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Autism Study

Leah Sarich | posted Thursday, Apr 30th, 2015


Braeden Krulicki has always wanted more friends. He has no problem chatting with people at his part time job. He also had no problem talking to his fellow students at the University of Calgary while he finished his history degree. But with his Autism Spectrum Disorder he finds it difficult to cultivate relationships outside his work and schooling.

However, Krulicki has recently finished the PEERS program through The Ability Hub at the U of C and now he gets together regularly with his gaming friends, not just to game, but to talk about politics and current events.

Most social programs for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD are geared toward children. But this program is directed at adults and the only place in this country that’s offering it, is the University of Calgary.

PEERS is a 16 week program for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 with ASD. It’s designed to teach participants how to make friends, develop social relationships and even foster romantic relationships. Researcher and Associate Professor Adam McCrimmon at the University of Calgary says adults with ASD don’t understand the social rules the rest of us all follow intuitively.

So they teach these rules, like how to enter a conversation, to the study participants. Then they have participants practice these skills so they gain confidence. Researchers also teach the participants’ parents and caregivers these techniques so they can be coaches and mentors.

Participants can opt in or out of the research side of things. Researchers are wanting to measure how well these improvements are working, if they’re lasting and if they improve participants social intelligence and impulse control.

Krulicki says he really enjoys meeting up with his new friends. He says it’s nice to have people with whom to talk about things. And he thanks the PEERS program for teaching him how to maintain these relationships.

The next program starts in the fall and they’re looking for more participants. There is also a PEERS program for teens. For more information visit this website or read this article or call 403-220-7573.

The 7-day kitchen fix

Cityline | posted Thursday, Apr 30th, 2015

Is your kitchen in need of an overhaul? Samantha Pynn shares easy ways to upgrade the space that don’t cost a ton of money.

1. Paint your cabinets or install new ones. Cabinets are the first thing people see in a kitchen, so you don’t want yours to be outdated and/or in rough shape.

2. Update your cabinet handles. They don’t have to be expensive, just current and/or classic.

3. Swap your faucet. Again, it doesn’t have to be an expensive model, just a new one that looks fresh and modern.

4. Consider a new backsplash. You can find great peel-and-stick backsplashes that won’t break the bank.

5. Replace your countertops. A fresh, white countertop will work wonders in making the space feel clean and new.

6. Cover your builder’s basic window with a Roman blind. This inexpensive window covering will add softness and diffuse light.

7. Add/switch your lighting. It could be as simple as updating the shade, but proper lighting makes a huge impact.

8. Accessorize! Adding pretty bowls, vases, and flowers to your space will make it more cheerful.

9. Add a runner. A runner along the floor in a colourful pattern will help add a boost of brightness.

10. Create an island. An island provides not only a prep space, but extra storage too.

For more advice from Samantha Pynn, watch the clip below.


IBS Awareness

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Apr 28th, 2015

Pain. Bloating. Diarrhea. Constipation. These are very unpleasant symptoms. And they’re symptoms that affect 15 to 20 percent of the population with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.

For IBS Awareness Month I spoke with Gastroenterologist Dr. Chris Andrews from the Gut Motility Centre at the University of Calgary. Dr. Andrews says IBS is a gut disorder where the nerves in the gut act abnormally. And this abnormal nerve function can lead to increased sensitivity in the gut as waste moves through or as one experiences bloating and gas. With IBS there are also motility problems in the gut which means food moves through either too quickly and too slowly. Either way, the symptoms of IBS are very uncomfortable.

That said, Dr. Andrews says the most important piece with IBS is education. He says research shows, and he’s witnessed this in his clinic, that if doctors take the time to fully explain the disorder to the patient, the patient does better with the disorder. They feel more in control, they understand the symptoms are not an indication of a more serious problem and it reduces their anxiety and stress which can make symptoms worse. Education also translates into patients requiring less medical care.

