FALL 2011 • Vol 2 • Edition 3
Ser ving the San Francisco Peninsula & Silicon Valley.
Special Needs & Education Guide
An Au Pair for
Ideas for the
Hands-on Art Near You
Not Related to
Learning to Navigate
2 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula October 2011
Table of Contents Editorial
Welcome to our third We have another story about Arbor Bay School and
Feature Stories edition of Shine! We’re the positive steps they have made in many young lives.
very proud to offer Pam Joy reminds us that learning differences are NOT
A Pocketful of Ideas: Enrichment . . . . . . . . . . . 4 some great articles.Our correlated with intelligence. People process and analyze
Au Pair Option for Special Needs Child . . . . . . 6 wonderful Dr. Jason things in many different ways. And for those of you who
Encouragement for Children with Learning Clark shares some are looking for household help for your special needs
Differences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 parenting strategies for child, you might consider an au pair. Many au pairs have
children with Learning experience with special needs children and are, if fact,
Columns children need to realize
preparing for a career in the field. Wouldn’t it be nice to
have someone like that in your household!
The Doctor Is In: Self -Advocacy . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 they are intelligent,
Barbara Fischer gives us a tour of hands-on places to
Go To Grandma: Special Needs Children . . . . . 5 but their brains just
experience art up and down the Peninsula, places that
work differently. Next
welcome individuals with different abilities and challenges.
News and More they need some great
teachers to show them some coping skills. Donne Davis,
From working with clay to charcoal, these are places the
POP Special Ed/Special Needs Directory . . . . . 4 whole family can enjoy. So please take a stroll through our
our Go To Grandma, shares one grandmother’s struggle
special section. We want all children to Shine!
helping to raise a child with cerebral palsy. (Grab your
handkerchief—the happy one, not the sad one.) We learn
that through the magical power of love and some very Tory Hartmann
hard work, Julie Matsushima discovered a special clinic in
POP Team Poland. I won’t spoil the read…I know you’ll enjoy it.
Publisher/Editor Web Master
On the Cover
Managing Editor Web Editor Intern
Tory Hartmann Megan Ramirez
Operations Manager Advisory Council
Lyne-Marie Thomas Joanne Adan
Carol Raisner Columnists This Month
Advertising Executives Jason Clark, MD
Joanne Bracco Donne Davis Say hello to the Kalra family whose son Arjun is enjoying the beautiful facilities at Community Gate Path. Arjun Kalra
Lisa Janny Contributing Writers (2 years old) has Cerebral Palsy and is in the program at Community Gate Path. Community Gate Path has one of the
Carol Raisner This Month most comprehensive service portfolios spanning all ages from early intervention for infants to community access and
Sonia Vittori Barbara Fischer job training for adults and seniors. All programs are designed to prepare children and adults to actively participate in
Calendar Representative/ Pam Joy their schools, community, workplaces and at home. At Community Gate Path children achieve their goals, believe in
Copy Editor Wendie Karel themselves and dream that anything is possible!
P wants YOU!
PO Join Our Gr
immediate openin m
nouncing an g for
An an A
Earn money cco
part Crea unt
Bec our while te yo Exe
of supporting own cu
ive sche tiv
creat .. your dule. Be e
. wn you .. o
Start a rewarding sales career with POP today! ss
Call Carol Raisner at 650-394-4767 to inquire about this exciting opportunity.
Visit us at www.ponthep.com (650) 477-2579
October 2011 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula 3
is in Self-Advocacy By Jason Clark, M.D.
T here are many children who struggle in school.
ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and auditory processing
issues are just a few of the diagnoses children with learning
do well and work on the problem areas.
One of the greatest tools my son left CAS with is
the courage to self-advocate. He has been taught to
They quietly slip through our school systems
just getting by. It is the parent’s job to advocate
for them, but a greater gift is to teach our children to
differences (LDs) are labeled with. My goal as a parent and inform teachers of his disability and ask for help and advocate for themselves. Encourage your child to ask for
a doctor is to keep kids positive about school even if they accommodations when needed. He is not embarrassed help and speak to their teachers at a young age. Many
are not “A” students. One of the most important lessons by his LD and understands that his brain just works teachers want the children to come to them for help. I feel
that a student can learn is to advocate for themselves. This differently. We focus more on his effort than his grades. If by 7th-8th grade a child should be able to self-advocate. It
is very difficult for most children but with encouragement he comes to us upset over a bad grade, we ask if he tried takes courage to do this but with some guidance children
from parents it is something that can be learned. hard. If so, we don’t berate him for the grade. My wife’s can stand up for themselves.
