Thursday, November 1, 2012

Under Construction

I apologize for my absence as the blog is undergoing a period of MAJOR construction! A much needed and long-awaited update will be coming your way shortly...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bumps to Babies Lecture

Check this lecture out if you have had questions about Mellow Parenting/Mellow Bumps program.  It's a great opportunity!

You are cordially invited to a free lecture about bonding with your baby.  It is being hosted by Birth Kuwait at the their new headquarters in Mishref (Block 4, Street 4, House 4, Basement) on Sunday 7th October at 7.30pm.
The topic this month is "Bumps to Babies: Learning about you, your baby, and your bond" and is presented by Dr Rose Logan of the Soor Center.
Light refreshments will be provided and more information can be found on the Birth Kuwait Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey mama!

Many of you lovely readers have shown interest in learning about breastfeeding and pregnancy support groups and activities.  I strongly urge those of you interested in finding about the diverse activities to visit BirthKuwait's website.  Check out their website to find out about Prenatal Yoga classes, Breastfeeding Support groups, the Mellow Bumps support group (previously mentioned here and here) and much more.

What is BirthKuwait?  Here is how they introduce themselves. 


BirthKuwait is a local nonprofit birth network— a collection of birth-related professionals—networking together and working towards providing better support for mothers and improving maternity services in Kuwait, by making resources accessible and advocating for evidence-based maternity care.

BirthKuwait brings together professionals and available resources to one website, so that mothers can find the support and information they need from conception to pregnancy and birth, and throughout their breastfeeding and early mothering years.

We also organize public lectures and workshops geared towards educating parents about birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood.

We help professional organizations reach out to and connect with mothers. In addition we help facilitate training for those organizations who want to work towards implementing the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI)or the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).

As an IMBCI network organization, we reserve the right to refuse partnership to any organization that does not support motherbaby friendly practices.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good morning Kuwait...

Yesterday morning I went over to Marina FM's studio to record yet another program with them.  It was during their show "Duwaniyat Hawwa" from 12-1pm, and the topic was about homework in general.  As is the case with this show, it was a less formal conversation about the topic with tips and advise in between.  This is again all in Arabic, and I have provided the full show (link below) to listen at your own convenience.  
The girls of "Hawwa" and I :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eating Disorders Workshop

For those of you who are interested, Soor Center has created an Art Therapy workshop for adolescent girls suffering from an eating disorder.  Seats are limited so call in ASAP.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's O.K. not to be O.K.

If you read my posts regularly you may know that I have a tiny obsession with vocal talent shows like X Factor and American Idol... Every now and then, I find a reason to admit it and include that obsession in my blog.  THIS particular girl's audition, Jillian Jensen, brought tears to my eyes, and I actually mentioned her audition to one of my beautiful young clients who is currently struggling with bullies in her school...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keep it in the Bank!

I recently posted about the growing popularity and availability of Breast Milk Banks worldwide.  I wondered if there would be any ethical, Islamic or otherwise cultural barriers to establishing one in Kuwait...  Little did I know that we already have one!

Many thanks to the lovely Midwife of Kuwait who notified me that Al-Adan Maternity Hospital has a fully operating Milk Bank!

I urge you to visit her blog (link) to get support and information about breastfeeding specifically, and all things related to pregnancy and birth.

For more information:
Tel: +965 3940600
Fax: +965 3967840
Mahboula-Fahaheel Area

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Marina Morning

I have been asked again by the wonderful people at Marina FM to share my advice about going back to school.  For those who may have missed it, here it is! (In Arabic)

Marina FM September 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hurray for Creativity

We all at one point or another feel over stimulated or overwhelmed.  Children today seem to be the bigger victims as they are naturally drawn towards overstimulation, whether it is in the use of modern technology, or an over-active schedule.  Parents have often complained to me that their child is "always bored".  Many of our children are unable to sustain an activity for too long, or more tragically, are unable to create their own play and stimulate themselves.  They are growing more and more dependent on technology, or on their parents creating activities for them.
As someone who is pro-planning and organization, I can sympathize with parents who have strict activity and play schedules for their children.  We do, however, need to be very careful not too overwhelm our children.

  • Try to provide time outdoors without a planned activity, or go swimming without the usual gadgets.  The use of sand and water is an excellent way to encourage imaginary play and creativity.
  • Indoors: Encourage your child to share his toys with his friends (and vice versa), and see how children can play differently and learn from each other.
  • Some children will whine and complaint, as we are all creatures of habit, so do become a role model and come up with creative games to play.  You can also ask your child to come up with his/her own game.  It also helps if there is more than one child playing (siblings, cousins or friends can join).