However, there are treatment options as well. Dr. Andrews explains because there’s no simple test to diagnose the disorder, there’s no simple treatment either. Basically doctors work with the patient to determine their most prominent symptom and then doctors treat it. For example, if a patient is constipated, laxatives can be used, either over the counter options or prescription strength, to alleviate discomfort.

Dr. Andrews says dietary changes can also help a patient depending on their symptoms. He also says many patients benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy which helps with the depression, anxiety and stress that can come with the disorder.

Dr. Andrews says people with IBS do not have to live with their symptoms. There are many treatment options and education that can help a patient live a full and active life.

For more information visit this website.



10 ways the Apple Watch makes life easier for parents

Mike Yawney | posted Tuesday, Apr 28th, 2015

It’s easy to write off the Apple Watch as a gadget strictly for tech-lovers or Apple uber-fans, but the timepiece is also pretty useful for parents. In fact, you may be surprised to discover just how much the slick device can do for you. Here are 10 ways the Apple Watch can make your family life a little easier.

1. Take better family photos (that actually include you)
Finally, an easy way to get everyone—including yourself!—in your smartphone snapshots. Apple Watch lets you remotely control the camera on your iPhone. Just prop up your phone or place it on a tripod, then gather the family. Once everyone is in place, you can look at your watch to see a live preview of the shot, adjust the focal point and set a timer to ensure everyone has a chance to get in place. When you’re ready to snap the photo, just tap the watch. After the shutter clicks, your family photo will be saved on your iPhone.

2. Simplify family meals
Load the Apple Watch with the Kitchen Stories app and you’ll receive inspiration and daily suggestions on what to make for dinner. Use your watch to track your grocery list, or set timers so you never burn or overcook a meal again. And if your meal is a flop, you can always manage a restaurant reservation through the OpenTable app for Apple Watch.

3. Keep track of family finances
It’s easy to lose track of your family’s budget—unless, of course, your watch holds you accountable for every dollar you spend. If you bank with Tangerine, you can check your account balances and review transactions right on your wrist. Worried about overspending? Set up an account threshold and receive a notice when you reach your limit.

4. Lighten up
Reduce the weight of your purse or wallet by storing gift and loyalty cards directly on your Apple Watch. When you arrive at the checkout, simply raise your wrist and scan your watch. It’s just like having the cards with you—minus the bulk.

5. Stay organized
Doctor appointments
, soccer practice, dance recitals—there’s a lot running through a parent’s mind at any given time. The Apple Watch can help keep even the busiest family on schedule. The built-in Calendar app helps you plan your day by displaying your schedule right on your wrist. Reminders pop up throughout the day, ensuring nothing will fall through the cracks.

6. Be connected without pulling your phone out
You want to focus solely on the kids, but you’re waiting for an important call or email. Every parent’s been there. The Apple Watch notifies you of incoming messages right on your wrist, preventing you from having to constantly pull your phone out of your purse or pocket to check it. You can respond to texts with your voice or return a call even if your phone is tucked away.

7. Get more control of your kids’ tablet time
More and more, kids are watching videos on tablets and smartphones, and that’s fine—in moderation. The Apple Watch gives you added control of your kids’ screen time via the PlayKids app. When you’d like your kids to take a break, you can stop the video using your Apple Watch. You can also send custom messages to your kids, featuring a cute cartoon character, letting them know it’s time to brush their teeth or go to bed.

8. Plan a better family vacation
The Apple Watch can help you discover amazing family activities when you’re travelling. Launch Trip Advisor on the Apple Watch and find nearby attractions, restaurants and hotels. Navigate city streets with ease using the Maps app, which gives turn-by-turn directions to your destinations as you travel. And if you’re staying at a Starwood Hotels and Resorts property, you can even use the watch to unlock your room door.

9. Get more active
The Apple Watch monitors your movements throughout the day, tracking not just the quantity of your activities, but the intensity as well. Using a heart-rate sensor and accelerometer, it provides an accurate summary of your daily activities and workouts. The watch also notifies you when you’ve been sitting for a bit too long and (gently) encourages you to get up. Time for that post-dinner family walk!

