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If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place. Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

So he’s off to school every morning now, like a big kid. But instead of the exuberance you expected, you find many days -- especially Monday -- starting with tears, or maybe a tummy-ache. He isn't faking.

Showing a little encouragement is an easy way to make someone’s day, and we’ve come up with a few ideas on how you can do so.

My grandmother showed me how to surpass the expectations that the ‘medical model’ had set for me. I was born with bleeding on the brain, which caused me to develop a type of cerebral palsy known as spastic quadriplegia, which affects both the arms and the legs. In spite of those circumstances, my grandmother determined to give me the best chance for succeeding in a world committed to maligning people who look like me. She did not care about the barriers put before us, and she instilled in me a fire to engage and push through them as she did.

Don't force them, but do find ways to help them feel good about trying new tastes. Picky eating is one of the most common complaints among parents. It’s the rare child who eats anything and everything, gamely taking on new vegetables, foreign cuisine, and walnuts in brownies. Instead, most kids (like most adults, only more so) find some foods unpalatable. Vegetables are a frequent offender; processed desserts and chips typically aren’t.

A few days ago, a mother at my 3-year-old daughter’s day care center labored over a long goodbye with her toddler. Every second that passed seemed to heighten the drama and tighten the child’s clasp. Soon a train of grumpy parents began lining up behind them, the caboose of the duo’s unending embrace (complete with a steady stream of tears).

To the New Teacher of My Daughter on the Autism Spectrum: And all day she will seem the same: happy, willing. You may wonder how I can tell, simply by the way she walks out of the classroom, how pent up she is and if we she is going to have a hard afternoon. Because she has had her school mask on, all day. Maybe somebody has bumped or pushed her. Or she can’t figure out how to play the playground games. So she waits and waits until she can come home and let it out, sometimes with an innocuous spark setting off a meltdown. So I’m asking you to take a second look at her sometimes.

We're here to tell you all about the benefits reading can bring, besides knowledge and entertainment.

When Mindy Scheier’s son Oliver came home from school in 2014, the then-eight-year-old told her he wanted to start wearing jeans like his friends. It might seem like a common request, but for Mindy there was a challenge: Oliver has a rare form of muscular dystrophy, which causes physical disabilities.

Making sure you've packed thoroughly can make your road trip experience even more enjoyable. To help, here's a list of items you'll need once you've hit the road.

A new school year means a new grade, new teachers, new goals, and maybe even a new school! In order to help you and your child with special needs be as successful as you can be, we've put together a list of eight helpful back-to-school tips that we hope will make the transition into a new school year a little easier for you and your child.

Among the new line of Barbies are dolls with darker skin tones, textured hair and a “curvier” body size in addition to two dolls with disabilities — a wheelchair user and Barbie with a removable prosthetic leg. According to Kim Culmone, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie Design, these dolls are another step toward a more inclusive toy that represents the diversity of its customers.

Doctors have known for years that some patients who become unresponsive after a severe brain injury nonetheless retain a “covert consciousness,” a degree of cognitive function that is important to recovery but is not detectable by standard bedside exams. As a result, a profound uncertainty often haunts the wrenching decisions that families must make when an unresponsive loved one needs life support, an uncertainty that also amplifies national debates over how to determine when a patient in this condition can be declared beyond help.

The problem of selfies has even attracted the attention of various professional journals for plastic surgeons, which have been posting articles about increasing requests for plastic surgery coming from young people. A poll from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons found that 42% of surgeons were asked to perform procedures for improved selfies and pictures on social media platforms.

Planning an Independence Day gathering should be about creating community, not a source of stress. We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to throw a party your guests will rave about.

Acknowledge that you are a great parent. Day in and day out, you’re taking care of your special needs child. Thanks to you, they are healthy and properly educated. Because of you, your child’s needs are being met with consideration and love. Because of all you do, make sure to do something nice for yourself each week, no matter how small.

If you're looking for a way to get outside while also improving your whole self, gardening may be the hobby for you.

The official scouting motto is “Be Prepared.” If parents of special needs kids had a motto, it would be the same thing. We always have to be ready for any scenario and never more so than when we travel with them. Here are ten items you must have in your arsenal before traveling so that you are prepared for anything.

It could be the hit of the summer: “Sweet but Psycho” by Ava Max. It features the singer, Ava Max, violently abusing men. It suggests she killed one man and lights another one on fire. But she’s really attractive while doing it, so I guess we are supposed to be OK with her vivid, awful depiction of what she feels a “psycho” is.