  • Use nature as an inspiration: you can use stones and rocks to make shapes and letters, go bird watching, or track insects and plants.  

  • Unstructured and free play time can be completely non-verbal, and as such is encouraging for children who are more introverted, or verbally less confident.  It can also be a great release for children who are more active.  
  • lastly, do not be afraid to let your child make a mess and get dirty every now and then. 
Anything cuter that this?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

GOT MILK? Share it.

We have heard of donating organs, blood, and hair, but donating milk to a Milk Bank? 

A recent article in NPR's blog (SHOTS), shed some light into what has been recently termed "liquid gold" donations; milk donations. A Milk Bank opened a year ago in Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, as research grows on the multitude benefits of breast milk for natural development, as well as many childhood related diseases.  This bank is one of many that have rapidly been opening up around the U.S. and Europe.
The idea would not be too foreign for this part of the world, as "sharing" breast milk, or rather, actually breastfeeding someone else's child was very common not too long ago.  Some of you might have heard that an aunt, grandmother or relative has breastfed a sibling or neighbor's child when the child's own mother was unable to breastfeed.  It would be interesting, however, to see how long it would take for a Milk Bank to exist in Kuwait.

For the full article please follow this LINK

Friday, July 27, 2012

Words to live by...

A popular nursery rhyme goes like this... "Sticks and stones may break my 
bones, but words will never hurt me". Even though this rhyme is said to 
inspire strength and resistance in children who are being bullied and 
harassed, but the truth is, words do hurt... Badly!
One book on this topic that I can highly recommend is by James 
Garbarino, Ph.D. and Ellen deLara, Ph.D., titled: "And Words Can 
Hurt Forever" (link).  I have met Mr. Garbarino personally and I 
have a lot of respect and admiration for his research. 

Not only does the book highlight the scaring effects of words (which 
is related to emotional bullying) and the warning signs to look for, but
it also presents parent recommendations and pointers on how to protect
our adolescents from these effects. The book is very well researched but
it is important to note that it is based on the American population, so for
my local readers there are some parts that may not be applicable in
Kuwait or relatable. Bullying, however, is universal, and the dangers
are growing at an alarming rate due to children's exposure and access to 
violence (among other social, economic and environmental factors). 

I have written about bullying several times in this blog, do feel free to review 
the following posts:

I leave you with some words to live by...

Hit & Ruin

A study in the August 2012 issue of Pediatrics journal concluded:

Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.

Another study titled, "Physical Punishment and Childhood Aggression: The Role of Gender and Gene-Environment Interplay," recently published in the journal Aggressive Behavior concluded:

"... that genetic factors affect which children display aggressive behavior, but we also found that genetic factors matter more when children were exposed to spanking as a disciplinary tactic," said Barnes, an assistant professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

In this study, the link between environmental factors (in this particular study being spanking) and genetic predisposition to aggressive behavior was only found in boys.

I ask all of you... Is this worth it?

For more information about the effects of corporal punishment, please read this post.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ramadan, not drama-dan

During Ramadan, our whole schedule changes.  The timings, food habits, work schedules and let us not forget the increased family obligations that come with it.  This is NOT easy when you have children.  It often results in increased tension and anxiety.  Some parents do not change their children's schedule at all, which can be ideal, but it is quiet unrealistic when you have children of different ages.

So,what is the solution? Is there a perfect schedule that I magically came up with?  Unfortunately not!  But there is some good news... I do have some tips:)

  • It is important to make sure your children have enough GOOD QUALITY sleep.  It may be easier for some to let the children stay as late as they want as they can sleep in all day since it is summer vacation.  This is NOT healthy.  There needs to be enough hours in the day where children see sunshine, and sleep when it is dark... Simple enough right? sleep when it is dark and wake up when there is sun outside.  Ideally, we all (especially children) should be asleep between the hours of 10pm-12pm.  I will look for the research that supports this statement soon.

  • It is O.K. to have some sweets.  As you know, I am not a big fan of elimination diets (where you completely stop your child from eating a specific thing) UNLESS, there is an allergic or medical reason for it. Provide alternatives and healthy options when possible, and put a limit.  Same with fried food, but I honestly think there is no need for fried at all since you have so many yummy alternatives!

