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Grandparents Day Activities

Grandparents Day Activities

Grandparents have given so much, first as your parents and then as helpers and teachers for your kids. They remind us of where we came from and what a difference one person can make in our lives. Help your kids honor their grandparents by sharing one of these thoughtful activities on Grandparents Day.

A Visit Today and More Often

Many don’t realize that Grandparents Day started in 1973. West Virginia’s Marian McQuade noticed how many nursing home residents had been forgotten by their families. She stated Grandparents Day was meant to “honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.” So honoring grandparents starts with a visit. But one visit isn’t enough. Set a schedule so you can visit them often and acknowledge all the joy and love they brought to your life.

If your parents have passed on, contribute to the happiness of other seniors who may have lost the connection with their families. Visiting seniors is a great way to teach your kids the value of senior citizens while helping others.

Bring or Give a Pet

If there’s one thing that kids and grandparents both love, it’s pets. A dog is the obvious choice to bring on a visit with grandparents, but any fuzzy critter will do. Your kids and parents will enjoy a bonding experience that offers enormous benefits. Interacting with pets improves the level of happiness for seniors while lowering blood pressure. Seniors who own pets enjoy the added benefits of being more active as they love and care for their pets.

Interviews with Grandparents

Many websites offer sample questions you should ask grandparents to both make them feel appreciated for their accomplishments and to help friends and family learn from their experiences. Ask them about their brothers and sisters, their spouses and their heroes. Ask them for the most important advice they wish they had received when they were younger. Questions like these refresh memories, and the answers can teach you a lot about your family and its history.

However you celebrate, make sure the activities bring joy to the life of a grandparent who otherwise would be lonely on this day!


According to the CDC, 1 in 68 Children are Autistic

According to the CDC, 1 in 68 Children are Autistic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is becoming more and more prevalent:

1975: 1 in 5,000 children were diagnosed with autism

2002: 1 in 150

2012: 1 in 68

That’s a roughly 65 percent increase between the year 2000 and 2010.

What does this mean for our children? What does this mean for our wallets?

What’s coming out is that more kids aren’t being born with autism, it’s rather the way we diagnose the disorder that is changing. That’s a relief. At least our population isn’t all suffering from a rapidly spreading disorder. So kids are basically the same as they were when the first study was conducted in the 1970’s. However, the world has changed. Since we diagnose so many of these kids, we are seeing the financial impact. Autistic children are children with special needs. Those special needs cost money to manage.

Special education enrollment figures show a 97 percent increase in enrollment between 2000 and 2010. This would be alright except we’re simply sending more and more kids into expensive programs instead of dealing with the student body as a whole. With so many children being diagnosed, one must ask if regular classroom shouldn’t just be built to better handle the many children who have autism.

A study conducted by the Special Education Expenditures Program (SEEP) outlined that the price tag of educating a special needs student is between $10,558 and $20,000. Whereas, an education without costs $6,665. Mothers and fathers who hear their kid has autism will push them to be placed in special needs classrooms. After all, they are just looking out for their children. The (possibly) over-diagnosis of Autism can have major repercussions on the US tax system. Many school budgets aren’t able to keep up with the ever-increasing diagnosis of this disorder.

According to a recent study from JAMA Pediatrics (funded by the nonprofit – Autism Speaks), the lifetime costs of a person with autism can exceed $2 million. The study takes into account everything. It includes medical, educational, and residential costs as well as lost opportunity costs such as lower employment wages. It’s really a study about what society is losing by having so many people diagnosed with Autism.

What’s especially worrisome is that many people being diagnosed today would not have been diagnosed years ago. Would those other people be more or less productive had they been diagnosed. It’s dangerous to diagnose a person unnecessarily as doctors may be doing today. All through life, they may feel inferior to people without these special needs. Autism may just become an excuse for them when they are feeling lazy. They may use it as a crutch. Alternatively, going undiagnosed could lead to confusion, depression, and a low self-worth.

What needs to happen is more accurate diagnoses needs to happen. This will not only help people live fuller lives but it will likely also help taxpayers. Funding an education system where 1 in 68 kids need an extra roughly $10,000 to finish school is a lot to ask.

If your child has autism, the JAMA Network cautions you not to overreact. They say it’s important to realize many of these costs are societal, indirect costs. The $2 million won’t necessarily come out of the parents’ pocket.

Do you believe the way we diagnose autism is correct?

Rare Respiratory Virus Targets Children in Severe Outbreak Across US

Rare respiratory virus targets children in severe outbreak across the US
Hospitals in Denver, Illinois and clusters of the Midwest have reported an outbreak of what health officials believe is a rare and serious respiratory illness. The virus, which is believed to have started in California, is said to be related to both the human enterovirus 68 (HEV68) and the human rhinovirus, which is also known as the common cold.

Time Magazine reports, “HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma. Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics, hospitals have treated the illness with asthma therapies.”

Since August the 18th the Children’s Hospital in Colorado has treated more than 900 cases of the virus. It’s said to be severe and unpleasant, but there have been no reported deaths from the virus at this time.

Dr. Robert Merrick, an Epidemiologist at Blessings Hospital in Illinois said, “We are restricting children under age 12 from visiting Blessing Hospital patients until further notice to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus for all involved, the children who would be visiting and our patients.”

Blessing and other hospitals will be working with the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay on top of the outbreak. This has meant issuing warning posts on social media pages like this one from the Hannibal Regional Healthcare System‘s Facebook page.

“Due to the recent outbreaks of enterovirus infections in Missouri and Illinois, Hannibal Regional Hospital health officials ask that children 16 and under and persons with the following symptoms refrain from visiting patients who are hospitalized at Hannibal Regional Hospital until further notice.”

Symptoms of the virus are similar to the common cold but will increase in severity. If your children are not feeling well, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Mouth Blisters
  • Muscle Aches
  • High Fever
  • Rashes

The CDC is warning that this virus may ultimately affect thousands of children as it continues to spread. Everyone should take the basic precautions one would take for avoiding the flu such as washing hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands. Symptoms are likely to escalate and worsen if your child is asthmatic. If your child is showing symptoms, immediately contact your doctor for further advice and treatment solutions.

(Photo courtesy of Matteo Bagnoli)