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Toddlers OK'd to video-chat in new recommendations from pediatricians

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Friday announced updated recommendations for parents hoping to shield their children from the worst effects of new technologies.

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The group released its recommendations after reviewing the latest scientific evidence on children and digital media use. Among other suggestions, the AAP said toddlers should be limited to using screens only while video-chatting.

The organization has traditionally recommended toddlers stay away from using screens at all until they become 2 years old. The guideline was first set out in 1999, according to NPR.

Studies indicate that despite the 1999 recommendation, most families operate under the assumption that applications like Skype and FaceTime “don't count.”

In a policy statement, AAP cautiously agreed and cited emerging evidence that young children can learn some words while video-chatting “with a responsive adult.”

The organization warned, however, that scientific evidence shows there is still harm caused by “excessive digital media use.”

"What's most important is that parents be their child's 'media mentor,'” Dr. Jenny Radesky, lead author of the policy statement, said in a news release. “That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn."

The following recommendations were made by AAP:

For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing. For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them. For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

To support the recommendations, the group also launched an online digital media use planning tool on its website.

Mom's quest to make son with Down syndrome a model goes viral

Asher Nash is 15 months old and lives in Buford with his parents and older sister. He has bright blue eyes and light brown hair and loves to wear bowties.

Asher Nash also has Down syndrome — and a mother who wants to share his beauty with the world.

"I want the world to see just how amazing he is," Meagan Richter Nash said, "and just how amazing other people with Down syndrome are."

In July, Nash submitted her son's photos to a talent agency handling a casting call for OshKosh B'Gosh, the popular children's clothing brand owned by Atlanta-based Carter's. She never heard anything back and, a few months later, contacted the talent agency. 

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The agency told Nash that Asher's photos hadn't even been submitted because OshKosh "didn't specify that they wanted a baby with special needs." 

That didn't sit right. 

"My first thought," Nash said, "was, 'Well, did they say they did not want a baby with special needs?'"

Nash eventually started working with a campaign called Changing the Face of Beauty and, about two weeks ago, took to Facebook to lobby OshKosh to use her son in an ad. 

The Internet took over.

A post highlighting Asher on the popular "Kids with Down Syndrome" Facebook page has garnered more than 89,000 likes and 100,000 shares in a week and a half. His story has been picked up (with varying accuracy) by viral news sites like The Mighty  and PopSugar.

It's all gotten OshKosh's attention.

Nash said a marketing representative for the company has reached out to her, and she and Asher have a meeting with the company next week. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  

An OshKosh B'Gosh corporate spokesperson confirmed as much in a statement sent to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday morning.

“OshKosh B’Gosh appreciates the importance of representing the diversity of our customers in our advertising," the statement said. 

"Since we became aware of Ms. Nash’s request, our team has reached out to her directly to better understand her perspective and provide additional information about our casting process. We agree there is an opportunity for greater representation of children with special needs in advertising. We look forward to meeting with Asher and his family, as well as taking steps to enhance the representation of diverse children in our marketing.”

Nothing has been promised, but the prospect of a modeling career for Asher — "the most loving, outgoing, hysterical baby you've ever met" — and other kids like him appears to be gaining steam. 

Nash wants people to know she was never "out to get" OshKosh, whose clothes Asher loves to wear. But she's excited about what the future might hold.

"My intentions were not for me to tell anyone my son needs to be in there over anyone else," she said. "I'm really just trying to take a stand for him and other children and babies and adults like him."

Baby born at 24 weeks celebrates first birthday

A baby boy given a 5 percent chance of survival is celebrating his first birthday.

>> Read more trending stories  

Kaleb Arkell Graves was well-known even before he was born. His mother, Dana Griffin-Graves, shared a video of her husband, Arkell Graves, crying when he learned she was pregnant. She broke the news of her pregnancy to him by placing a pack of buns in the oven, earning baby Kaleb the nickname "Baby Buns."

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Saturday, October 3, 2015

The couple had been trying to conceive for 17 years, suffering several miscarriages and a stillbirth. The pregnancy came as a big surprise, but they were thrilled to be welcoming a son.

On Oct. 20, 2015, baby Kaleb arrived 16 weeks early. Early photos show Kaleb resting in the palm of a nurse's hand.

After spending 356 days growing stronger in the neonatal ICU at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, Kaleb was finally able to go home. Friends and family decorated the Graveses' home with balloons and banners to mark the momentous day.

"At this very moment, all of my men are asleep under the same roof," Dana wrote on Facebook the day after his homecoming. "Some days I really didn’t think that would happen."

Kaleb still requires medical care at home, but the family hopes it's only temporary.

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Can you feel the ❤️? #TeamKaleb #BabyBunsPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cap and Gown! Because it's his 1st graduation!  #TeamKalebPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Boy with autism reunites with special bear after mother sparks widespread search

A Canadian boy was reunited with his favorite stuffed animal after losing it during a busy day out with his mother.

