Fri10242014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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The window to better learning: Keeping your children's eyes healthy


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo Fatigue after reading for a short time is one of several common signs that a child may have a vision problem.

August is National Children’s Vision & Learning Month. As teachers busily prepare their classrooms and parents gather school supplies and backpacks to equip their children for the new academic year, I often wonder as an optometrist and a mom how many schoolchildren have been checked to determine if one of their most important assets for higher learning is intact. I am referring to a child’s vision.

Our vision is the primary way we gather information about the world around us. In fact, 80 percent of learning occurs through the visual system. Without good vision, many aspects of our lives are affected. But what is not commonly known is how poor vision can play a large part in poor academic and sports performances, in addition to causing primary learning disabilities.

Many parents expect children to complain when they have poor vision, just as they would with a toothache. But the truth is that children cannot possibly know what good vision is if all they have known their entire lives is blurry vision. That is normal to them.

Vision, however, can be as personal as someone’s color preference. A person’s brain will make abnormal adaptations to poor vision to accommodate and achieve better ability to see. For the most part, these adaptations to poor-quality vision are not even known by the child or his or her parents.

Parents often expect school screenings and pediatric examinations to affirm that their child’s vision is OK. But these screenings in general can only catch very gross vision issues, such as high myopia (nearsightedness) or amblyopia (lazy eye).

These screenings cannot detect learning difficulties that are attributed to poor vision. Problems in eye coordination, eye focusing, eye tracking, visual perception and integration (how visual information is processed) play an important role in academic performance. However, they are not assessed in a typical school or pediatric vision screening. Viewing the eye chart and reading a few letters or shapes correctly does not equate to a good visual system.

Good vision is learned, and learning good vision can directly affect one’s ability to assess his or her environment. Famous athletes often receive vision training to improve their performance in their respective sport.

How would you know if your child has a vision problem? Check for the following problems that may extend from an underperforming visual system within a child.

• Complaints of blurry vision

• Frequent squinting

• Frequent eye rubbing

• Closing an eye when reading

• Reading for a short time before getting tired

• Poor reading comprehension

• Headaches when reading

• Losing place or skipping words when reading

• Short attention span

• Difficulty recognizing letters or numbers

• Letter or number reversal

• Red eyes after reading for a short time

• Poor copying skills

• Unable to see 3D images

Aside from the symptoms above, when a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, whether it is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia or even autism, it is paramount that a vision assessment is among the first evaluations performed.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Eye Center at the University of San Diego discovered a close relationship between convergence insufficiency (inability of eyes to turn toward each other) and ADHD.

Children should undergo a full eye exam no later than kindergarten. An optometrist should closely review every aspect of the visual system, including focusing, tracking and binocularity skills (how well two eyes work together as a team) to prepare a child for school. Children should have eye exams at least once a year from that time on.

In the meantime, keep your child’s eyes healthy by reducing video screen time and increasing family time outdoors. The eyes are part of the body and a window to your child’s learning. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle will encourage good vision and healthy learning.

Dr. Susan Lodenquai is an optometrist at Altos Family Optometry, 668-B Fremont Ave., Los Altos. For more information, call 948-5061 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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