Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Artist Interview: CCA Sticker by Bindy James

We have three new webstore items for CCA! They are all commissioned stickers by artists who graciously gave their time and talent to make custom artwork for an artist-series collection. One of the new stickers you can order is this cute cactus.

The "Different is Cool" cactus is first sticker and artist we're featuring, by Bindy James, of Brisbane, Australia. She graciously designed this adorable cactus sticker for CCA. Check out our exclusive interview below to learn more about her work and why she chose to create such a cool piece for CCA Kids.

Interview with Bindy James, Artist 

CCA: Where are you from?
BJ: Brisbane, Australia.

CCA: When did you first start drawing and illustrating?
BJ: I've being playing with paint, collage, textiles and printmaking for as long as I remember but I have only being creating digital illustrations for about 4 years. 

CCA: When did your art turn into more than just a hobby?
BJ: I completed my graphic design diploma at the end of 2014. It was around this time I started to freelance and show my work on Instagram. 

CCA: What’s your process like? How long does it take to go from idea to finished illustration?
BJ: All my illustrations begin as sketches on paper and are then pieced together digitally. Even though I'm a digital artist, the way I approach my art is more like a collage artist. I work with an array scanned handmade textures, photos and subtle patterns. The time it takes to complete an illustration can vary depending on how complex the work is and how much research is required. 

CCA: Who are some of your favorite illustrators and artists?
BJ: The earliest inspiration I can remember came from the artist Jeannie Baker, illustrator and author. As a child I loved her book “Where the Forest Meets the Sea.” Her amazingly detailed collages of the natural environment has influenced my work. At the moment, I'm loving the beautifully detailed plant and animal drawings of UK illustrator Katie Scott.

CCA: What’s your favorite illustration you’ve done?
BJ: My favorite illustration so far is 'Eucalypt Preserves,' inspired by the forests of my local area.
CCA: What inspires you?
BJ: My inspiration comes from nature's oddities. Often the small, overlooked natural objects that I can pick up and hold. I love fungi and succulent plants, shells, coral, star fish (anything rock pool related) leaves, gum nuts, seedpods, flowers and feathers. When I lack inspiration I go to Museum in Brisbane and visit the biodiversity specimen collection. So many creatures and nature's treasures to look at.

CCA: Aside from illustration, do you dabble in other kinds of art?
BJ: I do like to mix it up once in a while and create traditional collages and draw with colour pencils.

CCA: What does a day in your life look like?
BJ: By day I work as a Graphic Artist for an online training provider. By night (and most of the weekend) I work on my illustrations at home in my cosy work space.

CCA: What does kindness mean to you?
BJ: Reaching out to others and sharing the love!

CCA: What’s your motto?
BJ: As an artist my motto would be “embrace and nurture what makes you different from the crowd.”

CCA: Why did you agree to help out CCA? (We’re so grateful!)
BJ: CCA does amazing work. Until recently I hadn't realized the diverse involvement that CCA has in this cause. The stories that come out of your programs are inspiring. I'm thrilled to be able to contribute!

CCA: Five things on your list of things to do before you die:
- Become a wildlife foster carer
- Create an amazing seasonal vegetable garden
- Go on an artist's retreat 
- Cuddle a baby sloth
- Visit Tasmania

Thanks, Bindy! You can see more of her art here.

You can order your own sticker on our webstore but hurry, because these limited edition cuties won't last forever!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ask the Doctor: What are my Options for Sleep Apnea?

CCA posts a monthly blog series called, "Ask the Doctor." You can submit your questions to Annie Reeves ([email protected]) and we will ask Dr. Earl Gage of Kids' Plastic Surgery in St. Louis to answer them. Thanks Dr. Gage for helping spread information and resources for our cranio families! Today's question is about two options for addressing obstructive sleep apnea.

Ask the Doctor

Question: My son is 15 and has developed sleep apnea with oxygen saturations dropping to 88% while sleeping. Would you recommend a take-down of his pharyngeal flap or skipping to jaw advancement surgery? My concern is that taking down the flap will take us back to square one with speech issues. Is this something you see often? What would you recommend? 

