New Dell Foundation grants focus on teen mental health, pediatric asthma data projects at Dell Medical School

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has new given new grants toward two Dell Medical School at the University of Texas projects. One will seek to create better ways to transition teens from pediatric to adult mental health care, and the other will focus on creating a database to give physicians better information on environmental and social factors that impact their patients.

The $623,000 grant for the Center for Youth Mental Health will fund pilot projects to improve mental health care for people ages 15 to 25. Dr. Stephen Strakowski, psychiatry chair at the medical school, says this age group is a key age group because it is when many symptoms for depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder begin to show. As well, it’s an age in which people are trying to find their independence. In this age range, he says, “60 to 80 percent drop out of care.”

Michael and Susan Dell continue to fund projects at the Dell Medical School, including two new grants, through their foundation. Alberto Martínez AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013

“We’re looking for creative ways to change how we manage 15- to 25-years-olds who struggle with mental health issues,” he says.

The problem of transitioning from pediatric care to adult care is not unique to mental health, Strakowski says. It also happens with other illnesses, too, and doctors are not trained in adolescence. They are trained in pediatric or adult care, but not this very different in-between stage.

Dr. Stephen Strakowski is the chair of psychiatry Dell Medical School at University of Texas.

Eighteen, he says, is a very artificial boundary between childhood and adulthood.

“At 17 they are treated like they are 11 or 12; at 18, they are treated like they are 40,” Strakowski says.

The hope is the knowledge gained in mental health care can be applied with other specialties.

Monday is the deadline for submission of proposals for this round; another round will happen in the fall. The funding will continue for two years, and then Strakowski hopes to continue to develop new programs by applying for a grant through the National Institutes of Health.

A $340,000 grant will help build a database to provide doctors access to social, behavioral and environmental data that is influencing a patient’s health.

Dr. Anjum Khurshid, director of data integration and an assistant professor in the department of population health, is specifically looking at what information doctors at People’s Community Clinic would like to have access to when it comes to managing pediatric asthma. In the patient’s medical records, could information about the pollen count pop up in patients that have a known pollen allergy? Could doctors be given information on ozone levels for patients living close to Interstate 35 or MoPac Boulevard? If a patient lives with a smoker in their house and the provider was made aware of that, would that change the course of treatment?

Dr. Anjum Khurshid, director of data integration and an assistant professor in the department of population health,

Those social, environmental and behavioral factors, he says, determine 80 percent of a patient’s outcome. “Only 15 percent to 20 percent is what we do in clinical settings,” he says.

“One of the challenges is how do we bring the data to the providers,” Khurshid says.

While this grant is studying pediatric asthma patients, what it develops could cross many different specialties.

Khurshid is working with providers to cater how they access the information. What he does know is they want the information to be integrated with the medical records system they are using already.

Khurshid will create and implement the database in about 18 months. “It will show us the right way, and then it will be about scaling it up,” Khurshid says.

Since Dell Medical School opened to its first class in 2016, it has focused on being patient-centered and on health and wellness and preventative care.

“This is a big part of the Dell Med mission — creating incubators and think tanks,” Strakowski said, with an eye at rethinking the way medical care is delivered.

More research is being done at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

New Pollyanna Theatre Company children’s play about opioid addiction

The opioid crisis has come to children’s theater. In May, Pollyanna Theatre Company is exploring the epidemic that has left a generation of kids growing up without their parents or growing up with a parent whose addiction brings an unpredictability to their lives.

“The Secret of the Soap & Spin” is a new work from playwright Jonathan Graham, whose works “The Boy Who Loved Monsters and The Girl Who Loved Peas” and “The Thing in Grandma’s Closet” also have been on Pollyanna’s stage.

Pollyanna Artistic Director Judy Matetzschk-Campbell, says she and Graham had been talking about doing another new work together. “We were intrigued by the notion that are for a wide variety of reasons of kids having to raise themselves,” she says.

It lead them to think about a laundry mat as a place where kids might congregate after school when there is no one to care for them at home. The conversation became more and more specific around “what the life of these children was really life,” she says.

Graham lives in Indiana, an area of the country that has been particularly hard hit by opioid addiction.

“I thought it was important to address,” he says, but “I didn’t want to address it in a graphic way.”