  • Find time to be with your children.  As your free time is challenged this Ramadan, a little bit of pre-planning is in order.  Ramadan is a time for family, so why not think of group activities that you could do together.  This can help you with the first tip, as you can plan a nice night-time activity as a pre-sleep routine.  You could also have an activity right after futoor/iftar since there is usually a period of relaxation.  One suggestion with older children is playing trivia or board games.

  • Organize activities for your children during the day (at home or outside).  This will ensure less phone calls to you during work, and less agitated attention-seeking behavior when you are home.  It also ensures that your children are awake during the day, and tired at an acceptable hour by night.

  • Lead by example.  This is always the best tip and applies to ALL of the above.

These are my tips for tonight, I will keep them coming as the month progresses...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ramadan Greetings!

   مبارك عليكم الشهر

Voice for Success - Zaina Al Zabin

I am finally sharing with you a video that has been a work in progress for the past couple of months.  The aim for making the video is to spread awareness about the needs of our children, and to get the message that policy change HAS to happen in order for our children to get the rights they deserve.  I am humbled and honored that I have been chosen by the Voice for Success program (see details below).  They have done a wonderful job! I do hope that you enjoy it... 

Voice for Success is a program initiated by en.v in collaboration with the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to promote Kuwaiti civil society by giving greater visibility to local social activists.

To participate in our program, email us at or visit

This project is funded through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI is a unique program designed to engage directly with and invest in the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI works to create vibrant partnerships with citizens to foster the development of pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies throughout the MENA region. MEPI partners with local, regional and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and governments. More information about MEPI can be found at:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mean Girls...

Bullying... A topic we frequently talk about her at PTL.  Here is a great way to talk about this topic with your children.  Share this new song by Rachel Crow with your daughter this summer, and ask her about school and friendships.  As a parent, you could help not only in teaching your daughter about assertiveness and protecting herself, but it is very important to teach her about empathy.
Let us, one by one, teach our children to protect themselves and others, and not be bystanders allowing the bullies to continue tormenting others... Enjoy the song!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Away I go...

I try to always practice what I preach, and as such I will be taking a much needed break... There might be some posts written during the holiday, but I will try my best to resist and relax xxx

Thursday, May 31, 2012


As soon as a plan is in place to start a family, many start their preparations by reading.  Very commonly one specific book is reached out for: "What To Expect When You're Expecting".  Written by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, this book was originally published in 1984!  It quickly became an international best-seller and staple in many households.  It grew into a series of books, a website, a foundation and now a movie...

Aside from the excitement to see the interesting cast in this movie adaptation, I have chosen the alternative trailer below to ask you lovely readers about something specific.  What sort of support system do you have in place.  Fathers especially, as you will see from this clip, would you consider doing a "guys support group"?

In my opinion, ignoring the comedic aspect we see in the film, finding support from other fathers is extremely beneficial.  It allows you to exchange and expand your knowledge base, a chance to express your worries and concerns, and let's not forget that it also counts as a great play-date for your little ones!
Creating such a support group also means including yourself more in  your child's life.  I often hear from fathers that they feel left-out or find it difficult to connect to with their young child (who might be more attached to his/her mother).

So let's do a PTL experiment and try.  Ask your friends, cousins or co-workers who are dads if they are interested in meeting once a week, with their children. You may surprise yourselves with the outcome.  What are you expecting?;)

***Mentioning fathers here today does not mean that mothers do not need the support.  Obviously they do.  Mother do tend to create that support group naturally, through school, friends and family.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Important date change

Change of date for the Potty Power Workshop, here are the details...

Dear All,

There has been a change to the “Potty Power: Toilet Training for Children with Special Needs” workshop. The workshop hosted by ABC of Kuwait is to be rescheduled for Monday the 28th of May at 6.30pm.

We apologies for any inconvenience but for all of those that have reserved seats your place(s) will continue to be held. If you are unable to attend or have any other problems please contact us on the number below.

For everyone else who would like to attend, please contact us as soon as possible as seats are limited.

Kind regards,


Monday, May 21, 2012

A special kind of need

I am a huge fan of modern family, and so naturally I was intrigued to watch this Ellen video.  But this is not a blog about T.V. shows.  I simply was surprised to find out that the young actor Nolan Gould is a member of MENSA!  