So, do you want to embrace social networking to have a positive influence on the world? Here are some ideas for how to use social media to make a difference.

When we think of those affected by eating disorders, we usually think of girls and young women. The fact is, females do make up the bulk of those who struggle with eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. But disordered eating also affects boys and men.

Everyone has bad days at work — a customer is rude, you need to rush to finish a project, you have to skip lunch or some other annoying thing. If this is now and then, only 10 percent of the time, I’d say that is probably OK. Nothing is perfect. However, if you face daily major stresses, you constantly feel devalued and begin and end your day dreading your job, you may be in a toxic situation.

This photo was taken just three days before we received Charlie’s autism diagnosis. We’ve now been on our autism journey for 4 years and 8 months.

It was hard to get to a diagnosis for Charlie. Doctors, specialists and therapists said to wait and see; that his delays were due to premature birth and that his communication challenges were because boys develop differently. We were told not to “worry about autism” because he could talk and make eye contact. I knew all the things I was seeing meant something, but my concerns were brushed off because I was a first-time mom!

It was a relief to finally get his diagnosis because it meant we could finally get him appropriate help. When this picture was taken, he was regressing and losing speech which happens to some kids on the spectrum.

But we quickly learned that getting the diagnosis was just the beginning! Before getting involved with ParentsCAN we felt lost. We didn’t know what to do and we were new to Napa so we didn’t know who to ask. But we knew we had to find Charlie help.

Our ParentsCAN advocate is available when I need her and really listens to my concerns. ParentsCAN empowers parents to trust themselves—when you’re a new mom you’re always being told, ‘Don’t worry!’ But my ParentsCAN Advocate said, “I hear you, let me figure out how to help you.”

ParentsCAN connects you to other parents who can guide you through this confusing time. I met other parents of children with autism who were further along on the journey than I was. I was amazed at the help you get listening to other parents—you don’t have to figure it out on your own—there is a wealth of experience available. Other parents were so generous sharing what they had learned and how they felt. Parent to parent works!

We are now finding our own “normal.” The challenges that come with Charlie’s autism have improved tremendously—he has worked so hard—he seldom has meltdowns now and he is working at grade level in a regular classroom.

I don’t feel like we’re fighting with autism anymore; it’s just become a different way of life for our family. It’s not about looking for the light at the end of the tunnel anymore; we’re turning the lights on in the tunnel and trying to appreciate the twists and turns and how far we’ve come on our autism journey.

Many people with bipolar disorder experience mixed episodes — a mood episode characterized by the presence of manic and depressive symptoms. They can bring someone from their highest peak of happiness to their lowest points of depression — all in the course of one day.

Parenting can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but moms and dads of children with developmental and mental health challenges often have to deal with strain of a different magnitude. Caring for a child with special needs can become a full-time job — and an overwhelming one at that, if you don’t have adequate support.

What are the signs of bullying? When does the teasing become torment? We are all aware that being bullied as a child is not a trivial thing. It not only causes acute suffering, it has been linked to long-term emotional problems, and children who lack strong parental support seem to encounter the most lasting damage.

Fears are an inescapable part of being a kid: Hiding behind the couch during a thunderstorm. Being sure there’s something in the closet — a monster! Performing those endless nighttime gymnastics —Five more minutes! One more glass of water! — to avoid going to bed by themselves.

I think we all know someone who has died by suicide or know somebody affected by someone’s suicide. We hear about the suicides of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Robin Williams or Chris Cornell. For some, these events evoke an emotional and overwhelming response, both on social media and in person.

When we think of “childhood abuse,” usually the first types that come to mind are physical and sexual abuse. And while we should talk about these types of abuse, oftentimes they are the only categories that get discussed. Too often we overlook an equally damaging and often hidden kind of abuse — emotional abuse.

CBD and autism: A group of Israeli researchers have been exploring the use of CBD to reduce problem behaviors in children on the autism spectrum. A feasibility study involving 60 children found substantial improvement in behavioral outbreaks, anxiety and communication problems, as well as stress levels reported by parents.

The bravest new face on television is a Muppet that doesn’t say much. But she speaks volumes about life on the spectrum

This month aims to increase awareness about stress, its negative effects and how to relieve it. If you’re experiencing stress, keep these ideas in mind for how to relax.

In the past two decades, autism diagnoses have soared—but new research shows that girls have frequently been overlooked, leaving them without crucial support.

