there are particular indicators that signal that a mom is struggling with more than the adjustment of becoming a parent to a newborn. Some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate a need for additional evaluation and assistance are a mother who is experiencing intrusive and repetitive thoughts about harm coming to her baby, while also engaging in avoidance behaviors to minimize the perceived threat to their child and in order to minimize being triggered. Many women will also display a great deal of guilt and shame surrounding these intrusive thoughts and may become so preoccupied within their own fear and apprehension, that they may report finding it difficult to bond with their child. Women may exhibit a number of signs of postpartum mental health decline, such as becoming very labile, an increased sense of hyper-vigilance, poor selfcare, social isolation, not allowing others to engage with the child, and an overall decline in their baseline functioning.

How can a parent who is feeling anxiety and overwhelming stress ask family members,

ner, for understanding and support?

The fact is that being a new parent brings an indescribable amount of joy, along with a daunting amount of responsibility and exhaustion. It can be extremely difficult to think clearly when running on little to no sleep. That said, it can be beneficial for a new mom to keep a notepad around in order to jot down some bullet points of things that she may need assistance with (i.e. meal prep, house cleaning, extra support for sleep, assistance paying bills, etc…). Additionally, engaging in more frequent conversations with a partner, family, and friends can help “demystify” a new mother’s heightened levels of stress, while anchoring and normalizing her experiences, especially if she has other moms in her circle that can serve as a sounding board or point of reference.

What key signs indicate a mom’s next step is therapy?

If a new mom finds that she is experiencing difficulty with repetitive, intrusive, distressing and debilitating thoughts re: her child’s safety and often finds herself engaged in avoidance behaviors for her child’s perceived safety and/or to avoid

24 | April 2024
ask the e xpert
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being “triggered” herself, this may be a good indicator that additional support in the form of therapy may be needed or indicated. In addition, if a new mom is exhibiting a continued and progressive decline in her ability to perform her self-care, she may inadvertently be asking for additional help that may come in the form of therapy.

What role does a supportive network play when dealing with anxiety?

A supportive network plays a critical role for all individuals and especially for new parents. Having a supportive network in place serves as a safety net and allows for a new mom to feel more comfortable asking for help, voicing any worries or concerns that she may be encountering, assists in preventing feelings of isolation, and provides ideas and perspective to new parents.

What are some expert advice on coping strategies or techniques for dealing with anxiety and depression when in the throes of motherhood?

As a recent first time mom myself, I think

“The fact is that being a new parent brings an indescribable amount of joy, along with a daunting amount of responsibility and exhaustion.”

it is so important to remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect” parent nor is there a handbook provided “upon discharge” from the hospital or birthing center. It is important to remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can and to practice self-love and grounding techniques as often as possible (this includes remembering to breathe deeply and to go outdoors for some fresh air and sunlight, as often as possible).

Making time not only for yourself, but to reconnect with your spouse and/ or partner is critical too. This allows for open dialogue, emotional reconnection, and an awareness surrounding each other’s feelings, concerns, and needs. And lastly, remembering that support is available to you, should you need it and that you are most definitely not alone is a must! There are quite literally organizations world-wide dedicated to providing support to parents in the postpartum period (free of charge & 24/7), such as PSI – Postpartum Support

International. It takes a village to raise a child, so reach out to your “village members” if/when you feel the need.

About our expert:

Jessica Alonso is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist at Two Chairs in Miami. She enjoys working with clients to identify their personal strengths as well as assisting them in finding relief from their distressing symptoms in a safe and solution-focused manner. Jessica’s motivation for helping clients is rooted in her strong belief that we all need help from our community during stressful periods and transitions throughout our life. She has her Perinatal Mental Health certification and practices many modalities of therapy including systems theory therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness therapy.

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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

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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.

social media in their lives even if they do not
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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Where to See Cherry Blossoms in NYC

Cherry Blossoms are popping up throughout the city. Winter was pretty all over the place, weather wise, this year, so cherry blossom season seems to be popping up early. There are probably 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 in NYC to see the cherry blossoms.

Riverside Park

This waterfront park is a beautiful spot for a stroll that the kids will love. The park has a four-mile-long path along the Hudson River that’s perfect for admiring the cherry blossoms.

You can find Kwanzan Cherry trees and Crabapple trees blooming side by side and it’s truly a beautiful sight right in our city!

Washington Square Park

Spring is the perfect time to visit this busy but memorable park. They have beautiful

Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry blossom trees that are perfect to sit under and admire the view and atmosphere that comes with the comfort of the park.

Take a nice stroll under the blooming petals, or take some time for yourself on a park bench, either way, the family is sure to have a great time at this iconic park.

Sakura Park

Located in Manhattan, this park is named for the 2,000 cherry trees that were delivered to parks in NYC from Japan back in 1912.

Sakura actually means “cherry blossom” in Japanese which is fitting for the many cherry trees on display at this location. The park is on a smaller scale but during the spring season, the Yoshino trees make this place a must-see!

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Don’t forget the comfy shoes as there are a ton of activities offered at this park. Of course the Cherry Blossom trees are a must-see!

The park draws in visitors with the long

and winding trails that are shadowed by these beautiful trees. Celebrate the season by visiting the park in peak bloom, and enjoy the beauty surrounding you!

Union Square Park

Union Square is yet another park that has a beautiful display of cherry blossom trees. They have several Kwanzan cherry trees and plenty of park benches for you to sit under the colorful petals and enjoy their bloom!

