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Back to School Story Ideas 2019

Posted by Communications and Marketing on August 6, 2019

Is helicopter parenting benefiting your child? How to support children while encouraging independence 
Helicopter parenting is a common term used for parents who “over parent” their children, impacting their child’s ability to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Traditionally the term is used for parents of high school or university-aged students, however helicopter parenting can happen at any age. Dr. Michael Ungar, professor in Dalhousie’s School of Social Work, can provide perspective on whether or not helicopter parenting is benefiting your child’s development. He can also offer advice on how parents can encourage and accept their child’s independence. Dr. Ungar has recently published a new book entitled, Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, which touches on these topics. 

Canada’s Food Guide - Achieving healthy diets for everyone
Canada’s food guide is a bold piece of healthy public policy. At the heart of the guide is the advice that achieving healthy eating patterns is about more than what we eat. It’s about where, when, why and how we eat. Dr. Catherine L. Mah, Canada Research Chair in Promoting Healthy Populations, provided feedback on the guide during its development, and can provide perspective on how healthy diets can, and should, be achievable for everyone.  

UpLift – Laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy living 
Creating environments that promote physical activity and good food choices is crucial to laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy living. UpLift, an initiative led by Dalhousie University in collaboration with provincial partners and schools, is helping students to become change agents among their peers – including leading by example, identifying solutions and helping implement actions that will contribute to healthy, vibrant, connected, safe, and empowering school communities. The initiative will reach up to 90,000 students at up to 360 schools across Nova Scotia’s seven English regional centres for education, the Francophone provincial school board, and schools within the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey school system. 
Margaret Kay-Arora, UpLift Manager, is available to discuss how this unique approach to health promotion allows schools, community agencies, local businesses, parents, and community members to all play a critical role in supporting the health and wellbeing of Nova Scotia’s children and adolescents.
National School Food program
Children spend well over a decade of their lives in school, making schools the ideal medium for fostering and reinforcing a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Dr. Sara Kirk, Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University, can provide perspective on why a national, health-promoting school food program is essential for Canada, and how improving nutrition among children and youth can go a long way in preventing chronic diseases.
Special Note: Dr. Kirk is available for interviews beginning in September.

Are setting high expectations healthy for students? 
It is not uncommon for students and their parents to have lofty expectations for them to excel inside and outside of the classroom, but how often are these expectations realistic and/or attainable? Are these lofty expectations really benefiting students? Clinical Psychologist and perfectionism expert, Dr. Simon Sherry, can offer insight on how lofty expectations from students (at any age) and/or their parents can impact a student’s mental wellness. He can also provide coping mechanisms and perspective on how to help students and their parents set realistic and healthy academic goals. 

Avoid being a target for online hackers
The start of a new school year can be overwhelming to students of any age. Add in the responsibility of setting up new online accounts, mobile devices and emails, students may not be thinking about the threat of online hackers. Dr. Srini Sampalli, a cyber security expert who specializes in security and privacy in wireless technologies, is available to discuss ways to protect yourself when setting up and maintaining new online accounts and what hackers look for when planning attacks on devices and networks.
Teaching children to protect themselves online
Now more than ever we are living in a world where almost everyone has some form of online presence and is required to use the internet to meet the demands of their everyday lives, including young students. It is not uncommon for students to be required to access the internet to complete school projects or to set up social media accounts to connect with friends. How can parents and teachers ensure that children are protecting themselves online? Dr. Sampalli, can provide tips on what parents and teachers should be teaching young students about cyber security and safety.

A New Online Behavioural Treatment for Pediatric Sleep Issues in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Up to 90% of Canadian children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) experience insomnia symptoms including trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking too early. Insomnia leads to poor sleep quality and quantity, which can lead to increased challenges with academic, emotional, social, and physical functioning, and can contribute to increased symptom presentation in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Evidence supports the effectiveness of behavioural treatments for insomnia. However, these interventions are not often available to families of children with NDDs. This is why Dr. Penny Corkum and her colleagues have created an online sleep intervention program, called Better Nights, Better Days for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (BNBD-NDD). BNBD-NDD is an evidence-based, transdiagnostic online program for parents with children ages 4-10 years old with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) that experience insomnia. The BNBD-NDD program can help parents help their children to sleep better so that they can achieve the best academic outcomes.

Dr. Corkum and the BNBD-NDD research team are currently looking for 320 families from across Canada to participate in their research study to evaluate the effectiveness of BNBD-NDD and are available to discuss how these treatments work and why online intervention might be the best option for families. Members of the research team will also be conducting a free Facebook Live public webinar.

An exploration of the gendered roles for female peacekeepers in the Canadian Armed Forces
When Ottawa announced last year that Canadian peacekeepers would deploy to Mali in western Africa, Dalhousie researcher Andrea Lane set off on a mission of her own to learn more about what Canada’s contribution to the international effort would look like. The PhD candidate was curious about whether Canada would meet a UN goal to have females comprise at least 15 per cent of the military peacekeeping force and if certain gender stereotypes were behind the recruitment drive outlined in the Elsie Initiative.
The question is central to Lane’s examination of how perceived ‘gendered’ roles may be creating a conundrum for some female peacekeepers. The Political Science student suggests that some may suppress their femininity to fit into a male-dominated military culture, while being encouraged to play up stereotypical feminine traits that are assumed to make them more effective at peacekeeping. Lane will spend the year talking to female soldiers about their own sense of gender and femininity, gender relations within the Canadian Armed Forces and trying to see if there a mismatch between the aims of the Elsie Initiative and the women who are expected to carry out the policy.

To read more on Andrea Lane's research, visit Dal News.