full show

Show 54: Homeless Youth in Alaska

ALASKA RANKS TENTH in the United States for rates of homelessness, and among the high concentration of those without a permanent place to sleep each night - half are under 12 years old. What's being done to help families with children who are homeless, and also teens who are on their own?

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are David Mayo-Kiely, director of the Anchorage School District's Children in Transition/Homeless program and Lauren Rice from Covenant House Alaska to discuss the young and homeless population in our state


Based on the January 2009 single-night count, Alaska’s homeless number 4,583 persons. (The total state population in July 2008 was estimated at 679,200.) This figure includes individuals who meet HUD’s definition of homeless, as well persons temporarily housed in a motel or with family/friends:

  • 93% (4,256 persons) were “sheltered,” which includes living in emergency shelters, transitional shelters, with extended family and/or friends, or temporarily in motels.
  • 7% (327 persons) were “unsheltered,” which includes living in a place not meant for human habitation such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street.
  • Among the sheltered, 57.5% were households with children.
  • Among the unsheltered, 23.5% were households with children.

Source: A Look at Homelessness in Alaska (UAA Justice Center)


- More girls, more Alaska Native teens coming to Covenant House according to a report from UAA's Institute for Social and Economic Research

- Teens raise their consciousness about homelessness by attending a Solidarity Sleep Out

- KTD visits a family shelter in the Mat-Su where we meet those who are helping, and those who need help


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 53: Family Sleep Issues

SLEEP: WE NEED IT like the air we breathe – to function, think and stay in the best mental and physical shape possible – but what happens to people of all ages when we don’t get enough? We’ll speak with the experts about how to maximize the family zzzzz’s and we’ll learn about the adverse effects of a lack of sleep.

Dr. Robert Lada, director of the Providence Sleep Disorders Center, and Karen McBride a school nurse who’s spent years spreading the good sleep message to students, parents and legislators join host Shana Sheehy in the studio to talk about why sleep is necessary in the first place, to comment on recent sleep studies in the news and to offer their take on how your family can be well-rested.


- The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new and additional guidelines for Safe Infant Sleep. (opens as a PDF)

- Recommended amounts of daily sleep by age (Mayo Clinic):

  • Infants: 14 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours
  • School-age children: 10 to 11 hours
  • Adults: 7 to 9 hours


• Parents of Infants -
Those raising new babies know the true, glorious value of sleep. Parents of infants share their stories.

• Teens Talk Sleep -
Waking up to begin learning at 7:30am is a reality for many Alaskan teens; high school students tell us how they're coping.

• Dr. KTD: Nightmares - Pediatrician Michelle Laufer is back to offer advice on helping to tame the middle-of-the-night scary dreams.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 52: Siblings

DID YOU GROW UP with brothers or sisters? Maybe you were the oldest child, looking out for the younger ones while conquering all the big life milestones first - riding a bike, driving a car, the first kiss. Or perhaps you were the baby of the family and enjoyed all the special attention that came with being the youngest. Whether big sister or kid brother, one thing is true - siblings have a relationship with one another like no other relationship in life - they are our first playmates and the people we can remain friends with as adults. We're looking at the sibling relationship today - how it's changed throughout history, what it means in the present day and why it's so important through the course of our lives.

 IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining guest host Kathleen McCoy is Dr. Dallett Hemphill, a Professor of History at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. Dr. Hemphill is the author of Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America and the recently published Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History. She has seven siblings. Also joining us is Dr. Ann Jache, a professor of Sociology at the University of Alaska Anchorage and her area of focus is gerontology. She has three siblings.

Since 1970 the percentage of households containing five or more people has fallen by half. The average household size is 3.14 according to the 2000 US census. So it’s very possible that many children in this generation and the next generations may grow up without brothers or sisters.


• Supporting kids who have siblings with cancer - SuperSibs! ensures that no brother or sister of a sibling with cancer goes unsupported. Founder Melanie Goldish spoke with our producer Sarah Gonzales from her office in Illinois.

• Adult siblings as close friends - Often it seems people come to appreciate their siblings a little later in life, once they don’t all live under the same roof. Contributor Jessica Cochran met 4 siblings - and their Mom, too - who clearly enjoy each others' company in order to find out what makes these three sisters and one brother so close now that they are adults.

Hannah, Christina, Clifford and Rebecca (check back tomorrow for more photos of the Lien family!)

