We were so excited about the announcement of Julia, the first Muppet character with Autism, that it’s hard to believe there is even more to look forward to on PBS during this April, Autism Awareness Month. On April 10th, Julia will kick off the month will her debut on Sesame Street. Following Julia’s big reveal, there is a lineup of new autism themed episodes of popular shows that are scheduled to air throughout the month. An autism-related episode of Dinosaur Train will air on the 10th, and autism-related episodes of Arthur will air on the 10th through the 13th of April. Each episode that has an autism theme is meant to send a message to the children who watch these shows about awareness, acceptance, and understanding when it comes to autism. PBS recognizes that almost every child who watches one of its shows probably has either a sibling, family member, or classmate that has autism. The network therefore realizes that it is essential to address the issue through its programming, and make an effort to teach its young viewers about the importance of being open-minded, respectful, and accepting.
This concept of educating young children about autism awareness and acceptance sure rings a bell to us here at LorettaRose, LLC considering the fact that it is the very concept that our company was founded on. Each of our dolls from our original line, My Sibling , comes with a booklet that tells a story about having a sibling with autism or Down Syndrome, in an effort to expose children to the topic of developmental disabilities and to preach acceptance and understanding. We couldn’t be more excited about the fact that something we believe so strongly in is finally being seriously recognized and promoted by such a popular TV station for children. Just like learning a language or riding a bike, what you learn when you are young never fails to stick with you in the long-term. Thanks to the efforts of PBS, and others that have a strong influence on children, better acceptance and understanding of autism might just be something that sticks with the younger generations as they grow into the future leaders of our world. Here at LorettaRose, LLC we certainly plan on continuing our efforts in all aspects of autism awareness and advocacy. Stay tuned to our blog throughout the month of April to see what we are up to, and to get ideas on how you can get involved!
July has certainly been a busy month for us! About two weeks ago we attended Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite Blogger Bash in New York city. It was truly an amazing experience, and gave us the opportunity to meet so many interesting people of all ages; from bloggers to traditional media reporters. Since I am writing to you from where I live in Barcelona, our creator (my creator as well because she’s my mother) Loretta and her dear friend Leslie took on the task of holding court at the My Sibling My Pal table during the event. However, getting to the finish line of the event wasn’t a walk in the park because we are such a small company. There was no team of event planners in black t-shirts to help us transport all of our products or to help us with the other preparations needed before the big night. In fact, my mom Loretta and my brother Danny took a road trip from New Jersey out to Long Island a week before the event to personally deliver the swag that we would be giving away during Blogger Bash.
Speaking of swag, we had plenty of it! My mother was able to recruit everyone from friends and family to help her make 400 bracelets that were given away during Sweet Suite that read “Peace begins with me”. We were inspired to put this phrase on our giveaway item because it comes from our favorite character My Pal for Peace ’s booklet that teaches about being a peacemaker. The bracelets were given out during the event in hopes of spreading the word to as many people as possible about who we are as a company and the values that we hope to teach young people through our dolls. We feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in an event as exciting as Sweet Suite, and can’t wait to go next year! Check out these great photos of Loretta and Leslie working the crowd. We are so excited to see what the future holds and to keep in contact with all the great people that we have formed relationships with thanks to Blogger Bash and The Toy Insider. Check out our photos from the event!
As the climate is changing and the consequences of human activity on the environment are becoming more apparent, a development company based in Dubai called Diamond Developers has made it their mission to make sustainable living a reality. The developers have created what they call the Sustainable City, and it is beginning to flourish as people make themselves at home within the city. The city is made up of 500 houses and villas on 46 acres of land, and is completely car free. The residents’ cars are parked around the perimeter of the city, and to move around within the neighborhood, residents use battery powered buggies. Within the community they have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are grown in eco friendly and climate controlled bio-domes. They also enjoy a central city square with shops, local businesses and restaurants.
Due to the 300 days of sun that the region expects to have every year, solar energy acts as a reliable and main source of energy for the community. Homes are strategically situated to be kept cool by avoiding direct sunlight blazing into the interiors, while at the same time they have solar panels to produce energy from the suns rays. Although the price of one of the houses within this community starts at $1 million, many residents claim that they eventually end up saving money through their strict habits of recycling, reusing, and consuming locally grown food. As time goes on and the city attracts ecotourists, the residents will benefit from equity holdings in the development.
The Sustainable City is designed to one day be Dubai’s first net zero energy development, but reaching that goal is very contingent on the cooperation of the residents of the eco-friendly city. It’s is so important that the people who reside within this neighborhood understand the importance of sustainability and how to truly live an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Because of this, the developers make sure to sell homes to like-minded individuals who are truly passionate about the fact that this style of living is what the future should look like. In addition, the development company plans to create a school within the city to teach future generations about the importance of sustainable living and trying to inspire the rest of the world to join the effort to go green .
