6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Please contact SIRRI
at (480) 777-7075 or e-mail
to reserve your seat(s).
If you are unable to attend,
please call for a free
Gluten Free Caramel Corn Recipe
Homemade caramel corn is buttery, crunchy, sweet and best of all it's naturally gluten free. And it's so buttery fresh, a quality hard to find in a can or bag! If you like, use organic popcorn, butter, sugar and agave syrup for an extra special treat.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- 5 quarts fresh popcorn
- 1/2 cup agave syrup OR light corn syrup
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 250°
- Pop 5 quarts of popcorn and place in a large roasting pan.
- Put butter, sugar, agave syrup OR corn syrup and cream of tartar in a large pan. Over medium heat, melt the mixture, stirring to prevent burning.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add vanilla and baking soda and stir to mix.
- Carefully pour this mixture over the popcorn. Gently stir to thoroughly coat the popcorn.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove and pour on a large baking sheet to cool. Use a spatula to separate the warm clumps.
To freeze. Cool caramel corn completely.
Seal tightly in freezer bags. Bring to room temperature to serve.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.
Upcoming Session Dates
for the Sensory Learning Program
Monday, October 31 through
Friday, November 11
Monday, November 28 through
Friday, December 9
Saturday, December 17 through Thursday, December 29
Candy Corn Popcorn Balls
Sweet and gooey, these Candy Corn Popcorn Balls are the perfect Halloween treat! You won’t believe how easy it is to make popcorn balls using melted marshmallows, popcorn and candy corn. Be sure to press the balls together firmly, so that they won’t fall apart.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter
- 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 bag plain popped popcorn (12 cups popped)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups candy corn
1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the popped popcorn and the candy corn in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt it. Add the marshmallows, and microwave for an additional 90 seconds to melt them. The marshmallows might not look melted at the end of this time, but once you stir them, they should liquefy. Stir to blend the butter and marshmallows, then add the vanilla and salt and stir until the candy is well-mixed.
4. Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and candy corn, and stir until they are thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute, to cool down the hot marshmallow.
5. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray, and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. Make sure that the balls are compact; loosely formed popcorn balls easily fall apart. If the balls don’t form at first, allow the mixture to sit for another minute, this seems to help them hold together.
6. Place the popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature. Store the popcorn balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry room.
SIRRI offers these services for both children & adults:
- Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
- qEEG / Brain Mapping
- Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
- Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
- Auditory & Visual Processing
- Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
- Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
- Stress & Anxiety Management
- IEP Advocacy
Parents Urged Again to Limit TV for Youngest
By Benedict Carey
The New York Times
October 18, 2011
Parents of infants and toddlers should limit the time their children spend in front of televisions, computers, self-described educational games and even grown-up shows playing in the background, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned on Tuesday. Video screen time provides no educational benefits for children under age 2 and leaves less room for activities that do, like interacting with other people and playing, the group said.
The recommendation, announced at the group’s annual convention in Boston, is less stringent than its first such warning, in 1999, which called on parents of young children to all but ban television watching for children under 2 and to fill out a “media history” for doctor’s office visits. But it also makes clear that there is no such thing as an educational program for such young children, and that leaving the TV on as background noise, as many households do, distracts both children and adults.
“We felt it was time to revisit this issue because video screens are everywhere now, and the message is much more relevant today that it was a decade ago,” said Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Tex., and the lead author of the academy’s policy, which appears in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Dr. Brown said the new policy was less restrictive because “the Academy took a lot of flak for the first one, from parents, from industry, and even from pediatricians asking, ‘What planet do you live on?’ ” The recommendations are an attempt to be more realistic, given that, between TVs, computers, iPads and smartphones, households may have 10 or more screens.
The worry that electronic entertainment is harmful to development goes back at least to the advent of radio and has steadily escalated through the age of “Gilligan’s Island” and 24-hour cable TV to today, when nearly every child old enough to speak is plugged in to something while their parents juggle iPads and texts. So far, there is no evidence that exposure to any of these gadgets causes long-term developmental problems, experts say.
Still, recent research makes it clear that young children learn a lot more efficiently from real interactions — with people and things — than from situations appearing on video screens. “We know that some learning can take place from media” for school-age children, said Georgene Troseth, a psychologist at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, “but it’s a lot lower, and it takes a lot longer.”
Unlike school-age children, infants and toddlers “just have no idea what’s going on” no matter how well done a video is, Dr. Troseth said.
The new report strongly warns parents against putting a TV in a very young child’s room and advises them to be mindful of how much their own use of media is distracting from playtime. In some surveys between 40 and 60 percent of households report having a TV on for much of the day — which distracts both children and adults, research suggests.
“What we know from recent research on language development is that the more language that comes in — from real people — the more language the child understands and produces later on,” said Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University.