While it does tend to get busy on the weekends, the breathtaking colors and space are totally worth it

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

With the spring season comes the bloom of multiple different flowers and trees! The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the most important spots to visit the Cherry Blossom trees.

BBG has an array of different Cherry Blossoms such as the ‘Akebono’, ‘Rosy Cloud’, ‘Snow Goose’ and much more, that are currently blooming!

32 | April 2024

Keep an eye on the Cherrywatch on their website to see when the blooms start and when they hit peak bloom!

Queens Botanical Garden

It’s amazing to see how much the Queens Botanical Garden has evolved since 1939 when it was just a five-acre garden. Now, they have varied displays of all kinds of flowers and beautiful cherry blossoms.

Located in Flushing, take your family or bring a friend and walk through the gardens that are worth so much admiration!

Take a look at their website to see a map of where all their different flowers and gardens are located, especially the Cherry circle where their cherry blossoms can be found!

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

This is not just a park, but a place with history, architecture, agriculture, arts, gardens and so much more!

Visit the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden that was uniquely made to mirror an authentic classical outdoor Chinese garden.

They have beautiful structures, trails and art to admire as well as cherry blossoms that add to the beauty of the area.

Randall's Island Park

A great place to see Cherry Blossoms, Randall's Island holds an annual festival where people get to participate in activities like paper flower making, kit flying, crafts, origami and much more!

This is the perfect place to admire the beauty of the cherry blossom trees while spending a memorable day with friends and family! The date for the 2024 Festival hasn’t been determined yet, but be sure to check it out when it rolls around.

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is a great location to admire cherry trees as they have more than 200 of them planted across their landscape.

Walk along the path in the Cherry Collection to enjoy these cherry trees in peak bloom. You can go online to track their cherry trees and see which ones are in peak

bloom and which are approaching this state.

Check out their website to see their Bloom Trackers where you can track the progress of the cherry blossom season that’s updated every day!

Central Park

Each year, hundreds of people come to Central Park to see the Cherry Blossoms in peak bloom. As the season is short-lived, it’s important to catch them before the delicate petals fall to the ground.

Central Park houses the Kwanzan Cherry, also known as the Japanese Cherry, commonly seen in Japan, Korea and China, and the hybrid Yoshino Cherry Trees which can grow 35 to 45 feet. Both are worth the trip to the park!

Green-Wood Cemetery

This span of 478 acres houses the highest concentration of cherry blossoms which make this a beautiful place to admire and appreciate the trees’ beauty. Stroll down the paths to see Green-Wood’s colorful and varied collection of cherry blossoms!

Family-Friendly Westfield, NJ

westfield, NJ is the perfect haven for families seeking a welcoming community and endless activities. Kids will adore the vibrant parks, such as Tamaques Park, a local gem sprawling across 106 acres.

If craving a close-knit Community is huge on your new home bucket list, you’ll appreciate that Westfield’s allure extends beyond its parks, offering something special for every family member. Explore charming mom-and-pop shops, incredible restaurants and absorb the culture this town offers, such as live jazz music and the world of books at local libraries and bookstores. Here in Westfield there are top-rated schools known for their exceptional academics and diverse extracurricular offerings.

Broker Sales Associate of Coldwell Banker and Westfield expert Frank D. Isoldi shares that families looking to move in this area will find a range of charming Cape Cod homes to stately traditional Colonials, whimsical storybook Tudors to majestic Victorians,

and even modern new constructions making this an exceptional choice for families.

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hardwood floors. First floor includes a living room with fireplace & built-ins, formal dining room and a renovated center island kitchen featuring granite countertops & SS appliances. The kitchen opens to the breakfast area and a fantastic great room boasting a cathedral ceiling, skylights, exposed brick wall, fireplace and radiant heated tile floors. An en-suite bedroom with private bath, an office/bedroom offering built-in shelving & workspace and a powder room finish the spacious first floor. The second level is home to the primary bedroom suite with WIC and private bath, 2 addl bedrooms and a full hall bath. The lower level includes a recreation room, laundry area and storage. Set on picturesque grounds featuring a bluestone patio, gardens, fire pit & more, this memorable home is one you will love coming home to!

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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.

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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

E M D A F X S O ? ? ? Y L I ?

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 | New York Family 39

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.

40 | April 2024

Is your child struggling with: School? Attention? Socializing? Tantrums?

The clinical team at CTM can help.

•Learning Disabilities



•Developmental Delays


•Anxiety, Depression, behavioral issues

•Families in court over custody, education or legal reasons

• Extra time on tests, both in classrooms, SATS, ACTS, SHSATS

Help with:

• IEPs, 504 plans, private school placement

• Forensic (injury, special education, child custody, immigration) cases

• Medication management

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a renowned and widely sought expert in the field of mental health and neuropsychology, leads the clinical team at CTM. Our doctors are trained to help not only the child but their ecosystem in supporting their needs. Well-being, emotional and academic, goes hand in hand, and we can guide you to both. Please call or visit our website to learn more.

We accept most commercial insurances* credit cards, cash, Venmo

* GHI, Cigna, 1199, Aetna, United Healthcare, BCBS/Anthem, Magnacare

April 2024 | New York Family 41
114-20 Queens Blvd, Suite CS2 Forest Hills, NY 11375• 718-441-0166

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

42 | April 2024
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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 Dr. Jackson’s book, Back on Track, is available on Amazon.

