Q. My son uses a wheelchair. Is there a camp for kids interested in being active with a disability?
A. A wheelchair sports camp, whether an overnight or day experience, opens a new world of involvement for kids in wheelchairs. The recreational activities encourage independence and use of social and coping skills. In a supportive environment, campers go outside of their comfort zone to triumph over mental and physical barriers. Individuals with disabilities often feel isolated in the “normal” camp environment. A disability specific camp is a way to introduce your child to adaptive recreation and a new level of participation. Whether it is riding a horse for the first time or sliding down the zip line, wheelchair sports camps allow children to experience camp just like their able-bodied siblings and friends.
Genny Gomez \ Director \ Moran Camp Xtreme www.tirrfoundation.org/youth-programs
Q. What should we consider when choosing a school for our child with autism?
A. Receiving a diagnosis for your child is scary, and looking for a school to support learning differences may feel daunting. Things to consider: Transparency is vital. Observe classrooms with your child. Inquire about communication. Are teachers and administrators accessible and willing to be honest with you about your child’s strengths and weaknesses? Are therapists on staff to provide speech therapy, OT and social guidance? Is the school accredited through a third-party? What specialized training is required of teachers in regards to individualized curriculum and behavior issues? Seek out a school that resonates with your personal philosophy – a place your child will feel loved and thrive.
Brit Smart \ Executive Director \ Oak Hill Academy www.OakHillAcademy.org
Q. Our family has never gone skiing at a mountain before. Our kids are 11, 9 and 6. How do we prepare?
A. family ski vacation creates great memories that you and your kids are sure to cherish for years to come! For beginning skiers, bigger does not always mean better. Check out smaller resorts which often have no crowds, more affordable pricing and a family-friendly feel. Research and book your rental equipment in advance for the best pricing, and sign up for group lessons – some resorts even offer family lessons so you can all learn together! Lastly, make sure you stay warm and dry! That means waterproof top and bottom, insulating base layers, hat (or helmet!) and gloves. Sunglasses or goggles are highly recommended.
Lisa Branner \ Community Relations \ Kendall Mountain Ski Area www.skikendall.com
Q. My child is interested in theater; would this be a good idea for a child that is a bit reserved?
A. Whether you have an outgoing or reserved child, theater classes are very enriching. Outgoing children are usually very talkative and want to be in activities with a lot of friends and socialization. Some are naturally talented and just need a stage to perform on! Theater can provide this outlet. Reserved children are usually very good listeners and watchers since they are not doing most of the talking. This helps them to better imitate others so that when the director says, “Do it like this...”, they can! Theater helps them get out of their shell because they can play other characters. Theater teaches all children listening skills, articulation, projection, goal-setting, and team work, while they are having fun. Theater classes are great for all kids!
Annie Breitling | Breitling Performing Arts | www.ActingForChildren.org
Q. My teen son needs braces, but doesn’t want braces. Are teens good candidates for Invisalign?
A. Research shows that parents underestimate the extent to which teens feel self-conscious about crooked teeth, and using braces as a solution can exacerbate this lack of confidence. Invisalign uses removable aligners that have been custom-made for the patient’s teeth rather than wires and brackets. With Invisalign Teen, no one needs to know the patient is straightening his or her teeth, removing a potential source of anxiety and boosting confidence so they can be themselves. It’s important, however, that the patient wears the aligners as instructed. Check with your orthodontist to see if they offer a teen guarantee that if the treatment isn’t going as planned due to lack of compliance in wearing aligners, they’ll switch to traditional braces with no upcharge.
Joshika Kanabar, DDS, MS | Walnut Central Orthodontics | www.orthodontistdallastx.com