Posts tagged with "Children"

HEALTH (cerebral palsy) article illustration by Rita azar for 360 magazine

Improving Mobility for Kids with Cerebral Palsy: 5 Steps You Can Take

It takes a village to improve mobility in a kid diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy, but without a proper battle plan, some efforts may be all for naught while others may simply not yield the best results. In this post we have rounded up a five-step guide for getting you started. But first let’s see how cerebral palsy affects mobility in children.

How Cerebral Palsy Affects Mobility 

Mobility limitations experienced by children with cerebral palsy vary from patient to patient as there are no two diagnoses alike. And the diagnosis can be mild, moderate or severe. But all cerebral palsy patients have something in common: Their mobility has been affected and not for the better.

The level of impairment depends on the type of cerebral palsy and the severity of the diagnosis. There are four types of CP and just as many ways the condition manifests itself:

·         Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of CP, with 80% of CP patients being diagnosed with it. Patients with spastic CP have an issue with muscle spasticity and muscle stiffness and tightness, which means that they may experience uncontrolled movements, difficulty in walking, and coordination and posture issues. In severe cases, children with spastic CP cannot walk at all.

·         Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is the second most common type of CP, but just 5 to 6% of children with a CP diagnosis are affected by it. Patients diagnosed with dyskinetic CP may experience involuntary movements (including twisting), repeat movements, posture and coordination issues, varying muscle tone from too weak to excessively tight.

·         Ataxic cerebral palsy is the rarest form of CP. Patients affected by it have problems with coordination and may experience gait issues such as spreading their legs when walking, bad posture, and poor balance.  

·         Mixed cerebral palsy – the symptoms are a blend of the mobility limitations mentioned above.

5 Steps to Improve Mobility in Your Kid

Depending on the type of CP your child has been diagnosed with, you can take all or just some of the following steps. However, regardless of the severity of the condition, always consult with a professional before trying a new step with your kid. Early intervention is the key here for the best outcome, but uninformed decisions may negatively affect our kid’s prospects.

Step 1: Assessing Your Child’s Mobility

Each CP patient needs a personalized treatment plan for a successful recovery. But for that you will need to properly assess the young patient’s mobility issues. Things like type of CP, location of impairment, the extent of brain damage, severity of symptoms are all factors that need to be taken into consideration.

The following areas will need to be evaluated during the initial assessment:

·         Muscle tone

·         Reflexes

·         Coordination

·         Posture

·         Muscle control

·         Balance

·         Fine and gross motor functions

·         Ability to perform simple tasks like feeding oneself, getting dressed, using the bathroom, etc.

·         Diet, as some CP subtypes may be made worse by nutrient deficiencies even before the child was born.

Medical professionals may use state-of-the-art medical devices to assess all these aspects and issue a customized treatment plan. This plan will include methods to address mobility limitations in both legs and arms to ensure that the patient’s walking and mobility issues affecting the upper body are fully addressed.

A doctor may need to run several tests before he or she can come with a comprehensive assessment of a child’s mobility issues.

Step 2: Set Goals for Therapy

The lack of  goals for improving or restoring mobility may lead to wasted resources, frustration, and less-than-ideal outcomes. Your child’s diagnosis is unique so there are various ways of achieving the ultimate goal of a customized care plan, namely achieving the highest degree of independent living and quality of life the diagnosis permits.

Some of the goals you should keep in mind when tailoring a treatment plan with your child’s healthcare provider include improving/ restoring mobility, control the pain, boost current levels of independence, prevent CP-related complications such as post-impairment syndrome that usually appears later in life, optimize muscle tone, encourage self-care, and manage secondary symptoms such as seizures.

Step 3: Create a Personalized Care Plan

After determining your child’s mobility limitations and therapy’s goals, it is time to create a personalized medical care plan. Don’t expect your child’s primary care provider to come with a standard protocol as there isn’t one for cerebral palsy.

The plan should cover all bases when it comes to mobility issues and goals for therapy and must include both conventional and complementary therapies, along with alternative treatment options.

When drafting a plan include:

·         Therapy options (physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy)

·         Medication (in some cases it might not be required)

·         Corrective surgery (if absolutely necessary)

·         Mobility aids, including walkers and eating aids

·         Home modifications (families affected by cerebral palsy often need to make modifications in their home to accommodate the child’s needs)

·         Strength training (this type of training has been proven very affective at improving mobility in CP patients)

·         Any other complementary and alternative treatment options that your kid’s doctor says they may work.