We are like Lannisters, we always pay our debts. We haven’t forgotten that we owe you all a brand new character that we promised a few weeks ago, and we are here to pay up. We are ecstatic to announce that My Pal for Tennis is now available for purchase on our online store . Since we have always been a tennis family, having a great tennis character as part of our My Pal line is really important to us. Not only because tennis clothes and accessories are super cute and fun, but also because we believe that tennis is an amazing sport for children to take an interest in and to learn to play. Our goal is to teach children about positive, fun, and important themes through play, and we believe that tennis is an ideal way to teach children about a variety of values.Tennis has hundreds of years of history, with records of early versions of the sport being played in the royal courts of medieval kingdoms. Its ability to stand the test of time is a testament to the many benefits that playing tennis can have on a person’s life. Playing tennis demands self discipline and mental toughness. When playing a singles match, you are pretty much on your own on the court, and you have no one but yourself to keep you focused, motivated, and to execute your game plan. Tennis also involves a significant amount of etiquette. Unlike many other sports, how a player conducts himself on the court by following the etiquette of the game is very important. Not only is following tennis etiquette essential for being respected as a player, but failing to be polite during a match can even cost a player real points, and can cause them to lose a match. Tennis is a sport that brilliantly combines being social with being competitive, which allows players who love the game to play it either competitively or socially for their entire lives. Finding this love for sport that can last a lifetime can even be the key to always leading a healthy and active lifestyle. We hope that our My Pal for Tennis character can be the spark that makes a child find an interest and love for this great sport.
My Pal for Going Green has a great message for children! Today, more than ever, we want to bring your attention to this unique and educational character we created in 2010, and the positive impact it can have on children. From what the scientific evidence shows us, Planet Earth is very upset about the effects of human activity on its health, and it is having a major meltdown. Pun intended. Sometimes it seems impossible for the people of the world to agree on priorities, but if we look at this issue through our children’s eyes, we can see that it would be unfair if we didn’t at least try to do something to take care of the planet now. So, as the younger generations grow up in a hot and polluted world, it is essential that we give them the education and tools they need to grow into adults that are equipped to make sustainable decisions in business, politics, or their personal lives. This is where My Pal for Going Green comes in, as a fun buddy and educational toy for children to learn at a young age that living green is the way to go.
Just like all of our My Sibling and My Pal characters , My Pal for Going Green teaches children about an important theme: being environmentally conscious. This 18 inch boy doll comes with an educational booklet to teach children about the importance of recycling and living a sustainable lifestyle, and is outfitted in clothing and accessories made from recycled materials. Also included is a reusable denim tote bag to carry the doll. We encourage children to learn through play with all of our characters, but we consider the message behind My Pal for Going Green to be particularly important. When children hear grown ups talking about rising sea levels, massive storms, unbreathable air, and rapidly rising temperatures, parents can help them to understand, on a very elementary level, with the help of our doll, that there are things they can do to help every day, by the way they live their lives. Since the well-being of our planet and of future generations is pretty much in the tiny hands of our youth, let’s teach them while they’re young to love the Earth.
I would be the first person to admit that when I have to deal with a complicated situation or I am moving through unchartered territory in my life, that my go-to move is to search the internet for answers. That’s why this week I decided to share something personal that my family and I are currently experiencing, in the hopes that it might be of help to someone going through a similar situation. As my brother Danny, who has autism, grew up and reached adulthood there has been a looming uncertainty about what the next step in his life would be, and who would take care of him when my parents were no longer able to. My family has been an active advocate for adults with disabilities for decades, enough to land my brother and my Mom on the cover of Newsweek Magazine in 2006, but that didn’t mean that my brother’s future was anywhere near set in stone. Even for the most active parents and caretakers, the task of finding services for our loved ones with special needs is an incredibly daunting task. Fast Forward to 2017 and it just so happens that about a month ago we were notified of a vacancy in a supervised apartment in the neighbouring town, and from there everything has moved incredibly quickly, and in the blink of an eye my brother will be moving into his new home in just a few days.
At first, simply making the decision to commit to such a significant change in my brother’s and my family’s lives was difficult. Of course what we ultimately were trying to determine was whether moving to this supervised apartment was the best move for my brother’s happiness, well-being, and quality of life. Even for a person with exceptional communication skills, expressing what they truly want in a moment of transition or a major life event is difficult. So, when it comes to a person with autism the difficulty level raises to somewhere around impossible. How can you make such an impactful decision about someone else’s life without being able to ask them if they are feeling happy, sad, scared, excited, uncertain, angry, disappointed, overjoyed, liberated, trapped, or a combination of all the emotions under the sun? Our reaction to moving to a new place is not always a clear cut “yes definitely, I’m ecstatic” or a “no way, I’d rather die.” Actually, in the majority of cases, our emotions lay in the grey area between these two extremes, and expressing this grey area in words is something that is immensely challenging to my brother.
Considering the uncertainty, complexity, and importance of a transition like this in my brother’s life, we are all pretty much an emotional mess, however temporarily. If you’re reading this and you’re also a mess, you’re not alone and you’re not crazy. I find that it is best to recognize that the reason this is so difficult to deal with is because of all the “unknowns” about the near and distant future that we are facing. The hard truth is that only time can tell me if this move was the best choice or not.. Unfortunately, I am a person with about zero patience, so my own advice won’t exactly be an easy pill to swallow, but I know that for right now all we can do is try our best to do the right thing by keeping Danny’s needs in focus, and rely on our faith to carry us through the rest of the way.
