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Disturbing Suicide Cluster Prompts CDC to Start Investigation in Palo Alto

In Palo Alto, members of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s epidemiological assistance team are scheduled to begin an investigation this week on the “suicide contagion” risk in a similar way they may investigate a viral or bacterial outbreak that spreads through a community. As federal officials arrive in Palo Alto, they will face a community that is trying to find innovative ways to combat suicide when it becomes a “contagion.” Read more ›

Parents Start Local Mental-Health Support Group

A group of parents who saw a need for a locally based, ongoing group to support other parents concerned about the mental health and well-being of their teens will be launching such a group this month.

The mental-health subcommittee of parent-advocacy group SELPA 1 CAC will host its first “Parent Chat” on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Los Altos Library. The group is supposed to be peer-driven, though a licensed marriage and family therapist will attend as a facilitator, and is open to parents of any children ages 14 and up. Read more ›

‘Changing the Tide’ on Youth Mental Illness

More than 300 local parents, educators, clinicians and community members gathered Tuesday morning to discuss ways to combat what one speaker called the “new norm” for teenagers in the area: alarmingly high rates of anxiety, stress, depression and death by suicide.

The Children’s Health Council (CHC), a Palo Alto nonprofit that supports youth with anxiety, depression, ADHD and learning differences through services and school sites, devoted an annual breakfast panel to the topics. CHC billed the event as a “call to action” for a community continuing to cope and learn from two separate youth suicide clusters in the last several years. Read more ›

Brain Scans Could Identify Children at High Depression Risk

In a new study, researchers reveal how brain scans could be used to identify children at high risk for later-life depression – information that could pave the way for early intervention and prevention.

Study coauthor John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann professor in health sciences and technology and a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and colleagues publish their findings in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Read more ›

Childhood Bullying Can Have Lasting Effects on Mental Health

Bullying can have a lasting effect on a person’s mental health: A new study finds that children who were bullied frequently when they were 8 years old were more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder that needed treatment as an adult, compared with kids who were not bullied. Read more ›

Digital Tools Aim to Personalize Literacy Instruction

From online news articles written at five different reading levels to algorithms that create personalized vocabulary lists, ed-tech tools are rapidly expanding the ways in which teachers can differentiate their literacy and reading instruction.

Experts say the new technologies have the potential to transform learning, one child at a time.  Bernadette Dwyer a board member of the International Literacy Association says, “The problem up to this point is that when we’ve designed curriculum, we’ve done it with a mythical ‘average student’ in mind, then tried to fix the curriculum after the fact to address the needs of particular children, but digital tools can help us anticipate the needs of children upfront, particularly for struggling readers.” Read more ›

Allergies May Boost Chances of Anxiety or Depression Symptoms

Kids who have allergies at an early age are more likely than others to also have problems with anxiety and depression, according to a new study.

The researchers studied 546 children who had skin tests and exams at age one, two, three, four and seven and whose parents completed behavioral assessments at age seven. Read more ›

CHC Breakfast to Focus on Teens In Crisis and What We Can Do About It

Media Contact:   

Micaelia Randolph, 707-933-7332, mrandolph@chconline.org
Yvonne Wolters, 650-867-7929, gbheron@mac.com

Palo Alto, CA, January 5, 2016 — Each year, Children’s Health Council (CHC) hosts a breakfast and panel discussion on a topic of interest to parents and the community. These events bring together well-known speakers, writers and professionals whose insights can help with the critical job of raising our children and teens. The 3rd CHC Breakfast in this series will be held on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, Menlo Park from 8:30am – 11:00am. Tickets are $100 per person, and will include breakfast and an interactive panel discussion on the serious issue of teen anxiety and depression in our community and what we can do about it. The event is hosted by Co-Chairs Calla Griffith and Catherine Harvey, CHC, and its Board of Directors, with 100% of event proceeds going toward CHC’s Teen Initiative.

Read more ›

Report on Media Use By Tweens and Teens

On average, tweens (age 8 to 12) and teens (age 13 to 18) use many different devices and consume tremendous amounts of media. A new Common Sense Media report, Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Tweens,  uncovers patterns that could spark improvements in content, access, and learning.