So what is MENSA?
Mensa, the high IQ society, provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members. There are members in more than 100 countries around the world.
Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, special-interest groups, and local, regional, national and international gatherings; the investigations of members' opinions and attitudes; and assistance to researchers, inside and outside Mensa, in projects dealing with intelligence or Mensa.
This got me thinking about children like Nolan.  I have seen children with very high I.Q. labeled as trouble makers or hyperactive because they were simply under stimulated in the classroom.  I often thought about this question and I present this to you: What do we have available in Kuwait for children with high intelligence, or what we usually term "gifted children"?  Please share any information you may have xx

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potty Power Workshop

I would like to share with you an excellent learning opportunity.  ABC of Kuwait is hosting a toilet training workshop for children with special needs.  This workshop is open to ALL adults who deal with special needs children.  Hurry up and book as spaces are limited.

For more information on toilet training in general please follow this link.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Safety first...My story

Many parents cant help but think about "worst case scenarios".  You instinctively want to protect your children.  You start teaching children about avoiding strangers "stranger...danger", you tell them to avoid sharp things and fires, ban them from going out alone, etc...

Tonight I want to share a real story.  I hesitated to share the story, but I decided to go ahead anyway.  I was in Avenues mall today, and I saw a distraught boy (looks about 2.5-3 years old) running aimlessly, screaming for his mother, with a face full of tears and snot. Initially I saw some people around him, he broke my heart, but I thought perhaps he was tantruming and I did not want to interfere with someone else's child unless I have been asked.  My sister then pointed out that the guy following him is security, but he was just walking/running behind him, but not doing anything else.  The boy avoided people who tried to catch him, and people just gave up and walked away.  I asked the security (to get confirmation that he is indeed lost) and the security said yes and added that he did not know what to do with the boy.  I held the boy and tried to talk to him, but he was hysterical.  Instinctively, I took the boy and sat him down on my lap on the floor of Avenues Mall talking to him, shushing him and rocking him gently...  People gathered, some gave tissues, and I asked if anyone knew the mother.  Some people directed us towards a certain part of the mall.  The child eventually calmed down and agreed to come with me and hold my hand so we can look for his mother.  We eventually found the mother, who did not seem concerned and coldly asked the child "where have you been?"...

OK... Why did I tell you this story?  Not because I want to talk about cold and uncaring mothers, or the fact that we have a HUGE problem in education, and that this child could have been abducted while it took us over 15 minutes to calm this child down and find his mum...  I wanted to mention the security aspect of this story.

While I held this child I asked the security guard (Kuwaity) why are you not announcing the missing child, he answered that they did not have such services!!! They have speakers for music and the call for prayer, but they cannot use this for an announcement about a missing child?

Next request, I asked the security guard to please contact someone or head over to the area that the boy was seen running from and ask loudly if anyone's missing a child.  He said that he told some people to ask but nothing happened.  So basically, I am on the floor with a hysterical child and NO SECURITY MEASURE WAS IMPLEMENTED.  Mothers and fathers, PLEASE be careful, know your surrounding and know what services and security measures are available for you.

Some simple tips:

  • Young children should be provided with their contact information as a badge or around the neck as a way to ensure your child is safe.  
  • Older kids, establish a meeting point in case you are lost.  
  • Older children also need to know your phone number and address by heart.  We should not rely on the security in malls, as they are more likely trained to handle some fights and arguments, rather than deal with scared and lost children.  
  • Help you child recognize the security guard by uniform or badge, as they could allow them to call you.  Security in different places can be better than I have seen this morning.
  • In large play areas ask about the security measures, and find out what they are allowed to do and are able to provide.  DO NOT ASSUME.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Five Stages of Grief

Grief...  It isn't a process we ever want our kids to go through, but unfortunately it does happen.  Children go through loss, wether we mean divorce and/or family struggles (i.e. economic, social, warfare, medical, etc), or after the death of loved ones, including, as the sweet and heart-breaking video below shows, the loss of a pet for the first time.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first wrote about the Five Stages of Grief in her book "On Death and Dying".  The stages were not meant to be chronological, nor complete.  Some people get stuck in one stage, and may need an intervention to help them cope.  It is helpful to check for those stages when you are caring for yourself or a loved one, and try to help them within each stage that they go through.  Some of these stages are often socially unaccepted or frowned upon, like Anger.  We need to allow ourselves and our children to feel and express these emotions without fear of repercussion.  Our main goal then becomes containment.  We, as the support system for our child, work on containing our child's feelings, and allowing him or her to express such feelings within a safe environment.

The Five Stages of Grief are:

  • Denial
  • Bargaining
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hit me once, shame on you. Hit me twice, I'll be like you...

