Advancing Children's Health

Childhood headaches: What to watch for and when to be concerned

Sep 30 2016

In response to requests for more information about children’s headaches, members of our neurology team compiled answers to some of the questions they often hear related to how to help minimize childhood headaches and when to seek professional help.  Are headaches common during childhood? Headaches are a common problem in children, a frequent reason for doctor visits and the most common complaint for which people see a neurologist. They can begin at any age and often worsen during adolescence. What are common headache triggers for children? There are many common reasons for childhood headaches. Common “triggers” include: Poor water intake Skipping meals Poor sleep habits Allergies Weather changes Neck strain from excessive use of electronic devices (known as “text neck”) For... View Article

Meet Ariel, our September Calendar Kid

Sep 26 2016

Ariel Benjamin, our September 2016 “Calendar Kid,” enjoys Legos, video games and bike riding and hopes to be a computer programmer someday. Ariel is one of many children in Central Virginia who come to CHoR for gastroenterology and nutrition services. Ariel has Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that attacks the digestive system and causes painful stomach issues. Approximately 700,000 people in the United States are affected by Crohn’s and in need of ongoing treatment and medication. Most also eventually need surgery to conserve the digestive track. Digestive problems are among the most common childhood ailments and CHoR provides the most comprehensive pediatric GI services in the region. Our GI team includes board-certified gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners, dietitians, nurses and a psychologist.... View Article

Pavilion fun: Exploring elements of nature

Sep 22 2016

Our new Children’s Pavilion was designed for better coordination of care and easy navigation for families, but creating a positive and comforting environment was also a major focus of the interior design. Elements of nature found in our community are incorporated in unique ways throughout the building, adding some kid-friendly fun to the overall design. “The overall design concept for the building is derived from nature to include water, forest and sky,” said Leslie Hanson, principal architect on the project designed by HKS Inc., in a Richmond-Times Dispatch article about the opening of the Pavilion. “The James River running through this region of Richmond plays an integral role to the concept being used in the building, blending the exterior and interior experience... View Article

Back to school: Addressing mental health concerns in a school setting

Sep 9 2016

NPR Ed’s recent series exploring mental health in schools found that in a classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with depression, anxiety or substance abuse, and yet nearly 80 percent of children who need mental health services won’t get them. According to the first article in the series, experts say that schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed, but it’s a role many schools aren’t prepared for. In the Q&A that follows, Dr. Aradhana “Bela” Sood, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at CHoR’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children, shares specifics on what teachers and other school professionals need to be aware of to be more prepared to help and why... View Article

Skill-building crafts: From caterpillars to butterflies

Sep 2 2016

The crafts featured below were selected by occupational therapist Jessica Lynn. Both projects involve specific tasks that support the development of a child’s hand and finger skills and in the “skill builder” sections that follow each description, Jessica highlights some specific skills a child develops when making these and suggests additional ways these cute, easy-to-do-at-home projects can be used for additional skill-building fun! Safety tip: Always supervise children closely when they are using craft supplies! Clothespin caterpillars Materials needed: Clothespin Craft glue Fuzzy pom-poms Pipe cleaner Googly eyes Directions: – Run a line of glue down the top side of the clothespin. Let glue set for about a minute (this helps pom-poms stay in place) then carefully place pom-poms in... View Article

Meet Eleanor, our August Calendar Kid

Aug 31 2016

Despite what she faces on a daily basis, Eleanor Brooks finds time for childhood fun. She likes to read, do embroidery, make jewelry, draw and paint. She also loves music and dancing, and when she’s physically able to, she takes piano and ice skating lessons. At home, you’ll likely find her doing yoga, baking or playing with her little brother Mark and little sister Marianna. “She’s a silly, normal 8-year-old girl,” her mom Aronne says, “and no matter what she’s going through, or how she feels, Eleanor usually always has a smile on her face.” Eleanor’s familiar smile was one of the many reasons Dr. Gita Massey, Eleanor’s primary oncologist in the ASK Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic, nominated her for... View Article

Coming soon to a grocery store near you! New Nutrition Facts label

Aug 9 2016

The Nutrition Facts panel is getting a new look! Many consumers find that they are able to use the information on this panel to make informed decisions about food. By July 2018, most food manufacturers will be required to follow new FDA labeling standards, which are intended to give consumers more relevant nutrition information in an easy-to-understand panel format.  The labels may be popping up on grocery store shelves ahead of schedule, so here’s an advance look at what you can expect to see at a store near you, and how you can use this information! Q: Why is some of the information on the Nutrition Facts panel in bigger, bolder print? The following pieces of information will be in... View Article

Sensory play: A fun developmental tool for all kids

Aug 3 2016

While all children can seem particular about their likes and dislikes, children with sensory processing disorder (also called sensory integration dysfunction) will be so severely affected by their sensory preferences that it interferes with their normal, everyday functioning. Treatment for sensory processing disorder is a fun, play-based intervention that takes place in a sensory-rich environment typically under the guidance of an occupational therapist. Many families have requested more information about this topic and we thought summer was ideal time to share some therapist-recommended and kid-approved sensory activities that can be a fun way for any child to develop sensory processing skills.   What is sensory processing? Remember those five senses you learned about in elementary school – sight, sound, touch,... View Article

Healthy eating strategies:
How to win the veggie wars

Aug 2 2016

For optimal health, it is recommended that children eat at least FIVE SERVINGS of vegetables and fruits per day. Filling HALF of your child’s plate with veggies and fruits – not chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, but broccoli, green beans or Brussels sprouts – will help your child reach this goal.  Providing the veggies, however, is only half the battle. Getting your little ones to choose to eat these foods is the real victory. Luckily, there are strategies and recipes that can help. Here are a few recommendations from dietitians at CHoR’s Healthy Lifestyles Center and a quick and easy way to measure the recommended five daily servings: Make a schedule and stick to it. Children need... View Article

Meet Jada, our July Calendar Kid

july craft
Jul 29 2016

Nearly four years after her kidney transplant, 10-year-old Jada Jackson continues to share a special bond with her pediatric nephrology team at CHoR. She describes her kidney transplant and years of continued transplant care with Dr. Bunchman, Dr. Lo, nurse Jules and other team members as a special experience. Jada was born with a kidney condition (multicystic dysplastic kidney) that can worsen over time to where there is little to no normal kidney function. “She received a preemptive living donor kidney transplant in October 2012 and has done very well since her transplant,” said Shirley Alexander-Das, clinical social worker for CHoR’s nephrology team. Jada will start 5th grade this fall. Her “big smile” and “sweetness” were among the reasons why... View Article