New App Alerts Deaf Parents to When and Why Babies Cry

Many innovators have focused on helping children have fun living their lives and/or helping parents have a little ease in raising their children. A high-tech clothing line is producing wearable stuff that adjusts and grows along with the kids. A startup has created emotion-tracking smart glasses that can improve the social skills of autistic children. The latest to contribute is a mom doctor who developed an app that addresses a few problems in the parenting experience of deaf parents.

As parents spend time around infants, they start to learn the difference between when a baby is crying from pain, rather than fussiness. Deaf parents, on the other hand, have no way of understanding whether their baby’s cries mean something more serious.

That’s why Dr. Ariana Anderson at the UCLA Medical Center and Semel Institute developed the Chatterbaby app.

Anderson, herself a mother of four, discovered that she had been continuously learning how to interpret what her babies’ crying means over her years of motherhood. When she realized that deaf parents needed more assistance in this area, she thought of creating an app that could guide the deaf community.

By compiling a database of over 2,000 baby cries, Anderson’s app can interpret a baby’s needs with 90% accuracy. For instance, if there are long periods of silence between cries, it usually means that the baby is just finicky. But if the infant is uttering long, sustained, high-pitched wails, it means that the baby is in pain.

The app is still going through further development, but those who tested it have already given positive feedback. Deaf parents who participated in the test run stated that the service is indeed an important innovation.

Of course, every future parent would have a different parenting experience. However, innovations like this could surely bring a little convenience to the great challenge.

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Blind Woman Represents US in International Triathlon

Constantly reading and writing about the kindness and heroism of some people inevitably make me reflect upon their stories. And I’ve noticed an important pattern. First, age doesn’t really matter — a 58-year-old woman can save factory workers from a fire, a 4-year-old girl can donate her tiny allowance to a cancer patient, and a 99-year-old man can even break a world record on swimming. And neither can status hinder people from being kind or heroic — a multi-billion company can surely fund children’s hospitals, but an ordinary ticket agent can save children from human trafficking.

Today’s reflection involves another thing that cannot hinder people from achieving extraordinary things: disability. This is proven by a blind woman from San Diego named Amy Dixon, who will represent the United States in the 2020 Paralympics, to be held in Tokyo. She will be competing in the triathlon.

When Dixon is not working to improve her best personal race time, she is working on improving the lives of those in our community. For the past two years, she has held camps that teaches the visually and audibly impaired how to race in triathlons. Additionally, Dixon has been able to raise enough money each year to provide this camp at no cost to its participants.

Also known as “Super Woman,” Amy Dixon only has 2% of her vision left. But looking at her community work and sports career, this has not left the blind woman helpless. In fact, it seemed to do the opposite, as she has been inspired to accomplish so much, not only in the field of sports.

While working to better the lives of those impaired, she is actively working on saving the sight of others through her work as the Vice President of the Glaucoma Eyes International Foundation . . . Since she is such an inspiration to San Diego, Senator Joel Anderson recently honored Dixon’s efforts by presenting her with a certificate of recognition for her tremendous athletic achievements and her dedication to better the lives of those in our community.

If we cannot let age, status, and disability be significant in performing great deeds and becoming our best selves, then what else matters? I think, if you have time to reflect upon many people’s lives (and I hope you do), then you’ll be quick to answer this. For now, here’s a clue: it starts with an h, ends with a t, and in the middle, has a bodily organ used to listen. To really find the answer, maybe you should listen to your heart. Wink.

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Blind Brothers Rise To Top As Eagle Scouts

Some people refuse to let their hindrances get the best of them. Figures like Joseph Hale, a child model with Down’s syndrome, are replacing “normal” with “unique.” Now, blind triplets Nick, Leo, and Steven Cantos have done the same, earning ranks as Eagle Scouts. And it’s all thanks to their adoptive father.

“Having the boys in my life has been nothing short of a series of miracles day after day after day from the very day that they came into my life,” [said Ollie Cantos]. “Life has just never been the same.”

Dad Ollie, also blind, adopted the talented threesome when they were eleven-years-old. In teaching his boys to navigate through daily life, Ollie encouraged them to sign up as Boy Scouts. Without special considerations, each sibling earned 21 merit badges.

“I’ve always seen myself as the person who just happens to be blind. For me, I just happen to have a disability. It’s not the defining factor of my life. I made it the same way as other Eagle Scouts,” Steven Cantos said. “Everyone has difficulties in their lives. We all have trials. That’s how life is.”

Blind, deaf, mute, or what-have-you, clearly, anything is possible. All it takes is a push.

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Beauty Queen With Down’s Syndrome Makes History

Since young model Joseph Hale proved he was more than his Down’s syndrome, others with the condition are following suit. Mikayla Holmgren is now making headlines as the first contestant with Down’s syndrome to compete in Miss USA.

“It was clear to us from the very beginning that Mikayla was uniquely special,” [said] a representative for Miss USA… “Her energy, confidence, and attitude are contagious, and we felt very confident that this experience would be a perfect fit for Mikayla.”

The 22-year-old previously snatched the title of Minnesota Miss Amazing Junior Miss in 2015. As expected, fans of Holmgren have been praising the American beauty for breaking stereotypes all over social media.

“My plans for the future are to graduate from Bethel University and then open an art studio for kids with disabilities to come and learn how to dance and create art,” Holmgren said.

Providing a platform for other women, Holmgren has evolved beauty pageants beyond looks. Anyway, it’s all about heart these days.

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Speaking Through Music

Through history, music has managed to transform the lives of people by means of success, healing, and a simple dose of good vibes. Whether you’re going through a break-up or lack shower tunes, music has got your back. Lately, researchers at the University of Plymouth have found that music has, once again, gone above and beyond, and is now being incorporated as an effective type of therapy.

Tailored music sessions could be crucial in transforming the lives of millions of people whose speech is impacted by learning difficulties, strokes, dementia, brain damage and autism, a new study suggests.

It could enable individuals and their families to feel less isolated or neglected within society, while enhancing their ability to communicate, both with each other and the wider world.

As a huge fan of the phrase “giving a voice to the voiceless” it came as no surprise to hear that music can successfully restore one’s motor skills.

“What we have shown is that music can give people a voice, allowing them to explore their creativity as well as communicating both pleasure and pain,” [said Jocey Quinn, professor at the university].

“We are pleased to see that the results of this study provide credible and robust evidence that demonstrates the wide social benefits of art and culture and hope this goes some way to making the links truly recognised.”

The University of Plymouth hopes that lessons will soon be implemented internationally.

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