Answer:  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can occur as a result of pharyngeal flap surgery. OSA is most likely to occur in the weeks to months immediately after surgery and occurs in as many as 30-40% of patients.  Some studies suggest that this incidence decreases with time as the swelling from surgery subsides and as the scars soften and relax. 

When sleep apnea is demonstrated after pharyngeal flap surgery, there are a variety of things to consider in creating a treatment plan. I assume that your son has had a sleep study to document the type and severity of his apnea. It is important to clarify whether his apnea is obstructive (caused by a mechanical blockage) or central (caused by the brain not sending the signal to breathe). Obstructive apnea may be improved by surgical management that relieves the mechanical obstruction. Central apnea may or may not be improved by surgery, depending on the reason for the central apnea.

Any child or adolescent with sleep apnea should also have his or her tonsils assessed.  If the tonsils are still present and are enlarged, tonsillectomy may be effective in treating the apnea. This is actually a very common first step in addressing obstructive sleep apnea in a child.

If obstructive apnea cannot be improved by simple tonsillectomy, then you will need to have a more nuanced discussion with your team. In general, if your child will tolerate it, a CPAP mask at night might be the best option. This would allow you to improve the quality of sleep and decrease the obstructive episodes without compromising speech.

If your child will not tolerate CPAP, then surgical management of the flap may be needed. In some cases, the lateral ports may be enlarged to allow air to pass more easily and hopefully decrease obstruction. Sometimes, the flap may need to be taken down completely.

You are correct that taking down the flap will likely compromise speech. However, when other interventions fail to improve the obstruction, this is sometimes the best option. Good sleep and good oxygenation at night are important for brain growth and development and good performance in school and in your son’s future professional life. 

As for jaw advancement, this is hard to answer without seeing your child. If the lower jaw is small or sits too far back, bringing it forward may help. If the midface is underdeveloped or sits too far back, then midface advancement may help alleviate the obstruction. If your child has a normal midface and lower jaw and the teeth meet the way that they should already, I am not sure that jaw advancement will be beneficial. When required, jaw surgery should ideally be delayed until your son is done with his facial growth, typically at 17-18 years of age. This helps ensure a stable long-term result. However, there are instances where your team may recommend earlier surgery. The risks and benefits of earlier surgery need to be carefully weighed and discussed.

Best of luck as you discuss these options with your team!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CCA Spotlight: Roberts Family Update

Delaney Roberts was born in August of 2004. She was born with CranioFacial Dysplasia with Cleft Lip/Palate. She also had a hole in her diaphragm called a diaphragmatic Hernia. Her hernia was repaired when she was about 26 hours old and would be the first surgery of many.  Delaney will be having another surgery about the time she graduates this June from the 6th grade. She was hoping to have her braces off her teeth this past Halloween, but the bone graft she had done last year did not take and is the reason for the scheduled surgery.

Delaney loves to “FaceTime” with her best friend, who lives out of state and you will rarely find her without her beloved iPod. Her favorite artists are Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift. She just started Upward Basketball for her second season. She loves working in the mornings at school as a Safety Patrol Member and was excited to be picked to be 1 of 15 classmates out of  50 total patrol students from her school to walk in the Starlight Holiday Parade. She also recently receive a Tiger Award at her school for “Being a good Math Participant.”

She loves her little sister, Kendall, who was born in October of 2008. Kendall is in the 1st grade and loves to steal hugs from her big sister, which Delaney says is “totally annoying,” but what little sister isn’t at 7 years old?  Kendall is trying out her first season of Upward Cheer and hopes to be able to cheer at one of her sisters basketball games this season.  When cheer/basketball is over she wishes to go back to taking ice skating lessons or gymnastics. She loves to collect Shopkins and play Animal Crossing with her sister on her Nintendo. 

Delaney and Kendall have attended two CCA retreats and hope to go to more. They have both really enjoyed meeting new friends and making memories of the fun at retreat!

