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Putting the science into action: helping children benefit from reading

Susanna Block, MD

Susanna Block, MD
Pediatric Emergency Physician

It is astonishing to me how important it is to read to children from an early age. Research tells us there are short term and long lasting benefits from exposing children to books and language from the beginning. In an exciting progression, the idea of early literacy has moved from academia to policy. Supporting parent engagement and early literacy programs is a core part of Washington’s Early Learning System.

Early literacy does not mean early reading. Early literacy emphasizes positive exposure to a literacy-rich environment. Many important reading concepts begin before kindergarten. Studies show us that a child’s early literacy environment (age 0-3) plays a crucial role in school success and reading ability. Children enter kindergarten with different knowledge levels. Those who enter with the least knowledge of beginning reading skills are at academic risk.

The benefits of early literacy do not stop at kindergarten; it continues throughout the school years. Frequent positive literacy experiences in preschool is directly associated with:

Can food allergies be undiagnosed?

Kevin Dooms, MD

Kevin Dooms, MD
Allergist/Immunologist

With food allergies on the rise in the past several years, you probably know at least one person who is allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, or seafood. Individuals with a food allergy typically experience symptoms every time they eat a particular food. These symptoms range from relatively mild like hives and swelling to more severe such as coughing, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

Unfortunately, there are no approved treatments for food allergies today. Individuals cope by avoiding the food and having proper medications nearby in case of an allergic reaction. As most children eventually outgrow some food allergies, it’s important to get tested for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose a food allergy, allergy specialists usually ...

7 benefits of eating together as a family

Alana Holmquist, RD, CD, CSP

Alana Holmquist, RD, CD, CSP
Pediatric Dietitian | Clinical Nutrition Specialist

Regular family meals are good for children and for the family as a whole! Here's why:

1. Eating together encourages family togetherness
  • Positive family mealtimes help family members maintain relationships and feel a sense of belonging
  • When children can count on regular time with a parent or adults, they feel loved, safe and secure
  • Children set roots for a lifetime as they experience their family’s values and traditions

2. Eating together fosters happy, well-adjusted kids
  • Kids can feel accepted by their family and may not need to seek approval from the wrong crowd
  • Adolescents are less likely to be depressed and generally have a better self- esteem
  • Adolescents are less likely to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, illegal drugs or alcohol

3. Eating together helps kids do better in school
  • Listening to grownups at the table exposes children to new works which helps them read better
  • Table talk gives youth a safe place to express their ideas. They ....

Using technology to help educate, prepare, and distract kids in the hospital

Abigail Schmidt

Abigail Schmidt
Certified Child Life Specialist

The hospital can be a scary place for any patient, and even more so for children. iPads have been around for nearly four years and in that time they have expanded the way children are educated, prepared, distracted, and provided normalization in the pediatric areas of the hospital.

Educating kids

An iPad allows staff to teach patients about a new diagnosis while making it fun and interactive. An iPad provides a visual and hands on way to teach about a diagnosis and also make sure the patient understands their diagnosis. There are many apps designed by healthcare professionals for diagnosis education with kids. Some of these applications include: “Medikidz explains Type One Diabetes”, “Blast Those Blasts” (for children with cancer, specifically leukemia), “Flow Breather” (for children with cystic fibrosis) and “Wellapets- Asthma Education Pets for Kids.”

Helping kids prepare for a procedure or experience

Most pediatric patients ...

What you need to know about Enterovirus D68

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about a severe type of respiratory illness affecting many children, mainly in the Midwest.  The respiratory illness, caused by an infection with Enterovirus D68, is scary to parents, because it’s hard to differentiate whether their child is ill from this particular virus or just has one of the many other viruses that cause cold- and flu-like symptoms around this time of year.
 
Sometimes media reports leave families with more questions than answers, which is why Dr. Dianne Glover, one of Swedish’s pediatric infectious disease specialists, wanted to share this information with you:

  • Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is an unusual form of an otherwise common group of viruses referred to as Enteroviruses.  These are hardy viruses that usually spread by the respiratory route, but can also spread by fecal-oral route.  It is even possible to become infected by touching a surface contaminated with these viruses.

  • EV-D68 causes a respiratory illness which can quickly progress from a child behaving like they have a simple runny nose and mild cough to then having serious difficulty breathing.  Children ....

How to treat babies with forceful vomiting (pyloric stenosis)

Angela M. Hanna
Pyloric Stenosis (or infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis) is a condition characterized by forceful vomiting in an infant due to hypertrophy of the pylorus muscle leading to gastric outlet obstruction. This means the muscle where the stomach empties into the small intestine becomes too thick and prevents emptying. As a result, after eating, the baby vomits. The reason for this happening is not known but is likely caused by many things and family history can play a role. Pyloric stenosis is rare, occurring in about 3 of  every 1,000 live births, and most often occurs between the ages of 3-6 weeks, is more common in males, and 1/3 of the time occurs in a first-born child.
 
Vomit from pyloric stenosis usually consists of just milk or formula. Any vomit with color should raise suspicion for other diagnoses. Parents report vomiting from pyloric stenosis as forceful and projectile. Infants are often hungry after vomiting, wanting to continue eating, however eating usually continues the cycle of vomiting.
 
How to treat pyloric stenosis
 
To ...

Bellyaches in Kids (and the “Und Here” Syndrome)

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Bellyaches, stomachaches, or belly pain in school-age children are a common occurrence.  At least half of the children that get referred to pediatric gastroenterologists like me come for treatment of their chronic, recurrent abdominal pain.  Parents often feel frustrated because despite multiple visits to physicians, even emergency rooms, they are left with more questions than answers all whilst their child continues to suffer.

A typical scenario is a child whose pain seems worst in the mornings after awakening and towards the evening, especially after dinner or before bedtime.  Often the child doesn’t want to eat breakfast and if forced, tells his parents he feels nauseated.   When asked where the pain is, the child most often points to the area around his belly button.

More often than not, depending on a few other factors, the diagnosis ends up being ...
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