AbledKids Sesame Street Emergency Kit

POSTED ON October 7th  - POSTED IN AbledKids
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AbledKids post banner shows screen grabs from the Sesame Street App on Emergency preparedness. The headline reads: Sesame Street Apps help kids deal with disasters.

When Disaster Strikes, Kids Can Turn To Elmo

Breaking News on TV seems to follow an annual cycle of seasonally-associated natural disasters that can stem from hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, flooding and more. Not to mention, unexpected disasters such as earthquakes, terrorist  attacks, viral outbreaks like Ebola and a host of other threats.

As frightening as these events can be for grown-ups, they’re even more terrifying for children, and a lot of parents get bombarded with questions, or try to ignore that these threats exist so as not to upset their kids.

In fact, the folks at Sesame Workshop, the collective non-profit behind Sesame Street, has found that the latter may be the truest gauge of how ill-prepared most families are to deal with unexpected emergencies. They cite a recent study that shows 60 percent of families don’t have an emergency plan.

To help remedy this, Sesame Workshop has partnered with PSEG (the Public Service Enterprise Group) to produce two smartphone and tablet apps called ‘Let’s Get Ready‘ and ‘Here For Each Other’.  The first teaches kids what they should now if an emergency strikes, such as the names of their parents and where they live. The second teaches parents how to talk with their kids about disaster situations  and answer questions that could come up in the middle of an emergency.

PSEG’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Ralph LaRossa says partnering with Sesame Workshop is a natural extension of  PSEG values in educating people on how to be prepared in unexpected situations. As he puts it, “Utility folks will keep the lights on, we’ll keep the house warm, but it’s really all about communicating with children and their families and that’s what Sesame Street means for us.”

Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice-President of Community and Family Engagement, Jeanette Betancourt, says, “When we start these planning moments and learning this critical information early on, it becomes part of children’s resiliency to growing up kinder, smarter and stronger. It really is valuable to start early, not only as a child, but as an entire family”.

You can click on the names of ‘Let’s Get Ready‘  (en Español) and ‘Here For Each Other‘ (en Español) to find them online as part of  the Toolkits section of Sesame Street’s website. You can find the ‘Let’s Get Ready’ app at iTunes  for the iOS version, and at Google Play for the Android version.

Sesame Workshop has also crafted other Toolkits to help families and children cope other issues like Divorce or when someone in a family has been jailed , is diagnosed with a serious illness, or has died. They’ve even prepared a toolkit for the unique issues military families face.

(Sources: Sesame Workshop | NBCNews)

AbledKids photo shows the sesame street logo above a graphical representation of a checklist and a flashlight.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from the Sesame Street Emergency Preparedness Kit called Let's Get Ready , that includes instructions of how to prepare a family emergency kit and checklist. Click here to go to the app's iTunes page.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from the Sesame Street Emergency Preparedness Kit app that shows a fireman and policewoman drawn as Muppet characters standing in front of bushes and a grassy lawn with a police station, fire hall and hospital with their respective vehicles in the background. Click here to go to the Android app page for 'Let's Get Ready' at Google Play.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from Sesame Street's iOS app for children called 'Let's Get Ready'. This panel shows a microphone icon on a wavy musical stanza surrounding by different colored notes with the title: 'Grown-up's First Name!', while the instruction at the bottom of the frame says 'Learn and record important names.
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POSTED ON March 25th  - POSTED IN AbledKids
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AbledKids Post Banner shows a video still from ABC News of 7 year-old Dylan Siegel holding up a copy of his hand-drawn book 'Chocolate Bar'. The headline reads: AbledKids: Dylan Siegel and Jonah Pournazarian: Best friend's book raises over 750 thousand dollars for liver research.

“He’s raised more money for this disease than all the medical foundations and all the grants combined. Ever.”

 

Every morning at 3 a.m. Lora Pournazarian is awake to feed her 8-year-old son Jonah a mixture of corn starch and water through a tube in his stomach.

 

If she doesn’t, Jonah could die because he has a rare form of glycogen storage disease, a hereditary disorder that means his liver can store sugar but can’t release it, causing him to have dangerously low blood sugar levels that can result in seizures or even death.

 

“That’s huge anxiety every night,” his mother Lora Pournazarian told ABC News. “We go to sleep going, ‘We hope we don’t miss an alarm clock because he could die.’”

 

For more information on “Chocolate Bar,” click here.

 

But Jonah’s parents aren’t the only ones looking out for him. His best friend from preschool, Dylan Siegel has his back, too.

 

Dr. David Weinstein, who studies and treats patients with glycogen storage disease at the University of Florida, was almost out of funding when he heard that Dylan wanted to help raise money to find a cure for the disease. Dylan was only 6 years old at the time, so Weinstein mostly just thought he was cute.

 

But Dylan had other plans. He wrote a book called “Chocolate Bar,” and explained to his parents “chocolate bar” means “awesome” to him. “Disneyland is so chocolate bar,” the book starts out. The last page says, “I like to help my friends. That is the biggest chocolate bar.”

 

Dylan’s project raised more than $750,000 in a little more than a year by selling the books for $20 each in all 50 states and 42 countries. Every cent goes to Weinstein’s lab.

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1st grader Dylan Siegel wanted to do something to help his best friend, 1st grader Jonah Pournazarian (both are students at the Stephen S. Wise Elementary School). Jonah has Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD 1b), a rare liver condition.

 

So Dylan decided to WRITE A BOOK – he called it “Chocolate Bar”, as in ‘awesome – so chocolate bar!’. It was Dylan’s plan to sell copies of this book to raise funds for the GSB 1b Fund at the University of Florida.

 

Today, at the Barnes & Noble at the GROVE (one of LA’s upscale malls), there was a program which inluded musical selections by some of the members of the SSWT Elementary School 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade choir (Faye Jeser, musical director), followed by Dylan READING his book, and then traditional book signing by the author. 

 

Both Dylan and Jonah were members of the choir, and both sat on the couch together as Dylan read his book for the over 150 people in attendance. 

 

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Chocolatebarbook

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AbledKids: Blood Pressure Rates Soar In Children

POSTED ON July 19th  - POSTED IN AbledKids
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AbledKids headline link banner shows an overweight boy eating junk food while sitting on the couch watching TV with a headline banner that reads: Child Obesity-Blood pressure rates and heart risk soars in children

 

Stark rise in blood pressure linked to sodium intake

American kids appear to be in the middle of a blood pressure crisis. Last year, one study found that hospital visits for children with high blood pressure nearly doubled over a decade to 24,000 cases a year.

Now, in the July 15 edition journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), Hypertension, a new study shows that children and adolescents have seen a stark rise in their risk for high blood pressure over the past 13 years putting them at risk for a lifetime of heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. One of the main reasons? They’re eating too much salt. 

U.S. Dietary Guidelines daily sodium limit:  2,300 mg 

AHA recommended daily limit: 1,500 mg

Study results: 80% of children eating more than 2,300 mg daily + a 27% rise in elevated blood pressure

Photo from Google maps streetview shows a tree-filled grassy central park area flanked by the buildings of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

 

 Study leader, Professor Bernard Rosner of Harvard Medical School in Boston, says the study results come from two surveys conducted in the United States. The first, between 1988 and 1994 included 3,200 children. The second, between 1999 and 2000, included 8,300 kids and teenagers.

Between the two studies, the proportion of youngsters aged 8 to 17 with elevated blood pressure rose sharply by 27%.

Other key findings are that children with the greatest sodium intake were 36 per cent more at risk of high blood pressure than those with the lowest, and that more children were overweight in the second study.

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