If you noticed, I wrote learning difference, and not line is, “Your best has to be good enough.” His teachers Dr. Jason Clark has been a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood
disability. Many children with LDs are extremely bright, are impressed with how he comes to them and asks for City since 2000. When not working he enjoys fishing, skiing, and spending
time with his wife and two children.
creative and can succeed in school. The trick is to get them help when needed.
to the point where they feel successful and comfortable in LDs can be difficult to figure out. Teachers will often
school even if they have to work harder than most. This guide parents on how to
is not something that a child can understand in a short navigate the system. Public
period of time. It can take years to help them realize that schools tend to have more
they are intelligent but their brain just works differently. services available, but many
My son is now a freshman in high school. He spent six private schools are starting
years at Charles Armstrong School (CAS) in Belmont. to help students with special
CAS is a school for children with dyslexia. They focus on needs. If you feel your child
the whole child. This school finds a child’s strengths and has an LD ask your local
weaknesses and focuses on both. Many LD children excel public school in writing for
in sports or the arts. Building a child up and pointing an IEP (Individual Education
out what they are good at is very important. Many of Program). This will start a
the children who struggle have very low self esteem. CAS cascade of events that will
makes sure to offer a variety of activities to teach the determine if your child
whole child. Acknowledging that they do have trouble qualifies for special services.
with spelling, math or writing is better than getting mad if Many children with LDs
they come home with a “C”. Children with LDs need to fall through the cracks.
feel good about who they are. Praise them for what they
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Contact (650) 259-8544 medical procedures or psychotherapy.
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Visit us at www.ponthep.com www.brainbalancecenters.com (650) 477-2579
4 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula October 2011
A Pocketful of Ideas:
Enrichment ideas for Special Needs Kids By Barbara Fischer
A re you looking for something fun for your special
needs child? Let your child enjoy a wide variety of
activities that will provide fun and friendship, two very
make a positive outcome from what a child might think
is a ‘mistake’.” Melsa offers children a wide variety of art
materials to explore and to have fun with. Clay is used for
kids is evident at the Art Attack Studio. Nancy Call
Torres, owner of this art studio in Burlingame, helps
children with different learning differences, including
important things for all children. Encourage your special its sensory value and the relaxing feeling that comes from dyslexia and Downs Syndrome, to enjoy the benefits
needs child to focus, accomplish a project, gain self- working with it. of art. Nancy believes that art allows kids to work in a
confidence, stretch his imagination and find his creativity. At the All Arts Studio in San Carlos, owner Alla Chertok- different way. For example, she has short-term projects
Art is an enrichment activity that lets your special needs Tirpolsky welcomes special needs children to her classes. that encourage children who rush through their activities
child enter a wonderful world. As one parent of an autistic She offers a “unique personalized program that is to slow down and focus on the work at hand. For those
child said, “Art is a very important thing for my son…it specifically designed for individuals with different abilities kids that tend to work more slowly, longer projects
makes his life more fun.” Melsa Wong, who is the owner and challenges.” Through art, her students improve encourage them to work consistently toward finishing
of an art studio in San Mateo, adds, “My students are their fine motor skills. She uses a variety of materials their artwork.