April 2024 | New York Family 43

Camp Lee Mar

450 Route 590

Lackawaxen, PA

Winter: 215-658-1708

Summer: 570-685-7188

A private, seven-week residential summer program offering a unique curriculum incorporating a strong Academic and Speech program with traditional camp activities. Campers flourish at Lee Mar due to the structured environment provided allowing campers to feel comfortable and secure. Careful study is made of parent input, school (IEPs), camper interview, etc., so that the interests and needs of each child can be determined for suitable grouping prior arrival.

Camp Lee Mar focuses on improving the daily living, social, and life skills of their campers, while giving them the happiest summer of their lives!

Chatty Child Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy, PLLC

325 Broadway Suite 403 New York, NY 10007 347 491 4451

Chatty Child is a personalized therapeutic center for children and their families located in downtown Manhattan. We offer caring, compassionate and creative personalized treatments for children in need of speech, occupational & physical therapy support within our beautiful and welcoming clinic & interactive sensory gym. Chatty Child also offers a variety of therapeutic groups, tutoring, creative arts classes, and social clubs — all within an inclusive & diverse community.

Comprehend the Mind P.C. 114-20 Queens Blvd., Suite CS 2, Forest Hills 718-441-0166

We Can’t Wait to Hear What Your Child Has to Say!

Confidence Blooms at Chatty Child!

At Chatty Child, our therapists and teachers provide quality care that is nurturing, innovative and creative. We work with the family to provide each child with a comprehensive treatment plan, while taking into account each child’s interests, strengths and goals. We are here to help your child reach their fullest potential.

Chatty Child’s state-of-the-art therapy center for children is conveniently located in lower Manhattan. Please come in for a tour to discover what we can offer your child and become a part of the Chatty Child family!

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.

The Gillen Brewer School 410 East 92nd St. New York, NY 10128 212-831-3667

The Gillen Brewer School offers students pre-K to 8th grade an academictherapeutic approach to special education. Their mission is to educate and support students to become confident, independent, and engaged learners.


Their program features a hands-on, language-based curriculum that integrates speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups into each child’s schedule. Children from across NYC are immersed in learning that is developmentally appropriate and socially engaging.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan

5 Hanover Square New York, NY 212-769-1699

Inclusion Education in the Financial District. The IDEAL School of Manhattan, New York’s only K-12+ independent inclusion school, is now located at 5 Hanover Square in the Financial District. At IDEAL, they believe that differentiated learning is the key to academic excellence. Their supportive

your child need extra support?

Boost academic, social and verbal skills to improve school success.

Chatty Child offers:

Individual & group treatment for speech-language, occupational and physical therapy

Therapeutic speech & language and socialization groups

Creative arts & social clubs

Week-long 2-hour treatment intensives (a combination of ST/OT/PT sessions provided intensively over a week)

InterAct Theatre + Therapy Lab™ – classes & summer workshop program

Feeding and oral motor treatment

PROMPT therapy for apraxia of speech

Handwriting instruction

Sensory Integration therapy

Individual & group language, literacy and creative arts tutoring

For Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy, we accept: Private pay (coded invoices for out-of-network reimbursement for therapy services only)

Tutoring, creative Arts classes and clubs cannot be coded for medical reimbursement.

To register, or schedule a tour, private consultation or evaluation, email, call 347.491.4451, or visit

Chatty Child Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy, PLLC 325 Broadway. Suite 403 NY, NY 10007

44 | April 2024 SPECIAL NEEDS DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement
or Remote Sessions

Westchester School

NYS approved and funded non-public school providing therapeutic and educational services to students diagnosed with AU, MD, ID, OHI, OI, ED, & PWD, ages 3 - 21, with locations in Yonkers & North Salem

Ungraded, self-contained classrooms with a student to staff ratio of 12:1:4 & 8:1:2 in SchoolAged classrooms and a ratio of 10:1:2 in Preschool classrooms.

• • C us tomized cla s sr o om ins tr uc tion ba sed on I E P goals, enhanced wit h S MA R T boards, I P ads, and compu ter s in ever y cla s sr o om

• C ounseling, B ehavior al S er vices, O ccupational T her apy, P hysical T her apy, a s well a s S peech and L anguage T her apy

• A s sis t ance wit h t r ansitioning to po s t academic life by pr oviding Vocational and J ob S k ill oppor t unities

• A daptive P hysical Education and a S ens or y R o om

April 2024 | New York Family 45 The Gillen Brewer School The Gillen Brewer School expands possibilities for PreK - 8th Grade students with a broad range of language-based learning disabilities. Contact Admissions Today! Email: Phone: 212-831-3667 (x207) Website: Instagram: @gillenbrewer Since 1992 Are you looking for an authentic school experience that allows your child to enjoy their formative years in a safe, supportive environment? Gillen Brewer is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year including for Middle School, opening this fall! theTogether,WeSee Possibilities. Register for our next virtual info session Tuesday April 19th at 9:00 a.m. or an in-person tour to learn more! Our program is designed so that children with anxiety, depression, and other emotional complexities can thrive, succeed, and prepare for college. Stevenson provides integrated therapeutic support that informs every aspect of our work with students in grades 8-12. We have rolling admissions. To �nd out more about our school, contact us at or 212.787.6400. 212.787.640024 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 www.stevenson� MANHATTAN’S THERAPEUTIC COLLEGE PREP INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ww w.wes tc hes ter sc hool.or g
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environment is nurturing, and their robust academic program allows students to thrive with curriculum designed to meet them where they are. Learn more at an open house or email admissions@theidealschool. org to schedule a tour.