Corporal punishment, or in layman terms, using physical violence as a means for punishment, is still debated in our region of the world.  You cannot imagine how many times I have heard statements similar to "I was beaten by my parents, and look at me now", as a supportive statement for the use of physical punishment.  I will not address such a statement, but I will try to explain briefly the lessons a child learns from corporal punishment.

  • Corporal punishment will teach a child fear.  Fear may result in immediate change in behavior, but fear will not be a motivator nor a lesson in why such a change should be made.
  • Corporal punishment will NOT lead to cognitive awareness and acceptance of behavior change.
  • Corporal punishment can lead to lower self-esteem and feelings of helplessness.
  • Corporal punishment is the antithesis of respect.  Your child may fear you, but s/he will not respect you.
  • Corporal punishment teaches your child that it is O.K. to lose your temper and hit someone.  A lesson, many parents often regret when the school year begins.
  • Corporal punishment may teach a child that a behavior was unacceptable, but doesn't give the child alternative ways of action(positive behavior).
  • Corporal punishment will teach the child that s/he is able to trigger a reaction from you.  They will soon learn that they are more in control than you are.
  • Corporal punishment is a form of child abuse, and is punishable in most countries who have established infrastructure and child protection laws.
This is a brief look at some of the most common results to the use of corporal punishment.  There is more to say, but I leave it to you dear readers to draw your own conclusions and make up your own minds.  The image below (which I have used in a previous post) represents the title of today's post:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let's talk about Abby...

"Every time I'd walk by, he'd call: "Police, police, take her back to the insane asylum,' " Abby says. "The other kids would run in and say, 'We're the police.' And then they'd chase me."
It didn't help that Abby responded by fending off her pursuers with an imaginary lightsaber.
Courtesy of the Mahoney family
Abby Mahoney, 13, has Asperger's syndrome. She says she has memorized nearly everything there is to know about Star Wars. Her enthusiasm for the subject helped make her the target of a bullying boy.

This is a synopsis of the story of Abbey Mahoney, a 13 year old girl with Asperger's syndrome.  Read about her struggles and the research linking Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder to increased risk for bullying.  Please follow this link from NPR's health blog, SHOTS, for the full report:

5 S's

This is a wonderful video which highlights the 5 S's plan as described by Dr. Harvey Karp in his book "The Happiest Baby on the Block".  I loved this clip especially because we can see a wonderful dad getting involved and perfecting this method.  The 5 S's are: swaddling, shushing, side/stomach position, swinging and sucking.
One very important thing to note here however, is the importance of being calm.  If we react anxiously and reluctantly, babies very often pick up on these non-verbal cues and physical reactions (eg. faster heartbeat, shaking).  Breath deeply and calmly, and if you are unable to be calm at that moment, ask your partner for help...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dyslexia and creativity...

"It is important for us to stop seeing dyslexia as a learning disability and start seeing it as an alternative way of perceiving and processing the world, with benefits as well as drawbacks, and with the potential to contribute creative approaches to our world’s problems." (Lydia K.)

With this a blog entry by Lydia K., an MIT student, concludes.  This entry is Ms. K's final paper for her Science Journalism class.  It is a beautifully written paper which sheds light on the truth behind Dyslexia; unveiling the facts and potentials behind a learning difficulty, that she, an I personally, believe should be viewed as a learning DIFFERENCE.  She quotes in her paper:

According to Brook and Fernette Eide, authors of The Dyslexic Advantage, the cognitive flexibility associated with dyslexia can manifest itself in noteworthy talents. “Dyslexic brains are organized in a way that maximizes strength in making big picture connections at the expense of weaknesses in processing fine details,” says Fernette Eide. These talents include improved spatial reasoning, enhanced ability to view events from multiple perspectives and draw analogies, and a tendency to remember facts as experiences and stories rather than as abstractions. (Lydia K.)

The paper/blog entry is well researched and her writing style is very accessible and easy to comprehend.  I invite you to read this full paper, and follow the links provided by Ms. K for extra information.  It is important, however, not assume generalizations when reading such an article nor undermine the very real struggle people with dyslexia face.  Creativity and/or exceptional talents have often been associated with learning differences and some developmental delays/disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder), but this is not always the case.  It is wise for us to take each child as an individual case.  This paper, however, provides the very important message that Dyslexia should be seen as a difference in perception and experience, rather than an unmanageable obstacle. 