not only learning art skills, but also learning problem to encourage her students to improve their hand-eye Another art activity your child might be interested in is
solving abilities. Helping children turn their mistakes coordination. using and creating with clay. While most of the art studios
into masterpieces is another way to show children how to This same sense of awareness and feeling for special needs (Continued on pg. 6)
SH NE! directory
Arbor Bay School Days: M, T, W, F myofunctional therapy, voice, autism, aural rehabilitation,
1017 Cedar Street, San Carlos Class Size: 4 – 8 swallowing disorders and many more.
(650) 631-9999 www.arborbayschool.org Amenities: Diapers Accepted, Special Needs Quest Therapeutic Camps
A multi-disciplinary and experiential approach to Brain Balance Achievement Center 2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Ste 125, San Ramon
education for children with mild-to-moderate language- 3380 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (925) 743-2900 www.Questcamps.com
based learning differences that may impact academics, (415) 213-1760 www.brainbalancecenters.com Quest Therapeutic Camps have been providing innovative,
speech/language, motor development, attention/focus proven effective group therapy programs for over 23
and social skills. Brain Balance Program is an individualized, non-medical
program to help children who live with ADD/ADHD, years. Our 8-week intensive therapeutic day camp and
K – 8th Grade: Age 5 – 14 years dyslexia, Tourette’s, Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum weekly group therapy programs are designed for children
Religious affiliation: None disorders reach their academic, social and physical and teens with ADHD, Asperger’s disorder, anxiety,
Enrollment: 42 potential. We utilize a comprehensive approach to depression, self esteem and social problems. Visit www.
Class ratio: 3:1 in lower grades; 6:1 in middle school address the spectrum of academic performance, social Questcamps.com for complete information and online
Entrance process: R, S, O, V, A abilities, cognitive function, sensory and motor skills, registration. Robert Field, PhD, founder and licensed
Application Testing: $150 visual-spatial organizational skills and nutritional health. psychologist, supervises all treatment.
Uniforms: No Community Gatepath Stanbridge Academy
Extended Care: until 5 pm 1764 Marco Polo Way, Burlingame San Mateo
(650) 259-8500 www.gatepath.com (650) 375-5860 www.stanbridgeacademy.org
Associated Learning and Language Specialists, Inc Stanbridge is an independent school, grades K-12, for
1060 Twin Dolphin Drive, Ste #100, Redwood City Community Gatepath fosters hope, dignity and
independence among children and adults with disabilities. students with mild to moderate LD and ASD. Stanbridge
(650) 631-9999 www.allsinc.com curriculum includes class sizes of 1 teacher to 8 students,
We dedicate ourselves to building inclusive environments
Early intervention classes led by speech pathologists. where individuals of all abilities can thrive. California-standards based instruction, experiential
Preschool classes led by CA credentialed teachers. and enrichment activities and the integration of social
Language, social skills, developmental play addressed Optometric Center for Family Vision Care and pragmatics. Call for a tour!
through a multi-disciplinary team including occupational Vision Therapy
and behavior therapists. 1234 Cherry St., San Carlos TALK: Teaching and Assessing Language for Kids
Age Infant – 6 years (650) 593-1661 www.familyvisioncare.org Burlingame
Hours: 8 am – 12:30 pm (program dependent) (650) 344-9962 www.talkpeninsula.com
For over 20 years we have successfully treated vision
Days: M – F TALK provides comprehensive speech and language
problems that interfere with attention, reading and
Class Size: 4 – 8 therapy for children. We offer assessments and intensive
academic performance. Developmental vision care can
Amenities: Accreditation, Diapers Accepted, Educational programs for the treatment of all speech, voice, language,
make all the difference for those with autism and other
Curriculum Offered, Special Needs fluency, social and developmental delays and disorders.
special needs. We also provide non-surgical treatment of
eye turns or lazy eye. Call today for more information. Our goal is to make speech therapy an effective and
Associated Learning and Language Specialists, rewarding experience for children and their families.
660 So. Bernardo Avenue, Ste #4, Sunnyvale Toren Psychological Services
Menlo Park, San Mateo, Santa Cruz
(650) 631-9999 www.allsinc.com Mountain View
(650) 324-0648 www.paspeech.com
Early intervention classes led by speech pathologists. (650) 833-8834 www.torenpsychologicalservices.com
Peninsula Associates employs 20 licensed and ASHA
Language, social skills, developmental play addressed We provide quality and comprehensive assessment,
certified SLP’s. We provide on- and off-site services
through a multi-disciplinary team including occupational counseling and advocacy. We specialize in neuro-psych
to public and private schools, medical offices and
and behavior therapists. testing, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Executive
rehabilitation facilities. Our staff is multi-lingual and
Age Infant – 3 years has specialties in childhood apraxia of speech, fluency, Functioning Disorders.