The Shefa School

40 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016


The Shefa School is a Jewish community day school in Manhattan serving students in grades 1–8 who benefit from a specialized educational environment in order to develop their strengths while addressing their learning challenges. They serve students with language-based learning disabilities who have not yet reached their potential levels of success in traditional classroom

settings. Shefa is a pluralistic community school serving families across the range of Jewish involvement and observance.

Robert Louis Stevenson School

24 West 74th St.

Stevenson is Manhattan’s therapeutic college preparatory independent school. Their proven track record of academic and therapeutic progress begins with their unique program. Stevenson students receive small classroom instruction, intensive advisor support, and on-demand access to a fully staffed Counseling Center throughout each day. Furthermore, their Transition Coaching Program helps to promote post-secondary success. Anxiety and depression aren’t locked into a calendar. Neither is

Stevenson’s Admissions. Apply today.

Westchester School

45 Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY

33 Seymour St., Yonkers NY 520 Route 22, North Salem NY


The Westchester School is a New York State approved, non-public school that provides educational and therapeutic services to students from Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut. With campuses in Yonkers and North Salem, NY the program provides services to over 300 students with the classifications of Autism, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Preschool Student with a Disability.

Winston Preparatory School New York

126 West 17 Street New York, NY 10011

212-496-8400 nyadmissions@winstonprep. edu

Winston Prep New York offers a highly individualized learning environment for students grades 4-12 with learning differences, including dyslexia, ADHD, and nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD). Winston Prep fosters a learning environment where each student feels understood. Winston Prep’s researchdriven model for students with learning differences results in extraordinary transformations in their lives and learning. Register for an Open House at winstonprep. edu/new-york or contact our admissions team at nyadmissions@winstonprep. edu.

46 | April 2024 SPECIAL NEEDS DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement
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April 2024 | New York Family 47 New York Campus Learn more at Scan the QR code to visit our NY Campus Our research-based model results in extraordinary transformations for students with learning disabilities. here Learning is Transformative Overall Faculty to Student Ratio Average Number of Students in Each Class 3 0 Average Time Spent in 1:1 Focus Program Each Week 3 5 hours over 99 Percentage of Winston Prep students graduating high school A Special Camp for Special Kids 215-658-1708
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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.

Heather Boerner

Owner & Head Speech-Language Pathologist, Chatty Child Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy, PLLC

Heather Lynn Boerner M.A., CCC/SLP is founder & head Speech-Language Pathologist of Chatty Child. Heather has built a national reputation for treating and advocating for children with disabilities. Her own personal experiences and strong clinical skills guide her to bring positive change and possibilities - to each child. Heather brings a caring and compassionate lens to each challenge. Heather’s treatment principals are rooted in a creative and holistic approach to learning, healing and growth.

Janet Wolfe

Head of School, The IDEAL School of Manhattan

Janet Wolfe joined IDEAL in February 2016. She led the expansion of the K-8 school into a fully accredited K-12, then adding a postsecondary program. Ms. Wolfe led the development and expansion of a wide range of inclusive programs, all differentiated and individualized to meet each student’s needs. She also led the school through its relocation from two buildings on the Upper West Side to a single in the Financial District designed for its students.

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.

Ari Segal

Director, Camp Lee Mar

Ari first became involved in working with the special needs community because of his lifelong exposure to his father’s pioneering work with The Guided Tour, Inc., a supervised vacation program for adults with special needs. Ari’s son with special needs was a camper at Camp Lee Mar for many years. Today, Ari continues the mission of providing a growth-producing, memorable life experience for young campers with special needs. Ari received a degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Social Work from Temple University.

Chris is a learning optimist with a history of blurring the boundaries between General, Special, and Gifted Education. He has presented nationally on blended learning, innovative program design, and complex learning profiles. He earned a doctoral degree at Columbia University’s Teachers College, a BS in English and Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey, and an MA in Gifted Education from Teachers College, where he also teaches in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.

Rebecca Skinner

Head of School, The Gillen Brewer School

Rebecca joined the Gillen Brewer community as Head of School in July 2021, bringing with her over 18 years of experience building and leading mission-driven independent schools in New York City and Dubai at International School of Brooklyn, Blue School and Dwight School Dubai. Rebecca is happiest when visiting a classroom, engaging in professional development work, or sharing anecdotes about GBS with the community. She holds an M.Ed. in International Education from Endicott College.

Ilana Ruskay-Kidd

Founder and Head of School, The Shefa School

Ilana Ruskay-Kidd, Founder and Head of School at The Shefa School since 2014, brings over a decade of commitment to NYC’s Jewish education landscape. Previously, she directed The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the JCC in Manhattan, with her teaching journey starting at the Central Park East School. Ilana received her B.A. from Harvard College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Bank Street College.

48 | April 2024 SPECIAL NEEDS DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement SPECIAL NEEDS COMMUNITY

Jane Keane, Assistant Executive Director of SSDS, has been in the field of Preschool Special Education since 1986. Jane has a BS from Saint Joseph’s College and a MS from Bank Street College. Jane began her leadership career at SSDS in 1998 after being a Preschool Special Educator for 12 years. Jane is the parent of four, two who were identified with Special Needs during their preschool years. She believes in the power that parents hold to ensure that schools provide all children with the opportunity to shine in their own way.

