Brave Kids: October Newsletter

Brave Kids: October Newsletter

Staying Safe This Halloween

Dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, and eating lots of goodies makes Halloween a special time for kids. And by following a few simple safety tips, Halloween can be a night enjoyed by all.

  1. Costume safety- be sure the costume is made from flame retardant materials, fits properly, and is hemmed short enough to avoid trips and falls. Use reflective tape on the costume so drivers will easily see your child. Any costume accessories, such as wands or swords, should be soft, short and flexible.
  2. Trick-or-Treating safety- children should walk in groups accompanied by adults and carry identification in case they get lost or separated. Stick to familiar neighborhoods and carry a flashlight with new batteries. Everyone should stay on the sidewalk and cross only at intersections. Never stop at dark houses or enter a house unless you know the people. Enjoy the neighborhood decorations but avoid flames in Jack-O-Lanterns.
  3. Goodie safety- when your child gets home be sure to inspect all candy and treats for tampering. Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or has loose wrappings, holes, or is homemade. If your child is very young, eliminate any hard candy that may cause choking. Check all candy for ingredients that your child may be allergic to.
  4. Limiting candy intake- limit the amount of candy you child consumes at a time or in a day. In this way, you can avoid upset tummies and let them enjoy their Halloween treats for days to come!

For more Halloween safety tips visit these websites:


October is National Bullying Prevention Month

The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center launched the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign in 2006, and since has succeeded in uniting communities and people nationwide to join the movement and raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying. With this years message: The End of Bullying Begins with Me, PACER’s is hoping that everyone takes an active role in helping educate the population and understand how devastating bullying can be.

Bullying is known to cause horrible effects such as: school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression. Education is a valuable resource that can help raise awareness to the horrible truths about bullying. Throughout the month PACER’s set up events that bring together schools, businesses and organizations to show support  for bullying prevention and raise funds for the cause. To get involved and for more information about bullying prevention check out PACER’s website.

New From the Medical Director’s Desk

Dr. James Blackman, Medical Director of the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF) and Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, University of Virginia, addresses the topic of the placebo effect in considering whether a new treatment’s benefit is due to positive expectation, or an actual inherent benefit for the targeted symptom in his latest research brief.

The placebo effect is when a patient believes a treatment will bring beneficial results, and it is the belief (not the treatment) that makes it so; moreover, the perceived benefit translates to actual benefit. For persons with disabilities the placebo effect is something to be wary of. If a patient with cerebral palsy believes a new drug will minimize spasticity, then that perceived belief can in fact bring about short-term beneficial physiologic changes in the body. The question to ask is: Will this treatment bring lasting functional benefits for the patient? How can a consumer for such treatments make an informed decision that will minimize cost and maximize long-term benefits for the patient? To find answers to these questions, read the full article here.


Child of the Month: October

October 2012: Celine

Celine is a very happy and sociable 11 year-old, but over the years Celine has overcome many challenges.  When she was only 4 months old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor on her right brain.  A surgery was performed to remove the tumor, and another surgery to place a shunt in her brain.  As a result of the tumor and surgeries, Celine is left with mild cerebral palsy.  Today Celine loves to sing, dance and is very observant of others needs and wants to assist in any way she is able. 

After finding out about United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County by way of a flyer, her mother brought Celine to UCP-OC to try out one of our dance recreation classes. Two and a half years later Celine has added gymnastics and Fit Kids to her class schedule. “Gymnastics and the other recreation classes have helped her with her gross motor skills and improved with her coordination, it’s a form of therapy that is disguised to her. She is having fun while socializing and creating relationships with her peers,” states her mother.

This August, Celine participated in our 5th Annual Bike Camp in partnership with Down Syndrome Association of OC. For one week Celine and 40 other children were taught how to ride a bike independently. Campers learned gradually how to ride by using specially adapted bikes that teach the children balance. On the last day the children were given the opportunity to go outside and practice their newfound skill. Through the experience not only did Celine learn how to ride a bike, but it encouraged her older brother to learn as well!