• KTDontheGO: Travelin' in the family bus - Erin Kirkland recalls tripping the road fantastic with her own siblings in days gone by, and how the time spent in the backseat meant brother/sister bonding and a time to teach one another new things.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 51: The Value of Pretend

WITH HALLOWEEN COMING people young and old are looking forward to dressing up and pretending to be something else for a day. Make believe is fun, silly, freeing and it’s also important to a young child’s social-emotional development. Many say that “Play is a child’s work” so just how do pretending, playing and imagining help us to grow up? We'll explore the value of make believe and look at play-based education philosophies and how flexing a young imagination is linked to empathy, self-control and better social skills throughout life.

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are Dr. Robert Capuozzo, professor of Early Childhood Development at the University of Alaska Anchorage as well as the leader of the Saturdays with Dad parenting support group at Providence Medical Center, and Shona Strauser, Education Director at Perseverance Theater in Juneau.

In play a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form; in play, it is as though the child were trying to jump above the level of his normal behavior. - Lev Vygotsky


Play Therapy - Through telling stories or playing with toys, children in need of counseling are put more at ease through play. KTD Contributor Jessica Cochran reports.

When I Was Young: Favorite pretend games - From putting on shows for mom and dad to saving the world from evil, adults told KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales what they made believe as children.

• Dr. KTD: Imaginary friends - Pediatrician Michelle Laufer is back to share her insights on your child's pretend playmates.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 50: Gifted & Talented Education

INNOVATION, CREATIVITY AND PROGRESS. These are some of the things that have helped America become what it is today. Whether you see it in a former Alaskan winning the Nobel Prize in Physics or in Steve Jobs and his life as a technology pioneer – helping our brightest youth succeed is important. So today we're turning the spotlight on the education of Alaska's Gifted and Talented students.

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio to discuss how gifted and talented kids are identified, tested and then educated are three guests: Peter Ljubicich, director of the Anchorage School District Gifted Program; Annie Bill, director of the Mat-Su Borough’s Talented and Gifted Program; and Susan Dulong Langley of the National Association for Gifted Children in Massachusetts.


Thanks to Annie Bill for providing this list.


• The Underrepresentation of Minorities in G&T Programs - Nationally, Native Americans, Hispanics and African Americans have been under-represented in gifted and talented programs by as much as 50%. Regular contributor Jessica Cochran spoke with Vanderbilt University professor Dr. Donna Ford who has been studying this cause for concern for about 20 years.

• Don't Tell Your Kids They're Smart - Dr. Carol Dweck is an internationally-recognized expert in intelligence research who has found that praising children's efforts - instead of their intelligence - encourages them to continue learning and growing all throughout life. Kids who are praised for being smart, she says, quickly grow afraid of failing. Producer Sarah Gonzales recently spoke with Dr. Dweck.
[Watch The Effect of Praise on Mindset video with Dr. Dweck explaining her study.]

• Real Life Revenge of the Nerds - Our brainiac blogger, high school senior Patrick Walgren says if being smart means he'll be the boss someday, he's just fine with being labeled as a "nerd".


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 49: Postpartum Mood Disorders

A new baby is a reason to celebrate but the time after birth can bring with it a wealth of conflicting emotions that sometimes go beyond typical "baby blues". What does everyone need to know about recognizing and treating postpartum mood disorders and supporting those who are suffering? Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are two perinatal mood disorder experts who join us to dispel myths and educate about recognizing the signs, symptoms and where to get help.

• Margi Clifford is the state of Alaska's coordinator for perinatal mood disorders and she runs the Maternal/Postpartum Support parenting groups at Providence Hospital.

• Dr. Diana Lynn Barnes is the former director of Postpartum Support International, and currently sits on the President’s Advisory Council for that organization. Dr. Barnes is a nationally known forensic expert in women’s reproductive mental health as well as the author of The Journey to Parenthood: Myths, Reality and What Really Matters.

DID YOU KNOW? These are the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder (including postpartum depression):

  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Do you feel anxious or panicky?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, you can get help by visiting Postpartum.net, or in Alaska, by calling the Crisis Line at: (907) 563-3200


One woman's story of Sleepless Days - A few years ago when Susan Kushner Resnick was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression she wanted to read about another woman who'd been through it and made it out okay - but she couldn't find anything. So after she survived PPD, she wrote a memoir, Sleepless Days: One Woman's Journey Through Postpartum Depression, all about her experience and to let others know that it gets better. She spoke with Sarah Gonzales. (Read an excerpt of her book here.)