As the child grows, you will need to adjust the plan and consult with the kid’s educators and instructors on new ways to improve mobility depending on the educational settings’ limitations.

Step 4: Build a Dream Team of Experts

This step is easier said than done as you’ll likely find the best people to work with your child during your journey towards recovery. Make sure that you have the right primary care physician on board as he or she will be able to refer you to the right specialists for your kid’s needs.

You might have to need to work on several medical conditions stemming from the primary diagnosis at once. So, your medical team might need to include:

·         Physical therapist

·         Occupational therapist

·         Massage therapist

·         Developmental pediatrician

·         Neurologist

·         Orthopedic surgeon

·         Rehabilitation medicine specialist

·         Nutritionist

·         Orthotist

·         Counselor

·         Trainer

Step 5: Keep a Record

By keeping track of your child’s medical history, therapy sessions, medications, and other interventions, you’ll be able to tell what works and what doesn’t work to improve your little angel’s mobility.

What’s more, in some states, primary care physicians may be able to legally destroy some or all medical records after several years. You’ll also need a copy of medical records and detailed log of all interventions to share with new experts on the team, health insurers, lawyers, and authorities.

Steps Linked to Reduced Medical Costs

Proactive Steps Linked To Reduced Medical Costs, Hospital Visits for Children With Asthma

A new study looking at data from tens of thousands of children with asthma finds that several widely available interventions are associated with both reduced medical costs and a reduced likelihood that the children will need to visit an emergency room or stay in the hospital.

“This work shows that you can improve the quality of life for children with asthma and you can reduce government spending by implementing these proactive interventions,” says Julie Swann, lead author of the study. Swann is the department head and A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The researchers looked at data from 2010 and 2011 on more than 70,000 children with asthma enrolled in the Medicaid programs in New York and Michigan. The researchers focused on four interventions: asthma self-management education (ASME); flu vaccine; the use of spacers, which are low-cost plastic tubes that improve the performance of inhalers; and the use of nebulizers, which are devices that convert liquid medicine into an aerosol that patients can inhale.

Specifically, the researchers analyzed the data to understand the extent to which each of these interventions was associated with three outcomes: asthma-related visits to the emergency room; asthma-related visits to a primary-care physician; and asthma-related stays in the hospital. The researchers also assessed the extent to which each intervention influenced costs associated with each child’s asthma medication and so-called “utilization costs” – which are the costs associated with other aspects of a child’s asthma treatment, such as the cost of visiting a primary-care provider or hospital.

To address these questions, the researchers plugged the healthcare data into models that allowed them to assess the impact of each intervention separately, compared to no intervention.

“One of the key findings, which should be of interest to policymakers, is that all four interventions were associated with lower medication costs and utilization costs,” Swann says.

And while the numbers varied between states, the decreases in cost could be substantial. For example, being vaccinated against the flu was associated with a 16.4% reduction in utilization expenses and a 15.6% reduction in medication expenses for children in New York. 

“There can be significant cost reductions associated with a fairly inexpensive intervention,” Swann says.

“Our results suggest that ASME training, and the use of spacers and nebulizers, are also associated with significant decreases in both emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” says study co-author Pinar Keskinocak. “And the flu vaccine helps reduce the number of visits to a child’s primary care provider.” Keskinocak is the William W. George Chair and Professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech.

“It’s important to note that we looked at the impact of these outcomes separately while accounting for other interventions,” Swann says. “You would expect that the more of these proactive interventions a child has, the greater the positive impact we would expect to see on both their health and on what Medicaid would be asked to spend on their care.”

The study, “Estimating the Impact of Self-Management Education, Influenza Vaccines, Nebulizers, and Spacers on Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures for Medicaid-Enrolled Children with Asthma,” is published in the Journal of Asthma.

The paper was co-authored by Fatma Melike Yildirim, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech; Paul Griffin, the St. Vincent Health Chair of Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University; and Jean O’Connor of Emory University.

The work was done with support from the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems and the William W. George Endowment at Georgia Tech, and the Edward P. Fitts and the A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professorship at NC State.

Children Diagnosing Their Own Disorders

A Cultural Revolution That Has Gone Too Far

By Laura Wellington

My son came home from school yesterday. A normal afternoon, I heated up a hamburger and fries and placed it in front of him. It launched us into our regular discussion regarding his day. You know the one, “How was it? What’d you do? What’d you learn?” and so on.