Sandy Hagerty

Head of School, Winston Preparatory School New York

Sandy has been a part of the Winston Preparatory School community for over thirty years. He started his journey there as an assistant teacher, then became a classroom teacher focusing on literature and writing, then a Dean, Assistant Head of School, and Head of School four years ago. Sandy is committed to making sure Winston’s unique model of education for the individual consistently provides intense skills remediation, embedded in classes with robust content while encouraging students to build independence, resilience, responsibility, self-awareness, and self-advocacy.



To be eligible to receive Section 8 Housing Assistance, at the time of admission applicants cannot earn more than:

*Based upon the number of persons in household. Rents subject to change.


Studio- One or Two Persons. One Bedroom- Two or Three persons

PROFESSIONAL PERFORMING ARTISTS LIVING ANYWHERE IN U.S. earning 50% or more of their income for the past 3 consecutive years from Performing Arts work are eligible to apply under the Performing Artist Category. Under these guidelines, a performing artist is any of the creative collaborators of the varying performing arts media: theatre, television, film and radio entertainment. In addition to actors, dancers, comedians, musicians and singers, the concept of performing artists also includes ushers, directors, choreographers, voice overs, writers (of plays, screenplays, television and radio entertainment), designers (set, costumes, and lights), composers and motion picture screen cartoonists.


• Applications are not transferable.

• Applicants must be financially responsible.


• Only Performing Artists are eligible for this lottery; those who do not meet the Professional Performing Artists standards for three consecutive years will be disqualified.

• Any applicant that does not have the proper family composition will automatically be disqualified.

• Applicants can only be on one waiting list at a development. If applicants have the right family composition, they can apply to more than one lottery. However, if they are selected for more than one lottery, they will have to choose which waiting list they prefer.

• ONE REQUEST ONLY PER APPLICANT. Any applicant placing a duplicate request will not be entered into the lottery. An applicant can only submit a paper entry or an on-line entry. If applicants enter on-line and also mail in a letter or postcard, they have submitted a duplicate request and will not be eligible for the lottery.

• An applicant whose name is selected in a lottery cannot be included in the family composition of any other applicant who is selected in the same lottery for that particular housing company development. Failure to comply will result in the disqualification of both applicants

Additional Information:

Waiting list will be established by a limited lottery. There will be a limit of 750 applicants drawn from each list.

HOW TO APPLY: ONLINE You can now apply to a lottery online through Mitchell-Lama Connect. Applying is fast, easy and you will be able to check the status of your entry to see if you have been selected. To apply on line go to:

BY MAIL Mail Post Card or Envelope by regular mail. Registered and Certified Mail will not be accepted. Clearly print your full first and last name, current address and last 4 digits of your social security number and the bedroom size lottery that you wish to apply for. If you do not include the last 4 digits of your social security number or fail to indicate the bedroom size lottery, you will not be entered into the lottery. Mail post card or envelope to: is


Performing Artists

Studio Lottery P.O. Box 367 New York, NY 10272


Performing Artists

One-Bedroom Lottery P.O. Box 694 New York, NY 10272


Eric Adams, Mayor • Adolfo Carrión, Commissioner

April 2024 | New York Family 49
M-Mitchel Lama • 47603
# of Persons Maximum Income* 1 $106,920 2 $122,175 3 $137,430

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”

50 | 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 | New York Family 51
Photo by Shara Levine



Bichotte Hermelyn

on politics, maternal health for Black mothers, raising her toddler, and being thankful for a strong support system

On a cozy cover shoot day at The Soft Space by Mama Glow in Brooklyn, the New York Family team and our cover mom relished in the light that danced into this gorgeous space while enjoying music, chatter, and staying out of the way of an active 17-month-old toddler running about while nibbling on his lunch.

Our focus this day was on his incredible mother, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. Rodneyse serves as the Assemblywoman for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District, which encompasses Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. She is also the Brooklyn Democratic Chair, making her the first woman and first Black woman to hold this position. She is also the first Haitian American woman elected in NYC.

Yes , she is as impressive as she sounds. While Rodneyse diligently serves her community as their representative, she also focuses on a cause dear to her heart—advocating for Maternal Health and combatting the maternal health crisis that is adversely affecting minorities.

For Black women especially, pregnancy and labor can be dangerous. According to the United States is one of the only countries in the world that has seen a rise in maternal mortality rate since 2000, and Black birthing people in the U.S. die at more than double the rate of Caucasian birthing people . According to a 2021 CDC report, the Maternal Mortality Rate in the United States non-Hispanic Black (subsequently, Black) women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White (subsequently, White) women (26.6) Rates for Black women were significantly higher than rates for White and Hispanic women

About eight years ago, Rodneyse experienced a preterm pregnancy loss. Although the loss came down to many factors, the key one was that maternal healthcare, healthcare transparency, and access to providers who put both mothers and their babies first was severely lacking.

Rodneyse was high-risk and had several complications, some of which were not detected or not properly communicated, leading to her being rushed to a Manhattan hospital where she was told the only solution was to terminate her baby. “I wanted the doctors to do everything they needed to save me and my baby,” she said.

Eventually, Rodneyse delivered her child, Jonah, at another hospital, where he lived for less than two hours. “It was probably the saddest day of my life,” she explained. “That’s when I decided to focus on maternal healthcare bills.”

And she did. Rodneyse drove the “Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law” in her son’s name, which establishes requirements for treatment when an expecting mother comes to a hospital with concerns about pre-term labor.

