Archive for the 'School' Category

Back To Fall Sport Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

We are entering death week for back to school sports with more sudden deaths occurring in August than any other month, most within the first 7 days of practice. High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries , have 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year.

This past week I had the pleasure of participating in the NFL Moms Safety Clinic held at The Ohio State University. In addition to meeting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Coach Urban Meyer (at the envy of every husband), the Moms went to lectures on proper equipment fittings, concussion recognition, proper tackling technique and heat stroke prevention.

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Children face many risks when playing sports. Today’s blog is most certainly Dr. Mom advice as I have 4 very active children, 2 of them starting high school football this week. My son had a significant concussion last year (at basketball practice interestingly enough) so I speak from my head as well as my heart on this topic.

Dr. Deb’s Fall Safety Sports Tips


Wear Orange and Unite Against Bullying

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

160,000 kids will stay home from school today, not because they are sick, but because they are afraid of being bullied. One in every four kids gets bullied and it takes a village of support to stop it. Tomorrow is Unity Day where we ask you to wear ORANGE to unite and end bullying.

Bullying is not just the big kid that steals lunch money from the nerd at recess.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes and may even be your own child. It can be the seemingly sweet petite girl that starts rumors or intentionally leaves someone out. Using friendship as a weapon as in, “I won’t be your friend if you don’t ….,” is a form of bullying. Even a “joke” or  “I was just kidding,” is an indirect form of bulling. Cyberbully or posting mean things online takes bullying to a new level because you don’t see the reaction of the person that you have hurt.

Parents, students and teachers all have a role to play to unite and prevent bulling.

Dr Deb’s Tips to Prevent Bullying


Reading Troubles? Could be Dyslexia: Look for Early Warning Signs

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

“Don’t worry Mom, I’ll never learn my letters. I’ll just stay home with you and play with My Little Ponies.”

Even my 4 year old at the time could sense my frustration with her inability to learn letters.  I couldn’t understand why did my youngest daughter could not pick up what the other 3 had learned so easily. She could write her name JULIA but when I asked her which letter was the L, she had no clue. It was baffling to me and it took years and lots of research before I learned that she had dyslexia, a common learning disability or “learning difference” that affects 15%-20% of people, yet is not often taught or even discussed in education.


Isn’t dyslexia just flipping letters?

Dyslexia is much more than reversing letters. It is a difference in the way people learn language that can actually be seen on MRI. This difference in brain circuitry causes difficulty in learning to read, write, spell and sometimes speak in people of normal to above average intelligence and is often hereditary.

It is not a cognitive problem meaning, people with dyslexia are not “ slow” or “lazy” and in fact some of the most brilliant and creative people are dyslexic.

Math genius Albert Einstein, inventor Thomas Edison, business people like Richard Branson, statesmen like Winston Churchill and John Kennedy, military leaders like George Patton, sports heroes Muhammad Ali, musicians like John Lennon, actors like Anthony Hopkins, authors like Agatha Christie and designers like Walt Disney are just a few amazing dyslexics.

A teacher sent the following note home with a six-year-old boy: “He is too stupid to learn.” That boy was Thomas A. Edison”.
– Thomas Edison

Click for more quotes from famous dyslexic people.

It was very difficult and frustrating to figure out that my daughter was dyslexic and I missed some of the early warning signs. Had she not been my youngest and I knew how my older twins struggled with reading, would I have thought that I should be persistent in getting a diagnosis and her help.

Early Warning Signs

1. Delayed Talking

Anytime there is a delay in speech, parents should take notice of other possible problems. Don’t wait it out or make excuses. If your child has not spoken 5 words or not talking at all by 18 months, talk to your pediatrician and seek referral to a speech and language pathologist.

I used excuses, “She’s the youngest so everyone talks for her,” or with the boys, “They are twins, they have their own language.”

Click to learn milestones and contact Help Me Grow for free services.