The report, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,658 8- to 18-year-olds, identifies distinct types of media users with different patterns of use: Heavy Viewers, Light Users, Social Networkers, Video Gamers, Mobile Gamers, Gamers/Computer Users, and Readers. The recognition of these new user profiles can help parents understand that there’s no such thing as an “average media user” and that kids’ media use may actually be a reflection of deeper needs (for example, to connect with others or learn a new skill). Read more ›

Parental Monitoring Tied to Less Risky Sexual Behaviors in Teens

In a recent study, watchful parents had teens who engaged in fewer risky sexual behaviors.

Researchers pooled data from 30 studies published between 1984 and 2014 about adolescent sexual risk and parental monitoring. The studies were as small as 106 participants and as large as 10,575, with ages ranging from 10 to 17.

A higher level of general parental monitoring, being knowledgeable about their children’s activities and enforcing rules were tied to adolescents waiting to have sex and to increased use of condoms and contraceptives.

Read the full article on News Daily.

Study Finds Links Between Bullying and Eating Disorders

Being bullied in childhood has been associated with increased risk for anxiety, depression and even eating disorders. But according to new research, it’s not only the victims who could be at risk psychologically, but also the bullies themselves. Researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine were surprised to find that in a study of 1,420 children, those who bullied others were twice as likely to display symptoms of bulimia, such as bingeing and purging, when compared to children who are not involved in bullying. The findings are published in the December issue of International Journal of Eating Disorders. Read the full article on Medical News Today.

CDC: Child Autism Rate Now 1 in 45 After Survey Method Changes

About one in 45 children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of parents.

This apparent increase is likely due to a change of questions parents were asked about their child, the study authors said.

“Probably the most important finding of this paper, which is hardly new, is that how one asks a question matters,” said Dr. Glen Elliott, chief psychiatrist and medical director of Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, Calif. Read more ›

Early Intervention in Dyslexia Can Narrow Achievement Gap

Identifying children with dyslexia as early as first grade could narrow or even close the achievement gap with typical readers, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Yale University.

The data indicate that it is no longer acceptable to wait until a child is in third grade or later before undertaking efforts to identify or address dyslexia. Read more ›

This British Barber Used Compassion – and Creativity – to Give a Haircut to a Boy with Autism

A British barber went the extra mile to give his client, a 3-year-old boy with autism, a proper haircut.

Jamie Lewis and Denine Davies had been bringing their son Mason to James Williams’ barbershop Jim the Trim in South Wales for almost three months with little success. It wasn’t until Williams, 26, got down on Mason’s level that he was able to make him comfortable.
Read more ›

The Adolescent Brain Subject of Long-Term Federal Study

Every educator or parent who’s wondered what’s going on in the heads of moody, socially obsessed teenagers may soon get an answer. The National Institutes of Health will dedicate $300 million over the next decade to launch the largest, most comprehensive study to date of how children’s brains develop during adolescence.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, or ABCD, will bring together researchers from nearly two dozen institutions across the country to track the development of 10,000 children, ages 9 and 10, over the next decade. Read more ›

Mental Health Once Again Most Common Cause of Hospital Admission Among CA Children

Nearly 40,000 California children ages 5-19, or 5 of every 1,000, were hospitalized for mental health issues in 2014, according to the most recent data available on kidsdata.org. In fact, since 2008, Mental Diseases and Disorders have accounted for the largest share of hospital admissions of children ages 0-17 in California. Read more ›

Children’s Health Council’s 3rd Annual Rocktoberfest Gala Brings the Community Together to Support the Promise and Potential of Every Child

Media Contact:    Sydnee Brooks, 650.617.3818, sbrooks@chconline.org
Yvonne Wolters, 650.867.7929, gbheron@mac.com

PALO ALTO, CA, October 22, 2015 — On Saturday, October 17th, Children’s Health Council (CHC), the well-known peninsula agency that believes in the promise and potential of every child and teen, hosted more than 450 community leaders, professionals, and philanthropists at its third annual Rocktoberfest gala. The benefit dinner and dance raised over $300,000, 100% of which will benefit CHC’s financial aid to kids and families and programs that remove barriers to learning, helping kids and families facing ADHD, Learning Differences, Anxiety & Depression, and Autism become resilient, happy, and successful at home, at school, and in life.