Now, after a healthy and safe pregnancy, Rodneyse and her husband, Edu, are parents to beautiful 18-month-old Daniel. From introducing new laws to opening the Morris Heights Health Center’s (MHHC) state-of-the-art women’s clinic and maternal health center, Rodneyse continues to advocate for maternal healthcare and more. And she does all of this while studying for a law degree!

Read on to learn about Rodneyse’s creative career journey, raising her son, childcare when legislating, a supportive husband, and more.

NYF: Before entering public service, you were a public school teacher, an engineer, and an investment banker. What made you decide to enter politics?

RBH: Joining then US Senate candidate Barack Obama’s campaign in Illinois in 2004 was my first taste of local politics. As an Obama Operative, I rallied Democrats while finishing up my MBA at Northwestern and working full-time at Lucent Technologies as an engineer. Shortly after having moved back to New York City in 2005 and having worked as an investment Banker on Wall Street at the height of the Financial Crisis, I took a turn in a different direction after being reintroduced to local politics and reigniting my desire to uplift communities.

52 | April 2024
Photo by Yumi Matsuo

What should a minority mother should know to protect herself and her family at the hospital?

Be proactive by pursuing a comprehensive plan before common complications might occur (especially with diabetes and other issues disproportionately affecting Black women), be monitoring your body and health, such as your cervix and for preeclampsia.

It’s important to bring up any issues you’re experiencing with your doctor, and make sure they are listening and taking them seriously.

Mothers should know their rights and that the hospital is required to service them. They need to consent to all procedures like C-sections and uterus removal; they should have a doula and a close person to speak on their behalf when they are feeling pain, or bleeding or experiencing any issue. They should know their rights on the risk of the baby; they should know of the prenatal services as well as post-natal service and care they have a right to receive.

For those who can’t afford some of these services, The New Family Home Visits Initiative offers support, services, and referrals to new and expectant parents, including no-cost doulas for those who qualify.

This time, it was in my hometown of Brooklyn, helping a state senator Kevin Parker in 2008. After being laid off, I had an epiphany and decided it was my calling to serve as a voice for my community. It was the teacher in me that understood the need for building our public school system; it was the engineer in me that wanted to push STEM programs for city school students while encouraging minority and womenowned business opportunities, it was my ability to work with numbers that helped my data analytics in assessing my run for office.

NYF: You recently took the bar exam; what is the commitment to using your legal education in your work?

RBH: My constant learning throughout my career allowed me to be a better legislator and understand and address pressing, complex issues.

Law School was a massive undertaking, but I am committed to serving vulnerable and protected classes of people in the courtroom, especially as it relates to Civil Rights, constitutional law and immigration law. I am interested in using my engineering background in construction law as well. I also want to be a better legislator in the way I write bills and debate them on the floor. And as Assembly Majority Whip, I have a responsibility to ensure bills get passed through.

After losing my son and having been mistreated by the hospital, I decided that a legal education would allow me to advocate for many in the courtroom.

NYF: Can you explain the “Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law” and the protections it provides for the expecting mother at the hospital?

RBH: It provides protection and rights for all expectant mothers in New York to have their medical concerns taken seriously and the hospital of their choice to admit, diagnose, and treat expectant mothers in emergency situations.

More specifically, it establishes requirements for treatment when an expectant mother presents at a

general hospital with concerns about being in preterm labor. This law ensures that, first, mothers are informed that they are going into early labor and of the associated risks, and secondly: these hospitals must care for highrisk pregnancies.

The law is named in memory of my late son Jonah Bichotte Cowan, who passed after I was turned away from a hospital I rushed to in early labor. After discovering I was dilating at 3cm, I was notified of the worst news an expectant mother can receive - both me and my unborn baby were in an incredibly fatal and high-risk situation. Knowing the risks associated, the Doctors at one Hospital discharged and forcefully released me, citing “hospital policy.”

I was then rushed to another hospital in Brooklyn. They took me in, and their doctors were culturally competent. They understood my situation and tried their best to help. Although they were not able to save Jonah, the stark difference between their care and how I was denied treatment at a well-regarded corporate hospital highlighted the need for legislative action.

One in 10 families across the country faces the same unfortunate narrative of a high-risk pregnancy and mistreatment at the hands of medical professionals, and now it’s prevented through law in New York.

NYF: Does the mother have to mention this law, or should it be something that all medical staff are aware of?

RBH: This is a critical healthcare right that all medical staff should be aware of. Unfortunately, issues in our healthcare system still exist, so I encourage expectant mothers to be aware of all their rights.

NYF: You opened up a health clinic. Can you share it? Where is this located, and what support can a mother find?

RBH: Of course! The Morris Heights Health Center’s (MHHC) new health facility, located at One Brooklyn, 1095 Flatbush Avenue, has a state-of-the-art Maternal Health Center of Excellence. The women’s clinic and maternal health center provide much-needed high-quality services through culturally competent doctors.

Central Brooklyn was lacking the proper maternal care needed for our communities facing a maternal health crisis, and I am honored to have secured funding for MHHC through the Vital Brooklyn Initiative.

NYF: You are no doubt super busy. How are you ‘juggling’ a toddler and career? What does your support system look like?