2. Trouble with the Alphabet

Trouble learning the alphabet, difficulty recognizing letters, remembering the names and sounds of letters are all signs of dyslexia. No matter how many times we did flashcards to learn letters, my daughter could just not get it. The preschool said, “She pays attention and is well socialized, so she is fine.”  Dyslexic children are not dumb and often very bright so don’t ignore this warning sign.

3. Difficulty with Word Retrieval

Word retrieval is not being able to remember the word they are trying to say. They will often use fillers like Um Um to stall until they can think of the word or use “Thingy” or “whachamacallit”. They will often describe a word, as my daughter would describe, “like a bagel but we put syrup on it” when asking for a waffle.

4. Difficulty Pronouncing Words

Trouble with hearing or manipulating sound within words is a hallmark of dyslexia.  They might use psgetti instead of spaghetti or not be able to hear certain sounds within words. Trouble rhyming can also be a sign.

5. Poor Spellers

Thankfully we have spellcheck but if your child always misspells words while writing, (but does not necessarily do poorly on spelling tests) they may have dyslexia.

This is hardly a comprehensive list but early intervention is key. While dyslexia cannot be cured, it can be managed. The earlier a child receives help, the less problems they will have as reading effects almost every subject in school. It is never too late and even adults can get help.

How do people with dyslexia get help?

Unfortunately, historically many schools have done a very poor job identifying and treating children with dyslexia.  When I was getting my daughter diagnosed, the school told me that dyslexia was a medical diagnosis and didn’t want or know how to deal with it.

Thankfully the governor of Ohio signed 2 bills to help with dyslexia recently and hopefully other states will follow suit. Texas has been a leader in this area for a while as teaching teachers about dyslexia helps all their students.

Ohio House Bill 96 clarifies the definition of learning disabilities in the Ohio Revised Code to specifically include dyslexia, and it also establishes a 3-year pilot program for the early identification of students at risk for dyslexia

House Bill 157 will improve professional training for teachers and will have a tremendous impact on the education that students with dyslexia will receive in the State of Ohio.

My daughter receives Orton-Gillingham based tutoring through the Cincinnati Dyslexic Center of Cincinnati.

Carl Lindner, with the support of the Masons, initially funded this organization but continue to need to raise funds as they provide free private tutoring. You can help children to learn to read by donating or supporting the Teddy Bear 5K Run Walk to support the center. Join us this Sunday at 9am at the downtown Masonic Center, 317 East Fifth Street. For more information click here.

You can find more information about dyslexia and how to find a tutor at the International Dyslexia Association or the Ohio Valley Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

-Albert Einstein

 Don’t give UP!

Dr. Deb


Babes with Phones: How to keep them Safe

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

November is Child Safety & Protection month. Many parents use safety gates and car seats but forget that a cell phone may pose one of the biggest safety threats.  Cell phones are no longer primarily for making calls but your child may be targeted for sexting, stalking, identity theft and bullying all through this portable device that is supposed to make parents feels safer. My poor 13 year olds are the “only kids in their class” without a cell phone but we are not ready for the risk or the expense when I know they are always under adult supervision.

Dr. Deb’s Cell Phone Safety Tips

1. Password Protect:

Place a password on all phones so another child won’t steal, take photos or send texts on their phone.  Many phones contain contact information, passwords and other critical information that you would not want to share. Most carriers will allow you to remotely block information so contact them as soon as a phone is missing. Remember to back up your phone on a home computer.

2. Turn Off Time:

Facts (from BeSmartWireless):

Boys typically send and receive 30 texts a day; girls typically send and receive 80 messages per day

26 percent have been bullied or harassed through text messages and phone calls.

25 percent of text messages sent by teens are sent during class

Teen’s who are considered “hyper-texters” (defined as texting 120 or more messages in a school day), are:

40% more likely to have tried cigarettes

43% more likely to be binge drinkers;

41% more likely to have used illicit drugs;

55% more likely to have been in a physical fight;

Nearly 3.5 times more likely to have had sex; and

90% more likely have four or more sexual partners.