“I am humbled by the remarkable community support shown at Rocktoberfest,” said Dr. Rosalie Whitlock, Read more ›

‘Sesame Street’ Introduces A New Muppet Character With Autism

For over a year now, Sesame Street has been working with organizations such as Autism Speaks and Autism Self Advocacy to help reduce the stigma associated with autism spectrum disorder. As part of the campaign “See Amazing in All Children,” the adorable muppet Abby Cadabby explains in one YouTube video, “Lots of kids have autism and that just means their brains work a little differently.”

The muppet Julia has not yet made her TV debut, but the wide-eyed little girl with a big smile is the star of her own digital storybook called “We’re Amazing, 1,2,3.” Read more ›

Many Kids with Mental Health Issues See Only Pediatricians

One in three children who were diagnosed and treated for mental health conditions on an outpatient basis saw their primary-care doctors for this care, a new study reports. Using data from a nationally representative survey, the researchers found that about 35 percent of children receiving mental health care in the past year had appointments only with their primary-care physicians compared with about 26 percent who saw only psychiatrists and 15 percent who saw only psychologists or social workers. To get a glimpse at who provides outpatient mental health services to children throughout the country and the types of diagnoses and medications prescribed, the researchers analyzed data from about 43,000 children in the United States ages 2 to 21 between the years 2008 and 2011. Read more ›

National Center for Learning Disabilities Releases Student Voices: A Study of Young Adults With Learning and Attention Issues

When it comes to feeling happy and fulfilled, what really matters to young adults with learning and attention issues?

It turns out to have little direct correlation with traditional school work, and everything to do with connections—to a supportive and nurturing family, to friends and the community, and even to themselves, in the form of self-confidence and ease at dealing with emotional problems and making friends. Such youth are “navigators” of their lives, as opposed to being just “copers” or even “strugglers.” Read more ›

October is Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and ADHD Awareness Month

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on Learning Disabilities; Dyslexia; and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month:

October serves as an important period of awareness across our country for the one in five public school students who experience learning disabilities and attention issues. Read more ›

From the Desk of Cindy Lopez: The Promise of a New School Year

There is a phenomenon that happens in LD schools across the country at the beginning of each school year. Parents and families are transformed. We see this transformation at Sand Hill School every year.

This past Monday we had our traditional first day of school meeting for parents. I saw new-to-Sand Hill parents come in with jaws clenched, eyebrows furrowed and shoulders hunched. Parents were bracing themselves for what they surely knew was about to hit them—the start of the new school year. Ugh. Read more ›

Ask Dr. Elliott: Do you have any tips for ADHD kids for summer?

Dr. Glen R. Elliott of The Center’s Glen Elliott ADHD Program shares his tips for fantastic summer activities for kids facing learning and attention challenges. Read more ›

CHC Breakfast: The Mask You Live In with Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Join Children’s Health Council and The Representation Project’s founder and film director Jennifer Siebel Newsom for a discussion and viewing of the documentary: The Mask You Live In. CHC and The Mask You Live In ask: As a community, how are we failing our boys and what can we do to help them? Take part in the conversation.

Early Support Program for Autism Connects Families to Autism Resources

A free program offered by Stanford Children’s Health and the Children’s Health Council connects families of recently diagnosed autism patients with Bay Area treatment resources. Read more ›

Our Supporters are the Best!

Thank you for your unwavering support! If you love the work that CHC does, help us reach more kids and families by giving us a review on Great Nonprofits. Your reviews help potential partners and donors find us have confidence in our expertise, and can help us win a prestigious Top-Rated Award for 2014. Vote now with your review.

Bloomingdale’s Grand Opening at Stanford Benefits Charities

Over the years, Bloomingdale’s has been a staunch supporter of CHC by donating funds to our school art programs. October 10th Bloomingdale’s is opening a new store in Stanford Shopping Center and as part of the celebration they are donating back to community charities including CHC. Read more ›

Autism Specialist Dr. Nicole Hess Joins The Center Staff

The Center at CHC is pleased to welcome child psychologist Dr. Nicole Hess to The Center staff. Dr. Hess specializes in assessing and diagnosing autism and spent several years working with early intervention and therapy for children aged 0-3. She believes in working with children’s strengths to support their areas of need, and she helps parents understand autism so they can be strong advocates for their children. Dr. Hess is married, has a young daughter, and enjoys running, reading, and music. She tells us she is a long-time fan of Pearl Jam. Welcome Dr. Nicole Hess!

