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The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Senior Driving Safety

Ask the Experts by Sharon Maier

Q. My mom is 85 in great health except for a little memory loss. I just got home from driving with her to church and am glad to be out of the car. While we didn’t go on any major streets, my mom seemed frazzled and once on the main road back home she changed lanes and cut off a driver. What should I do?

A. The first thing to do is to begin having conversations about driving. Driving is an emotional topic because it represents independence. Since you saw ...

Read more: Senior Driving Safety


How Early Music Education Impacts Young Children and Beyond

Ask the Experts by Melissa Sharp and Nancy Takis

Q. My three-year-old loves to sing and listen to music. Is she too young to enroll in a music class?

A. As Early Childhood educators prepare for a career in teaching, they learn the importance of incorporating music into the classroom. Music education is not only a graduation requirement for a degree in Early Childhood; it is also integrated into the State of Michigan Licensing Rules for Child Care Centers.

The value of music exposure during ...

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Building Resilience in Children

Ask the Experts by Maureen McKinley Light, LMSW

Q: As a parent, I want to be able to help my children to be resilient, be able to recover quickly from setbacks they encounter in their daily lives. How can I help them develop this trait?

A: I recently spoke about resilience in childhood in the closing presentation of the Bullying Series for The Family Center. I chose to focus upon resilience as a desirable trait in general.

As I pointed out, there will be many parents who are concerned that ...

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Dog bites are "Ruff"!

Ask the Experts by Ed Lazar 

Q: The weather is nice again and I worry about my children approaching dogs that our neighbors let wander in our community. What are some safe tips that I might be able to share with them?

A. Of course, we and our neighbors get outside more, especially to walk our dogs. Fido likes the nice weather too. To be kind to man and beast alike, we need to be a bit cautious while we are out and about.

It seems grim to note that as many as 1 million people each year ...

Read more: Dog bites are "Ruff"!


Building Blocks for High Academic Achievement

Ask the Experts by Detroit Waldorf School

Q: If my child is not reading or writing by the time they are in preschool, will they be able to attain high academic achievement?

In our nationwide effort to reinforce the future success of our educated workforce and nation, we tend to teach our young students too much, too fast, and we, in turn, miss the opportunity to provide them with a strong foundation of knowledge that's rich with tools and techniques, not just facts and statistics.

Detroit Waldorf ...

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Dyslexia Fixes: Let the Buyer Beware

Ask the Experts by Ann Laciura

Q: I’ve noticed some on-line advertisements claiming that dyslexia is a vision problem and can be treated with a special pair of glasses. Is there anything to this?

A: Generations ago, one theory about the nature of dyslexia was that it had something to do with vision. However, science has debunked that as hokum. Researchers at Yale and elsewhere have done functional brain scans, comparing a dyslexic brain with an ordinary brain. They have concluded that ...

Read more: Dyslexia Fixes: Let the Buyer Beware


Eight Reasons to "Age at Home"

Ask the Experts by Mary Ellen Brayton

Q: My 82 year old father lives alone and is fiercely independent but he's finding it more difficult to handle everything at home. We are not sure if he should still be driving, cooking, and if he's actually taking his medications on a regular basis. It's a touchy topic with him, but we are starting to see a decline in his abilities.

A: "I don't need help" is a typical response when a family member suggests calling someone for assistance.

As tough as it may ...

Read more: Eight Reasons to "Age at Home"


What is this 'ABA' I keep hearing about?

Ask the Experts by Veronica McAtee & Lori Warner

Q: My son was just diagnosed with autism, and the team recommended he receive "ABA therapy." But I don't even know what that means, or where I can get it.

A: ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, which studies how we learn and how we can change behaviors.

We break down complex skills like having a conversation or getting dressed into smaller, more manageable pieces, and use a system of prompts and rewards to motivate learners. ABA treatment ...

Read more: What is this 'ABA' I keep hearing about?


Encouraging Reading Skills in Children

Ask the Experts by Michael Richman

Q. What can parents do to encourage kids to read more and improve their skills as they get older?

A. Reading comprehension skills are crucial to academic achievement. Children will be expected to read vast amounts during their academic careers and will need to continue to develop this skill from their early school years and further.

Reading for pleasure is also important for children. Reading fiction helps students develop healthy imaginations which encourage ...

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Plant Some Seeds to Better Health and Teachable Moments

Ask The Experts by Mary Ellen Brayton

Q:  What are some fun summer activities that I can let my children help my parents with that would be interactive plus maybe share some teachable moments along the way?

A:  Why not start with a garden? Besides looking nice and providing healthier foods, maintaining a garden can also improve your health. Working in the garden on a daily basis has been proven to relieve stress, improve mental health, boost exercise, and improve nutrition.

Read more: Plant Some Seeds to Better Health and Teachable Moments


Stress Relief: Pause and Breathe

Ask the Experts by Jill Wrubel

Q. STRESS is being written and talked about everywhere, however much of the information is so difficult to comprehend and figure out what to do? Often I feel stressed at work, come home and feel stressed there too, not knowing how I can let go of the day.

A. There are many writings about Stress: articles, books, blogs, DVD, CD, television specials, yet why does it continue to seem so elusive?

Perhaps the varying degrees of language? Whether from the most eloquent, ...

Read more: Stress Relief: Pause and Breathe


How to Help Children when Parents Divorce

Ask the Experts by Mary Anne Lushe, LMSW, LMFT

Q. My husband and I are divorcing after 16 years of marriage. We have three children ages 4, 11 and 14. What can we do to help our children through this difficult transition?

A. A couple in any phase of divorce, generally have powerful and pretty raw emotions which make it more difficult to provide the security, consistency and parenting that children require. It is a time of self-focus that asks parents to contain their anger, pain and conflict. ...

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Celebrating Differences! How to Support Your Different Learner

Ask the Experts by Geralyn DeBoard, DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center

Q. How might I know if my child is a different learner?

A. Parents may recognize differences in their child once he or she enters school and begins participating in school activities. Parents may also receive reports or seek information from their child's teacher regarding strengths and weaknesses noted in school performance.

It may be a good idea for parents to observe their child in school and in social ...

Read more: Celebrating Differences! How to Support Your Different Learner


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