Instead, the story does it in a metaphorical way. “It is completely possible that some audience members will not necessarily know (the play is about addiction) and that’s probably OK,” he says. “The core of the story is the love between a parent and a child where the parent is the one who really needs help.”

“The Secret of the Soap & Spin” tells the story of 10-year-old Vic and his mom, who come to the laundry mat to do their laundry, but then she gets distracted. The staging for the play will have two levels: The upper level is the real world. The lower level is the fantastical world into which the mother’s addiction drags them. That world features characters that represent his mom’s struggle.

Lint is one of those characters. Like drug addiction, it sticks to you and won’t let you go. Dusty, the dust bunny, seems friendly at first, but then become menacing and chases you. The Broom is a good person in the underworld who tries to sweep bad elements away. Mop is clearly struggling with addiction, but ends up being Vic’s guide in the underworld.

Vic and the mother are the only people who are played by realistic looking actors. The others are played by puppets or people in mascot-like costumes.

The play was designed for kids in grades second through fifth grades. One of the things it addresses is that kids of addicts might feel like they have to try to fix things or if they could just be good enough, their parent will be better.

“Mop tells Vic it’s not his job to have to fix people and it’s OK to be a little boy,” Matetzschk-Campbell says.

The story doesn’t end with the mom suddenly becoming fixed, though, but it does have a happy ending. The mom comes back to the real world with Vic, and they are able to finish their laundry. They are able to go on with their day.

“It’s not suggesting that everything is going to be OK, but it is moving into the future with a sense of hope,” Graham says.

For those kids who understand what this play is about, who have that experience in their families, it’s important for them to see a reflection of themselves in the safe place of the theater, Matetzschk-Campbell says.

Pollyanna Theatre Company presents plays throughout the year for both public audiences and school groups that are new works and not adaptations of books. That’s one of the things Graham appreciates about the theater group. “It’s so important to provide stories for young audiences that are fresh and about things that are going on in the world right now,” he says.

Pollyanna’s next offering won’t be as serious. This summer, “If Wishes Were Fishes,” will tell the story of a fish caught in a net who grants wishes and what three friends do with those wishes. In fall, the theater for the very young show will present “Dog Jobs” about the jobs characters do around the neighborhood. For school-age kids, “The Mystery of the Green-teethed Ghost” will have kids doing math and science. Next winter the Civil Rights story “Liberty! Equality! and Fireworks!” returns to the LBJ Library and Museum.Pollyanna will round out the season with “The Texas Chili Queens,” about a true Texas story of women who went into the chili making business and fought the city of San Antonio.

Pollyanna Theatre. “The Secret of the Soap & Spin.”

When: 2 p.m. May 12-13, 19-20.

Where: Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Tickets: $10.50-$12.


CDC’s new autism numbers show increase, but there’s more to that

New estimates of the prevalence of autism from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are out. Now 1 in 59 8-year-olds are on the autism spectrum. Previously, the number was 1 in 68 in 2016.

The numbers come from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network – which looks at health and education records of about 300,000 kids.

RELATED: Mom shares the less-than-pretty truth about raising a child with autism

Maddox Pipkin, 4, and his mother Vanessa Pipkin sit in their seats on an American Airlines plane during the Wings for All event. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman 2016

One of the reasons the numbers might have gone up, according to the CDC, is better tracking of children who are minorities — specifically Hispanic and black. The numbers come from 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. They represent about 8 percent of 8-year-old children in the United States.

Autism also now has many different types of people under its big umbrella. In 2013 when the American Psychiatric Association delivered its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what it calls DSM-5, it changed the way some kids with autism were labeled. It created a spectrum of disorders and did away with labeling high functioning people as having Asperger’s syndrome and brought more people under the autism label.

RELATED: How a child with autism found an education beyond special education

RELATED: How a teen with autism found a way to communicate through music and poetry

Austin researcher Laurence Becker has been studying  these savants. In May he’ll be premiering a documentary on seven savant artists. “Fierce Love and Art” will premiere at 7 p.m. May 12 at a theater that is still being finalized. Tickets are $10 a person, $25 for a family. Go to for more information.

The  CDC says more needs to be done to identify kids with autism earlier in their lives so that therapy can begin sooner.

It gives these facts:

  • Fewer than half of the children identified in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network received their first autism diagnosis by the time they were 4 years old.
  • Although 85 percent of children with autism had concerns about their development noted in their health records by the time they were 3 years old, only 42 percent received a developmental evaluation by that age.
  • This lag between first concern and first evaluation may affect when children with autism can begin getting the services they need.