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Jessica Hoffart said she was out with her son, Lucas, when the 2-year-old's "best friend," a teddy bear, sometimes called Teddy and sometimes called Bear, went missing. 

Losing Teddy was particularly stressful because Lucas, who has autism, is used to having Teddy with him each day. The loss disrupted Lucas' daily routines.

"As Lucas has autism, it's very hard for him not having his best friend and safety toy," Hoffart wrote on Facebook. 

"He feeds the bear, he takes the bear to bed, he takes the bear everywhere he goes. He has dinner with Teddy and whenever he is walking, he holds the bear. When he has meltdowns … he really needs the bear," she told "Today."

This is Teddy, he is Lucas best friend and is missing. He was last seen on October 8th Brittania (Might have fallen from...Posted by Jessica Hoffart on Monday, October 10, 2016

Hoffart said she thought the bear might have fallen out of Lucas' stroller on Oct. 8 when the mother and son were traveling around Toronto. 

When her Facebook community wasn't initially able to help her find Teddy, she got worried. Hoffart tried offering Lucas another bear, but he refused it and contined to ask about Teddy's whereabouts. The company that made the stuffed animal no longer manufactored the same teddy bear.

"It was very hard for us to keep on our routine," Hoffart told "Today." "It was sad not only for him, but it was sad for me, too. It was like part of my baby was missing."

So Hoffart increased her search efforts. 

She made posters. She searched around the neigborhood. She created a Let's Find Teddy page on Facebook and a Let's Find Teddy Twitter account

Eventually, her efforts went viral, and television outlets picked up the story.

"That support was incredible," Hoffart said. "People know it is hard for autistic kids and how hard it is for them to be without safety toys or safety blankets."

Just three days after Teddy went missing, a woman came forward. Sandra Morales said she had been walking to the grocery store with her son when they saw the bear on the ground. Her son picked up the bear with plans to keep it. But that was before Morales saw Hoffart's story on the news.

Teddy and Lucas were later reunited.

"He was jumping and skipping with how happy he was," Hoffart said. "He grabbed the bear and hugged the bear and put the bear near his face. I have no words to tell you how surprised and how happy I am with all the response."

Hello everyone! Our journey is not always easy. But for sure always worth it. I believe that I am learning way more from...Posted by Let's Find Teddy on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Couple says goodbye to 168th foster child

A couple married 52 years is closing a chapter of their life after fostering their 168th child.

Sandy and Bud Wilwerding of Omaha, Nebraska, told KETV that it won’t be easy to say goodbye to the two boys who are currently living with them. After the boys leave, they will no longer be fostering any children.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

They’ve been fostering children for 46 years.

“It’s going to be an adjustment,” Bud said. “Not on my end, but on her end. It will be a big adjustment.”

Sandy says she was convinced to start fostering children after hearing a radio ad.

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“I heard on the radio, ‘If you have room in your house for one.’ Sure I have room. I only had one and from there it voomed,” she told KETV.

The couple has four children of their own and 12 grandchildren. They say they hope to spend some more time with their grandkids.

“I don’t think I did anything unique,” Sandy said. “I know a lot of people who have done it 20 to 30 years. Lots of kids and probably did it better than me. I don’t feel like I’m that unique.”

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Over the past 46 years, this Omaha couple has opened their home to 168 foster children.Posted by KETV NewsWatch 7 on Monday, October 17, 2016

A mom couldn't believe her son's kindness when he asked her to pack 2 lunches for him

A mother is feeling proud of her son after he went above and beyond to make sure a hungry classmate had something to eat at lunch time.

>> Click here to watch the news report

Josette Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico, told KOAT that at first, she was confused when her son asked her to pack two lunches every day for school.

“He said, ‘No, Mom. It’s for this little boy at school. He sits by himself and all he eats is a fruit cup,'” Duran said.

Duran later found out that the boy’s single mother had lost her job and had been struggling financially.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“This hits home for me, because a few years ago, me and my son were homeless. I was living in my car. I was washing him in bathrooms. We didn’t have food,” Duran said.

When the woman found out Duran was feeding her son, she tried to pay her back, but Duran refused.

The school’s volleyball team also raised $400 for Duran to show their gratitude. Duran refused the money again, giving it instead to the school cafeteria to pay off all the past-due balances on students’ accounts.

>> Read more trending stories

“So now no one in that school owes to anybody, and everybody can eat,” Duran said in a viral Facebook Live video.

Learn more here.

Oregon family creates Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs

Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.

A nonprofit organization started by an Oregon-based family seeks to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair.

Ryan and Lana Weimer, the founders of Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of whom were born with spinal muscular atrophy, which requires the use of wheelchairs their whole lives.

>> Read more trending stories  

Ryan Weimer wrote on the nonprofit's website that he and his son were talking years ago about Halloween costumes. His son said he wanted to be pirate.

"During a magical thinking moment I realized, 'Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let's just build one around his chair,'" Weimer wrote.

Since then, Weimer has made the biggest, "baddest" costumes possible for his sons, Keaton and Bryce. 