A father's perspective on PPD - The partners of those experiencing postpartum depression will not only support their partners during a very hard time, but they will most likely have to take on more household responsibilities while mom gets better. Steve SueWing's family recently weathered PPD, and we asked him to share with our listeners why dads need support, too. (Steve's new blog - "Capitol Letters: Notes from a Juneau Dad" - starts Thursday here at KidsTheseDays.org!)

Parents talk about self-care - At a recent “parentTalk” meeting held by thread, parents shared their tips for sneaking some “me” time into the day – even if it’s just in 2 or 3 or 5 minute doses. Jessica Cochran spoke with the guest-presenter and some of the participants to share those tips with our listeners. (Thank you to thread and Wells Fargo for supporting this story from our our Early Childhood Desk.)

For more discussion on this topic, check out a recent episode of Line One: Your Health Connection with Dr. Thad Woodard on the topic of Maternal Mental Health.



You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 48: The Sex Talk

Parents dread it and kids would rather hear it from others, yes, we’re talking about the sex talk. But did you know – caregivers who learn how to speak with their children are helping their kids to be healthier individuals. Research has found that more teens would prefer to get information about contraceptives from their parents than from a health center, class, hospital, media or friends, and studies show that adolescents who feel open to discussing sexual health with their parents are more likely to delay initiating sexual intercourse.

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Our guests Katherine Huffman, a healthy sexuality educator and Chris Reynolds, a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in sex therapy join guest host, Kathleen McCoy, to talk about talking about sex – how and when to discuss it within the family.

DID YOU KNOW? As part of Let's Talk Month, the results of the poll titled Let's Talk: Are Parents Tackling Crucial Conversations About Sex? were released yesterday. Here are some of the findings:

  • 43% of parents say they feel very comfortable talking with their children about sex and sexual health.
  • 57% said they only feel somewhat comfortable or uncomfortable talking to their children about sex and sexual health.
  • 93% of parents feel confident about their ability to influence whether or not their child has sex.
  • 64% say their own mothers and fathers did a poor job educating them about sex and sexual health.


Teens Talk Sex - Our young colleague, Kelsey Hernandez, from the Alaska Teen Media Institute recently asked her peers about their attitudes towards sex.

STD Testing & Teens - Getting tested and treated for an STD can be as easy as visiting a local public health clinic, but what if you can't get to a clinic? Johns Hopkins University introduced a mail-order STD test kit in 2004 via iwantthekit.org and now the program has come to Alaska, offering another way in addition to the existing places for teens to get tested like the POWER Teen Center. Sarah Gonzales has the story.

Staying Safe in Romantic Relationships - A group of Alaskans is working to make respect and non-violence a part of the conversation coaches and other mentors have with young people - especially boys - who are in romantic relationships. Jessica Cochran has more.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 47: Young Artists & Arts Education

Music, literature, dance, painting or singing - we are all inspired by the arts regardless of age or circumstance. So today we’re talking about Art and Arts Education in and around our state, and how programs and practices that support the arts help our kids grow, learn and develop into well-rounded adults.

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are two people from the Juneau-based, statewide organization, the Alaska Arts Education Consortium. Annie Calkins is the Special Projects Coordinator on contract with the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She is a founding member of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium and remains an active adviser to their statewide board. Suzie Gaffney is the Executive Director for the Alaska Arts Education Association; before this she was an elementary, middle school, and high school classroom teacher for 25 years. She traveled throughout rural Alaska working with the Association of Alaska School Boards, collaborating with school districts, teachers, and students on creating positive school climates.

CALLING ALL YOUNG WRITERS! Together with 49 Writers & Write Young Alaska we're having an essay contest! It's your chance to tell the Kids These Days! audience what it means to YOU to be a kid these days. One winner from the 10-14 age group, and one winner from the 15-20 age group will read their work aloud on the air.
**Submit your best work by October 21 at WYAKcontests.com**.

FEATURED STORIES: Meet some of Alaska's young artists -

Cecelia Karoly-Lister: She's an Anchorage high school student who had her first art show this summer when she was only 14 years old. (Check out her work here).

Shanae’a Moore: She just graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in the spring. She spent part of her summer working with kids at a fine arts camp and this fall she’s working as an activities coordinator with the elderly – she often sings to them.  She’s saving up some money to start theatre school in Texas. (Watch Shanae'a performing here.)