To say I’m busy is an understatement! I’m fortunate to have a great support system--my super-supportive husband (who also works) and a nanny help balance childcare when I’m in my District in Brooklyn. Up in Albany, the Assembly is full of new moms in office, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been immensely helpful in providing childcare resources when we’re

54 | April 2024


I know that it’s incredibly tough out there for many moms who lack these resources, and are trying to hold down a job while struggling to afford help. I am always advocating to make childcare more accessible, including co-sponsoring the “universal child care act” which would make free childcare accessible for all New Yorkers

NYF: Lastly, let’s talk about your adorable 18-monthold Daniel. How’s the experience of being a mom?

RBH: The experience of being a mom is unmatched. I am filled with joy and gratitude every day when I wake up to see my little boy growing healthy and very happy. I am also blessed to have avoided complications during birth and post-postpartum depression. I thank God for my health, my cherished son’s health and my husband’s.

Helpful to New York Mothers

Both Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul have recently taken significant steps to reduce maternal and infant health inequities in New York City and the State by providing critical resources to new families.

Mayor Adams announced a citywide expansion of the doula program, the expansion of a Midwifery Initiative, and the expansion of a maternal health care services program.

Gov. Hochul introduced a six-point policy plan (I proudly spoke at her announcement at Wyckoff Hospital, where my son Daniel was born and where I lost Jonah) and legislation to expand access to high-quality prenatal care, reduce costs for mothers and families, fight postpartum depression and support infants in the first months of their lives.

April 2024 | New York Family 55
Lea Cartier, LE STUDIO



Qingming Festival

WHEN: Thursday, April 4, 3 – 5 pm

WHERE: Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center, 80 Catherine St., Lower Manhattan


WHAT: Share Chinese culture with your friends and family and learn how this holiday is celebrated in China.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

NYC Tartan Day Parade

WHEN: Saturday, April 6, 2 – 4 pm

WHERE: 6th Ave. between 44th St. & 55th St., Midtown


WHAT: Be there for the largest annual Scottish cultural gathering in NYC, with over 1,500 bagpipers, Highland dancers, Scottish clan members, Celtic Canines, and more.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Family Sunday: Planting Seeds of Paradise

WHEN: April 7-28, Sundays, 1 – 3 pm

WHERE: The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St., Chelsea

AGES: 3 and older

WHAT: Create your own vision of paradise on earth in honor of Earth Day and plant a seed of positive change by making your own planter shaped like an animal from the Himalayas.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Event

WHEN: Monday, April 8, 2 – 4 pm

WHERE: Intrepid Museum, West 46th St., Hell’s Kitchen


WHAT: Watch the solar eclipse from the dramatic setting of the flight deck of the legendary aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid and learn more about this cosmic phenomenon.

WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $26-$36.

Eid al-Fitr at CMOM

WHEN: April 9-10, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm.

WHERE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St., Upper West Side


WHAT: Show gratitude and appreciation through art making in honor of the Eid al-Fitr holiday!

WANT TO GO?: Included with $16.75 admission.

Jackie Robinson Day

WHEN: April 13-15, SaturdayMonday, 11 am – 6 pm

WHERE: Jackie Robinson

Museum, 75 Varick St., Tribeca AGES: 5 and older

WHAT: Commemorate Jackie Robinson’s enduring legacy on and off the baseball diamond with fun-filled events featuring special museum tours, handson activities, games, and more!

WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $15-$18; free for children younger than 5. (866) 454–3772,

Family Day: Spring Fest

WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 12 – 4 pm

WHERE: Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Ave., Midtown

AGES: 3 and older

WHAT: Celebrate all things spring with interactive musical activities and performances.

WANT TO GO?: Free. (646) 477–8416,

Spring Festival

WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 12 – 3 pm

WHERE: Highbridge Park, 2301 Amsterdam Ave. New York


WHAT: Spend the afternoon outdoors with an obstacle course, jumbo games, arts & crafts, music, and much more!

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Persian Parade 2024

WHEN: Sunday, April 21, 11:30 am

WHERE: Madison Avenue at 39th Street to Madison Square Park, Midtown


WHAT: See Persian culture on display including music, dance, and art at this annual parade.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Hansel & Gretel

WHEN: Sunday, April 28, 2 – 3 pm

WHERE: Galli Theater NY, 74

56 | April 2024
Celebrate spring by learning about music at Carnegie Hall on April 20.

Warren St., Tribeca

AGES: 4-11

WHAT: Go on an adventure with Hansel and Gretel as they find themselves trapped in a witches house and must work together to escape.

WANT TO GO?: $25; $20 for kids.


NYC Parks Presents: Skate Party

WHEN: Wednesday, April 3, 3 – 6 pm

WHERE: Gymnasium in Kwame Ture Recreation Center, 1527 Jesup Ave., Highbridge


WHAT: Enjoy an afternoon of music, dancing, and skating while listening to some of your favorite music.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Bronx Night Market

WHEN: Saturday, April 6, 4 – 10 pm.

WHERE: Bronx Night Market, 1 Fordham Plaza, Belmont


WHAT: This iconic market features a remarkable lineup of 50 local vendors offering a diverse array of cuisines that will have you coming back for more.

WANT TO GO?: Free admission.

The Bronx River Open House

WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 12 – 4 pm

WHERE: Bronx River House, 1490 Sheridan Blvd., Longwood


WHAT: Celebrate Earth Day with canoeing, walking tours, kid friendly educational activities and workshops, music and more!

WANT TO GO?: Free.


Brains On! Live: Your Brain is Magic

WHEN: Sunday, April 7, 2 pm

WHERE: Murmrr Theatre, 17 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights


WHAT: The crew from Brains On, the popular podcast for kids, will take you on an adventure through our brains with magic tricks, dance moves, out-of-body experiences, and more!