This afternoon, however my son took our pleasant exchange one step further. He coupled it with expressing a worry of his, denoting that “something may be seriously wrong with him because he has a hard time sitting still in school at times and occasionally feels the need to fidget.” He then went on to grasp the name of the disorder he must have and shared it with me. I stopped him in his tracks.

My son is ten. He is an intelligent kid as well as a talented athlete. He’s met all of his pediatric markers since birth easily. He has friends of whom he socializes daily. There is nothing wrong with him. I reassured him of this, emphasizing my point by telling him that, “He is a kid, and by definition, he should be feeling these things at his age.”

This incident made me question where we’ve arrived in society, wondering how many other children worry about the same thing? What percentage today suffer with the notion that something might be truly wrong with them simply because they don’t understand what normal behavior is for kids their ages and are growing up in a culture laden with labels and diagnoses eagerly offered to explain the imperfect beings that they are? I bet you that percentage is relatively high.

Don’t get me wrong. I am far from being flippant about mental health. As we all know, there are very real disorders that plague children. Diagnosing and treating them are imperative. But when children become clinicians, themselves, because they are so tapped into the undertone of an era that gives off the vibe that “something is wrong” before it is even right or normal, that’s a little scary. What it tells me is that WE need to back off in this regard so that our kids can too.

I’m not alone in my thinking. Allan Schwartz, LCSW, PH.D. concurs in his article “Children: Are We Too Quick To Suspect Mental Illness?” In it he states “Given the new diagnostic criteria and additional behaviors listed as indicative of mental illness in the DSM V, there is the danger that too many children could be viewed as having mental disorders when it is not necessary.”

Children need to be children. It is tough enough to be a child when you are naive to what you are supposed to do simply because you are one. Helping them to understand this is key. If you can follow up with a brief conversation about the current tone of society specific to mental health, including where you agree and disagree, this can’t hurt either.

The fact that today’s kids have placed the action of “self-diagnosing” their own disorders in their repertoires is a serious warning call for the rest of us. We need to change this and let them go back to being imperfectly-perfect children — the ones who don’t want to sit still, argue with their siblings incessantly, and whine each night to stay up past their bedtimes.

There is time enough to grow up and worry about everything else.

And speaking about worrying, in my new book “Be Careful What You Wish For”, what did Joan help Evie stop worrying about when together at the table? (Question #5, BCWYWF book contest)

Follow Laura J. Wellington

Website | TEDx Talk | Book

Kidrobot × Keith Haring

Continuing the celebration of inspirational artists of the 20th century, Kidrobot in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation brings art to life with the first collectible 3-inch tall Dunny mini figure series featuring the work of Keith Haring. Each of the 12 Dunnys in this Kidrobot x Keith Haring Dunny Series features one of Keith Haring’s iconic art pieces from his short but impactful career. 

The series is now available at select Kidrobot retailer stores and for order online at Kidrobot.com.

Each blind boxed figure retails for $11.99 each.

ABOUT KEITH HARING

Keith Haring was an iconic pop artist and graffiti artist inspired by the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Inspired by the originality and spontaneity of spray-paint graffiti Haring began producing chalk drawings on blank NYC Subway advertisement boards. As his career progressed his art spread to other mediums and he rose to the top of the art world with mass appeal. Haring continued to create public art with the intention of making art accessible to all, which resonates with the mission of Kidrobot.

Haring was involved in numerous charities and causes and hosted drawing workshops for kids around the world. After being diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, he founded the Keith Haring Foundation. His later works leading up to his death in 1990 contained political and societal statements that encapsulate the era. His art has since become iconic and remains relevant to this day.

Rita Azar illustrates homeschooling article for 360 MAGAZINE

Homeschool Experts Recommend

Camping as a Virtual Learning Tool

With virtual schooling and family camping both skyrocketing as the result of COVID-19, Hip Homeschool Moms, a Parents magazine 2020 “Best Homeschooling Resource,” and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park have teamed up to help struggling parents create fun, educational learning opportunities.

According to Jellystone Park, reservations are spiking as many schools open virtually and parents work from home, allowing families more flexibility to travel.

“Whether parents are using online curriculums provided by schools or are homeschooling, it’s important that they find ways to make learning fun,” said Trish Corlew, co-founder of the website HipHomeschoolMoms. “Most kids need to do more than sit in front of a screen to learn, which is why we are such big fans of camping. It provides so many great, hands-on educational opportunities.”