Hours: 8 am – 12 pm
Visit us at www.ponthep.com (650) 477-2579
October 2011 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula 5
Go-to Grandma Advocates for
Grandma Special Needs Children By Donne Davis
W hen Julie Matsushima learned that she was going
to become a grandma of identical twin girls, she
was ecstatic. But her joy turned to sorrow when one of the
Their trip took 30 hours with many flight changes. They
stayed for a month in a tiny room. During that trip,
Aimee began speaking in sentences and her personality
Julie has chronicled their miraculous 14-year journey
in her book For the Love of Aimee. During one of their
twins, Aimee, was born with massive brain damage and blossomed. She benefited so much from the therapy that trips in 2001, Julie listened to other parents talking about
cerebral palsy. Doctors predicted Aimee wouldn't live and Julie took her to Poland six more times over the next six the fund-raising challenges they faced in trying to bring
if she did, she would be blind, deaf and unable to speak or years. their children to Poland for therapy. She was inspired to
walk. The family was devastated. When a program based on the Euromed Rehabilitation start That’s Amore Charitable Foundation, a non-profit
Julie was the first one to enter the ICU to hold Aimee, Center opened in Anaheim, California, Julie continued organization that benefits children with disabilities by
and as she did, she formed a bond with the infant. She to take Aimee for month-long treatments. During one providing therapy and equipment.
also noticed that the baby seemed alert and startled trip, Julie suffered a massive heart attack and had to have Julie is viewed as a lay expert on the subject and is
when a nurse dropped a metal container on the floor. bypass surgery. But she regained her strength because of frequently invited to share her inspiring story with
Something “magical” happened for Julie that first day in her determination to help Aimee. parents, professionals and doctors. She has not only
1997, and she made up her mind to do all she could to Aimee is now 14 and about to start high school. She uses made a difference in her granddaughter”s life, but has
help Aimee achieve her maximum potential in life. a wheelchair and attends special-needs classes. She is able also become a devoted advocate for children with special
She read everything she could find on cerebral palsy and to talk and write, and enjoys socializing. Physicians who needs. She has raised awareness about the need for
connected with a parent who had organized a Web site have examined Aimee have always been impressed by her adaptive and equal play equipment in our parks by serving
devoted to children with cerebral palsy. Being part of abilities. One neurologist told the family that if he had as a Parks Commissioner for the City of San Jose Parks,
that community helped her stay positive as she faced the seen Aimee’s MRI prior to meeting her, he would never Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department
doctors’ negative prognosis. have believed it was the same child. He said he thought it and on the Advisory Board of the Office of Therapeutic
A breakthrough came after Aimee’s second birthday. was “pure love from her family, combined with support Services for the City of San Jose.
The family learned about an innovative physical therapy and encouragement, that was responsible for Aimee’s
program in Poland. The Euromed Rehabilitation Center, remarkable success.”
Donne Davis and her husband live in Menlo Park. They have
started in 1994, placed children in an “Adeli suit” that When Julie reflects on the years since Aimee’s birth, she two grown children and two grandchildren. Six years ago, after
corrected their posture and movements. After much says she never could have imagined the journey they witnessing the birth of her first grandchild, Donne founded the
research and fund-raising (the entire cost of travel and would take together. “Through her I discovered the depth GaGa Sisterhood, a social network for enthusiastic grandmas.
therapy for one month was $12,000), Julie and her of my own character, the power of my love, the conviction You can read her blog at http://gagasisterhood.com/ or email her
daughter-in-law brought Aimee to the clinic in Poland. of my faith and my courage in the face of hopelessness and at: email@example.com.
Visit us at www.ponthep.com (650) 477-2579
The Au Pair Option
6 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula October 2011
(Continued from pg. 4)
A Pocketful of Ideas:
For Your Special Needs Child By Wendie Karel Enrichment ideas for
Special Needs Kids
I n the United States today, there are hundreds of special
needs children benefitting from the care of au pairs.
What is an au pair? An au pair is a young adult between
interview qualified au pairs interested in working with
special needs children. Although this pool of au pairs is
smaller than the general pool, families will find qualified,
in our area offer clay instruction, some studios are set up
just for clay. One such place is Clay Creations Studio.