A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends of CHC:

It’s been a very exciting summer at CHC. We’ve completed a major construction project that includes a spectacular outdoor playground, new state of the art classrooms, outdoor learning environments, updated lobby, signage and new paint. We are also continuing our commitment to providing more access to more kids and families who need our services. Read more ›

The Early Support Program for Autism (ESPA)

The Early Support Program for Autism is The Center’s joint program with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford providing free support, training and resources to families who’ve just received a diagnosis of Autism. Read more ›

CHC Moorpark is Open!

We are proud to announce that The Community Clinic has opened an office in San Jose in order to provide high quality, behavioral health services to even more families. CHC @ Moorpark is close to four major bus lines and next to many of our referring partners. To top it off, with an increased contract this year, we’ll serve even more children and families – in both English and Spanish. Cost, language and location are no longer barriers for our families in Santa Clara. We’re hiring top bilingual talent, too.

The New Playground Is In!

CHC’s brand new playground is fully installed and being put to the test by our EBC students. The engaging outdoor environment is situated on a bed of wood chips and allows students to climb, swing, spin, hang, jump and clamber. The vertical climbing tower is the first of its kind in northern California and is really quite impressive. The play area is complete with a huge sand box, basketball hoops, a ball wall and 19,000 square feet of artificial turf.

Teacher Education Season is Here!

Because we want to give back to the community and share the wealth of knowledge we’ve gathered over 60 years, this year CHC is hosting a series of sessions to help teachers learn the signs of ADHD, LD, Anxiety & Depression and Autism. Sessions will provide practical classroom techniques and strategies that really work to help kids be more successful. Read more ›

Parent Education Classes at CHC are Underway

The first class began October 1 and classes take place on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 pm and are led by our expert CHC staff. As always, classes are free. Based on feedback from last year’s participants, we are including a new series this year called Positive Parenting. Read more ›

Continuing Education at CHC

Continuing Education classes for behavioral health professionals are offered on a regular basis at CHC.

On October 20, Dr. Steven Frankel will join us to teach another class, Vicarious Trauma: Risks, Prophylaxes and Remedies. MFTs, LCSWs and psychologists are invited and can earn CE credits and network with colleagues during this six-hour class. Learn more about the agenda and register now. Read more ›

Children’s Health Council Awarded $270,000 to Help Families Facing ADHD and Learning Challenges from The David & Lucile Packard Foundation

(January 8, 2013) – Palo Alto families with children facing ADHD, autism, learning disabilities or anxiety and depression will have a new source of support and information, thanks to a grant awarded to the Children’s Health Council (CHC).  The Center at CHC was awarded $270,000 from The David & Lucile Packard Foundation to build new programs supporting families impacted by learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, or anxiety and depression. The Center will lead the effort by using the grant to conduct a community needs assessment and develop new services and programs for children such as afterschool programs. Read more ›

Children’s Health Council to Focus on Challenges to Learning Success

PALO ALTO, CA (June 5, 2012) Children’s Health Council (CHC) announces a new vision for the agency, with a focus on learning success for children.

CHC has provided a broad range of mental health, developmental and educational services to the community for 59 years. “When Dr. Esther B. Clark founded CHC, she created an agency that would be responsive to the needs of our local children,” states Rosalie Whitlock, Ph.D., Executive Director of CHC. “Today we are continuing the vision of our founder by responding to a profound and nearly universal community need to support children’s educational success.” Read more ›

Dr. Glen Elliott Featured on The Huckabee Report Radio Broadcast in Discussion on Children and Mental Health

CHC’s Dr. Glen Elliott is a panelist on Mike Huckabee’s The Huckabee Report radio show broadcast on the Cumulus Network.  Among the topics addressed are the numbers of youth under 18 taking antidepressants, the conditions for which youth are prescribed antidepressants, and the effects medication may have on children and teens. Read more ›

New Autism Diagnostic Criteria May Encourage Symptomatic Approach to Drug Use

The fifth edition of the DSM–the “Holy Grail” of diagnosing psychiatric disorders–proposes the umbrella term of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), replacing the current “autistic disorder.” ASD will incorporate current diagnoses of Asperger syndrome, pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, thereby eliminating these diagnostic distinctions.