Read more about how to tell if your child might be showing signs with these two stories:

Is your child on track? The CDC develops an app

Does your child need Early Childhood Intervention program?

And, if you haven’t heard about Julia, the “Sesame Street” puppet with autism, learn more here:

“Sesame Street” continues autism awareness episodes

Dylan Flint, 7, and Liesa Randel get their boarding passes for the Wings for All flight. Wings for All event at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport allowed families with children with autism to practice going through security and boarding a plane.  Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman 2016

Summer is coming up and that means travel. Read these stories below:

14 tips to traveling with a child with autism

Wings for All helps kids with autism board a plane


Beautiful spring weekend for enjoying these family events in Austin, April 27-29

If ever there was a beautiful weekend to head outdoors with the kids this would be one. Try your hand at the City nature Challenge at local parks, or try out a new playground with our guide of the best in Austin.

Find more events for the family with our list:

City Nature Challenge. Find things in nature and record and share what you find. Friday-Tuesday. Get help at these events: 3 p.m. Friday, JJ Seabrook Greenbelt; 9 a.m. Saturday, Mabel Davis District Park; 3 p.m. Saturday, Willowbrook Reach; 3 p.m. Sunday, Gracywoods Neighborhood Park.

Victor Clark spends Monday afternoon with son KaRon, 2, at Lake Park in the Mueller Development, Danielle Villasana/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Game Chica Conference. For girls ages 9 to 18. Learn how to design video games with experts from Austin technology companies. $15, includes lunch. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. HomeAway at the Domain, 11800 Domain Blvd. No. 300.

“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through a dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.

“Disney on Ice: Reach for the Stars.” Mickey and friends in a star-studded extravaganza. $15-$50. 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Thinkery. Sensory Friendly Hours. Free breakfast tacos from Hat Creek Burger Company and a free screening of “Trolls” at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. 8 a.m. Sunday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Firetruck visits. 10:30 a.m. Friday. $7. Family concert and picnic. 5 p.m. Saturday. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. Saturday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

Fairytale Tea Party. Dress in princess attire, play games and make crafts. Free. 10 a.m. Saturday. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.

Thinkery. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.




World Dance Day. Noon Sunday, Central Library.

That’s My Face Film Series: “The Making of Claudia Rankin.” For young adults. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Free. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” 11 a.m. Saturday.

Tween Anime Club: “Sgt. Frog.” 2 p.m. Friday, Twin Oaks Branch.


Plan ahead: Check our May calendar of family events in Austin

May give us the big preview for summer. The temperatures rise. The fun is just around the corner. We are filled with anticipation about the three months to come.

Don’t skip ahead to June, July and August. Check out these May adventures to be had with the kids:


Lemonade Day. Set up your own lemonade stand May 5.

Finn Holt won Lemonade Day one year. This year, that event will take place on May 5. Photo from Austin Lemonade Day.

Maker Faire Austin. See artists and scientists and crafters make things and make some things with them. $12-$42. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 5-6. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.

Maker Faire Austin features interactive exhibits and hands-on workshops on everything from making soaps to using 3D printers. Contributed by Maker Faire Austin

Field Day. Waller Creek Conservancy hosts this event to get you moving, help you learn about healthy food and more. Free. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 12. (Rain Day is May 19.) Palm Park, 711 E. Third St.

Sustainable Food Center: Family Friendly Beehive Tour. Take this special class just for kids. 1 p.m. May 5. Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E. 17th St. $40. with adult.

Car seat check. 9 a.m. May 1, Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. May 10, BabyEarth, 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd. Suite 100, Round Rock. 9 a.m. May 12, Buda Fire Station 2, 151 FM 2001, Buda. 9 a.m. May 14, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St. 9 a.m. May 24, Turner Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. May 5, Seton Southwest Medical Center, 7900 FM 1826. 1 p.m. May 5, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Round Rock, 300 University Blvd., Round Rock. 5 p.m. May 7, People’s Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa. 9 a.m. May 12, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd. 9 a.m. May 19, Seton Medical Center Williamson, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock. 2 p.m. May 20, Scott & White Medical Center Lakeway, 200 Medical Parkway, Lakeway. In Spanish: 5 p.m. May 25, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

Woodland Faerie Trail. See fairy houses on this trail. May 26-Aug. 10. Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road.