Hip Homeschool Moms has these tips for parents on how to include a late summer or fall camping trip in their virtual or homeschool plans:

  1. Look for family friendly campgrounds, such as Jellystone Park.They offer activities that entertain and educate kids, such as Bingo and arts and crafts, which supplement planned learning. They also provide socialization opportunities that are needed with classrooms closed and homeschool field trips and other activities on hold.
  2. Involve the kids in planning and managing the trip.Part of the learning experience is allowing kids to help with researching campgrounds, setting the budget for the trip and buying necessary supplies. And once you’re at the campground, let the kids help take care of the RV or cabin. They love responsibilities like these because it makes them feel grown up. These are life skills they will soon need.
  3. Check the campground’s Wi-Fi in advance.
    Call the campground to make sure it offers sufficient Internet access. If not, rent or buy a mobile hotspot to make sure you have enough bandwidth for online lessons, movie streaming and staying in touch with friends, family and work.
  4. Use online lessons and apps.Online lessons perfect for camping are widely available to help children study leaves, trees, rocks, flowers and wildlife. There also are apps designed for outdoor learning, as well as printable activities and games to take with you.
  5. Read and walk together.Camping provides the ideal environment to spend time as a family. Read aloud together, taking turns on different pages to help reluctant readers improve their skills. Or have the kids read independently and share what they learned. Scavenger hunts with printed or app-based guides encourage togetherness and learning.
  6. Visit local attractions.Many campgrounds are located near natural and historic sites. Consider stopping at some on the way to or from your campground. Museums and science centers can make for great day trips, especially on rainy days.
  7. Encourage your children to share what they learn.Kids love to tell stories, take pictures and produce videos. Have them record the weather, plants and animals they observe, and their activities. Journaling and scrapbooking also are great ways to get the most educational value from a trip and to preserve memories.

“Even before the pandemic, fall camping had become extremely popular with families, especially with most Jellystone Park locations offering special fall events, such as Halloween weekends,” said Trent Hershenson, Jellystone Park vice president of Marketing. He encourages parents to book trips now and to consider weekday visits, as weekends book up quickly. Weekday rates also may be lower.

For more advice on educational camping and links to free lessons and guides, visit here.

For tips on planning a family camping trip and to book a reservation at one of more than 75 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, visit here.

Links to video of kids learning while camping here and here.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Childhood Mental Health illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Childhood Mental Health Webinar

SAMI-Aid Webinar: Childhood Mental Health 101

Featuring child psychiatrist Dr. Sara Heron, M.D.

Friday, August 7, at 11:00 a.m. PT

Free to join, Register Here 

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, disruptions to school schedules, and reduction of social interactions, experts say the mental health of children in the United States is at greater risk than ever before. SAMI-Aid, a patient-focused telemedicine platform and healthcare concierge company, is hosting a free webinar titled “Childhood Mental Health 101” to aid parents in knowing the signs of mental health issues and identifying resources to help children navigate mental health issues they are experiencing. This webinar is the first in a series to help patients be more informed about their health options.

The Childhood Mental Health 101 webinar will be held on Friday, August 7, at 11:00 a.m. PT and will feature Child Psychiatrist Dr. Sara Heron, M.D., who is Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and General Psychiatry.

“As we’ve seen an increase in demand for behavioral and mental health services through our telemedicine platform, we identified a need to educate parents about caring for their children’s mental health during these challenging times,” said John Farhangui, CEO and Founder of SAMI-Aid. “We’re pleased to have Dr. Sara Heron, M.D., share her expertise so that families and children can learn to cope with common stressors.”

SAMI-Aid offers on-demand access to medical professionals of a variety of specialties, including pediatrics as well as mental and behavioral health. SAMI-Aid’s mental health professionals are highly vetted, licensed, and certified in various areas of mental health expertise.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that millions of children were already suffering from mental health disorders, such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety, before the coronavirus pandemic became prevalent in the U.S. A new Gallup Survey asked parents how long they could follow social distancing practices and COVID-19 closures before their child’s emotional or mental health would suffer. The survey found that 29% of parents say their children are already suffering. The survey also found that 37% of parents also say their children’s mental or emotional health would be at risk in the next few weeks or months.

“By offering an affordable option to easily access trained behavioral health professionals for children as well as adults, we hope to be a small part of the solution to address our country’s mental health crisis,” added Farhangui.

As an additional resource, SAMI-Aid created an infographic to help parents understand important information about childhood mental health including data on how prevalent the issue is in the United States, signs to watch for that may indicate a mental health disorder, and how parents can help their children. 