Owner Margaret Tassi notes that children like the feel
the ages of 18-26 who lives with a family and provides loving and compassionate au pairs ready to become part of of wet clay. They like to mold and squeeze and rub their
personalized, quality childcare. Au pairs come from all the family. hands over the damp clay. She notes that autistic children
over the world, are conversant in English, love children particularly like the pottery wheel. Those who have used
Sophie Edwards was 10 when the Edwards family of this spinning wheel feel that it has therapeutic benefits.
and are eager to learn about life in the United States. Kansas City, MO matched with their first au pair. Sophie Children seem to sense that feeling, too, while molding
Au pairs are a perfect fit for many families because they required complete care, and the family was delighted to clay on the wheel. Referring to the pottery that children
live in the family’s home, enabling them to have a better have an additional person in the home to help with lifting, create, the owner states that “outcome comes overtime.”
understanding of how to care for a child with special bathing and providing therapeutic playtime. They also It is what goes on during the process that counts.
needs while providing greater flexibility for the family. benefitted from having an in-home caregiver who could
It is also extremely helpful to have an extra set of hands spend more time learning Sophie’s non-verbal cues, thus Here are some other interesting options to check out. All
around! Au pairs can also care for the other children in the creating a stronger bond between their daughter and the offer fun and learning for your child. Laurel Street Arts
home along with the special needs child. au pair. The experience was so positive that the family in San Carlos offers clay, but also includes mosaics and
continued with the program for many years throughout glass fusing. They welcome your special needs child to
The U.S. Department of State, which oversees the au come and join the fun of creativity. Don’t forget to check
pair program, specifies that an au pair can work with a their daughter’s childhood.
out our local libraries. The Belmont Public Library has
special needs child if he/she has had prior experience, Au pairs provide 45 hours of individualized childcare an after school craft time on Tuesdays. Just call Belmont
skill or training in caring for special needs children and for approximately $340 per week, including fees paid to Parks and Recreation for more information.
has selected to work with special needs children within the agency and a weekly stipend paid to the au pair. This
the au pair program. Many au pairs looking to work with totals around $18,000 per year compared to $30,000 Judy Gittelsohn of the Art for Well Beings studio says,
special needs children are currently pursuing or have - $50,000 to hire a nanny for a year. Unlike the cost of “Disabilities are not a hindrance in art class. All children
completed educational degrees in special education or daycare, which increases with each additional child, the can enjoy art experiences.” As they work through the
child psychology in their home countries and are looking costs associated with hosting an au pair remain the same process together, socialization and friendship begin to
to gain additional experience in their fields of study; or regardless of the number of children in the family. flower and bloom. It’s the process that is important for
perhaps they have a special needs family member at home children. As Alla Chertok-Tirpolsky of All Arts Studio
The au pair program can be extremely rewarding for both says, “It is amazing what art can do.”
or are seeking a different type of childcare experience. host families and au pairs. Most families enjoy the benefits
If you decide to bring an au pair into your home, the first of having a young person living in their home and helping Art is but one enrichment activity that enables your
step would be to apply to a U.S. Department of State Au to care for their children year after year, while au pairs find special needs child to enjoy themselves while learning. Art
Pair Agency and request a special needs au pair. Your local working with special needs children both fulfilling and life is something everyone in your family can participate in.
area director will ask you for more information about your changing. Search online for “Art lessons for children in the San
child’s specific needs such as the child’s diagnosis, use of Francisco Bay Area.” You will find the above studios and
Wendie Karel has been an Area Director for AuPairCare since 2005. When
specialized equipment, medications and the availability of Wendie is not helping host families and au pairs, she is busy with her six and many more on this site.
local resources and support services. four-year-old daughters. She can be reached directly at WendieKarelAPC@
Barbara Fischer is a preschool director with 20 years experience teaching
In programs like AuPairCare, a leading au pair agency yahoo.com or (650) 462-1789. in private schools. She is a freelance writer for children's magazines and is
headquartered in San Francisco, the host family would currently writing a children's book.