Zilker Botanical Garden will open up the Woodland Faerie Trail this month.
Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

CelebrASIA Austin Asian Pacific American Food & Heritage Festival. See cultural performances, taste different foods and enjoy kids activities. This year it’s the year of the mango with mango-themed foods and activities. Free, food for purchase. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

GirlStart Starry Nights. Look at the mini planetarium and enjoy hands-on activities. 5:30 p.m. May 3. GirlStart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month it’s all about the Kentucky Derbey. Free. 10 a.m. to noon May 2. Register at


Bullock MuseumLiving History Days: Re-enactors stroll through the museum, 10 a.m. May 3. H-E-B Free First Sunday. Math Happens. Noon to 5 p.m. May 6. Free. Little Texans: Splatter. Splatter paint on canvases. For ages 2-5, 10 a.m. May 10. Science Thursdays: 10 a.m. May 17. Story time: Inch by Inch. A story time about size. 10 a.m.May 24. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Contemporary Austin. Saturdays are for Families: Recycled Robots. Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 12. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

George Washington Carver Museum First Saturdays. Enjoy special family activities. Noon, May 5. 1165 Angelina St.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Get the Job Done: Simple Machines. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. May 6. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Science Mill. Fun with Chemistry. University of Texas Women in Natural Sciences group sponsors hands-on activities. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 5. Homeschool Day Technology. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 10. Scavenger Hunt. Become a code-breaking secret agent. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 26-28. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Thinkery. Art Start: My Many Colored Days: 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays (1-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays (2-year-olds), Wednesdays through May 9. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Baby Bloomers: Away We Go. Learn about things that take flight. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays, except May 14 and May 28. For birth to age 3. $5. Parents’ Nights Out. Go see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or go out to dinner nearby while your kids play. Children must be 4 and up and potty-trained. 5:30-10 p.m. May 11. $45 first child, $25 each additional child. Early Learners: Color Wonders. Mix colors and make portraits. 9:30 a.m. May 28, age 1, 10:30 a.m. age 2, 11:30 a.m. Age 3. $20. Birdhouses. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. May 12-13, May 26-28. $8. Soap Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. May 5-6, May 19-20. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Gardening Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Free with admission. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Mother’s Day professional photo session. $10:30 a.m. May 4. $7. Daddy & Me Playdate: Make Mommy a Gift. $12. 10:30 a.m. May 5. Diaper Derby. Crawling babies race. 1 p.m. May 5. Free. Emo Visits. 10:30 a.m. May 15. $12. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. May 13. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road.

Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “The Lorax.” See the movie outside. 6 p.m. May 4. $12, Free for children 4 and younger. Garden Bug Trackers. Find bugs in the wild as a family and create tools to find them in your yard. Noon, May 12. $15 each parent/child. Nature Nets. Explore creatures in the creek with a net. Noon May 26. $15 each parent/child. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Free with admission. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Williamson Museum. Pioneer Days at Old Settlers’ Park in Round Rock. Learn how to churn butter, make corn hust dolls and dip candles. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 5. Free. Hands-on History. Learn about Texas wildflowers during National Wildflower Week. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 12. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown.


Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Pollyanna Theatre. “The Secret of Soap & Spin.” 10-year-old Vic finds magic in the laundry map as his mother goes missing. For grades 2-5. 2 p.m. May 12-13, 19-20. $10.50-$12. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Ballet Austin. “Peter Pan.” Watch as Ballet Austin sprinkles a little pixie dust on the story. 8 p.m. May 11-12, 2 p.m. May 12, 3 p.m. May 13. $27-$99. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

“Daniel Tiger.” (PBS)


Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” 10:25 a.m. May 5 and 10:15 a.m. May 6, Slaughter Lane. “Speed Racer.” Noon May 26, and 6:45 p.m. May 29, Ritz.

Movies in the Park. “The Emperor’s New Groove.” 8 p.m. May 10, Dick Nickols Park.Free.

“Coco.” 8 p.m. May 17, Dove Springs Park.