After the academy’s recommendation was announced, the video industry said parents, not professional organizations, were the best judges. Dan Hewitt, a spokesman for the Entertainment Software Association, said in an e-mail that the group has a “long and recognized record of educating parents about video game content and emphasizing the importance of parental awareness and engagement.”
“We believe that parents should be actively involved in determining the media diets of their children,” he said.
Few parents of small children trying to get through a day can resist plunking the youngsters down in front of the screen now and then, if only so they can take a shower — or check their e-mail.
“We try very hard not to do that, but because both me and my husband work, if we’re at home and have to take a work call, then yes, I’ll try to put her in front of ‘Sesame Street’ for an hour,” Kristin Gagnier, a postdoctoral researcher in Philadelphia, said of her 2-year-old daughter. “But she only stays engaged for about 20 minutes.”
In one survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under 2 watched some from of media, whether a TV show like “Yo Gabba Gabba!” or a favorite iPhone app. While some studies find correlations between overall media exposure and problems with attention and language, no one has determined for certain which comes first.
The new report from the pediatrics association estimates that for every hour a child under 2 spends in front of a screen, he or she spends about 50 minutes less interacting with a parent, and about 10 percent less time in creative play. It recommends that doctors discuss setting “media limits” for babies and toddlers with parents, though it does not specify how much time is too much.
“As always, the children who are most at risk are exactly the very many children in our society who have the fewest resources,” Alison Gopnik, a psychologist at the University of California, said in an e-mail.
Autistic Brains Develop More Slowly Than Healthy Brains, Researchers Say
ScienceDaily (October 20, 2011)
Researchers at UCLA have found a possible explanation for why autistic children act and think differently than their peers. For the first time, they've shown that the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism than in non-autistic children.
Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Human Brain Mapping, senior authorJennifer G. Levitt, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA; first author Xua Hua, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher; and colleagues found aberrant growth rates in areas of the brain implicated in the social impairment, communication deficits and repetitive behaviors that characterize autism.
Autism is thought to affect one in 110 children in the U.S., and many experts believe the numbers are growing. Despite its prevalence, little is known about the disorder, and no cure has been discovered.
Normally, as children grow into teenagers, the brain undergoes major changes. This highly dynamic process depends on the creation of new connections, called white matter, and the elimination, or "pruning," of unused brain cells, called gray matter. As a result, our brains work out the ideal and most efficient ways to understand and respond to the world around us.
Although most children with autism are diagnosed before they are 3 years old, this new study suggests that delays in brain development continue into adolescence.
"Because the brain of a child with autism develops more slowly during this critical period of life, these children may have an especially difficult time struggling to establish personal identity, develop social interactions and refine emotional skills," Hua said. "This new knowledge may help to explain some of the symptoms of autism and could improve future treatment options."
The researchers used a type of brain-imaging scan called a T1-weighted MRI, which can map structural changes during brain development. To study how the brains of boys with autism changed over time, they scanned 13 boys diagnosed with autism and a control group of seven non-autistic boys on two separate occasions. The boys ranged in age from 6 to 14 at the time of the first scan; on average, they were scanned again approximately three years later.
By scanning the boys twice, the scientists were able to create a detailed picture of how the brain changes during this critical period of development.
Besides seeing that the white-matter connections between those brain regions that are important for language and social skills were growing much slower in the boys with autism, they found a second anomaly: In two areas of the brain -- the putamen, which is involved in learning, and the anterior cingulate, which helps regulate both cognitive and emotional processing -- unused cells were not properly pruned away.
"Together, this creates unusual brain circuits, with cells that are overly connected to their close neighbors and under-connected to important cells further away, making it difficult for the brain to process information in a normal way," Hua said.
"The brain regions where growth rates were found to be the most altered were associated with the problems autistic children most often struggle with -- social impairment, communication deficits and repetitive behavior," she added.
Future studies using alternative neuroscience techniques should attempt to identify the source of this white-matter impairment, the researchers said.
"This study provides a new understanding of how the brains of children with autism are growing and developing in a unique way," Levitt said. "Brain imaging could be used to determine if treatments are successful at addressing the biological difference. The delayed brain growth in autism may also suggest a different approach for educational intervention in adolescent and adult patients, since we now know their brains are wired differently to perceive information."
Other authors on the study included Paul M. Thompson, Alex D. Leow, Sarah K. Madsen, Rochelle Caplan, Jeffry R. Alger, Joseph O'Neill, Kishori Joshi, Susan L. Smalley and Arthur W. Toga, all of UCLA. Support was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Alliance for Autism Research, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
University of California - Los Angeles. "Autistic brains develop more slowly than healthy brains, researchers say." ScienceDaily, 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.