WANT TO GO?: $35-$70.

Celebrate Eid al-Fitr

WHEN: Sunday, April 14, 11 am – 4 pm

WHERE: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave, Crown Heights


WHAT: Celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan with a day of music, dance, food, and art that honors cultural traditions from across the Muslim world.

WANT TO GO?: $15; $14 grandparent. (718) 735–4400,

City Nature Challenge

APRIL calendar

Family Day

WHEN: Thursday, April 28, 10 am – 1 pm

WHERE: Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St., Sunset Park


WHAT: Take part in one of the world’s largest citizen science projects by spotting and identifying as many species of wildlife as possible at GreenWood.

WANT TO GO?: Free.


Pajama Story Time: Sense-sational Spring –Primavera Sensacion

WHEN: Friday, April 5, 5 – 8 pm

WHERE: Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th St., Corona

AGES: 2 and older

WHAT: Celebrate the spring and learn about amazing animal senses with seasonal crafts, up-close encounters, tasty treats and an evening of storytelling.

WANT TO GO?: $30; $24 members.

Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival

WHEN: April 20-28, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am – 6 pm

WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy.


WHAT: Merry Go Round in the orchard and celebrate the season with assorted carnival rides,midway games, local food vendors, and a visit with the farm animals.

WANT TO GO?: $16.95-$23.

Climate Arts Festival

WHEN: Saturday, April 27, 11 am – 4 pm

WHERE: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing


WHAT: Learn how to take care of our planet every day of the year with hands-on activities, art exhibits, music, interactive performances, tours, demonstrations, and more!

WANT TO GO?: $2-$6; free for children 3 and younger and members.

April 2024 | New York Family 57
The Persian Parade marches down Madison Avenue on April 21. Catch Hansel & Gretel at the Galli Theater on April 28.

Celebrating Beatrix Potter

The Morgan Libary takes a closer look at the beloved children’s author

Mr. Jeremy Fisher adorns the top of the doorway leading into the Morgan Library and Museum’s Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature exhibition.

He’s not only one of Potter’s better known characters: he’s also exhibit curator Philip Palmer’s favorite.

Palmer says his first glimpse of Mr. Jeremy Fisher at the entrance to the exhibit was “emotional.”

It was like “seeing an old friend again,” Palmer says.

And entering the exhibit will surely evoke similar feelings from visitors. Beatrix Potter, best known for books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, is one of the most beloved children’s authors of the twentieth century.

Through her artworks, books, manuscripts and artifacts, the exhibition at the Morgan highlights Potter’s unique relationship with the natural world and showcases how her blend of scientific observation and imaginative storytelling resulted in some of the world’s most popular children’s books.

Created by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the exhibition is broken into different sections, each featuring a part of Potter’s life and how they helped her become a storyteller.

Beginning in “Town and Country,” visitors will get an idea of the places, spaces and influences that defined Potter’s childhood, starting with her life in South Kensington, London.

With an emphasis on her family life and development as an artist, this exhibition contains things like early sketchbooks, objects from her home, artwork by her family and a page from an encrypted diary that Potter kept from her adolescence into her 30s.

“Under the Microscope,” the exhibition’s second section, looks at Potter’s interest in natural sciences.

It showcases Potter’s work as an amateur mycologist through displays of her intricate and

UK’s National Trust, highlighting her extraordinary legacy that lives on not only through her books but through her efforts towards preserving natural spaces.

Palmer says Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature is a natural fit into the Morgan’s programming line up.

scientifically impressive drawings of fungi.

Other areas of this section look into Potter’s childhood summers in Scotland and northwest England’s Lake District, where she collected fossils, fungi and other natural specimens.

These travels with her family shaped Potter’s artistic process, which can be seen in her early sketches and picture letters depicting natural scenery.

“A Natural Storyteller” shows Potter’s almost accidental journey to becoming a bestselling author, focusing on Potter’s beloved children’s books and the stories behind them.

See preliminary sketches of Peter Rabbit, Potter’s paintings of the real-life places that inspired Mr. McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, tiny letters she wrote in the voices of her characters and sent to children and more.

The exhibition’s final section, “Living Nature,” follows Potter into her later life in the Lake District in northwest England.

Through letters, photographs and paintings, this section shows how Potter transitioned away from working as an illustrator and writer and into working in farming and conservation.

The show ends with a look at the four thousand acres Potter bequeathed to the

“The Morgan has always been known for children’s literature,” Palmer says. “So Beatrix Potter falls into that perfectly.”

Families will feel right at home when visiting. The exhibition was created with families and young readers in mind, Palmer says. Visitors will find several reading nooks and reading spaces throughout the gallery, where they can relax and enjoy reading Potter’s books.

For families looking to take their exhibition experience to the next level, keep an eye out for upcoming Family Programs related to the exhibition at the Morgan.

These include Family First Sundays, where families can tour the exhibition and enjoy a picture book story time, and the Spring Family Fair, which will include the reopening of the Morgan Garden and hands-on activities related to the exhibition.

Palmer says he hopes that families who visit the exhibition leave with a new appreciation for Potter and her contributions.

“We do hope that children and families maybe discover Beatrix Potter for the first time, or rediscover their interest in Potter,” Palmer says.

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature will be on view at the Morgan Library and Museum ( now through June 9.

58 | April 2024
family day out
Photos By Kaitlyn Riggio
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