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6 Tips to help your child with special needs and typical needs do homework

For parents who have children with both special and typical needs, the balancing act is particularly difficult. Here are six tips from Fraser mental health professionals to help parents.

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Photo by Ben Wicks from Unsplash.com

Many parents are adjusting to working from home while having their children enrolled in distance learning. It’s tough to juggle attending Zoom meetings and keeping your kids focused.

For parents who have children with both special and typical needs, the balancing act is particularly difficult. Here are six tips from Fraser mental health professionals to help parents.

1. Create an individualized schedule

Children with special needs and children with typical needs need structure, and they benefit from knowing what is happening next and what they need to get done. With a typical needs child, you might create a schedule like this: eat breakfast, get ready and check distance learning.

For a special needs child, you probably need a more detailed schedule. The schedule could look more like this: eat breakfast, clean up dishes, go upstairs, put a shirt on, etc. Children with special needs also might need smaller, shorter schedules, so they aren’t overwhelmed.

2. Schedule time with each child

Balancing time between a child with special needs and a child with typical needs is always hard. Try to block out time to work one-on-one with each child. When you’re working with your typical needs child, have your special needs child work on something he or she enjoys and can be done independently.

3. Consider each child’s learning style

Children have different learning styles, so identify your child’s learning style. Some typical needs children may prefer to read directions on their own. Other children learn better when directions are read to them. Some need picture instructions to help process information.

4. Give children breaks

Children need breaks while studying. Build some into their schedules, but include extra breaks. If you notice your child seems tired, give him or her a break. Encourage them to move their body by dancing, going outside or playing catch. Children also focus better on preferred tasks. If your child loves reading, he or she shouldn’t need as many breaks during a reading assignment.

5. Create a supportive study environment

Children with special needs may have sensory sensitivities. They may need soft lighting, noise-canceling headphones or a weighted lap buddy to stay focused. Most children benefit from removing distractions like turning off the TV or removing toys from the room.

6. Celebrate the successes

It takes at least 21 days to form a habit. Parents should tweak their ideas over time to figure out what works best for their family.

“It’s really easy to be tough on yourself for not being successful,” says Fraser Day Treatment Lead Jenny Lorence. “But it’s okay to be kind to yourself. Look for successes throughout the day, even it’s something small, like having a nice lunch.”

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Absolute worst gifts to give this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a holiday where couples reenter the honeymoon stage of their relationship by spending the whole day showering each other in love and gifts.

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Photo by @freestocks from Unsplash.com

The most romantic day of the year is coming up next month, so Dating.com, part of the Dating Group and the company behind numerous online dating sites, released tips for celebrating Valentine’s Day from home this year as well as the absolute worst gifts to get your valentine. 

Just like recent holidays that passed, Valentine’s Day is going to look a little different this year. A majority of couples will be spending the day at home rather than in a public place such as the movies or a favorite restaurant, but that doesn’t mean the holiday day will not be special.

Dating.com has shared below some fun and romantic at home date ideas to celebrate with your love.

  • Spa and Massage: Who doesn’t love to be pampered? This year, it is a fun idea to set up an at home spa and massage. Couples can take turns giving each other romantic massages and spa treatments of their choice. Pick out your favorite face mask and beverage and have a relaxing and romantic evening.  
  • Home-made Movie Theater: Going to the movies or a live show is always a popular event for Valentine’s Day. This year, couples can make their own movie theater right in their living room! Pick out a new movie that you and your partner have been wanting to see, grab your favorite candy, snacks and drinks and press play. The best part of this at home date is that you don’t have to get dressed up, sweatpants and your favorite oversized sweater is the perfect attire.
  • Take-out Dinner: Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with your partner. Instead of cooking a time-consuming dinner and having to clean it all up, pick a couple of your favorite restaurants and order a smorgasbord of food to go! To make it more fun, don’t tell your partner what you got and surprise each other with delicious food.

“Valentine’s Day is a holiday where couples reenter the honeymoon stage of their relationship by spending the whole day showering each other in love and gifts,” says Maria Sullivan, Dating Expert and Vice President of Dating.com. “However, because this year everyone will be celebrating a little different, we wanted to make sure that we shared some fun date ideas that couples can do from the comfort and safety of their homes. Additionally, with most activities off the table, fun gifts are more important than ever, so it is crucial to put a lot of thought into what you are getting your partner to show them how much you care for them. It is also important to remember that no matter where you are celebrating the holiday, the best part is who you are spending it with.”

Last Valentine’s Day, Dating.com reported the worst gifts their users were ever given which included a used candle and a card themed for the wrong holiday. With an entire year gone by, Dating.com resurveyed its users to discover 78% have received gifts that they didn’t really enjoy. Surprising presents include:

  1. Wilted Flowers
  2. A picture frame with no picture in it
  3. A pet hamster
  4. A bag of unopen assorted Halloween candy
  5. Valentine’s Day themed socks
  6. An online workout subscription
  7. An Ashtray
  8. A used gift card
  9. An open bottle of wine / liquor
  10. An old VHS movie

Although the previously mentioned gifts aren’t the best, there are some gifts that one should avoid entirely when thinking about what to get their significant other this Valentine’s Day. Those gifts are as following:

  • Engagement Style Ring: The only time you should get your partner a ring that looks like an engagement ring is when you are proposing. An engagement ring is a really special piece of jewelry that represents love and commitment. It should only be given when you are ready to take that next step with your significant other.
  • Perfume/Cologne that Your Ex Used to Wear: Scent is a very personal thing. Everyone has they own identifying smell. If you are thinking about getting your partner a perfume or cologne for Valentine’s Day, make sure to pick out one that you really think will suit them. Picking a scent that your ex used to wear is something to avoid when shopping.
  • A Pet: Even though they are very cute, pets are a huge 10-20-year commitment. When choosing a gift for your partner, you want to make it something that they can enjoy but don’t need to tend to everyday. However, if you are thinking about getting your partner a pet, make sure it isn’t a surprise and they are onboard with the idea.