Founded in 2014, SAMI-Aid is an online healthcare concierge platform that features a searchable medical procedure pricing database, a dedicated call center for patient support, and 24/7 access to telemedicine doctors and nurses. Its platform is secure, HIPAA-compliant, user-friendly, and mobile-friendly, offering members 24/7 access to doctors and nurses, and exclusive medical pricing information which helps them save money on care. Based in San Jose, California, SAMI-Aid serves the entire US. The acronym SAMI stands for Smart Affordable Medical Information. 

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Family illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

I Miss My Grandfather

By DH Cermeno

Relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren is something that families take great pride in and enjoy to immeasurable degrees. Unfortunately, the current quarantine has put many grandparents into situations where they are unable to see their families, and I went through something similar with my own grandfather years ago.  But the difference is that today’s grandparents are doing what they can to ensure they can see their grandchildren once the quarantine is over, just as referenced in this article by Robin Marantz Henig. But that does not mean that the process is not difficult.

I miss my grandfather. He has been gone for almost 40 years but our relationship is one that I have treasured all of my life.  I remember his warmth, his wisdom, and above all his affection. My grandfather introduced me to wonderful things life had to offer such as jazz and the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin. We had our own private jokes which made us laugh and no one else could understand. I found a tremendous amount of comfort going to his house to just enjoy talking and playing together.  Something simple as sharing a bag of M&M’s or a Snickers bar was a treat. And then once we had enough and were tuckered out, I found great comfort falling asleep with him in his recliner as he crooned “Shortnin’ Bread” in my ear. Then my parents had to ruin it by coming to pick me up. 

I will never forget the last time he was in the hospital.  At eleven years old, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see my beloved “Atun”, as I called him. His immune system was low due to the disease he was fighting and the doctors were hesitant about having too many people visit, especially children. All I know is that I was unable to see my grandfather and in my young mind, it didn’t make sense. All I wanted was to see Atun. In an article by Colleen Temple, I understand exactly how the children referenced feel.  

Daily I kept hearing from my family that Atun was getting better, and that I would be able to see him once he came home.  I held that thought in my head, had tremendous hope and I looked forward to seeing him reclining in his favorite chair.  I started drawing pictures of us together and making cards to show him how much I missed him.  I listened to jazz records that he loved, and I even watched Charlie Chaplin films, and imagined him next to me.  I did get to hear his voice on the phone, but he sounded weak and tired, not as peppy as he always was.  But he reassured me that he would be home soon and what wonderful times still lie ahead of us. I told him I couldn’t wait.

But God had other plans and, one morning, I was awoken by my sister and she and I had our first difficult discussion. She shared the news that Atun was not coming home. I bawled my eyes out. I felt cheated and betrayed. Who was to say that the last time that I saw him prior to his going into the hospital was the last time I would ever see him? 

I am grateful for the fact that I was able to speak with him over the phone to hear his voice.  And as modern technology has evolved, grandkids and their grandparents are able to see each other’s faces through Facetime and other inventions.  However, these means are not a substitute for human contact and the warmth we feel when those we love are close to us.  We miss kisses, long warm hugs, and just the solace of cuddling and sitting next to our family members. 

During these times, we need to hold on to the memories and the times shared to get us through this pandemic.  We don’t know how long this will last and that is the other factor that makes this experience so difficult.  If we had a deadline we could work towards, it might make it easier. But we don’t.  All families are trying to do now to remain healthy so that once the quarantine is lifted, they can be reunited.

Since I haven’t seen my grandfather in years, the memories and experiences I shared with him live in my mind and my heart daily.  It was because of everything he taught me and the love he gave me that I felt compelled to write Coffee and Cedar: Finding Strength From Memories. As difficult times arise and we feel helpless and unsure about what the future holds, we need to look to the teachings of our elders, whether they are either alive or have passed, to help us persevere.  Their wisdom and insight help us overcome hurdles and hard times just as they did.  They build us up, make us feel secure and uncover the confidence and resilience that exist in each of us. Whenever I am met with a challenge, I think of Atun and how he would tell me, “El sol no se tapa con un dedo.” He was telling me that the talent and gifts that I had inside of me were impossible to be denied, no matter what criticism or obstacle came my way. And that gave me confidence and the ability to move forward to pursue my dreams.  Our mentors instilled confidence in us and the strength to overcome anything, and that is what we all need to remember.  This situation will come to an end.  And once it does, we will rejoice and truly take advantage of the time together. But until then, we need to be strong.  Because the more we do to control the pandemic, the sooner we can be reunited. So, remember, hold onto those memories of the past and use them as a way to warm your soul to have hope for many more wonderful times to be shared in the coming months. 