10. Improve your cool quotient (maybe)
Sure, you know all the words to “Let it Go,” but what about the lyrics to your kids’ other favourite songs? The Shazam app for Apple Watch prompts your iPhone to start listening to a song being played. Once your iPhone identifies the song, it will begin displaying lyrics in real time on your Apple Watch. Your kids will be super-impressed that you know all the words to their favourite songs. (Well, that or totally mortified.)

Apple Watch is available for sale now, and will retail for $449 and up.

Hemophilia Physiotherapy

Leah Sarich | posted Friday, Apr 24th, 2015


Hemophilia is a rare genetic blood disorder. People with the disease do not produce enough blood clotting proteins or factors, as they’re called, for blood to clot properly. There are several different kinds of hemophilia and there is no cure. Females are carriers of the disease and rarely it. But while it’s primarily an inherited disease about 30 percent of cases are spontaneous.

For Hemophilia Awareness Month we’re looking at the role physiotherapists play in treating patients with the disease. I spoke with Julia Brooks a physiotherapist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She says kids with hemophilia who get minor bumps and scrapes are usually fine. But if they take a big fall, say from the monkey bars or off their bike, then there’s a problem. What physiotherapists worry about is bleeds in the muscles or joints or internal bleeds in the stomach or head.

In the joints, for example, blood is very toxic to cartilage and can severely damage the joints. This damage can lead to disability and lack of mobility. So physiotherapists work to assess the joint, get the patient the synthetic factor they need via IV to stop the bleeding, and then stabilize the joint until the bleeding stops. But while that joint is stable muscle wastes away very quickly. So the physiotherapists work to rehabilitate the patient afterward in an effort to improve strength and mobility for these young patients so they can get back to being a kid as quickly as possible.

For more information on hemophilia visit this website.

Ready in 30 minutes: our top tips for a faster morning prep

LOULOU | posted Friday, Apr 24th, 2015

Dirty hair?

 Just wash the front: No time for a full shampoo and blow-dry? Just wash and dry your bangs (or the front section of your hair) and then tie the rest back in a bun. This look is slick – and super-quick! If you want to leave your tresses loose, just add a little texture by curling a few sections with a curling iron and…voila! It’ll look like you’ve got a freshly washed coif.

Try dry shampoo: Introducing your new BFF: dry shampoo. The trick is to spray it on from a 15-centimetre distance and then not touch it for at least two minutes. Give the spray some time to work its magic (say, while you’re doing your makeup), and then shake out your tresses and finish off your coif with a little straightening cream (or dry conditioner) on your tips.

Style it while you sleep – part 2If you know you won’t have time to style your hair in the morning, give yourself a side braid or a topknot the night before. Make sure your ’do is tight before you hit the sack; that way you’ll wake up to an intentionally messy (and oh-so-trendy!) coif.

Plan for the mega-rush days: Stick a hat on it!


Don’t bother: The quickest way to do your makeup? Skip it altogether and head out with a real-deal #wokeuplikethis look. For ladies who aren’t totally comfortable going 100 percent makeup-free, here are some great time-saving makeup tips.

Stick to the basics: The trick is to focus on prods that’ll give you the most “wow!” for the least effort. Enter: liquid eyeliner and bright lipstick. You’ll always look put together with a chic cat eye or a colourful lippy. Add a little concealer and some mascara and you’re good to go!

Get your glow on: A good illuminator can do wonders for your complexion. It’s the quickest way to get a gorgeous radiant glow – even when you’re feeling kind of worn out. BB creams are also a good bet, especially if they have a high SPF (think 50 or 60). They’ll unify your skin and protect it at the same time. Nice!

Get beautiful brows: When it comes to your brows, go for a gel (like Benefit’s Gimme Brow gel) rather than fussing with a powder and a bevelled brush.

Go for the gloss: If you’re not great at applying lipstick in a hurry, go for a coloured gloss instead. It’s much easier to put on, and the look is just as hot!

