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The Family Center: Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

Serving our community through programs and resources vital to today’s families.

Help with the Stigma of Autism and the Hope of ABA

Ask The Experts by April Ceno and Frank Pinkham

Q: My child is diagnosed with autism. Public outings are challenging as people say rude things or stare. How can I educate people in that moment? I've also heard a lot about therapies/treatments for children with autism, specifically Applied Behavior Analysis. What is ABA and is it a good choice for my child?

A: The stigma families with an autistic child face is common, unfortunately. Often, these situations lead parents to become discouraged ...

Read more: Help with the Stigma of Autism and the Hope of ABA


Does spring fever really exist?

Ask the Experts by Amy Lawrence

Q: Every spring I start to feel more energy and have an overall happier sense of well-being. Does spring fever really exist?

A: In a nutshell, yes. Research shows that spring fever exists especially in northern latitudes where the seasonal changes are most drastic.

Although spring fever cannot be caught like a cold and fails to be recognized as an authentic medical diagnosis, the term itself describes what our bodies go through as the season transitions from ...

Read more: Does spring fever really exist?


Drug Use Trends in Middle and High School Age Children

Ask the Experts by Scott Masi

Q: I know that drugs are more available for teens these days. As a parent of a middle-schooler I want to be proactive - what should I be looking for? Are there differences in what is available to them compared to what was available when I was a teenager?

A: As parents, we base much of our perception on how it was when we were young. Today's youth are influenced in many different ways, in a very dynamic environment. There is constant exposure during a very vulnerable ...

Read more: Drug Use Trends in Middle and High School Age Children


Educating Children About Addiction

Ask the Experts by Shannon Rozell

Q: Alcoholism runs in my family (father, grandmother and a few aunts/uncles/cousins). However, I have never had an issue because after seeing the wreckage alcoholism caused in my childhood home and life, I chose not to drink alcohol. I have two children and one is adopted. They have never witnessed the behaviors associated with over consumption of alcohol or drugs. Should I have any concerns about educating my children about addiction?

A: This is a fantastic ...

Read more: Educating Children About Addiction


Talking About Marijuana with Adolescents

Ask the Experts by Paddy Laske and Sonya Thompson

Q: Marijuana, legal or illegal is a hot topic. Why is talking about marijuana with adolescents important? What should this talk look like? What if your teen shuts you down? How can you be supportive while addressing your concerns?

All substances including marijuana are harmful to the still developing adolescent brain. Your teens remote control, also called the prefrontal cortex, a section of the brain that weighs decisions and emotions does not ...

Read more: Talking About Marijuana with Adolescents


Phonological Awareness, the Foundation to Reading Success

Ask the Experts by Angelina Spiteri-Bender

Q: How can I best prepare my child for reading expectations in Kindergarten?

A: Phonological Awareness underlies all reading skills. Before children open their book to read, or hold their pencil to write, the groundwork must be laid.

Although this sounds complex, it is simple. Think of the act of reading yourself. When we open a book, we automatically recognize that the sentences on the page are made of words. We have learned that those words are made ...

Read more: Phonological Awareness, the Foundation to Reading Success


About 'Cough CPR'

Ask the Experts by Ronald C. Strickler, MD

Q: Recently I have heard of a technique that may help someone stop a heart attack if you are alone - called cough CPR. What exactly is this and is it real?

A: I saw this myself, through a chain email - that victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and vigorously. The writer goes on to explain that deep breaths before each cough get oxygen to the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart to keep the blood circulating.


Read more: About 'Cough CPR'


Helping a Loved One with an Addiction Problem

Ask the Experts by Lisa Kaplan

Q: I have a family member who is abusing alcohol and other drugs, but doesn't think he has a problem. I am so stressed out and I don't know where to turn. What are my options? What should I do?

A:  Education is the key when dealing with the disease of addiction. A good thing to try to remember, in dealing with your loved one, is that addiction is an illness, not a moral issue, or a matter of self-control. 

Although it may seem like you are on an island ...

Read more: Helping a Loved One with an Addiction Problem


When to Choose Elder Care Options

Ask The Experts by Kris Scarfone and Kristin Whitney

Q: My elderly mother is forgetful at times. Recently I visited and noticed mail piling up on her table. I'm concerned about other things as well. When/how will I know it is time to get help for her - either in her home or consider a move to an assisted living facility?

A: The decision to help an aging parent get in-home care or move to an assisted living facility is a difficult one, both practically and emotionally. There are some common indicators ...

Read more: When to Choose Elder Care Options


The Danger that Opiates Pose to our Youth

Ask the Experts by Sam Quinones

Q: I've been hearing so much these days about opiates and the dangers they pose to our youth. What should I look out for as a parent of teenagers?

A: You are right to be concerned about this epidemic. Opiates are highly addictive and recent years have shown that addiction to them can lead to heroin use. Awareness is an important first step for most communities. 

The epidemic has spread largely because doctors have prescribed pain pills aggressively, but ...

Read more: The Danger that Opiates Pose to our Youth


What are the best learning tools to start using with my toddler?

Ask the Experts by Jill Kloster

Q: I recently bought alphabet flash cards for my 13 month old son. He seems interested in them, but are flash cards the best way to prepare him for reading and communicating?

A: In today's modern world, there seem to be endless gadgets and programs promising to accelerate language development and help children, even babies, learn to read. It can be tempting to use a combination of flash cards, mobile apps, DVDs and other devices to help give our children an early ...

Read more: What are the best learning tools to start using with my toddler?


Medicare Limitations for Long-term Care

Ask The Experts by Suzanne Antonelli, CFP®

Q: My mother is starting to have more health issues and care needs than I am able to provide. I need help.  Will Medicare pay for home health care or an assisted living facility?

A: Unfortunately many people believe that Medicare will cover home health care expenses or the expense of an assisted living facility; but the coverage is very limited, short-term, and only if your mother meets certain conditions. Medicare does not pay for what generally ...

Read more: Medicare Limitations for Long-term Care


Managing Emotions as a Caregiver

Ask the Experts by Jill L. Gafner

Q: My parents are aging quickly and I'm finding myself overwhelmed with decisions and difficult tasks on top of my already stretched schedule. I'm feeling sad, mad, guilty, jealous, depressed, and angry all at the same time! What can I do to manage these emotions?

A. Hopefully the following suggestions that I am able to offer will help you manage your emotions during this challenging time of your life.

Recognize yourself

We "caregivers" tend to overlook ourselves. ...

Read more: Managing Emotions as a Caregiver


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