The hottest trend in the toy industry right now is, without a doubt, the fidget spinner. At first glance, well, at first glance you have no idea what it is, how to hold it, or what to do. Then once you crawl out from under your rock and get on social media, you might think it’s just another adolescent fad that is likely to die down as the novelty wears off and today’s youth discovers the next big thing. However, when considering why the spinner has become so popular supported by scientific research, it’s easy to think that the fidget spinner might be here to stay. Elementary school and middle school age kids can’t keep their hands off these simple little toys, and their fascination is even causing some teachers to ban spinners from classrooms. Even though most kids probably don’t realize it, there is actually a reason behind why they are so taken by fidgeting with their fidget spinners, and why even adults are catching on and purchasing the devices for themselves.
According to an article published by PBS , fidget toys such as spinners can act as a relaxation tool or a concentration aid for kids and adults. It is already common for people of all ages to fidget in situations that are particularly stressful, socially awkward, boring, or that require intense concentration. Furthermore, for children and adults that experience these types of situations in a more intense way, such as people with ADHD, Autism, or an anxiety disorder can find much needed comfort and relaxation in using a fidget spinner. There is still a lot of research to be done to prove that specifically fidget spinners can serve this type of purpose. However, evidence from similar studies that have been done suggests that fidgeting is something we all crave from time to time as humans, and doing so can really help us stay calm, focused, and be productive. Thanks to the kids and adults that are loving their fidgets, the spinner trend is now evolving into a whole range of fidget toys, and it seems as though an entire new subcategory of the toy industry is taking shape. These hand-held satisfying gadgets can be found in corporate offices during meetings or in elementary schools, and they continue to be manufactured and sold by the millions. Despite their immense popularity and speedy rise to the top of the toy industry, time will only tell us if they are here to stay or truly just another trend.
He’s back and ready for action. Who’s back, you ask? It’s My Pal for Tennis! This My Pal character has always been one that is particularly special to us here at LorettaRose, LLC because it was inspired by yours truly, moi . Before I wrote this blog for a living and lived in Spain like a princess, I was quite the tennis player. When my mother started creating My Pal characters , she decided to make a My Pal for Tennis character in my honor of being a slightly above average tennis player in high school. To be honest, this character was discontinued a few years ago because finding or making a decent tennis racquet and ball for an 18 inch doll turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated. I know it’s a lame excuse but trust me, you’ll be glad that we took the time to take My Pal for Tennis down from our store until we could find him a suitable racquet that wasn’t made out of pipe cleaners. No disrespect to our old pipe cleaner racquet, it was innovative and cute, but we knew we could do better than that.
After lots of research into doll accessories suppliers, and visits to two Toy Fairs, in Nuremberg and New York, we are super excited to show our customers our 18 inch boy doll for tennis enthusiasts, now that he's had a major make over. We finally were able to find the perfect racquet and ball for our little court warrior that makes him the perfect buddy for any child who loves tennis. We have also re-designed his outfit with some inspiration from my childhood crush and tennis superstar, Rafael Nadal. Now, instead of looking like your grandpa playing doubles at the club on Saturday morning, My Pal for Tennis is sporting a modern and fun tennis look. Check back with us soon or make sure to keep up with our Instagram and Facebook accounts because My Pal for Tennis is only days away from being available for purchase!
Autism Awareness Month will draw to a close this weekend, but it is so important for everyone to remember that autism awareness should be something that we continue to advocate for throughout all twelve months of the year. People with autism and their families and friends need support, acceptance, respect and services all year long and for many years. Now that we are arriving at the end of autism awareness month, it is the perfect time to reflect on how we can best continue to make a positive impact that will last in the long term. For us at LorettaRose,LLC we are particularly passionate about the availability of services and job opportunities for adults with autism. It is essential for their wellbeing and quality of life that individuals with autism are given opportunities to integrate into society when they graduate from school, and have a chance to use their many unique talents and characteristics to be productive members of society.
In my opinion, one of the most important possible outcomes of an increase in autism awareness is for employers to realize that there are many reasons why hiring people with autism is not just a nice thing to do, but rather a very smart thing to do. People with autism are extremely consistent and detail oriented, they have the ability to see things in ways that people without autism can not see. The way the autistic mind works is fascinating and can open up doors for incredible accomplishments, but only if employers were willing to learn about autism and accept people with autism into their companies. I hope that at the end of autism awareness month 2017, there are now more people in the world who believe that, apart from the hardships and frustrations it may cause from time to time, autism is something that can be celebrated, not turned down. If people were less inclined to be frustrated with how people with autism are different, and instead they were inclined to be aware and learn about why people with autism are the way they are, then maybe there could be some amazing strides made towards a more inclusive world. There is an incredible amount of untapped potential that I am hoping will continue to be discovered as autism awareness continues throughout the year.