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December 26, 2016

This week’s family-re­­lated news coverage included insights into the how to emotionally support young teen boys, research on the issue of executive functioning skills in young children, a review of an important children’s book on inclusion, a report on how a hair salon can be a tool to help women in trouble, a touching story of a family’s adjustment to their new home in a faraway land, information on an innovative NYC school program that successfully supports children with autism, research into the concept of “love regulation,” a glimpse at an upcoming film that addresses the special relationship between siblings (one special needs and one average developing), information about a mentorship program that support kids who have an incarcerated parent, a story of how some colleges are closely tracking students’ work online to boost graduation rates, a detailed discussion of the many benefits of DC’s progressive Family Leave Policy, and finally we learn that “family jet lag” can occur even if you do not leave the ground.

What Parents of Early-Teen Boys Need to Know Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal, December, 13, 2016 The maturity gap between boys and girls looms largest in the early-teen years. Research shows boys’ and girls’ performance on many tasks tends to converge at around age 15. Findings lend insight into the kind of support early-teen boys may need during the early adolescent years.

Why Executive Function Is A Vital Stepping-Stone For Kids’ Ability to Learn Katrina Schwartz, KQED, December 13, 2016 One meta-analysis of six studies found that a child’s executive functioning skills in kindergarten predicted reading and math achievement into middle school and beyond. This research is particularly important because students who have poor executive functioning skills because of trauma, poverty, or diagnosed disorders are missing out on learning. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve executive functioning, another reason researchers feel confident that this cognitive ability is not innate, but rather taught.

Children’s Books, Inclusivity, and Why It Matters Gwen Glazer, Librarian, The New York Public Library, December 15, 2016 It’s Okay to Be Different, by Todd Parr, explains bodies, self-esteem and non-traditional families in the simplest of terms, using bright bold line drawings to illustrate his ideas. It’s okay to get mad, or have no hair, or wear glasses, or come in last. It’s okay to be adopted, or have different moms or different dads.

A New Front Against Domestic Abuse: The Hairstylist’s Chair Christine Hauser, The New York Times, December 16, 2016 A proposed amendment to a state law in Illinois, that governs the cosmetology industry will require salon workers to take one hour of training every two years to recognize the signs of abuse and assault and will provide them with a list of resources to which they can refer clients for help. The rule was inspired by the spirit of camaraderie in hair salons, said State Senator Bill Cunningham, one of the chief sponsors of the amendment. “For some women, those salons are a safe space, where they can sit among other women, drop their guard and confide about life as their hair is braided or colored, or their nails trimmed and painted.”

Wonder and Worry as a Syrian Child Transforms Catrin Einhorn and Jodi Kantor, The New York Times, December 17, 2016 Canada warmly welcomes Syrian refugees. However, sponsorship can bring the cultural tension between East and West very close. Parents of a 10-year-old wonder if their daughter is leaving too much behind.

Getting Students with Autism Through High School, to College and Beyond Yasmeen Khan, NPR, December 18, 2016 We know a lot more about children with autism spectrum disorders than we did just a decade ago, but nationwide students with autism are enrolling in college in relatively low numbers. The ASD Nest program, run jointly by the NYC’s Department of Education and NYU Nest Support Project, places students with autism who are capable of doing grade-level work, in classrooms with average learning peers and outcomes are improving.

How to Fall Back in Love Elizabeth Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal, December,19, 2016 Researchers call it “love regulation.” A new study by psychologists at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and Erasmus University Rotterdam found that people can use thoughts to increase how much they love someone. People can also willfully decrease love, say after a breakup.

Eight Things Siblings of Children With Special Needs Struggle With Jamie Davis Smith, The Washington Post, December 20, 2016 The advantages to having a brother or sister with special needs are numerous and include being more empathetic, more responsible and more resilient. However, these typically developing siblings also shoulder tremendous burdens that are not often or easily discussed. Documentary filmmaker Rachel Feichter wants to better understand the needs of her own children, so she began interviewing siblings of individuals with special needs for her in-progress film, which has the working title “Not Typical.”

A Role Model and Mentor While Dad Serves Time Emily Palmer, The New York Times, December 20, 2016 MentorCHIP, places retired New Yorkers to work with students who have incarcerated parents. About 105,000 children in the state have a parent in jail. Without a father at home, children are more likely to struggle in school or even drop out — a challenge this mentorship program strives to overcome.

Students: Colleges Are Tracking You Online. It Can Help You Graduate Eric Westervelt, NPR, December 21, 2016 The system vacuums up data on things such as student participation online, time spent on the school’s learning platform and pairs it with a student’s academic record. It’s refreshed four times a day to create a student “engagement score.” This information can boost students’ academic performance.

The Economic Case for DC’s Family Leave Policy Paul Solman, PBS Newshour, December 22, 2016 Economics correspondent Paul Solman sat down with Heather Boushey, chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, to discuss DC’s new family policy and why she thinks it’ll be a boon for not only workers, but for business and the District as a whole.

Out of Sorts Around the Holidays? It Could Be Family Jet Lag Elizabeth Yuko, The New York Times, December 22, 2016 Family jet lag can affect both travelers and those who receive out-of-town relatives. According to Dr. Adam Fried, a clinical psychologist in Scottsdale, Ariz., the connection between emotional stress and physical exhaustion is not in your head. Dr. Fried emphasized that different strategies like daily mindfulness and meditation techniques may provide relief for some, while for others, self-talk strategies, exercise or pharmacological interventions may be most effective.

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