BookPeople events: Michael Fry: “How to Be A Supervillain: Born to Be Good.” 2 p.m. May 6; Hena Khan: “Power Forward,” 6 p.m. May 8; Cat Berry: “Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!” 2 p.m. May 20. 10:30 a.m. storytimes: Mighty Mice, May 1; Brand New Books, May 2; We Love Austin Authors, May 5; I Love Mom, May 8; Ms. Staci, May 9; Author Mary Sullivan, May 12; Armstrong Community Music School, May 15, Tiny Tails Petting Zoo, May 16; 5 Book Dive Presents: The Summer Reading Splash at AISD Performing Arts Center, 10 a.m. May 19; Elephant and Piggie, May 23; Baby Signs, May 23; Modern First Library, May 26; BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Llama Llama Loves to Read,” May 5. Mother’s Day Story Time, May 12; “Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century,” May 19; An Elephant & Piggie Story time, May 26.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is at the library in May. Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm

At the library

Art Smart: Around the World. 10:30 a.m. May 1, Terrazas Branch. 11:15 a.m. May 9, Yarborough Branch. 10:15 a.m. May 16, Cepeda Branch. 6:30 p.m. May 22, Willie Mae Kirk. 11 a.m. May 31, University Hills Branch.

Art Smart: Celebrating Asian Dragons. 3:30 p.m. May 3, Pleasant Hill Branch. 4:30 p.m. May 10, Twin Oaks Branch. 6 p.m. May 16, Cepeda Branch. 3:30 p.m. May 30, Milwood Branch.

Tabletop Tuesday. Play games. 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. May 1, Yarborough Branch. 6 p.m. May 22, Old Quarry Branch. 6 p.m. May 24, Spicewood Springs Branch. 11 a.m. May 30, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. May 2, North Village Branch. With Roo. 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Little Walnut Creek Branch. With Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, Yarborough Branch. With George. 3:45 pm. May 9, Pleasant Hill Branch. With Daisy. 11:15 a.m. May 24, Ruiz Branch.

Lego Lab. 3:30 p.m. May 2, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 3:30 p.m. May 9, Spicewood Springs Branch. 6:30 p.m. May 30, Carver Branch.

Savvy Shopper for ages 7-12. 3:30 p.m. May 2, Yarborough Branch.

May the Fourth Be With You. 2:30 p.m. May 4, Yarborough Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Ferdinand.” 1 p.m. May 5, St. John Branch.

2 O’Clock Tunes: Rollfast Rambers. 2 p.m. May 5, Twin Oaks Branch.

Revenge of the 5th: “The Last Jedi.” 2 p.m. May 5, Central Library.

Ricado Parra, Chilean singer-writer. 2 p.m. May 5, Manchaca Road Branch.

Tech Connect: Python Coding. 6 p.m. May 8, Twin Oaks Branch. Screen Literacy for Kids. 11 a.m. May 9, Old Quarry Branch. Managing Your Personal Archive. 7 p.m. Austin History Center. Hacking Your Homework. 3:30 p.m. May 10, Carver Branch. Exploring the Austin History Center Archive. 6 p.m. May 10, North Village Branch. Robots in the Library, 2:30 p.m. May 11, Yarborough Branch. Digital Drawing for Kids. 3:30 p.m. May 11, Carver Branch. 11 a.m. May 12, Pleasant Hill Branch. Stop Motion Animation. 1:30 p.. May 12.

Crafternoon: Gifts for Caregivers. 3:30 p.m. May 9, Carver Branch. Crafternoon. 4:30 p.m. May 10, Twin Oaks Branch. 3 p.m. May 14 and 21, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 3:30 p.m. May 22, Howson Branch. Crafternoon: Piñatas. 3:30 p.m. May 29, Howson Branch.

Tech Thursday. 4:30 p.m. May 10, Ruiz Branch.

Teen Book Club: “In Real Life.” 6:30 p.m. May 10, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Falling Kingdoms.” 3 p.m. May 12, Central Library. “Alex & Eliza: A Love Store.” 10:15 .m. May 15, Howson Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “The Last Jedi.” 3:30 p.m. May 11, Carver Branch. “Rio 2,” 3:30 p.m. May 11, Old Quarry Branch.

Perler Bead Saturdays. Noon, May 12, University Hills Branch.

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. May 13, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Music and Movement. 11 a.m. May 14, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Mother Daughter Book Club: Book Share. 6 p.m. May 16, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. May 16, Howson Branch.

NBTween Book Club: “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” 6 p.m May 17, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Little White Duck.” 6 p.m. May 17, Twin Oaks Branch.

