The Child Mind BlogBrainstorm

  • Autism Awareness Month: Best Places to Live if You Have Autism
    April 1, 2011 LA Times

    Autism Speaks is kicking off Autism Awareness month with a survey determining which areas have the best autism services and resources. At the top of the list are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Northern New Jersey, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle and Milwaukee. The survey also ranked areas with the poorest access to resources. 74 percent of the people surveyed said they were unhappy with the availability of services where they live, with more than two-thirds saying they regularly travel an hour or more for care.

    Many families affected by autism are turning to the web for more resources. Read how autism Internet communities are affecting people on and off the web.

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  • Toddler Twins: Secret Language or Babble?
    March 31, 2011 New York Times

    More than six million people have viewed the viral video of two toddler twin boys engaged in what looks like a really great conversation. Wearing diapers and holding onto the refrigerator for support, the twins laugh, stomp, and gesture animatedly.  But are they talking? Probably not, say speech experts—but they're close. "Some people believe twins have the ability to generate their own detailed language, a twin language, but it doesn't seem to be true in terms of a fully developed language system,'' says Stephen Camarata, a professor of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Instead, the twins are probably mimicking the intonation patterns they've learned from their parents. Says Dr. Camarata, "Children are very clever at watching and learning from adults. You wonder if there hasn't been a conversation between the husband and wife or other people in the kitchen that they are mimicking."

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  • Madden Video Game Introduces New Concussion Policy
    March 31, 2011 NBC

    Now the NFL video game Madden is getting even more realistic—by introducing a strict concussion policy. In a decision mirroring the NFL's new regulations, players concussed on the video game will be prevented from immediately returning to play. EA Sports, the manufacturer of Madden, hopes the decision will help bring about a culture change for football fans. By changing the popular video game, kids and adults will get used to football players being out of commission after receiving a bad hit.

    Read More: What Parents Should Know About Concussions

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  • Eating Disorders Not Just for White Teen Girls
    March 30, 2011 ABC

    Eating disorders are often considered a problem affecting white teen girls from affluent families, but eating disorders actually hit every ethnicity and every age. According to Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, executive director of the Oliver-Pyatt Centers, at least half of her parients are "not what society typically thinks of someone having an eating disorder: people older then 40, mothers, men and minorities." ABC News tells the story of Stephanie Covington Armstrong, a black woman who suffered from bulimia for much of her adolescent and adult life. Misunderstood in her community, Armstrong says that people would ask her, "What, do you want to be white or something?"

    Read more:  How to give your child a healthy body image.

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  • Childrenfreude: Why I Take Pleasure in Other Parents' Pain - and You Should, Too!
    March 30, 2011 ParentDish

    Today on ParentDish columnist David Valdes Greenwood discusses the guilty pleasure he calls childrenfreude, or "the secret pleasure of watching bad kids happen to good parents." When your child misbehaves (and they all do) it can feel like a personal indictment of you, your parenting skills, and your home. But not to worry! If you are feeling overwhelmed, do as Greenwood does, and the next time you see another parent struggling at the supermarket or during a playdate, engage in a little childrenfreude, and remember that you aren't alone.

    Read more:  The Child Mind Institute has a wealth of parenting advice targeted to kids of all ages.

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  • CBS HealthWatch: Food Dye And ADHD
    March 30, 2011 CBS

    CBS interviews CMI's Dr. Steven Kurtz, an expert on ADHD, about the possible link between food dyes and ADHD. Kurtz notes when kids with ADHD are observed by people who don't know if the child has eaten a food dye, the dye doesn't seem to have any effect on behavior.

    In the story CBS also profiled Annabella Surovcik, a seven-year-old girl with ADHD who was treated at the Child Mind Institute.  "Hitting, pinching, hair pulling, kicking, you could see it was an impulse that she just could not control it," said Dianne Marino-Surovcik, Annabella's mother.  Now, after treatment and medication, Annie's doing much better. 

    Want to know more about Annie?  Read an interview with her parents describing how Annie overcame ADHD.

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  • Panda Dad Takes on Tiger Mom
    March 29, 2011 Wall Street Journal

    A stay-at-home dad who raised his kids in Beijing takes on Amy Chua and other Tiger Moms in a piece extolling the alternative child-rearing strategy he calls "controlled chaos." Yes, the Chinese method works if your goal is to have your 6-year-old play Chopin etudes, but if your goal is to raise independent, competent, confident adults, he says, it won't do. Neither he (a freelance writer) nor his wife micromanages the kids. "It's not the hyper-orderly household that Amy Chua portrays," he writes, "but the kids are constantly learning to take responsibility for their own homework, play time and everything else. Doing so allows them to take genuine pride in their accomplishments. They need to succeed for their own benefit, not to prove that their parents are successful. It's sheer narcissism to believe that your child's every success and failure is a reflection of your worth. Get over yourself." LIke Chua, Alan Paul has written about about his parenting experience.

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  • FDA Scrutinizes the Effect of Food Dye on Kids with ADHD
    March 29, 2011 Wall Street Journal

    Backing down from its long-held position that food dyes pose no risks to children or adults, the FDA is now weighing whether to investigate whether the dyes are linked to hyperactivity specifically in kids who have ADHD. "The data suggest that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, artificial food colors," an FDA memo says. An FDA panel will meet later this week to decide whether more research is in order. This comes on the heels of a Dutch study that found a link between diet and ADHD symptoms in some 60% of children with the disorder. 

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  • Jury’s Still Out on Caffeine Limits
    March 29, 2011 New York Times

    The latest worries about caffeine, mainly the high levels found in energy drinks, echoes one of the earliest debates on the subject a century ago. A hundred years ago a trial involving Coca-Cola led to research on the effects of caffeine, but did not lead to regulation of caffeinated beverages. A study, conducted by Coca-Cola months before they were to be tried, showed that moderate amounts of caffeine stimulated the performances of the test subjects, but lead to sleeplessness in high doses. The case was dismissed, but the debate rages on as products like Red Bull and Four Loko have come onto the market in recent years.

    Read More: Can too much caffeine lead to substance use disorder?

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  • Hockey League Divided Over Banning Hits to the Head
    March 28, 2011 New York Times

    There's a battle raging within the NHL over how to curb concussions without taming hockey any more than necessary. Some players, sponsors, general managers and team owners favor a ban on hits to the head; others argue for for stricter enforcement of current boarding and charging rules, and for stiffer penalties for violators. Pressure for new rules comes from increased speed in the game, due to rules changes made a few years ago, as well as new evidence of the long-term damage caused by brain trauma. But hockey has been out in front of the NFL in adopting stricter rules for players returning to play after a concussion, and the policy, in place since 1997, was beefed up just this month. Now a player suspected of having a concussion spends 15 minutes in a quiet room being evaluated by a doctor before being a candidate to return to the game.

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