Read more ›

The Mirror in Your Brain

The mirror neuron system in your brain influences your emotions when you watch another human being. Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) might not have this system working properly.

Impaired social functioning is one of the main symptoms of ASD. Those with the greatest social impairment have been shown to also have the lowest brain activity in the mirror neuron system.

In a study published in the March 2012 edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry, 34 participants with ASD and 36 participants without ASD watched hand gestures while the team of researchers monitored their brain activity. The brain activity was studied using transcranial magnetic stimulation, a complex non-invasive method of monitoring brain activity. Read more ›

CHC’s Andrew Cope on The Valley Girl Show

Children’s Health Council Director of Advancement Andrew Cope is a guest on the Valley Girl Show and is interviewed by Jesse Draper in a segment that features the non-profit of the month. Read more ›

Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) Publishes Article by Jill Yochim

The Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) is the largest parent organization on the Peninsula. PAMP members extend up and down the Peninsula, to San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay. Their mission is to enrich the lives of families with young children, by providing resources, support and community in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas.

Educational Specialist at Children’s Health Council, Jill Yochim, MA, CALT, contributed “Will She Grow Out of It, or Is It Dyslexia?” to PAMP’s online article repository.

Read more ›

M Magazine Publishes Article by Dr. Katherine DeVaul

“My Kid Is Fine: How Teen Depression Deceives Us” written by Dr. Katherine DeVaul of Children’s Health Council was published in the October 2011 issue of M magazine. Read more ›

Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park Publishes Article by Beatrice Kirchhoff, MS, CCC-SLP and Bridget Stolee, MA

The Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) is the largest parent organization on the Peninsula. PAMP members extend up and down the Peninsula, to San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay. Their mission is to enrich the lives of families with young children, by providing resources, support and community in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas.

Children’s Health Council’s Beatrice Kirchhoff, MS, CCC-SLP and Bridget Stolee, MA contributed “Helping Your Child Forge Friendships” to PAMP’s online article repository. A PDF of full article is available here. You may also read the article in CHC’s online Community Resource Library.

M Magazine Publishes Article by Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

“Too Much, Too Soon: Breaking the Entitlement Cycle” written by Dr. Jennifer Rhodes of Children’s Health Council was published in the October 2011 issue of M magazine. Dr. Rhodes is a licensed psychologist who  specializes in working with young children. 

Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park Publishes Article by Beth Pearson, PhD and Carrie Silver, PhD

The Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) is the largest parent organization on the Peninsula. PAMP members extend up and down the Peninsula, to San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay. Their mission is to enrich the lives of families with young children, by providing resources, support and community in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas.

Children’s Health Council’s Beth Pearson, PhD and Carrie Silver, PhD contributed “Helping Your Child Deal with Traumatic Events” to PAMP’s online article repository.

Read more ›

Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park Publishes Article by Megan Allen, PhD

The Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) is the largest parent organization on the Peninsula. PAMP members extend up and down the Peninsula, to San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay. Their mission is to enrich the lives of families with young children, by providing resources, support and community in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas.

Children’s Health Council’s Megan Allen, PhD wrote “Teaching Your Child to Manage His Worries” for PAMP’s online article repository.

Read more ›

Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park Publishes Article by Sonali Bhagat, MS, CCC-SLP, and Mae Carlson, MS, CCC-SLP

The Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park (PAMP) is the largest parent organization on the Peninsula. PAMP members extend up and down the Peninsula, to San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay. Their mission is to enrich the lives of families with young children, by providing resources, support and community in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas.

Children’s Health Council’s Sonali Bhagat, MS, CCC-SLP, and Mae Carlson, MS, CCC-SLP wrote “Raising a Bright Reader: Playtime for Reading Comprehension,” for PAMP’s online article repository.

Read more ›

Sand Hill School Serves Struggling Early Learners

Sand Hill School, a new private school for struggling students in kindergarten through third grade, concluded its first week of operation Friday (Feb. 4)

Located at 650 Clark Way in Palo Alto,  and run by the Children’s Health Council, the early intervention program provides small classrooms and individualized teaching strategies to help students with social and attention difficulties before they can get traditional diagnoses when they begin to read Read more ›

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