Simplify your shadow: The easiest eye makeup? Apply a champagne-coloured iridescent cream shadow over the entire upper lid. Use your finger for ultra-speedy application, and then finish the look with a quick coat of mascara.

Keep a backup: Always keep a few makeup essentials in your handbag. You can put your mascara on at the office if you didn’t have time before leaving the house.

Need perfect nails? Give yourself a mani makeover

If your mani has seen better days but you don’t have time for a new one, hide imperfections by adding a contrasting colour on the end of each nail. Otherwise, grab a sparkly overcoat and paint it over the whole nail or create a cool shading effect.

What to wear?

Select your inspo: Create a Pinterest board of awesome outfit ideas. That way you’ll always have some inspo on days when you really can’t decide what to wear.

Grab your go-tos: Have a few tried-and-tested outfits ready to go. Knowing you can grab your “meeting day” outfit or your “going out after work” ensemble helps cut planning time in half. Keep pix of your fave outfits on your phone, and refer to them when you’re not sure what to rock.

Just add heels: Throw on some heels. Nothing pulls a look together like a great pair of heels.

Keep it simple: Be sure to have some fuss-free items in your wardrobe. You want to be able to grab that wrinkle-free top (or that jersey knit dress) on mornings when time is super-tight.

When in doubt, LBD it: Always have an LBD on hand. It’s the easiest one-step outfit, and it goes with every accessory you own. So simple!

Choose easy accessories: Keep your baubles and accessories in plain view. You don’t want to be searching in a jewellery box for that perfect statement necklace. And who has time to rifle through drawers for that outfit-making scarf? Keep fave pieces out and ready for those throw-it-on-and-go days.

More saving tips:

 Prep your breakfast: Prepare your breakfast the night before. Cooking oatmeal before bed means you’ll only have to reheat it the next day.

Eat at the office: Eat breakfast at the office. A packet of instant oatmeal is easy to throw in your purse and can be prepared once you arrive. Also, fruit is a great on-the-go brekkie, so stock up on apples, bananas and other easy-to-eat options.

Take it to go: Invest in a good Thermos, and drink your coffee en route. You probably don’t have time to savour your java at home, but if coffee is non-negotiable in the mornings (we hear you!), at least you can sip in style during your morning commute.

Have a no-phone rule: Put the cellphone down when you’re at home, and make a point of checking news and social media on public transit only. Nothing helps pass in-transit time like scrolling down your friends’ feeds and checking your fave mobile news pages and apps.

Turn off the TV: Turn off the TV while you’re getting ready in the morning. Instead, rock some high-energy tunes to get you pumped for the day. If you find music distracting, just keep things quiet and head out the door as fast as you can.

25 Days with Apple Watch – What I really used it for

Mike Yawney | posted Friday, Apr 24th, 2015

It’s been an interesting month. For the past three and a half weeks I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch, only taking it off to shower and sleep. I was the only Canadian journalist to get their hands on the device before the official launch, and despite my best efforts to keep it hidden, the stylish device drew lot of attention no matter where I went.

Just a simple glance at my Apple Watch in a public spot had people approaching me, asking me about it. The funny thing is, every person who questioned me about the device asked the same two questions: Do you like like it?” and “What do you use it for?”.

If you read my review I posted earlier this month you’ll already know the answer to the first question. Yes, I really do like Apple Watch, but after spending 25 days with it I have come to realize something; the watch got better as time went on. Not only did I become more familiar with the user interface, but more apps launched, proving the watch to be even more useful than it was on March 30th when I put it on for the first time.

Am I still wearing an Apple Watch? Absolutely! What do I actually use it for? Read on to see just how useful Apple Watch can be in day to day life.

A common feature found in the majority of smart watches on the market. This is by far the feature I used the most over the past 3 weeks. Every time a message, mail or social media notification arrived on my iPhone, I would be notified on my watch with a distinctive vibration and chime. Notifications allowed me to filter my communications, preventing me from pulling out my iPhone each and every time it made a noise. A quick glance at my wrist gave me the basic info on who was texting or emailing. If it was important I simply held up my wrist and the full message would display. If the message wasn’t important I dropped my wrist and my watch went back to sleep. I found Apple Watch to be a great way to discretely check incoming messages without being rude or obvious during meetings or dinner.

