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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.

Here’s a message for all the parents of special needs kids who just can’t manage the Christmas traditions and stress: It’s OK. Skip it.

Explaining the challenges of early adolescence, things can be so confusing! Here are some suggestions on how to help your "tween."

If you have a student in your life who you want to serve the community, here are some tips for how to encourage teenagers to volunteer with a cause they care about.

Our veterans are facing many challenges. Unlike the physical wounds of war, conditions such as PTSD, major depression, and anxiety are considered “invisible wounds” and go unrecognized and unacknowledged. But these wounds are not, in fact, “invisible.” There is a gap between recognizing the signs, acknowledging the problem, and when to reach out for help. If we continue to use the rhetoric of “invisible wounds” we make excuses as a community for not recognizing our veterans’ needs for additional mental health support.

We wanted to make sure that you know about Voter’s Edge https://votersedge.org/
- the online election guide produced by the League of Women Voters of California in partnership with MapLight.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Skate MD is a nonprofit organization based in Northern California with a mission to heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional or family challenges. Skate MD hosts a skateboarding clinic every month for 25 children, matching each child specifically with a skateboard volunteer for one-on-one skate time.

Lyla is a beautiful and very special five year old who was born in Melbourne, Australia but now calls Glasgow, Scotland home. She lives with her Mummy, Daddy and big brother. Lyla was born with a rare brain disorder called Bilateral Perisylvian Polymicrogyria (PMG) which has led to her having quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy.

California's children fall behind before they start school, and some never catch up, study finds.
When students enter school in California, they learn at a pace on par with — if not better than — those in other states. The problem is that they arrive far behind their national peers, and they never catch up.

Every October, the color pink shows up in full force. From lapel pins to NFL uniforms, people integrate pink into their wardrobes to support breast cancer awareness month. As an awareness campaign, it’s incredibly successful. But is it really a good idea?

Even as the Golden State has maintained the nation’s highest child poverty rate and struggled to fund schools, it has developed a system of children’s hospitals that occupies a parallel California in which kids’ needs actually come first.

Each September, National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Homeowners, families, communities, and businesses can use this opportunity to find ways or help others understand more about preparing for disasters and reducing risks to health and the environment. There are many ways to reduce risks from contamination, leaks, spills, hazardous materials, and other dangers. This page doesn't include all possible ways of preparing but provides many ideas and links to more information.

Napa County is embarking on an update of its Strategic Plan for the next three years. The next step in the development of the updated plan is Community Outreach.  As part of our community outreach strategy, we are hosting a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss community priorities. As a community contributor, we are inviting you to participate in one of two targeted workshops on Social Services and Non-Profits. Due to space limitations, registration is required.

Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 9 – 15, 2018. During this week individuals and organizations around the country join their voices to broadcast the message that suicide can be prevented, and to reach as many people as possible with the tools and resources to support themselves and those around them. This year’s theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”

Gift of Speech Workshop
Communication...How’s it Going?

Please join ParentsCAN as we present Matthew Guggemos, M.S, CCC-SLP, co-founder of iTherapy, LLC. Matthew is a licensed speech-pathologist who specializes in early intervention, autism, literacy instruction, skill acquisition, as well as assistive technology design and development.

Families are powerful forces for system change when they unite together. For those of you ready to become engaged in school reform or local policy, we have a class to help you. This dynamic and interactive, 6-session workshop prepares families with the skills and tools needed to partner and engage in all levels of public advocacy on behalf of children with special needs.

With children heading back to school, the Napa County Sheriff's Office wanted to share these safe driving tips with you.

ParentsCAN is getting a makeover! Our center will be closed Wednesday,
August 1st through Thursday, August 9th for the installation of our new
carpet.

For assistance during this time, please call or email, we will reply to your
message promptly. For phone messages please use the main line (707)
253-7444 (X111 for Spanish) and leave a message, or send email to
parents@parentscan.org.

Research shows that one of the best predictors of how well kids do later in life is if they did chores when they grew up.

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