To join Dating.com’s extensive, international network of singles and find your Valentine, please visit www.dating.com.

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NewsMakers

Life changes influence physical activity

The birth of children and a change of residence, marital status and place of work all influence the number of steps of men and women in different ways. For women, having children, getting a job and moving from town to the countryside reduce everyday exercise.

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Life changes influence the amount of physical activity in a person, according to a recent study by the University of Jyväskylä. The birth of children and a change of residence, marital status and place of work all influence the number of steps of men and women in different ways. For women, having children, getting a job and moving from town to the countryside reduce everyday exercise.

A study conducted by the Faculty of Sports & Health Sciences found that the birth of the first child significantly reduces the number of everyday steps in women. As children grow, women’s aerobic steps, in turn, increase. Although the birth of children did not have a statistically significant effect on the number of steps in men, changes were also observed in men.

“With the birth of both the first and second child, the trend of aerobic steps declined in men,” says postdoctoral researcher Kasper Salin. “However, with the birth of the second child, the number of everyday steps began to rise. This can be explained by, for example, a decrease in exercise hobbies.”

Aerobic steps are movements of longer duration, lasting at least 10 minutes, with a step rate of at least 60 steps per minute. Aerobic steps are important for, among other things, heart health. The adult population should have at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. Everyday steps describe other active movement on a daily basis.

“Steps can accumulate many times during the day if we just allow,” Salin explains it. “To increase your number of steps, you may not have to exercise separately each day. Instead, attention should be paid to everyday choices and, for example, choose stairs instead of the elevator or walk to the store instead of driving.”

Where we live influences the amount of physical activity

The study also examined the impact of one’s place of residence and of changing it. Moving from the city to the countryside reduced the overall steps and everyday steps of women, but no similar effect was observed for men. For men living permanently in rural areas, both aerobic steps and total steps were at a lower level than those of men living permanently in the city.

The researchers also found that in women, employment reduced aerobic steps.

“Work provides a rhythm for the day and this can influence how, for example, it is possible to participate in various scheduled hobbies,” Salin says. “However, it should be noted that the change in total steps was not statistically significant among the employed, as the change in everyday steps was correspondingly positive for those who were employed.

The importance of physical activity for health is well known, but longer-term observations of how changes in life are related to physical activity have so far relied only on self-reported exercise.

The study involved 396 men and 655 women. Steps were measured with a pedometer on weekdays and weekend days. The study was conducted as part of the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study led by Professor Olli Raitakari (University of Turku).

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Health

Drinking green tea, coffee lowers risk of death for stroke and heart attack survivors

When compared with participants who rarely drank green tea, stroke survivors who consumed at least seven cups of green tea daily lowered their risk of all-cause mortality by approximately 62%.

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Stroke and heart attack survivors can reduce multiple causes of death and prevent further cardiovascular events by drinking green tea, according to new research published today in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. The study also found daily coffee consumption helps heart attack survivors by lowering their risk of death after a heart attack and can prevent heart attacks or strokes in healthy individuals.

Previous research has examined the benefits of green tea and coffee on heart health in people without a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Researchers in the study “Green tea and coffee consumption and all-cause mortality among persons with and without stroke or myocardial infarction” sought to determine the effects of green tea and coffee consumption after surviving a stroke or heart attack.

“There is a strong need for scientific evidence on the lifestyles among survivors of stroke and heart attack considering the rapidly aging population and the need to improve life expectancy following these cardiovascular events,” says Hiroyasu Iso, M.D., a professor of public health at Osaka University in Suita, Japan, and the study’s corresponding author.

Researchers analyzed data of more than 46,000 participants (ages 40 to 79, 60% female) from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC study), a study conducted in 45 communities across Japan. Participants were asked to complete self-administered questionnaires that included information about demographics, lifestyle, medical history and diet. People were then divided into three groups: history of stroke; history of myocardial infarction (MI); and no history of stroke or MI. Researchers then analyzed the amount and frequency of green tea and coffee consumption. Researchers noted that a typical cup of green tea contains approximately 100mL (about 3.4 ounces) of liquid, and a typical cup of coffee contains approximately 150mL (about 5 ounces) of liquid.

Results include:

  • When compared with participants who rarely drank green tea, stroke survivors who consumed at least seven cups of green tea daily lowered their risk of all-cause mortality by approximately 62%. Researchers did not observe a statistically significant association among participants without a history of stroke or heart attack.
  • Heart attack survivors who drank one cup of coffee a day reduced their overall risk of death by approximately 22% when compared to those who did not regularly drink coffee.
  • People without a history of stroke or heart attack who consumed one or more cups of coffee a week had approximately a 14% lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to non-coffee drinkers.
  • Green tea consumption can prevent further cardiovascular events in survivors, while drinking coffee can prevent such events in healthy individuals.

“An important distinction to make is that in Japanese culture, green tea is generally prepared with water and without sugar. Additionally, coffee is prepared with water and occasionally milk and sugar,” said Iso. “The healthiest way to prepare these beverages is without an unnecessary amount of added sugars.”

Researchers note that this study was observational, and the reason why drinking green tea and coffee lowered the risk of heart attack and stroke cannot be determined. Further research is needed to understand the details in the different effects of green tea and coffee.

Co-authors are Masayui Teramoto, M.D.; Iso Muraki, M.D, Ph.D.; Kazumasa Yamagishi, M.D., Ph.D.; Akiko Tamakoshi, M.D., Ph.D.

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