Hold onto the phone until homework is finished and chores are completed. Phones are a privilege, not a right.

Collect phones at bedtime so kids can get a break from the constant texting.

When parent’s limit their child’s text messaging capabilities, they are less likely to be involved in “sexting”;  be a passenger in cars where the driver texted behind the wheel or used the phone in a dangerous manner while driving.

Data released today from American Public Health Association show 13% of high school students say they’ve received “sext” messages and one in 10 has either forwarded, sent or posted sexually suggestive, explicit or nude photos or videos of people they know by cellphone or online.

New controversial advice is to delete sexting messages and not to tell. Teachers are obligated to report to the police and sexting is still considered a felony in many areas under child pornography laws. Automatically deleting it does end it and prevent your child from being implicated but I personally I would consider contacting the parent of the child that sexted.

Children that sext reported twice the number of depressive symptoms, compared to teens who did not. 13% of teen involved in sexting reported a suicide attempt during that period compared with 3 percent of non-sexting teens, according to the researchers at the Education Development Center in Newton, MA.


3. Disable Geotagging & Use Parental Controls

2/3’s of teen frequently use a mobile device’s camera to take pictures “love it” and would “die without it.”

When Photos are posted online from a phone most of the time they are geotagged giving the exact longitude and latitude of where that photo was taken. This can give specific home address locations and show patterns of locations giving stalkers an exact map with timetable of your child whereabouts

Learn how to disable geotagging via IcanStalkU.

More than 37% of teens in the U.S. access the Web through their phones.

Parental controls can block content as well as limit accessibility during certain times of the day.  Contact your phone carrier for parental control options

Learn about Parental Block Options of popular phone carriers.

4. Don’t Download Apps

54% of text-using teens have received spam or other unwanted texts.

Children’s identities are being targeted more than ever and one of the easiest ways for scammers to access personal information is through malware on apps.  Children should never download an app without showing their parent but even reputable apps have been targeted with malware. Generally speaking limiting apps, limit hackers’ access.

Apps that pull information are also common on social networks sites and you should regular check what apps have access to your personal information.

Teach kids not to put their phone number on social networking sites. Don’t click on ads, contests, or texts for free prizes.

Learn how to delete an app from Facebook via Consumer Reports.

5. Pause before you Post

Anything you share on a social network, text or phone may become public knowledge so teach them never to post anything that would hurt or embarrass someone. Recently public comments made on Facebook have become accessible under Google searches.

Start talking about etiquette when they are first learning to use a computer. Constantly reinforce Pause before you Post.

Many parents are overwhelmed with technology just as they were learning to use a car seat. They must also learn the technology so they can keep their children safe.

Dr. Deb



Lice Be Gone! Avoiding Annoying School Infections

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Preventing Annoying Back to School Infections

There’s peace in my house as all the kids are back to school but the return to school also means the return of annoying school infections such as pink eye and lice. I want to share my tips to keep those infections out of your house this year.

1. ABCs: Allergies, Bacteria and Colds

These three account for the most common infections in children and can all be prevented with hand washing, covering mouths while coughing and not sharing drinks and utensils.

Just one lesson on hand hygiene where students ages 5-15 learned to clean hands 3xs during the school day decreased 4 or more sick days by 66 percent according to the American Journal of Infection Control.

Most importantly have kids wash their hands when they come home from school to keep germs out of the house. They should also wash their noses with normal saline spray to prevent allergy outbreaks. If they do become ill then wash their toothbrush in the dishwasher or replace it to prevent reinfection.

2. Pink Eye

Pink eye is conjunctivitis or inflammation (swelling) of the conjunctiva—the thin layer that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

The most common causes of conjunctivitis are viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

Symptoms include red eyes, crusty eyelids in the morning, itchy eyes, tearing and blurred vision.

