Stamping In Alzheimer’s Advocacy

Making a difference in the fight against a pervasive disease takes more than just awareness.

Lynda Everman has made it her personal campaign to shift awareness of Alzheimer’s to the next necessary levels of advocacy and research funding.

An Alzheimer’s Awareness stamp, depicting an elderly woman in silhouette with a caregiver’s hand on her shoulder, was issued in October 2008. Yet unlike the Breast Cancer Research stamp, the Alzheimer’s Awareness stamp was never signed into law.

“‘Sadly the stamp is unavailable for purchase,’” said Everman, whose husband died from Alzheimer’s last month. “‘Even more tragically, legislation was never passed and signed into law to make this a new fundraising, or ‘semipostal,’ stamp.’”

If you’re interested in promoting this stamp, click here and ask your representatives to cosponsor H.Res. 351 (House) and S.Res. 176 (Senate).

High-Tech Answers to Reading Comprehension

“‘I get to read my favorite books . . . Right now I’m reading Captain Underpants.’”

So says New Jersey sixth-grader Amir Accoo, whose state is enabling kids to learn words directly from computers as well as through traditional classroom approaches. In an effort to boost learning for students with reading comprehension issues, more than 400 schools throughout New Jersey are integrating computer-driven classes using Scholastic Inc’s Read 180 program with encouragement for kids to immerse themselves in the worlds created by traditional print books.

Is the program working? Though New Jersey’s standardized tests are yet to be conducted this year, Accoo is so engaged in interactive learning that he notes how many words he reads each day.

Learn more in “Teaching Software Flooding Into New Jersey Classrooms.”

Young Musical Prodigy an Inspiration for Kids With Autism

If you close your eyes, you can’t tell that the piano player is only six years old—and has autism.

“‘When he plays, every disability disappears,’” his mother says in “Autistic Piano Prodigy Gains Star Attention.”

Ethan Walmark first performed on a toy piano at age one. His pitch-perfect notes in “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” alerted his parents to his talent.

Ethan’s repertoire quickly expanded to Elton John, Beethoven, and Mozart, all of which he plays by memory. His parents posted a video of him to YouTube, gaining him more than a million fans. Their hope is that their son’s talent will inspire support for autism awareness and research.

Check out one of Ethan’s performances here:


Positive Strategies to Stop Bullying

In a recent HuffPost Teen blog post, 16-year-old contributor Sanah Imran attributes bullying to “one simple thing: insecurity. Putting someone else down seems to elevate you in the social hierarchy and make you feel better about yourself.”

Sanah is one of a growing number of teens who believe that an effective solution to bullying is increasing teen confidence. Recently, one of her classmates launched a “compliments” page on Facebook. Contributors can submit compliments for others, spreading positivity and promoting self-esteem.

Emily-Anne Rigal, teen founder of the nonprofit program, also values positivity as a prevention to bullying. Emily-Anne’s organization, Facebook page, and YouTube channel promote peace and “teen esteem,”  “[b]ecause teens who are happy with themselves won’t put others down.”

Check out this AOL You’ve Got video in which Emily-Anne discusses her experiences with bullying and how she turned pain into progress.

Also visit the following pages for more information about bullying prevention:
School Bullying Prevention and Intervention
School Bullying Resources and References

How to Avoid Toxic Communication

Someone compliments you and you instantly discount it. You find yourself easily passing judgment on yourself and others. Your work friends tend to be complainers.

If any of these dynamics sound familiar, refresh your communication skills. When you’re trying to get through the day and get your tasks accomplished, the last thing you need is a recurring track in your head that keeps you spinning negativity—and spreading it to others.

Find out if your communication levels need adjusting in “10 Signs Your Communication Is Toxic.”

SAMHSA Videos Help Families in Addiction Recovery

What does “addiction” mean to you?

Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an addiction such as alcoholism or drug dependence is an illness that can affect anyone. Their new Family Education video series, Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People With Stimulant Use Disorders, illustrates the role of family in the recovery process, and explains addiction, recovery stages, triggers and cravings, and more.

Watch the first video here, Families in Recovery (Part 1): Explaining Addiction, and subscribe to the full playlist for more interviews of people in recovery and their loved ones.