then be able to utilize an online matching tool to find and
Pediatric Speech, Language, and Social Therapy
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1209 Howard Avenue, Suite 203 , Burlingame, CA 94010 1234 Cherry St., San Carlos • (650) 593-1661
Visit us at www.ponthep.com
October 2011 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula 7
Encouragement for Children with
Learning Differences By Pam Joy
O ften, parents are concerned about altered dreams
when their child is diagnosed with a learning
difference. When families first come to Arbor Bay
teaching. Using all five of his senses for learning was a
much better approach for Kent due to his challenges with
language. Kent also participated in social skills sessions in
Pam Joy is CEO of Arbor Bay School and Associated Language and Learning
Specialists. Arbor Bay School’s mission is to increase opportunities for children
in grades K-8 with mild to moderate learning differences to achieve academic
and social success. We achieve this through highly individualized and
School or our clinic, Associated Language and Learning the classroom, where students learn how to better relate to specialized instruction, combined with speech and occupational therapy, in a
Specialists, I like to first assure them that learning their friends and manage self-regulation. At the same time, small classroom environment.
differences are not correlated with intelligence. Winston Kent had Speech/Language therapy sessions both inside For more than 30 years, Associated Language and Learning Specialists has
Churchill, Charles Schwab, Cher and James Carville are and outside of the classroom environment to improve his strived to provide exceptional evaluation, therapy and educational services
just a few of the many people with learning differences communication abilities. that enable our clients to overcome unique challenges and gain skills and
who have made a big impact regardless of their learning confidence. We believe that your child’s learning and therapeutic needs greatly
By the time he was in first grade, Kent was much more benefit from the collaboration and expertise of many disciplines working
differences. prepared to learn, although he still would have difficulties together.
What does learning difference mean? People process, paying attention when presented with something too
analyze, express and store information in many ways. challenging. Arbor Bay School’s occupational therapists
Individuals with learning differences may have a difficult worked with Kent and his teachers and implemented
time processing information in a traditional sense, which “Brain Gym” as part of his treatment plan. Brain Gym is a
can affect their academic and social understanding. series of intentional physical routines that lead to optimal
Without proper attention, ongoing academic challenges learning. After Kent started practicing these exercises
can impact confidence and self-esteem, which can affect
every aspect of a child’s life.
every day at the beginning of school, his ability to pay
attention improved and he had an easier time learning new Announces
At Arbor Bay School, we offer a multi-disciplinary, multi- concepts. In fact, he became a proverbial sponge!
sensory approach to learning. Once a child with learning
differences “learns how to learn,” they can often return to
By the end of second grade, Kent no longer needed to
practice Brain Gym every day. He could self-monitor and
their district school and experience success there. when he started to tune out he would initiate the Brain
For example, we have one student, Kent (not his real Gym exercises himself. This demonstrates incredible
name), who started Arbor Bay School in Kindergarten.
At the time he had trouble with transitions and with self Kent transitioned back to his district school in the fall and Education/Special
regulation, and challenges with communication. With a we are confident he will be a successful learner, using the
low student-teacher ratio of three students to one teacher, tools he has been given, for the years to come. Needs Fair
Arbor Bay School provided a tailored program where If your child was recently diagnosed with a learning Coming to Hillsdale Shopping
he was presented with materials in an individualized difference, you are not alone. There are 15 million people
developmental sequence so he could experience success Center, San Mateo
in this nation alone with learning differences, and at
before being given new challenges. Through this approach, least 20 percent of those have difficulties with attention.
he gained self-confidence and became confident in his Quality teachers, a low student-teacher ratio and working
learning abilities. in partnership with speech/language pathologists, Saturday, April 7, 2012
Kent also benefited from Arbor Bay School’s multi-sensory occupational therapists and educational specialists, can
curriculum, rather than the more typical lecture style of help many children with learning differences adapt and
meet his/her potential.
Arbor Bay School
A multidisciplinary and experiential
approach to education for K-8 children
with learning di erences
Speech & Occupational Therapy
Integrated Technology Program
After School Programs
Serving Students from
all around the Bay Area
Located in Beautiful San Carlos
Visit us at www.ponthep.com (650) 477-2579
8 SHINE! By Parenting on the Peninsula October 2011
Visit us at www.ponthep.com (650) 477-2579