"When you know that you have few memories to make with your kids, you want to make priceless ones," Weimer told NBC News.

Once news of the costumes spread, Ryan began receiving requests from parents around the world asking if he would transform their children's wheelchairs into "magic."

The Weimer family project became a hugely successful nonprofit, called Magic Wheelchair. The group has made costumes in which wheelchairs have been transformed into a Mario Kart, a SpongeBob boat, a "Frozen" ice castle and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van.

"Giving families and kids those experiences that we've been able to have year after year, it's awesome. I love it,” Weimer told BuzzFeed News last year. "My kids are seen as superstars and not looked at with sympathetic eyes or sadness."

Teams of volunteers in communities nationwide help build the incredible costumes and create unforgettable moments for children during Halloween. It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to make children's dreams come true through the project.

"When we have challenges and trials and hard times, those are the things that define us," Weimer told NBC. "It doesn't matter your circumstances, you can still make beautiful things ... and it's great to see other people get behind that." 

Magic Wheelchair made eight costumes for children last year, two in Georgia and six in Oregon.

Weimer said he doesn't want Magic Wheelchair to make the costumes for Halloween only. He told ABC News that the group wants children to "roll in (the decorated wheelchairs) all year round" and to even "go shopping with Mom in a dragon."

"It's not a cure," Weimer, who has also worked as a nurse, told Buzzfeed. "I wish I was smart enough to come up with something like that. It's a cure for a day. It helps them forget. It helps other people see them as kids, and not just a kid in a wheelchair."

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Saturday, March 21, 2015

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, January 25, 2016

Look at his face!Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Swan Princess beings her ballerPosted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Before the lights turned on!Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, November 2, 2015Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Thursday, June 4, 2015

Woman gives birth to baby boy on Massachusetts Turnpike

A woman gave birth to a baby boy on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Sunday.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> We are happy to report that mom and son are doing just great, after mom delivered him just off the side of the Mass...Posted by Massachusetts State Police on Sunday, October 16, 2016

>> See the photo here

State police say they received a call Sunday night from a Framingham couple, saying the woman was in labor.

The couple had been driving east and pulled into a parking lot near exit 18.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

State police say troopers and Boston EMS responded. They were unable to get the woman to the hospital before she gave birth. State police say she delivered a baby boy in the back of an ambulance around 7:35 p.m. The woman and baby were then taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.

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State police say it was "excellent work by all involved."

They have not identified the couple.

No other information was immediately available.

Make-A-Wish helps 7-year-old Jedi defeat Darth Vader

The force was definitely with this one. A couple hundred people gathered at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday night to witness 7-year-old Brady defeat Darth Vader.

To become a Jedi Knight — to save everyone from evil — that’s been Brady’s wish for years. And who can blame him? He’s spent much of his life fighting tumors that have attacked his body.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

The battle was intense, but the crowd had Brady’s back as he pushed his hand out toward Vader, using the Force to weaken the dark master who fell from the amphitheater stairs and fled the scene with his storm troopers.

Brady’s advice to all the other kids in the city who want Darth Vader to go down? “I would tell them to be brave,” he said.

The Star Wars fan’s dream became a reality thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation of Southern Florida, who put together an electrifying spectacle featuring light sabers, Jedi Knights, themed-music, a show of laser lights and even an appearance from Chewbacca and R2-D2. It was definitely a night everyone will remember, especially Brady and his family. You can see it on The Post’s Facebook Live.

Armed with his own light saber, Brady, a resident of West Palm, arrived in a SWAT vehicle ready to kick some butt. And he did. After a few minutes of jumping, swinging and kicking, the boy who’s no stranger to fighting, saved West Palm Beach (and possibly all of South Florida) from the dark forces.

>> Read more trending stories

The Jedi master received advanced Jedi training by the local SWAT team in order to face Darth Vader and his troops. Brady was later honored with a key to the city by West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Police Chief Bryan Kummerlen.

To learn more about Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, which grants a wish every 16 hours, at an average cost of $5,000 each, for children in 13 Florida counties and the U.S. Virgin Islands, click here.

The heartwarming reason a police chief follows a school bus for special-needs children every day

Before sunrise every morning, Ralls, Texas, Police Chief Steven Longoria follows a school bus as it picks up seven special-needs students.

>> Click here to watch the news report

“It started probably mid to last school year,” Longoria told KLBK.

Longoria said he got several complaints from concerned parents that people were not stopping for the bus as kids were boarding in the dark, early hours of the morning.

“Safety is a top priority, especially for special-needs kids,” Longoria said. “It’s just something we have to do. It’s hard enough to keep a lot of them on the bus. You don’t want one getting off and getting hit by a car that doesn’t want to stop.”

>> Read more trending stories

Longoria lives in a small town and knows all the kids on the school bus. His kids often play with them at his house.

He said he’s happy to go the extra mile in the morning to make sure everyone gets to school safely.

“We have pretty good citizen support here,” Chief Longoria said. “But to know the kids appreciate it as well as the adults – it makes us feel like we are doing the right thing here.”

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