• Brave New Voices: This group of spoken word artists are part of Brave New Alaskan Voices. Brave New Voices is an international competition that’s been around for about 14 years; this past July Alaska sent a team for the first time. The group is currently recruiting from throughout the state, for more information email them: bravenewalaskanvoices - at - gmail - dot - com.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 46: Special Education Basics

WHEN A CHILD tests into or is placed in special education parents will have a lot of questions about navigating the system, planning an IEP (Individual Education Plan) with their child's educators, and they'll wonder what is the long term outlook for their child's schooling?

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio to answer the most frequently asked questions about special education in Alaska are two guests who are both professionals in the field, as well as parents of children who've been in special education. Teresa Holt, is the operations director of the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and Julie Broyles, is a special education teacher at Service High School who serves on the Education Committee at the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and she is also a parent of three children; her 11-year old child has Down syndrome.

DID YOU KNOW? Caregivers needn't wait until their children are school-aged to receive assistance with raising a special needs child. There are services available to infants and toddlers through the state-sponsored Early Intervention Infant Learning Program and through the Stone Soup Group. Listen to a recent interview with the Stone Soup Group on Line One Your Health Connection.


From the Early Education Desk: Finding Childcare for Special Needs Children - Finding the right child care for any kid can be tough, but there’s added stress if you need to find someone who can keep your special needs child safe, or deal with challenging behaviors. More and more children are being expelled from child care centers, leaving their parents struggling. Contributor Jessica Cochran reports.
(Thanks to thread for their support in underwriting the Early Education Desk for this program.)

Hannah Goes to College - Contributor Ann Kaiser introduces us to an incredible young woman with cerebral palsy who is heading off to college on her own - and she and her parents wouldn't have it any other way.

Traveling With Special Needs Kids - Our regular essayist and weekly blogger, Erin Kirkland, shares an intimate perspective in this piece, recalling a family RV trip she took with her husband and two sons - one of whom is autistic.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Show 45: The Adolescent Girl

TODAY'S YOUNG WOMAN can be anything she wants to be: top of her class, best at her sport as well as sweet, thoughtful and cute - but none of this comes easy, especially when all of these achievements are simultaneously the goal. In this, the second in our series on adolescence, we ask: how is the modern girl doing all around, and what can those who care about her do to support, encourage and help her to come up in the world?

IN-STUDIO GUEST: Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, chair of the psychology department at the University of California, Berkeley, child ADHD authority, and author of The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures talks to us about helping our daughters succeed all throughout life. Dr. Hinshaw writes of the "triple bind" of pressures facing today's girl: (1) to be nurturing and supportive (the traditional role for girls); (2) to be competitive and “on top” (with the new opportunities girls have); and (3) to make it all seem effortless and natural, in a ultra-sexualized and ultra-feminized way, with no real alternatives to develop a unique identity. While these expectations of girls, young women and women are really nothing new, we wondered if today's girl was experiencing these pressures any differently than in previous generations.

DID YOU KNOW? According to the Girls Inc. study on the "Supergirl Dilemma" published in 2006: 74% of those surveyed agree that girls are under a lot of pressure to please everyone, and 84% of these girls say that they dislike that this is true. 84% of girls and 87% of boys believe girls are "supposed to be kind and caring". Eight in ten women (84%) believe that girls are under a lot of pressure to please everyone; 91% of these women dislike that this is true.
- Read more at GirlsInc.org.


Single-Sex Schooling? - Those who argue in favor of single sex schooling believe there are fundamental biological and neurological differences that affect how boys and girls behave and how they learn in school. But not everyone agrees with the premise that girls and boys learn differently, or need different ways of teaching - some going so far as to call that kind of popular science “rubbish”. Contributor Jessica Cochran looked at the controversy surrounding single sex public schools, and we visit Gilson Junior High School in Valdez, the only single-sex classroom in the state.

When I Was Young: My First Period - Culture may lack a sanctioned rite of passage for boys as we explored last week, but for girls it's different because their bodies tell them when they transition from Girlhood to Womanhood when they begin to menstruate. Producer Sarah Gonzales asked women to recall the moment they first got their periods and what they remember about the momentous event.

Camp Erin: October 7-9 - Camp Erin is a weekend camp offered at no charge for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. It combines traditional fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support. The last day to register is Friday, September 16 for camp October 7-9. For more information write jane - at - hospiceofanchorage - dot - org or call 907-561-5322.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Syndicate content
Talking about raising Alaska's future today!

Mental Health & the Alaskan Family

Being Young in Rural Alaska





Looking for
fun stuff to do
with kids?

Find something by