Tween Anime Club: “Wolf Children.” 3 p.m. May 25, Twin Oaks Branch.

Kids Create: Make Art like Alma Thomas. 2:30 p.m. May 18, Yarborough Branch.

Summer Camp Resource Fair. 1 p.m. May 19, Carver Branch.

El día de los niños/El día de los libros Celebration. 11 a.m. May 19, Pleasant Hill Branch. 3 p.m. May 25, St. John Branch. 10 a.m. May 26, Milwood Branch.

Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. May 20, Central Library.

Kids Summer Movie Series: “Monster Trucks.” 11:15 a.m. May 24, Old Quarry Branch.

Kids Create: Engineering Challenge. 2:30 p.m. May 25, Yarborough Branch.

University of Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger gets behind Austin kid’s quest to raise $1 million to save his sister

University of Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is trying to help 13-year-old Garland Benson raise $1 million for the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger runs the ball during the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game against Missouri. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2017

In December, we profiled Garland, whose sister Christiane has the genetic disease, in which the lipopigments, which are made of fat and protein, build up in the brain and the person doesn’t have the ability to clear the cells of them. It causes kids to become clumsy, and then become blind, have seizures and become developmental delayed. In Christiane’s type, the life expectancy is sometime in late teens, early 20s.

Garland Benson is trying to raise $1 million for a treatment for Batten disease, which his sister Christiane has.

Garland’s parents who started the Beyond Batten Foundation are trying to raise $6 million to fund a possible treatment. Garland started his own fundraising campaign Be the Hero to raise $1 million of that. He has raised $370,000 so far.  People can donate through his website page on or by texting “Hero” to 501501.

Watch the video of Ehlinger and Garland encouraging people to donate.

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A third baby for Kate Middleton and Prince William: Does three babies feel like a lot?

Monday morning Duchess Kate Middleton gave birth to her and Prince William’s third child, a boy. 

Three babies. For those of us who have two babies or only one baby, would a third baby be totally out of the question?

Dean of Windsor, David Conner speaks to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they leave after the Easter Mattins Service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 1 in Windsor, England. Simon Dawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

In a two-parent household, you’re out-manned for sure, but maybe you don’t worry about the things you fretted about with the first child or even the second child. Maybe you’ve seen the diaper commercial where the mom is throwing out binky after binky that falls on the floor with the first child. By the second child, she’s rinsing it off or putting it in her mouth to somehow sanitize it (Does that really work? We’re thinking not.). If it showed the third child, that mom would just pick the binky right off the floor and put it back in her baby’s mouth. The other two kids have totally brought home worse germs from school — is probably her line of thinking.

One friend told me that going from one to two kids was much worse than going from two to three. By the time you get to four or five, it’s like running a small daycare, except the older kids can help with the younger kids and the younger kids help keep you sane and not sweat the small stuff when the older kids are teenagers.

For those who have taken the leap from two to three (or more), we’d love to hear what your experiences have been like. Does each kid get easier? Or does the work exponentially grow?

Read this essay from Parenting magazine: “The Gift of the Third Child.”

Of course for Duchess Kate, a third baby comes with a nanny and probably a night nurse, too.

Texas psychiatrist shares why a generation of college kids and 20-somethings are stuck at home

San Antonio psychiatrist Melissa Stennett Deuter noticed a common theme in many of the patients who were coming to see her. They were all young adults who had done fine or better than fine in high school. They went off to college and then they came home. They were given a diagnosis of anxiety or depression.

Their parents gave them space and time. Then months passed. They weren’t back in school. Often, they weren’t working or leaving the house. Everyone was frustrated, and they came to see her.

“If the plan is: this person is depressed and wait (until they are ready), more than half don’t get up,” she says.

San Antonio psychiatrist Melissa Stennett Deuter wrote “Stuck in the Sick Role: How Illness Becomes an Identity” about what happens to kids when they fail as young adults.

“They came to a set point and do the least amount that they had to do,” Deuter says. If someone else is willing to take care of you, wouldn’t you let them and not do for yourself?, she asks.

Her book, “Stuck in the Sick Role: How Illness Becomes an Identity,” tries to explain why this is happening and gives parents a guide to getting their now-adult kids on the path to being productive again.

“I see a lot of young people who are not seriously ill, not in the way they are afraid they are,” she says.

