Tag Archives: family

Learning To Swim Offers Benefits Beyond Safety

by on March 3, 2016

swim lessons special needs pjcc

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States. However, this is countered with the sobering statistic provided by the National Autism Association which  states that drowning is the leading cause of death among children in the autism spectrum. No question, learning how
to swim can indeed be a lifesaving skill set. However, for children with special needs, swimming offers the additional benefit of providing what can be an especially empowering and exhilarating experience in a positive setting. From developing gross motor and cognitive skills to
building strength and endurance, swimming fosters courage, confidence and trust. It’s also a social skill that helps cultivate friendships. Then, of course, there’s the physical benefit that all
swimmers enjoy: a low-impact, cardiovascular workout that tones muscles, increases endurance, and helps reduce risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
This makes swimming not just a safety skill, but a life skill to enjoy through the ages.

Thriving, In The Water  And Out 

A Student Discovers Swimming Skills That Extend  Beyond The Pool

The young man glides seamlessly through the water with PJCC swim instructor Laurie Gardner at his side, telling him to, “kick, stroke, kick, and breathe!” Now 16, Connor Kitayama has been taking private swim lessons with Laurie since 2007. His mother, La Donna Ford, initially enrolled her son, who has autism, for swim lessons, but she soon discovered that the lessons also served a valuable role as occupational therapy.

“Connor is an excellent athlete in general, but swimming exposed several unsuspected weaknesses,” says La Donna. “Since using certain body movements is so challenging, he must focus intently to master strokes. I see swimming as a lifelong leisure skill with the bonus benefits of built-in therapy.”

When Connor first started taking lessons as an eight-year old, he wouldn’t get his face wet and could only manage a weak dog paddle despite previous swim lessons at other venues. But over
the years, his proud mother has observed her son blossoming both in the pool and out. Today the young man sports exceptional balance and hand-eye coordination and adores water sports like swimming, jet skiing, kayaking, and wake surfing.

“I’ve watched Connor gain confidence as his swimming progresses,” she says. “His frustration tolerance is much better. For Connor, a lot of life is hard to understand, but he’s learned that through a lot of work, he can improve, and this attitude has extended beyond the pool. Going to a place he likes makes the rest of the week easier,” she adds. “He has something fun to look forward to. He’s also learned to take instruction from different teachers with different vocabulary, which has been an invaluable lesson.”

La Donna credits Laurie Gardner’s teaching skills for her son’s transformation. Laurie, who has been with the PJCC since 2004, has Bachelor of Science degrees in pre-med biology and pychology. She started out as a general swim instructor but began teaching private lessons when she encountered people with special needs who wanted to learn how to swim. Today, her students range from children with Down syndrome and autism to adults who are quadriplegic or have cerebral palsy.

“We feel blessed to have found Laurie, whose patience and belief in Connor has taken him from a poor dog paddler who didn’t pay attention, to a focused teen whose swimming skills continue to impress,” La Donna says. “Swimming at the PJCC has been great for Connor to learn how to act more appropriately socially. It’s also been good for others to understand that there are pople who are wired differently, but we all inhabit the same world.”

To learn about group and private swim lessons for children and adults, please call 650.378.2782, email aquatics@pjcc.org, or visit pjcc.org/aquatics.

 

 

 

Tumeric Latkes with Cinnamon Applesauce

by on November 22, 2015

latke tumeric applesauce pjcc

TUMERIC LATKES WITH CINNAMON APPLESAUCE

Turmeric and cumin are wonderful Indian spices that aid digestion, rev up the metabolism and help break down body fat. Couple that with the addition of cinnamon to the applesauce which helps regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol, and you have an delicious potato latke brimming with super nutrition.

Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Serves: 15 latkes Continue reading

High Protein Sweet Potato Muffins

by on October 30, 2015

sweet potato muffins recipe

HIGH PROTEIN SWEET POTATO MUFFINS 

Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, delicious, and packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Members of the Morning Glory family, sweet potatoes are really just edible roots. The red-orange sweet potatoes are slightly moister and sweeter than the tan variety, making them the best choice for this recipe.

Prep: 1 hour, 10 min. | Cook: 30 min. | Serves: 24 mini muffins Continue reading

Apple Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seed Recipe

by on October 17, 2015

pumpkin seed recipe fall

Nothing says fall like pumpkins and apples and all of the great foods you can make with them! Here is a simple recipe to make and enjoy.

Apple Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) Continue reading

Summer Parfait

by on July 17, 2015

recipe pjcc parfait

This ultimate summer dessert is light, delicious, and bursting with fruit.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sliced strawberries or other fruit of choice
  • 1 pint or 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (more or less to taste)
  • ½ cup blueberries, raspberries or fruit of choice for topping

Directions

To make whipped cream:

  1. Pour the heavy cream into the cooled bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream over medium/high speed until it begins to thickened.
  2. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip until medium peaks form.
  3. Turn off the mixer and add the confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Whip again on low speed until the confectioners’ sugar is mostly combined. Increase the speed to high and whip until completely thickened and the mixture forms stiff peaks. Refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble parfaits:

  1. Place a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of each ice cream cone then add a small spoonful of chopped strawberries, pushing the berries down into the whipped cream. Continue to layer strawberries and cream until you reach the top of the cone with a cream layer – (two or three layers).
  2. Garnish with a raspberry and blueberries or fruit of choice.
  3. Makes 16 ice cream cones.

Enjoy!

S’mores 2.0

by on May 4, 2015

S’mores are traditionally a part of the Jewish holiday Lag B’Omer. When you have a holiday that includes having a bonfire, you know s’mores have to be a part of it!  But, personally, I could eat these all year long.  Chocolate. Marshmallows. Graham crackers. Why not?

If you are looking for a more modern twist on an old favorite, here are some upgrades to your go-to campfire dessert , the s’more!

Baked S’more Cups
By Mindi Cherry

Continue reading

Dear New Kindergarten Mom

by on September 3, 2014

Dear New Kindergarten Mom,

This morning, I bundled my boys into the stroller and went out for one last impromptu morning walk. Max will be starting kindergarten next week, and the days spent hanging out in our jammies and meandering to the nearest park or Starbucks are almost over. My best friend texted me a picture of her own 5-year-old a few minutes later, standing in front of his new elementary school. “How did we get here?!” I texted back. It was yesterday that we were pregnant together. Visiting the fire station with toddlers together. Welcoming second babies together. “How did we get here?!”

Well, Mama, I want you to take a break from packing lunches and tucking pencils into binders. Continue reading