A leading expert finds a large drop in these cases and suggests likely factors include improved prevention and treatment programs. But there are several ways to interpret these numbers, and in some cases, they don’t match up with what child advocates see in the courts and elsewhere. We’ll take a new look at this longstanding issue.
If you have kids, odds are you’re trying to track down at least one hard-to-find toy this holiday season. Those in the market for high-quality educational toys might have to look a little harder. The toy aisle divide between big chain stores and smaller, independent retailers is growing, and it may determine whether or not you’re able to find the ideal gift for your child.
We talk to the author of a new book who says that today’s hovering, hyper-safety-conscious parents are doing their children no favors. In fact, she says, overprotective adults have created a generation of fragile kids who fall apart once they hit the real world. We’ll examine why American childhood has become so restricted, and one mom’s crusade to restore its freedoms.
Zebra Crossings provides opportunities for kids with chronic health conditions to expand their experiences and grow their independence. Heather Hesse-Stromberg’s eight-year-old daughter, Haiden, has asthma.
Haiden: It’s a chance for kids to do activities they don’t usually get to do and it’s a chance for kids to make new friends.
At first, Deborah Kogan of New York says, she thought it would pass. Her 4-year-old son's fever had been on the rise for hours, and he was looking puffy. Kogan took Leo to the pediatrician, who thought it might be strep throat. It wasn't.
A few days later, Leo "woke up, and he looked as if he was one of the characters in The Nutty Professor. His face ballooned about twice its normal size." She posted a photo of Leo on Facebook. That's when the crowdsourced diagnosis took shape.
New research finds that younger athletes are more susceptible to head injury than once thought, take longer to recover, and are more at risk for suffering second concussions. Now, New Hampshire may join a growing list of states asking coaches and trainers to monitor these injuries more closely. We talk with experts on head trauma in youth sports.
There have been hints that the obesity epidemic's rise has slowed a bit among certain populations, but for the most part, it continues to dominate American health. One third of children and teenagers are now overweight or obese. And researchers forecast as many as half of our nation's population could be obese — not overweight but obese — by 2030.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:42 am
Lots of kids get bullied. But kids with autism are especially vulnerable.
A new survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly two-thirds of children with autism spectrum disorders have been bullied at some point. And it found that these kids are three times as likely as typical kids to have been bullied in the past month.
On a sunny weekday morning, Diane Hinson pauses at the door of a generic office park in Northern Virginia. It's a routine work appointment for her, but a potentially life-changing event for her clients.
"I'm here today for the transfer of embryos," she explains.
Our series, Shifting the Balance, is focused on exploring the positive impact environmental and policy changes can make on the fight against obesity. For those of us who struggle to carve out an a few hours a week for the gym, healthy living can seem out of reach– but for kids, it’s often less about finding time to play than finding a place to play.
Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 1:34 pm
Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.
"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."
There are plenty of pop culture references to the dangers of a close mother-son relationship. From the myth of Oedipus to the movie Psycho, narrative after narrative harps on the idea that mothers can damage their sons, make them weak, awkward and dependent.
But for millions of men, the opposite has turned out to be true, author Kate Lombardi tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. Lombardi — a mother herself — is the author of the new book, The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.
Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 11:03 am
In The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, four exceptional children wind up going on the adventure of a lifetime after answering a rather strange ad. The ad appears in a newspaper in a fictional place called Stonetown. It reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"
Dozens of children answer the ad and try to conquer a series of mind-boggling tests. But only four are able to pass. All are orphans, and each is a genius in his or her own way.
Spanking in school may seem like a relic of the past, but every day hundreds of students — from preschoolers to high school seniors — are still being paddled by teachers and principals.
In parts of America, getting spanked at school with a wooden or fiberglass board is just part of being a misbehaving student.
"I been getting them since about first grade," says Lucas Mixon, now a junior at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. "It's just regular. They tell you to put your hands up on the desk and how many swats you're going to get."
Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 10:22 pm
Teacher Dave Rowlands is talking to his students in a kindergarten class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in the Miyagi Prefecture of Sendai City. The school is just a short walk from pre-fabricated homes built for families who lost more than just property in the earthquake and tsunami last year.
"What came after the earthquake, was what?" Rowlands asks. "A tidal wave. In Japanese, what do we say? Or in English, actually, tsunami is now used around the world in many languages. Tsunami. We kind of leave the 't' off of there."
Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am
It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.
Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.
"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.
Under the federal health care law, money is going out around the country to help school campuses boost health services for their students.
At Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles students often visit a modest trailer at the back of the sprawling campus. It's in a neighborhood near downtown L.A. where houses are missing windows and have peeling paint.
There's little dispute among educators that kids are not reading as well as they should be, but there's endless debate over what to do about it. Now, a growing number of states are taking a hard-line approach through mandatory retentions — meaning third-graders who can't read at grade level will automatically get held back.
To those pushing the idea, it's equal doses of tough and love: You are not doing kids any favors, they say, by waiving them on to fourth grade if they aren't up to snuff on their reading.
When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant's spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.
Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first "clean" scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.
Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.
One of the great things about being a reader is that over time, the books on your shelf seem to start talking to one another. Themes echo and resurface and resonate in new ways. That's why in February, NPR's Backseat Book Club — our monthly feature aimed at young readers — selected a pair of books published 60 years apart that still seem to speak directly to each other.
Every weekend my wife and I pack up our 10-month-old son Owen in his stroller and walk to town. We read books at the library, we buy bananas at the store, we stop in at the coffee shop for a diaper change and maybe a nap. If we were raising Owen in Buenos Aires instead of New Hampshire, we might be getting a late night dinner with friends instead of afternoon coffee – and if we lived in China, we wouldn’t be changing his diaper, because he probably wouldn’t be using one.