Thursday, August 19, 2010
Make learning fun for the family

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I recently wrote about parental report cards. One of the examples I gave was using educational experiences outside the classroom. Some of these examples can be fun for the entire family, offering an opportunity for family members to learn together. Everyone made fun of the answer that a beauty contestant gave when she was asked about the fact that many Americans could not identify Iraq on a map. What was sad was not her answer. It was the fact that our education was so poor that the statistic even existed. Let's say that you wanted to teach your child something that would provide a cross section of education. You could easily choose a country of the world. First, have your child locate that country on a map, which would teach the child how to read a map. Next, discuss the country's time zone, which provides an opportunity for discussing time zones around the world. Then discuss what time of day here would be the right time to make a telephone call there and lead into discussing travel to that time zone. A third thing to discuss is the country's type of government. There are many different forms of government and this would be a great opportunity to compare their government to ours. In addition, it would offer a chance to discuss the country's history. You could point out how long the current form of government has existed and talk about the country's old system of government. Point out how we got from the old to the new form of government. A fourth thing to discuss is the language spoken in that country, which offers the chance to learn a few phrases and how to count in that language. You can also point out how that language compares to others throughout the world. You can discuss the food of that country. Perhaps each member of the family could create something from that country. One person could make a salad and another a dessert. Or, go out to a restaurant that serves that type of food. Another topic is the clothing worn in that country. You might even make something that fits that country's clothing style. You could also talk about that country's cultural heritage, which includes music, dancing, cultural customs, art and sports. These are just a few examples of how to teach your children multiple topics but to do it in such a way that it becomes a family game. In most cases, there is very little cost involved and it is only limited by the imagination of the family members. It covers many subjects and encourages the child to be creative, to think outside of the box. This exercise might even encourage your child to visit the country one day.

Coding specialist program Become a member of the expanding health care field by enrolling in the health information coding specialist certificate program offered at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. Health information coding specialists are responsible for translating diagnostic and procedural phrases used by health care providers into coded form. This process requires analyzing health records and interacting with health care providers to ensure terms have been translated correctly. Information is then used for reimbursement purposes. This 36-session program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 13 to April 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. The course consists of three sections: medical terminology, medical coding and billing I and medical coding and billing II. Students will discover how to analyze inpatient and outpatient health records, assign accurate numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure, and identify principle diagnosis and procedures to evaluate accuracy of data submitted to fiscal agencies. They also will learn to understand reimbursement processes and compliance programs. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Certified Coding Specialist exam. Funding through the Department of Labor is available for this course. For more information, contact Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966.

Delaware Hospice support group Delaware Hospice's Bereavement Counselor, Paul Ganster, LCSW, will lead an eight-week grief support group on "Grieving the Loss of a Loved One," on Thursdays, from Oct. 14 through Dec. 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. There is no fee for this service which is provided as a community outreach by Delaware Hospice. To register, call Paul Ganster, LCSW, at 357-7147, or email

Prostate screenings offered September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and, once again, the Cancer Care Center staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will provide prostate screenings to the community on Friday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Miller Building (121 S. Front St., Seaford). There is a $5 screening fee and pre-registration and fasting are not required. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital encourages men over the age of 50 to take advantage of this service. Men 40-years-old and at high risk of developing prostate cancer are also encouraged to participate. African-American men and men who have a family history of the disease have a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. For more information, call Melinda Huffman, nurse navigator, at 629-6611, ext. 3765 or 2378.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones held at The Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The next meeting takes place on Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this program. All support groups offered at the Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

BBQ & Antique Car Show Methodist Manor House will hold the 2nd Annual Chicken BBQ & Antique Car Show to benefit Delaware Hospice on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 3 p.m., at 1001 Middleford Rd., Seaford. Guests will also enjoy a live broadcast of Eagle 97.7, bake sale, craft table, gift shop and Manor House Thrift Shop. Cost is $8 per chicken platter. Tickets may be purchased from the receptionist at Methodist Manor House.

Autism Delaware tournament Sign up for Go Fish, a bass fishing tournament to benefit Autism Delaware's southern location and the advocacy, education and support services they provide to improve the lives of people with autism and their families. Go Fish will be held on Sunday, Sept. 19, at eight ponds throughout Kent and Sussex counties, and will be followed by a celebration at Milford's Bicentennial Park. Anglers of all ages and abilities are welcome. Each team of two can register for $40 and will receive an information and fundraising packet. Prizes, including a grand prize of $500 and special youth prizes, will be awarded at the celebration. The public is welcome to attend the celebration which will include fun for all ages with music by Code Blue, food from Go Fish of Rehoboth and kids games. Nominal fees will be charged for games and food for those not participating on a fishing team. Pro bass fisherman Mike DelVisco will fish in the tournament Sunday and participate in the celebration. There are 160 slots for fishing so register today by visiting or calling 422-2255.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.