The day my parents were told I had autism was one of the scariest days of their lives — not because I wasn’t capable of doing amazing things in this world, but because of the uncertainty that an autism diagnosis can bring to families.

The first five years of life are a crucial time for cognitive development – yet millions of kids in California don’t get an opportunity to participate in structured learning activities, let alone developmental screenings, until after they enter kindergarten.

World Autism Awareness Day can trace its roots back to November 1st, 2007. This is when the U.N first requested that a day be established as World Autism Day.  This resolution was passed and on December 18th of 2007, World Autism Awareness Day was established as a holiday on April 2nd of every year. The first World Autism Awareness Day would then take place in the spring of 2008.

Raising a child with Down syndrome is wonderful and amazing because having children is wonderful and amazing. It makes you realize that a mother's love is not based on a child's ability, but on your own ability to accept and give. Having a child with disabilities can sometimes be hard, but sometimes it’s not. And after you realize this, then you realize this is true for all children.

When it comes to getting diagnosed, Amy Schumer wants everyone to resist the stigma. The expectant comedian recently opened up about her husband Chris Fischer's autism diagnosis in her newly released Netflix special, Amy Schumer Growing. "My husband was diagnosed with what used to be called Asperger's. He has autism spectrum disorder. He's on the spectrum," Schumer told her audience during the show.

There's no doubt about it: If you want to live a more knowledgeable, cultural and altruistic lifestyle, then learning another language has big benefits in store.

Why Are Kids Different at Home and at School? Some hold it together at school, only to lose it at home. Others stress out in the classroom.
It’s not unusual for kids to behave differently in different settings. For instance, you’d expect a child to act one way at a friend’s birthday party and another at her grandparents’ house. But the behavior of some kids — especially those with issues such as anxiety, learning disabilities, ADHD and autism — can vary much more markedly, especially when they’re at home versus school. This discrepancy can leave parents puzzled, if not upset, and worried that they’re doing something wrong.

At the inaugural Better Together prom, everyone made the prom court. The Better Together prom was meant to make people with disabilities, high school age and older, feel pampered and accepted, said organizer Erica Conway, a Napa dentist. Conway, whose daughter is a Justin-Siena freshman and was born with Down syndrome, said she was inspired by the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine, a similar event for people with special needs.

Children with special needs are often helped by equine-assisted therapy.

It can sometimes be difficult to consider how exactly to recognize Black History Month. What can you do? Here are six ideas for honoring Black History Month.

Parenting a child is always hard, but this is so much harder. “People don’t understand the variations of Autism. We had a very difficult time coming up with a plan for Rukaya’s IEP. The school’s recommendations didn’t fit my child! Because of ParentsCAN I knew that if I was not satisfied with the recommendations I did not have to sign her IEP. Because I was prepared by ParentsCAN, we decided we would meet again after Rukaya had attended the school for one month.”

“During that time I would call my Advocate and ask her to tell me ‘am I crazy or are they crazy?’ I couldn’t be objective anymore. But I knew my Advocate would tell me the truth. I trust ParentsCAN – I can explain the situation and get an unbiased answer. ParentsCAN has no ulterior motive, other than to make sure that the kids who need help are getting help. Because of ParentsCAN’s guidance, I was able to work with the school so Rukaya can learn.”

Here are 12 ways you can set kids up to feel capable and get the most mileage out of their skills and talents.

People with disabilities are feeling pressure from the nation’s longest-ever government shutdown, whether they work for a shuttered federal agency, live in subsidized housing or receive food stamps, advocates say.

When kids are diagnosed with a learning disability we naturally worry about how it will affect their school performance. What we often don’t think about, but should, is how having a learning disability may affect children emotionally.

For thousands of families across California, there is new reason for optimism. Beginning Tuesday, the CalABLE (California’s Achieving a Better Life Experience) program will empower hundreds of thousands of Californians with disabilities to save for their futures, without worrying that they’ll lose access to vital public programs.

As we enter a new year, it’s tempting to make all sorts of resolutions. I’ve done it before. You get sucked into the whole “new year, new me” mindset and set all sorts of lofty goals. Unfortunately, before you know it, it’s February 1 and things are the same as they were befor

While the words "stress-free" and "the holidays" don't often go together, we want all kids to enjoy this special time of year. No matter which holidays your family celebrates, the following tips and strategies can help everyone enjoy the season... especially those with special needs like ADHD and autism.

A helpful list of supportive reminders for parents of kids with special needs.

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