Hopefully, the girls will get to attend more Retreats in the future, but unfortunately they'll have to miss the 2016 Retreat because Delaney is having a surgery this summer. Good luck, Delaney, we will miss you and we will be thinking of you both! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cash for Trash: Collect your used ink cartridges!

We need your help! Please collect used ink cartridges for CCA to recycle. Register online here and help us get to our $1000 goal by the end of 2016.

We want to send more kids to the Annual Family Retreat & Educational Symposium! Our goal is to raise $1000 to send one family to Retreat just from ink cartridges.

What will it take, you ask?
Just collect your old ink cartridges from your house, classroom, school, parents' work, church, and even your neighborhood! Each cartridge is valued at or more than $1!

After you've collected a box full, contact CCA and we will send you a FREE shipping label. It's super simple - we promise.

Check you this video of Erica explaining just how to get started.

We can do this with your help. THANK YOU!

Monday, April 11, 2016

New #ChooseKind Video

We're more than excited to share another video from the Capistrano Unified School District in California! The innovative way the teachers at CUSD are using Wonder is simply amazing. This book and resources CCA provides, including matching schools with WonderKids for classroom visits, are changing lives around the country. Thank you to Don Juan Avila Middle School and all the teachers there who are sharing the #ChooseKind message with their students!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Differences Shouldn't Mean Social Isolation

Differences Shouldn’t Mean Social Isolation 

For elementary and middle school students such as Auggie, the main character from the best-selling novel, Wonder, the thought of going to school each morning fills them with dread and anxiety – not because of the classroom work, but because of the social environment.  

In the United States, young people spend half of their waking hours in school. Lunch and recess give students a way to break up the day, socialize and recharge before going back to class. But, for some students, especially students who may have differences or have fewer social skills than their peers, lunch and recess are hardly a time to unwind. It is a time to dread.

The social pressures of the playground and the lunch table combined with a students' social status redefined on today’s digital play ground, can make lunchtime more stressful than academic work itself.

How can we help a child or teen who doesn’t want to go to school because even lunch seems like misery

Parents can play an important role:   they can become advocates by bringing to their child's school a new focus on the issue of social isolation including the programs Beyond Differences offers.  School counselors, teachers, and administrators are all likely to be interested in this important and burgeoning crisis of adolescence.

Educators can also play an important role: teachers can and typically are "the wise ones" who brings Beyond Differences’ national awareness days - for example, the popular National No One Eats Alone Day -  to their students along with utilizing Beyond Differences’ teacher’s guides which offer programs and activities to help students become leaders

We now know that social isolation is often the precursor to bullying. Socially isolated students do not have anyone to sit with at lunch, no one to play with at recess, and often find themselves alone at a crucial time for adolescent social development.  According to a 2013 research study on children and social isolation, negative health consequences can be serious and include increased risk of heart disease, sleep disturbances and obesity

Socially isolated students also run higher risks of engaging in truancy, self-harm and community violence

Imagine a middle school with endless social opportunities for every child regardless of how a child looks, what they eat, or their family’s socio-economic status. Imagine one where students always have someone to sit with at lunch. One where no one was left out.  As ambitious as it seems, Beyond Differences is committed to empowering youth to end social isolation

Bring our next national awareness event -- Be The One Day -- to your child’s middle or elementary school on April 22, 2016.  Visit and see how exciting this special event can be for your child’s school.  We adults may not have had the benefit of Beyond Differences when we were growing up, but our children do and it’s time to take advantage of these student-led, original, and fun student programs to end social isolation today.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Thank you, Jackson & Victoria

There are so many kind families who support CCA in a variety of ways. One of the sweetest is our CCA Kids who donate their birthdays to CCA to help raise funds to send kids to Retreat and surgery.

After several people did this on their own - thanks, Joe Brooks! - we were inspired to create a formal club, hence the CCA Birthday Club.
We are so grateful to everyone who has participated and is signed up to do so this year. One of our first Birthday Club members, Jackson Pond, actually donated his birthday in honor of his sister, Victoria, who has a craniofacial difference. We wanted to share his kind note and celebrate him for a SUPER SIBLING!

Thank you, Jackson, for your generosity and enthusiasm to make the world a kinder place!