Is typically mild, with symptoms being the worst on days 3–5 of infection. The condition usually clears up in 7-14 days without treatment but may take 2-3 weeks.

Many cases improve without treatment but topical antibiotics are often prescribed.


Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand gel, especially after applying eye ointment.

Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

Wash any discharge from around the eyes several times a day but use different cloths on each eye.

Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels in hot water and detergent.

Don’t share tissues, towels, washcloths, eye makeup or eye drops with other people.

When treating allergic conjunctivitis dust and vacuum often to reduce allergens in your home and close windows when the pollen count is high.

3. Head Lice

6 to 12 million cases of head lice infestation occur each year in the United States in children ages, 3 to 11 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are tiny parasitic bugs that don’t spread disease and spread mainly by direct head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Lice don’t fly or jump; they move by crawling.

Every parent should check regularly for lice by parting the hair in several spots. Lice can move fast so use a magnifying glass and a bright light. Nits can look like dandruff, but stay firmly attached to the hair if you pull your fingernail across the hair while dandruff will come off easily.

Most important for lice treatment is to use a fine-toothed comb or special “nit comb” to remove dead lice and nits that can be used with or without chemical treatment.


Don’t share hairbrushes, combs, hair ornaments, scarves, bandanas, towels, or helmets.  Girls with long hair should keep their hair braided and pulled back. Avoid head-to-head contact during play or slumber parties

When your child returns from a sleep over put everything in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. This treatment will also kill bedbugs.


Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items using hot water (130°F) and dry on high heat. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two weeks. Head lice survive less than one or two days if they fall off the scalp and cannot feed.

Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the person with lice sat or lay.

Disinfest combs and brushes used by a person with head lice by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes. After finishing treatment with lice medication, check everyone in your family for lice after one week.

4. Molluscum Contagiosum

MC are pink, white or flesh-colored bumps caused by a type of poxvirus. It is common in kids ages 1 to 10 but many parents have never heard of it. Molluscum contagiosum is very contagious, mainly through skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated objects, such as clothing, towels or toys.

Once someone has the virus, the bumps can spread to other parts of their body by touching or scratching a bump and then touching another part of the body. Molluscum can also be spread by sexual contact. There has been a relationship of catching molluscum by shared swimming pools, baths, saunas, or other wet and warm environments, this has not been proven. Most likely sharing towels and other items around a pool or sauna than through the water spread the virus.

Prevention: Hand hygiene and not sharing personal items, including towels are the best ways to avoid this skin infection, which typically clears up without treatment in 6 to 12 months. Do not shave or have electrolysis on areas with bumps. If you have bumps in the genital area, avoid sexual activities until you see a health care provider.

To prevent the spread of molluscum to other areas of your body or to other people, it is important to keep every blister or bump covered either with clothing or with a watertight bandage


There are many treatment options including Cryotherapy (freezing), Curettage (removes the fluid inside the bumps), Lasers and Creams that include certain chemicals (i.e., salicylic acid, podophyllin, tretinoin, and cantharidin). There is also a newer cream (imiquimod) that helps strengthen the skin’s immune system.

Mollusscum is tough to treat when it spreads and I have used imiquimod on my own children with great success.  It needs to be used every night, is expensive, may cause irritation but is safe.

A home remedy that may be worth trying is apple cider vinegar or ACV. There are several options but one is to soak a cotton ball with ACV and tape it to the MC overnight. There can be some irritation and stinging. Some have reported just soaking in a bath nightly with ½ cup of ACV will work too. Others advocate popping the MC with a sterilized needle then applying the ACV that is very similar to the curettage that we do in the office. I do not recommend popping at home as you may spread the infection or cause a bacterial infection but I would try the ACV nightly bandage option.

Being a parent is never easy. Here is hoping for a Happy Healthy School Year!

Dr. Deb