Phone Calls 
I know…it surprised me too! Sounds ridiculous. Answering phone calls on an Apple Watch when everyone can hear what you’re discussing? While I didn’t have many full length conversations on the watch I did use it to answer my phone when it wasn’t readily accessible. There were times when I left my iPhone on my desk while running to the mail room at the office or to another cubicle for a quick meeting. When my phone would ring I was able to answer it on my watch and tell the caller to hold on while I retrieved my iPhone or I would call them right back. I loved the fact I never missed a call, even when my phone wasn’t with me.

Voice Dictation
This is quickly becoming my favourite way to send a text! When you receive a message on your Apple Watch you can respond in one of three ways. You can use the pre-programmed quick generic responses (which you can change in the menu). You can send an animated emoticon, or you can reply via dictation. I was surprised just how well the voice recognition worked. There were only a few words I noticed it had difficulties dictating, and for the most part it was extremely accurate. It’s much faster than typing a response. The only issue is if dictation is wrong, there is no easy way to make a correction without erasing the entire message and starting again.

Controlling the lights in my home
Just a few days ago the Insteon and Hue apps appeared in the Apple Watch App store. I happen to have a few Insteon home automation devices along with Hue lighting in my home so I was excited to test these out. Within minutes I was turning lights off and on in my home and changing the colour of the Hue LEDs we have installed in our basement – all from my wrist. I could also check in on our youngest daughter as she slept through the live view of the Insteon camera we have installed in her room.

Buying my Morning (and afternoon) Coffee
Apple Pay hasn’t launched in Canada just yet, but you can still make purchases at Starbucks using only your Apple Watch. I tend to prefer Starbucks coffee so luck happened to be on my side in this case. By using the built-in Passbook app, I was able to add my Starbucks card to my watch. The QR code appears on the watch face which I scanned at the till then walked away. There is even an option for tipping. I The Baristas would always get excited when I scanned the watch shouting out how cool it was.

Boarding my flights
Like the Starbucks App, your Air Canada boarding passes can also be added to your Passbook. I tend to fly quite a bit with my job. In the past three weeks I boarded six Air Canada flights. Each time I was able to go to the gate, scan my watch, and walk onboard without fishing for my paper boarding pass. Each time I was expecting resistance to questions from the gate agent, and every time I got the same response “that’s awesome!”. Sure I could always flash the QR code my phone, but thats just one more thing to carry.

Discovering new music
As a huge music fan I was quite excited when Tim Cook announced Shazam would appear in app form in Apple Watch. Last week it appeared on my watch. Not only can the app turn on the mic on your iPhone and identify songs, it will display lyrics on your wrist and give you the option to buy the sing from iTunes on your iPhone. I have used this app countless times for lyric information. Yes…I’m the guy who sings along to songs in the vehicle.

Find My iPhone
I did even realize this feature existed until I found it hidden in the watch menu. I have a bad habit of misplacing my iPhone in our house. Pressing the Find my iPhone icon on Apple Watch causes your iPhone to emit a chime which helps you track it down. I have used this feature more times than I care to admit…and was thankful for it each time I did.

Measuring my heart rate
Easily the most reliable heart rate monitor of any smart watch I have tried. Apple watch uses a combination of LED lights, light sensitive photodiodes and infrared light to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given time. Whether I was on an piece of exercise equipment in the gym, or out for a run or bike ride, the heart rate monitor was always able to find my pulse. I also love the fact Apple Watch automatically measured my heart rate every 10 minutes (whether you tell it to or not) to help measure how many calories I burned.

