Computer whiz kids risk injury
Computer needs fixing? Call your kid! But the computer-related injuries those whiz kids are suffering from are no laughing matter.
Sixty-five percent of American households have at least one computer, and schools provide almost one computer for every five students. The opportunity for injuries such as neck and upper-back pain, numbness in the hands, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome is greater than ever. Children are as at risk for these injuries as are adults, according to Dr. Ron Andrews, director of the Physical Therapy Program at UNM Health Sciences Center. “Computers—and video games—pose potential risks for overuse injuries. Computers have become a large part of children’s lives, both at home and at school,” Andrews said.
Two mistakes are usually the cause of computer-related injuries. First, sitting too long at the computer without moving around or changing position can result in repetitive-motion disorders and muscle strain. Second, incorrect ergonomics—not sitting up straight, not keeping eyes level with the screen, not keeping elbows and knees at right angles, and not using a correct-size mouse—can trigger various physical ailments.
Physical therapists recommend that children using computers keep their feet flat on the floor, sit up straight, keep their eyes level with the screen, and take mandatory breaks at least every twenty minutes to avoid muscle fatigue. For younger children, physical therapists suggest that a stool or other object be place on the floor to keep the child’s knees at a ninety-degree angle. To help keep the hands and wrists in the correct position and reduce fatigue, therapists also recommend the use of wrist rests. Glare screens are recommended to reduce reflections.
For more information about the UNM Physical Therapy Program, visit http://hsc.unm.edu/som/physther.
(Left) Megan Gallegos, scholarship recipient
Megan Gallegos, Bernalillo, receives scholarship
Megan Gallegos, a 2002 graduate of Bernalillo High School and daughter of Ray and Sharon Gallegos, has received a $2,500 scholarship from the American Gypsum Company. Megan will study engineering at the University of New Mexico. Gallegos said she is thankful for the scholarship and encouragement from American Gypsum. Ray Barnes, plant manager for American Gypsum, said, “We are proud that we are able to support Megan with her educational endeavors. It is nice to give something back to the community.”
Junior Optimist club growing
The Optimist Club de Sandoval has been very excited to see how many youngsters have recently joined the Placitas Elementary School Junior Optimists. (There were forty at last count.) This junior club meets on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the school and enables children at an early age to become community volunteers and develop leadership skills.
The senior club sponsored a special pizza-and-snacks installation dinner for their younger colleagues on October 21. Proud parents looked on as their children became official members and officers of this community-focused program.
The senior club often invites guest speakers who are involved with youth-related projects. October’s featured speaker was Lynn Charlton, executive director of Youth at Risk. That project works to transform communities, one youth at a time, with an intensive mentoring program for high-risk middle school students. Lynn explained the purpose, approach, and recent successes of the volunteer program.
As you start planning for 2003, you may find the club's new pocket-size calendars (which include key dates of interest to our community) very helpful. They will be sold at many local events and locations as a fund-raising activity.
On Sunday, December 8, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., the Optimists Club will be holding a Blessing Day Open House at the San Antonio Mission Hall. Music, food, and nonalcoholic drinks will be provided. Please bring nonperishable food, clean usable toys, and new or gently used clothing for children. The Optimists will provide perishable foods. The supplies will be distributed to families identified by Peanut Butter and Jelly and St. Vincent DePaul.
We thank the residents of Placitas for helping us share our abundance with others. For more information, please call Elaine Sullivan, 771-1171.
To learn more about the Optimist Club de Sandoval, join them on the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:00 p.m. at the Placitas Mission San Antonio Community Center on Paseo de San Antonio. Feel free to contact the club’s president, Elaine Sullivan, at email@example.com or Maude Linnartz at 771-2337 for additional details.
Some alternatives to losing your patience
—From the Sandoval County Head Start Program
- Stop in your tracks. Step back. Sit down.
- Take five deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Slowly. Slowly.
- Count to ten. Better yet, twenty. Or recite the alphabet out loud.
- Phone a friend. A relative. Even the weather.
- Still angry? Punch a pillow or munch an apple.
- Thumb through a magazine, book, newspaper, photo album.
- Do some sit-ups.
- Pick up a pencil and write down your thoughts.
- Take a hot bath or a cold shower.
- Lie down on the floor, or just put your feet up.
- Put on your favorite record.
- Water the plants.
- Take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid!
These alternatives were developed by the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse.
Discipline: children need instruction
more than they need criticism
Rules should be clear and consistent; consequences should follow immediately after the first warning if the behavior continues. Don’t spend time discussing and debating. Be predictable.
A child can have angry feelings and should be told that the feelings are okay. It is not okay to hit others to express these feelings. It is okay to work feelings out by punching a pillow or drawing pictures about the anger.
Grant children in fantasy what they cannot have in reality. At the grocery store when a child makes demands, you could say, “You really wish you could have this candy. I bet you even wish you could have all the candy on the shelf. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could sit here and stuff ourselves with all the candy in the store!” Turn it into a game.
Catch your child being good. A study conducted at the University of Iowa by Jack Canfield shows that the average child from the average family receives 432 negative statements as opposed to thirty-two positive ones daily. There is always something good even in the most difficult situations. Look for the good in every situation.
Praise children for their cooperation with you or one other. Let children work out the solution to a problem instead of telling them what to do. Remember, physical and emotional punishment may restrain your child; it will not make him wish to do the right thing. It will not teach him self-discipline.
If children learn self-control and self-discipline, they will be able to make the right choices when it comes to drugs or “strangers.” They will be able to listen to that inner voice that tells them something is not right.
For further information and tips on parenting, call Presbyterian Medical Services health and nutrition coordinator Michelle Hafenrichter at 867-3375.
La Buena Vida and Rio Rancho Mid-School and High School will work together to strengthen multiethnic families and communities by offering a parent-training program in violence prevention. The classes meet on Tuesdays from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. through November. The program will focus on topics such as consequences, behavior, parenting techniques, developing empathy, and more. Activity groups for children ages five to seventeen will be provided. For further information, contact Kirsten Hockemeier at 867-2383 or Linda Menzel at 891-5335, extension 1313.