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Beach Amusement Park

Make Summer Memories  at WonderWorks!

After months of being quarantined at home, mixed with the tribulations of online learning, families are ready to get out, have fun, and make a memorable summer. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make that happen in Myrtle Beach, starting with WonderWorks.

“In lieu of everything that has happened this year, we want to offer families and guests a place to come and have fun for the summer,” explained Robert Stinnett, general manager of WonderWorks Myrtle Beach.  “At this time, our goal is to keep guests safe while still giving them summer memories to remember forever.”

Soar + Explore. WonderWorks offers an exciting outdoor zip line course that will take you 50 feet above water, giving guests a breathtaking view of Myrtle Beach.

Get hands-on.  Whether you are learning about the Tesla Coil or laying on a bed of nails, WonderWorks makes learning fun. Families can check out the many STEM-focused activities and exhibits that WonderWorks has to offer that will bring their online curriculum to life.

Learn origami. The art of origami is great for enhancing math skills, problem-solving skills, patience, and attention. WonderWorks Myrtle Beach recently opened a new exhibit that explores the art form’s connections to STEM.

Flip Upside-down. The indoor attraction offers the thrills of a roller coaster without ever leaving the walls of the building. Pick your desired intensity and get turned upside-down on this virtual experience.

Take a Wild Ride. Get strapped in to the 6D XD Motion Theater at WonderWorks and go on an epic adventure back in time to a Dino Safari, travel down a Wild West Mine train, or get caught on canyon coaster misadventure with twists and turns that will feel like you’re actually there. 

Discover space. WonderWorks gives guests a space experience without ever leaving Myrtle Beach. The Space Discovery Zone offers an Astronaut Training Challenge, a Mercury capsule, a shuttle lander experience, and more.

“As kids and families adjust to new ways of learning, we want to be a place where learning and education can be fun and exciting,” added Stinnett. “Myrtle Beach offers a great mix of indoor and outdoor fun for families who want adventure and hands-on learning.”

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach opened following the pandemic with new safety measures in place. This includes reduced hours, enhanced cleaning regimens, spatial distancing protocols, employee health screenings and employee personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Current promotions include free admission for doctors, nurses, first responders, and healthcare workers with valid identification now through August 9, 2020. Teachers and all education support staff also receive free admission through August 9, 2020, with valid credentials. Guests with doctors, nurses, teachers, and education support staff will receive 50% off admission price. The offer cannot be combined with any other offers.

WonderWorks continues to add programs and exhibits in an effort to further expand its educational offerings. WonderWorks offers 50,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. It offers over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters and space discovery, an Imagination Lab, a physical challenge zone, a Far Out Art Gallery, and a light and sound zone. For more information, log on here.

WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of an 84 mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks has locations in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Panama City Beach, Myrtle Beach, Syracuse and Branson. 

Follow WonderWorks: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Detention Centers Must Release Children

Detention Centers Must Release Children

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the Trump administration must release 124 children who have been held for more than 20 days in family detention facilities. Judge Gee’s ruling cited the threat of COVID-19 and insufficient protections in the crowded facilities, writing that “family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures.”

While the ruling is a positive development, it also sets up the possibility that the Trump administration will, as Families Belong Together noted, “use this court victory as grounds for a new family separation policy.” Judge Gee confined her ruling to children because of her role in adjudicating child safety issues related to the Flores Settlement Agreement. 

Instead of replaying the systematic separation of children from their parents – one of the darkest chapters of this or any other presidency – it’s time for the administration to allow all the families held in detention to be released.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: We call on the administration to do the right thing, and to do it right now. In fact, there has never been a reason for family detention in the first place. Now that the virus is sweeping through these facilities, the urgent imperatives are to save lives and keep families together. 

Don’t force families to choose between forced separation and forced exposure to COVID-19. Release families to proven alternatives that are effective, humane and that keep families together. These case management programs lead to almost universal compliance by those seeking asylum with all appointments and decisions.  

In the summer 2018, a huge public backlash forced the Trump administration to publicly walk back their family separation practices. Given the administration’s immigration cruelty and the Trump campaign’s relentless xenophobia, we shouldn’t be surprised if President Trump uses this moment to again embark on a policy of family separation.

America faces yet another moment of truth. Are we going to rip children away from their parents again, or are we going to keep families together and safe?

Follow Frank Sharry, Douglas Rivlin Twitter: @FrankSharry and @douglasrivlin 

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