Tucked into the Shoppes at Westchester in Midlothian VA, is a small storefront that is making big change in the lives of children and their families. The center is Brain Balance and their mission is to create hope and help for children who struggle with attention, behavior, social or academic challenges.
“Critical Thinking – The Other National Deficit”
As I was driving north on I-95 this past weekend, I saw those words written on a bumper sticker and they caught my attention. I spent the next 45 minutes of my drive pondering whether critical thinking can really be considered a national deficit. Sadly, I came to no conclusion, but I did get out of the car with a stronger sense that as a parent I need to be doing all I can to foster critical thinking in my two teenagers. As a long time educator, and now a business owner of Engineering For Kids of Central Virginia, I was also energized by the knowledge that our engineering classes and camps do provide unique opportunities for children to develop those critical thinking skills.
BoyswithRobotPictureI sat down this morning and wrote down just a few positive attributes I’ve had the pleasure of observing children develop in our camps and classes:
An active mind – and an active body
Feelings of success and accomplishment
Independence and confidence to try new things
Social skills and teamwork
Communication skills to share ideas and solve complex problems
New friendships while “unplugging” from their devices
Skills that may turn into life-long passions
The ability to view perceived mistakes as the opportunity to make changes and try again
Have a fun and safe summer! Be sure to check our camp options and contact us with any questions.
Owner and educator
At Autastic Avenues, we offer social group instruction. Our current group, mostly 6-10 yr. olds, Builders and Gamers, meets on Saturday mornings.
Builders and Gamers use activities that are appealing to kids (Building- Lego/arts and crafts, and Games- cards, board games) to teach the principles of friendship. This is not a play date. It is not a play group. We do refer to it as a social group, but it is more than that. Cooperation and collaboration are not just buzz words. We depend on cooperative participants and collaborative ideas. Every member brings a different set of skills and interests. Everyone learns to be part of the group, even when the activity may not be someone’s favorite. Learning to follow a group plan and actively participate (with a positive attitude) can be a challenge. Letting others have a turn when it is a favorite activity is another type of challenge. We learn to stop and clean up, even when the Lego set is NOT finished. (This one is hard for me too!!) While we are learning how to be accepted into the group, we are learning to accept others into our own group. Builders and Gamers welcome and include anyone interested in being part of our group. Our more experienced members are great mentors to new friends. Our group mascot, Crash the ferret, is a frequent visitor. Crash is great at starting conversations.
The day-to-day reality of being a mother of a special needs child changed my career aspirations. Born with DiGeorge syndrome, my special son had failure to thrive and delay in his speech and fine and gross motor skills. After years navigating an array of specialty clinics and working closely with skilled clinicians, my special needs child is a mainstreamed first grader supported by special education services and an IEP (Individual Education Plan). My real life parenting experiences sharpened my career focus.
With Easter approaching, I thought it would be a great time to share all that will be happening around town. Many of these events will be good for all members in your family and can offer some wonderful fun.
For over 25 years, the Autism Society Central Virginia, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has served as the region’s premier source of education, advocacy, and support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families and friends, and interested professionals. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability that occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and that causes significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. More people than ever before are being diagnosed with autism, and currently, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that an average of 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys) in the United States has an ASD. There is no known cure for autism.
Over the past thirteen years, the Autism Society Central Virginia 5k Run/Walk has grown from a small venture to an annual event that attracted over 1600 participants in 2014. Held at the Innsbrook Pavilion, this family-friendly race includes entertainment, food, exhibitors and a Kid’s Fun Zone. The 5K Run/Walk is one of the Autism Society Central Virginia’s primary sources of income, raising over $90,000 in 2014.
All funds raised from this event will provide much needed support for individuals with autism and their families in Central Virginia. The funds raised here, stay here!
Have you heard about the Deep Run Marathon Dance? I have been fortunate enough to experience this first hand as I have had two children attending Deep Run. This Dance changes lives each year, not only for the local organizations chosen, but for the students who participate and learn so much!
This event is at Richmond Raceway and is a day full of fun for families . There are tons of exhibitors , including camps, places to go, toys and more. Samples of all kinds are offered and most are local to RVA.
What is Jacob’s Chance?
Jacob’s Chance is a non-profit organization that promotes programs to benefit intellectual and physically challenged youth and families. We are developing a community center for teens 11-25 years old that will promote socialization while providing a safe atmosphere.
You may know us better by the primary program our non-profit organization runs, River City Buddy Ball. River City Buddy Ball is in its 6th year of operation. The mission of this program is to promote wellness through exercise and establish relationships between participants with disabilities and volunteers (peer and adult) through athletic programs. River City Buddy Ball began with a baseball program and has added basketball, cheerleading, tennis, soccer and flag football over the past two years.
February 13 – West End Presbyterian Church invites DSAGR members to Night to Shine, an unforgettable (and free) prom night for those 16 and above with special needs sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Walk the red carpet and dance the night away from 6-9 p.m. The registration deadline is Jan. 5 (space is limited). Visit www.nighttoshinerva.com for more information.