Instead, she says, “The reason he’s not getting a job is because he’s afraid and doesn’t know how. He’s never gotten a job.”

RELATED: Sending a kid off to college in the fall, helicopter parent? Now’s the time to land and let your kid take off

The world for these young adults has changed. We have emphasized academics. We have limited their unsupervised time. We have not given them life skills.

“We have kids who reach adulthood, and they really have no confidence in themselves; … they have limited skills,” she says.

“Stuck in the Sick Role: How Illness Becomes an Identity,” by Melissa Stennett Deuter

They go off to college because they are told everyone has to go to college, even if they are not ready. It’s much different than they think it’s going to be. They look depressed, but they’re not incapacitated, Deuter says.

“The problem is that their life plan isn’t working out,” she says.

They are stressed and they are exhausted. They probably aren’t clinically depressed, she says.

Yet, they are given a diagnosis and given medication. The medication they are being given, she says, can’t solve the fact that they need help building skills and regaining their confidence.

There’s a danger in taking medications that you don’t really need, she says, because the risks outweigh the benefits.

One of those risks is that you begin to believe that depression is your problem. “Now the story you’re telling yourself is that you’re sick, very, very sick, when in fact that the reason why the medication isn’t working is because you’re not sick enough for the medication to work,” she says.

It changes the young adult’s whole identity. Instead of being that successful person they saw themselves in high school, they see themselves as a sick person.

We can prevent this by preparing kids for life better, not just for academics. That means in those high school years, we don’t give their busy academic or extracurricular schedule as the reason why they can’t do the adult things such as being able to feed themselves, do their own laundry, handle a budget, do chores around the house, and maybe have a job.

RELATED: How to move from high school to college for you and your teen

“If I’m raising a teenager who is going off to college in a couple of years, if he can’t get out of bed on his own and can’t prepare a meal, where’s that going to go in a couple of years?” she asks.

That adult life stuff is all things they can be doing under their parents’ watchful eyes but without parents doing it for them. It’s better to let them fail when they are still high-schoolers living at home, than in college far from home, Deuter says.

For parents who have that kid who has come home and now doesn’t seem to be making any progress getting a job or even getting out of bed, Deuter recommends parents set limits as soon as they get home (or now, if they already are stuck).

  • Set a time by which they have to either be re-enrolled in college or have a job.
  • If the choice is to have a job, but stay at home, make them pay rent.
  • Expect them to have chores around the house.
  • Require that they go to sleep when normal people go to sleep and be up during normal waking hours.
  • Stop doing everything for them.

Little by little they will have success at a job or having some form of responsibility. They will want to leave the house again, though it might not be back to school. College isn’t for everyone,and it isn’t for everyone at age 18.

RELATED: Professor offers tips on how students should talk to professors

University of Texas School of Nursing looking for participants in two studies on sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

University of Texas School of Nursing is enrolling patients in two different studies that look at Alzheimer’s disease and sleep.

Kathy Richards, research professor and senior research scientist, has been interested in the possible connection between the two for decades. She’s heading both studies at UT.

University of Texas School of Nursing research professor and senior research scientist Kathy Richards has been studying sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s disease and restless leg syndrome and nighttime agitation in people with Alzheimer’s. University of Texas

One of the things that often happens with Alzheimer’s disease is something called “sundowning.” The person with Alzheimer’s disease becomes agitated or restless at night. Often, it’s like they have their days and nights reversed.

“It’s the most common reason for admission to the nursing home,” Richards says. It becomes hard to care for them in their home, she says, because they are up at night, when their loved ones need to be sleeping, and they try to leave home.

She knows the affect sundowning can have on a family. Richards’ aunt, who had Alzheimer’s disease, escaped from the home she shared with her husband one night. She went out to the lake, started the boat and drown, Richards says.

“That’s not as uncommon as you think,” she says.

Traditionally, sundowning was either treated by trying to improve the patient’s sleep hygiene through reducing napping and increasing exercise, she says. Sometimes patients also would be given anti-psychotics or hypnotic medications to control the behaviors, but those can lead to injuries from falls or strokes or death.

One of Richards’ studies is looking at restless leg syndrome and Alzheimer’s. Could the medication used for restless leg syndrome be beneficial to someone who has sundowning? Restless leg syndrome is a painful or uncomfortable sensation in the legs that only happens in the evening and night or gets worse at those times. It makes people feel like they have to move their legs or get up and walk around.