***A very special thank you to a wonderful reader, Ms. Hanadi, for sharing this article with me.  This is exactly why I created this blog, as a place to share and exchange ideas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Be The Difference

"It feels like everybody just turned against me. It was like nine of them, nine or ten of them, calling me stupid and dumb, and they started throwing things at me, and one of the guys said something to me, and he threatened me ..."

"If it involves repeated, malicious attempts to humiliate a helpless victim, if the victim is fearful, does not know how to make it stop, then it’s bullying."
- Kim Zarzour

These are just some of the quotes collected by a wonderful multidisciplinary team of directors, producers, parents, professionals and students who are involved with the Bully Project.

The Bully Project highlights solutions that both address immediate needs and lead to systemic change. Starting with the film’s STOP BULLYING. SPEAK UP! call to action, The Bully Project will catalyze audience awareness to action with a series of tools and programs supported by regional and national partners.
The Bully Project is a collaborative effort that brings together partner organizations that share a commitment to ending bullying and ultimately transforming society.
Bully, is the movie that is the cornerstone of this project.  I leave you to watch the trailer, as the movie speaks for itself.

Do visit their website for some wonderful resources such as: toolkits for parents, educators, students and advocates.  They also provide a helpful and easy PDF file with an introduction on bullying that you can share with others (this is where the quotes above came from).


Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Truths...

April is Autism awareness month... Most people have heard about Autism, and are filled with questions, anxieties and concerns.  Let us instead armor ourselves with information and educate ourselves on how to best help our little ones...  This linked article is worth reading to give you basic information on Autism. - Is It Autism?

These are some of the "Red Flags" the article mentions...

This broad label covers five related developmental disorders: autism, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome, and “pervasive developmental disorder” (PDD).
ASDs (referred to here as “autism”) are difficult to define in broad terms because the symptoms and their severity vary from person to person. However, the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development has created a list of typical “red flags” that may point to autism.
Consider having your 18-month old screened if he:
  • Doesn’t respond to his name
  • Is slow to develop language skills
  • Doesn’t point or wave “bye-bye”
  • Used to say a few words or babble, but now he doesn’t
  • Throws intense or violent tantrums
  • Seems to tune people out
  • Is not interested in other children
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at
  • Resists changes in routine
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Doesn’t pretend or play “make believe”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Parent workshop: Communication Skills

A great opportunity for parents!!! 
Kuwait's Applied Behavior Center (ABC) is providing a workshop on teaching communication skills to your kids.  ABC of Kuwait provides early intervention for kids with Autism and related disorders.  This specific training will focus on the communication aspect of developmental delays.  All relevant information is below.  Book now as seats are very limited!

Note: If you cannot make it to this event, please make sure you call and ask to be part of ABC's contact list.

Teaching Functional Communication Skills
Applied Behavior Center of Kuwait will be hosting a parent workshop focusing on teaching communication skills to children with speech delays. The workshop will be presented by Certified Behavior Analyst, Amy Atwell of the New England Center for Children.  

This workshop will demonstrate how incorporating B. F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, as well as an understanding of how to capture & contrive motivation, promotes the development of functional communication. This would help in decreasing challenging behavior through teaching your child how to have their needs and wants met without resorting to inappropriate behavior. Specifically, parents & caregivers will be given the following:
·       The technical definition of “positive reinforcement” & strategies for identifying your child’s reinforcers
·       Guidelines for selecting functional communication targets
·       Teaching, prompting, & error-correction procedures to be utilized when conducting communication training
·       How to contrive situations to teach functional communication
·       How to make every the environment and any experience a learning opportunity

The workshop is open to all parents interested in learning about language development.  A certificate of attendance will be provided to all attendees. The workshop also meets the requirement for Continuing Education Units (CEU’s).

Date: 8th of April
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Place: Burj Jasim Tower, 23rd floor, Soor St, Kuwait City (opposite the Discovery Mall / Ice Rink)
Fee: KD15

Please contact ABC of Kuwait at 2296-0991 to reserve a seat or for further information.  Please feel free to visit our website

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bigger size, worsened value

Even though I blog from Kuwait and often talk about culture specific problems, the issues tackled in this blog are global.  I got an email from a design team from the U.S.  who worked on an "infographic" which aims to raise awareness and educate people around the issue of obesity.  It is very well done, and is a true eye-opener especially since we can see the same rise in obesity rates here in Kuwait.  I agreed to share the graphic hoping someone in Kuwait can work on one for us as well...  It ALL starts with education.  Educate yourselves, and let us educate our youngsters.  They deserve to live a better, healthier and longer life...
***Follow the link on the picture for a larger view
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