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Briefs: Electronic books combine learning, fun

| Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006

Publications International, the maker of Story Reader, the first electronic storybook reader for kids ages 3-8, will launch six new products that combine traditional printed books with electronic features that provide interactive learning and entertainment.

"My First Story Reader" offers narration, rhyming melodies and question-and-answer games for the youngest pre-readers. Other new items include the "Cell Phone Book," "Digital Music Player Book," "Fold and Go Cars Book "and "Active Minds Bilingual 30-Button Book." Each is priced at less than $20. The formats are hybrids of books and toys that draw kids into the experience of reading with stimulating themes and activities.

Details: www.storyreader.com .

Workshop set for disabled kids' siblings

The UCP CARES workshop series for families and professionals will present "Siblings: Our First Friends" from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 15 at Rodef Shalom, Shadyside.

A panel of siblings of children with disabilities will share their experiences, both positive and negative. Speakers from Wesley Spectrum Services will share strategies for families and professionals to facilitate opportunities for siblings.

The program is one of a series of workshops being presented by United Cerebral Palsy of Pittsburgh and its Unique Community Programs for Kids division. The fee is $25 for parents and $40 for professionals. Discounts and Act 48 credits are available. Call Becky Karns at 412-697-7434, ext. 113, for information.

Web site offers help for overweight kids

Many Pennsylvania parents are learning that their children are overweight. State-required body mass index screenings are being expanded this year to include all students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society believes that parents, doctors and schools need to work together to keep kids healthy and happy. The Society's Web site, www.myfamilywellness.org , is offering a variety of resources as the new BMI student testing term begins:

  • BMI calculators that allow children and adults to check their own body fat.

  • A free DVD that entertains as it teaches kids how to live healthy. "Max's Magical Delivery: Fit for Kids" is targeted for children ages 5-9 and their parents.

  • "Eating Tips for Kids," which includes activities based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new food pyramid.

  • Weight Management Treatment programs, sorted by county, from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

  • A "Find-A-Physician" directory, for anyone needing a family doctor or specialist.

To learn more, go to www.myfamilywellness.org and click on "Healthy Highlight."

Parent support programs planned

Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church will presents a series of parent support seminars through Nov. 8 as part of its Wednesday Night Live program.

The program includes:

Oct. 18: Judy LaValley and Judith Josephs will present "The Fine Art of Self-Managing: Happy Parents, Happy Families." LaValley and Josephs, counselors in the Fox Chapel Area School District and teachers at Chatham College and Duquesne University, will discuss ways to help parents understand the behaviors of family members.

Oct. 25: Linn McQuison will present "The Impact of Addictions on Families." The session is meant to show how addictions impact the family system and what families should do to influence successful outcomes. McQuiston has worked in both university and public substance abuse treatment programs, and maintains a private practice.

Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 : Lisa DeCarolis will present "Go for 40 -- Unlock Youth Potential," a discussion of 40 building blocks to help individuals, families and communities grow to be healthy, caring and responsible. DeCarolis is a licensed social worker whose programs focus on youth and healthy communities.

The seminars begin at 6:45 p.m. and are open to the public. Register at the church office at 412-963-8243. Admission is free. Contact the church office to learn about Wednesday evening programs for children and youth. For directions, visit www.foxchapelpresby.com .

Kids face harassment on the Internet

Maybe your teen or preteen should be less quick to trust computer "buddies." Nine percent of Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 report having been victims of online harassment in the previous year, and a fourth of those have been confronted offline by an Internet contact in an aggressive manner (including by phone and at home), according to the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey, a national telephone survey of 1,500 girls and boys conducted between March and June 2005. Bloggers, chatters and instant messengers reported more online harassment than those who used the Internet for other purposes. The report appears in the journal Pediatrics.

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