Restless leg syndrome is worse with people who have iron deficiencies, which tend to happen as you get older. Some antidepressants make Restless leg syndrome worsens with some antidepressants, which people with Alzheimer’s are often given to control the agitation.

Richards has been wanting to study this for 20 years, but first, she had to figure out how to diagnose restless leg syndrome without a patient being able to tell her what they were feeling. The technique she developed, first on people without Alzheimer’s, and then carried through to people with Alzheimer’s, is to have a patient sit in a chair for 20 minutes and have a nurse record the number of times their legs move. What she found was that about 75 percent of people with Alzheimer’s also had restless leg syndrome.

Now the new study, called Nighttime Agitation and Restless Leg Syndrome in People with Alzheimer’s disease is studying people with Alzheimer’s who have nighttime agitation and are in nursing homes. Some get gabapentin enacarbil, a medication approved for restless leg syndrome. The others get a placebo pill.

The hope is that if that medication works on people with Alzheimer’s disease who have nighttime agitation fewer of them will need to be in a nursing home or can stay in their own home longer. To register someone for that study, email or call 512-475-7505.

The other project is the second part of a study that looks at people with mild cognitive impairment to see if they have sleep apnea and if using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine would help improve their memory. An earlier study on people in nursing homes with Alzheimer’s disease found that 65 percent of them had obstructive sleep apnea. “We were very surprised by that,” she says.

The hope is that this second phase of the Memories study will study about 450 people with mild cognitive impairment. They will be tested for sleep apnea. If they already have a sleep apnea diagnosis, they can be part of the study if they were given a CPAP years ago but don’t use it. In the study, four groups of people will be looked at: People with sleep apnea who use the CPAP at least four hours a night; people with sleep apnea who use the CPAP less than four hours a night; people with sleep apnea who don’t use the CPAP; and people with mild cognitive impairment who don’t have sleep apnea.

Participants will be studied for a year. To register for that study, email or call 512-471-9462.

What’s on tap for this weekend? Rain, but also these Austin family events, April 20-22

I’m not going to lie. This Earth Day weekend will be a wet one. The biggest storms will hit on Saturday. Check outdoor event websites in advance to see if they are still happening or if they’ve been canceled or postponed.

Fingers crossed, we’ll still be able to celebrate the butterflies, enjoy nature, run an obstacle course and more.

Emily Ann Theatre is celebrating the Butterfly Festival in April.

Check out these family events:

Science Mill. Earth Day Butterfly Bonanza. Learn more about butterflies. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Butterfly Festival. Games, crafts and live butterfly release. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Free. The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley.

LBJ Library Block Party. Celebrate the opening day of “Get in the Game: The Fight for Equality in American Sports.” Play basketball, live music, food trucks and more. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. LBJ Presidential Library, 2313 Red River St.

Urban Air Adventure Park Grand Opening. The first 100 people in get free jumping for the rest of 2018. The park includes trampolines, dodge ball courts, airbag drop zones, slam dunk zone, tumbling track, indoor playground, obstacle course and more. 10 a.m. Saturday. 13201 RM N. 620, Cedar Park.

Austin Nature & Science Center. Austin’s Nature Day Nature and Art. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Free. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive.

Kids Obstacle Challenge. Run through a touring obstacle course including a rope swing into a giant mud pit, climb cargo nets and army crawl through obstacles. Parents run free with kids admission. $32-$66. 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Drive, Dripping Springs.

Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Saturday and Sunday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.

Monster Jam. Seriously big trucks crush other trucks. 7 p.m. Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. $20-37. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.

“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through a dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.

Wildflower Center. Afternoon Explorers: Wild About Wildflowers. For ages 6-10. $15 one child and adult. 3:30 p.m. Friday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.” 10:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday, Mueller. 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline.

Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. Through April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road.

Thinkery. Decoding DNA. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.


Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. ridays. Free with admission. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Wildflower Center. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

BookPeople 10:30 a.m. storytimes: Mrs. Purple Urple, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth”

Half Price Books. Donate a book and get a free cape for Earth Day. The first 50 kids who donate a new or gently used children’s book at any Half Price Books will get a free superhero cape on Sunday.


Express Yourself with social media. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch.

“Anansi and the Golden Box of Stories.” 1 p.m. Saturday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.