Listening to music during for my workout
Initially I didn’t think this was a feature I would use…but that quickly changed. With 2GB of onboard storage you can store approx 250 of your favourite songs then play them back through Bluetooth headphones. I found this perfect for the gym or running outdoors. Changing audio tracks was as simple as tapping the screen. 250 songs may not seem like a lot compared to what you can store on your iPhone, but it’s enough to ensure there are no repeats during your workout.

Of course I used the watch for much more than the purposes listed above. I was able to get turn by turn directions to a restaurant using the built-in Maps app. I was able to unlock my hotel room by tapping Apple Watch on my door at the W Hotel in Times Square. I also hailed an Uber car through the Uber app in New York.

As I write this, dozens more apps are populating in the Apple Watch App Store. I already see some Canadian banking apps going live, a Pizza Pizza app which lets me order pizza from my watch, plus productivity apps like Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote. The first 25 days with Apple Watch are behind me… who knows what the next 25 will hold.

Must-experience attractions at Walt Disney World

Breakfast Television | posted Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2015

Heading to Walt Disney World? Overwhelmed by the amount of rides and attractions that you and your family could do? We have compiled a list of must-do rides for each of the different kingdoms! Whether you’re travelling with young kids, tweens, or teens, these attractions will be perfect for your next trip to Walt Disney World!

Magic Kingdom

Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride
One of the Disney classics, take to the skies on a ride with Dumbo. Perfect for any age, kids can choose to ride high in the sky or lower with each Dumbo having its own Dumbo-themed gondola control. The ride is located right in Storybook Circus in Magic Kingdom and FastPass+ is available if you aren’t feeling the long wait.

Seven Dwarf Mines
Discover the world of the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White at the Seven Dwarf Mines. Located in Fantasy Land in Magic Kingdom, this thrilling rollercoaster with small drops, kids will make their way through the forest and then into the mine where the dwarfs spend their day.  This attraction is new, so make sure to get there early or get the FastPass+!



Have you ever wanted to experience flying? Now you can with Soarin’ at Epcot. Soar through the skies of California from aerial heights on this ride. The ride features sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, the California mountains, and beautiful orange fields. What makes this ride even more interesting? The adding of smells such as pine as you head up the California Mountains, or citrus as you make your way across the orange fields. Soarin’ will leave you speechless and wanting more. There is a height restriction of 40-inches on this ride but it is perfect for kids and tweens looking for an exhilarating flight.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Hop aboard a ‘clamobile’ and help Marlin and Dory find Nemo once again! Swim through the beautiful coral reefs, dodge the jellyfish, and hang out with Crush the sea turtle for an adventure. This ride is perfect for any age and will be a favourite for any Nemo fan!

Disney Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Midway Mayhem!

Step into Andy’s room from Toy Story and take part in a 4D carnival tram ride. Riders take part in a carnival game by laser shooting 3D objects allowing riders to compete against each other. This game is open to any height and is perfect for any kid looking for a thrill without the drops of a rollercoaster.

Rock n Roll Rollercoaster

Perfect for older kids looking for a adventure, the Rock n Roll Rollercoaster is sure to be a rockn’ good time. The rollercoaster is Aerosmith-themed as you enter your super stretched limo and take the rock star life full speed ahead. With loops, and a high-acceleration start, this rollercoaster is sure to entertain anyone.

Disney Animal Kingdom

Its Tough to be a Bug

Located inside the tree of life in Animal Kingdom is the Its Tough to be a Bug 3D show. Filled with dazzling surprises, this show keeps everyone wanting more. The 3D aspects allow kids to feel like the bug characters are talking directly to them, and the when some unexpected bugs arrive some 4D elements are incorporated making the show even more magical. This show is perfect for kids young kids and especially those that are a fan of the “A Bugs Life” movie.

Kilimanjaro Safari

You can’t go to Animal Kingdom without going taking part in a safari! Take a look at real life animals on this safari ride. In an open air safari vehicle, visit many such as Zebra, Ostrich, Warthog, Rhino’s, and so much more. This is perfect for young kids as there is so much to learn and look at during this safari ride!

Check out some pictures of the Walt Disney World rides featured above:

Do you have a favourite ride at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below! 

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