The information contained on this blog is not a substitute for training, continuing education, clinical supervision, or the importance of individual consultation for each child and family. All identifying information, including names and other details, has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Sitting on my office couch, Shawna let out a sigh. “We need help,” she said, barely getting the words out before she began to cry. Her face was gaunt and she had dark circles under her eyes.
Over the next hour, she explained what had led her to seek my help. Shawna and her husband [...]
When parents enroll their children in a school, they often don’t realize they’re choosing not only a program, but a whole approach.
I was reminded of this when I was asked to observe a little girl at a state-sponsored preschool for children with developmental differences. “Ana”, 3, was happily playing when she noticed that a [...]
October 12th, 2017
Grant, age four, was asked to leave two preschools because of misbehavior. With tousled brown hair, big brown eyes, and a playful spirit, he both charmed and confused most of the adults in his life. He had such difficulty following directions that his teachers had to reprimand him every few minutes. They described him as [...]
September 5th, 2017
Aly’s sleep problems were becoming so challenging that now her parents were losing sleep. For years, the five-year-old had woken up several times nightly. When a pediatrician’s advice failed to alleviate the problem, her parents sought help from an agency that offered their daughter sleep training using a behavioral approach. After just three weeks, Aly [...]
It was almost dinner- time, and little “Max” was hungry and tired. After a busy and active afternoon, he was in the midst of a lengthy home session with his behavior therapist when his mother stepped in the door from work.
Smiling with delight, the boy instinctively ran toward the door to offer a greeting, [...]
May 22nd, 2017
An essential ingredient has been slowly disappearing from children’s lives: free, spontaneous play.
Many factors have converged to cause the decline of play. Technology absorbs more and more of children’s attention. Schools pile on academic pressures earlier and earlier. And parents are increasingly opting to place their children in structured extracurricular activities.
That makes today’s [...]
Nearly thirty years ago, as a newly minted clinical psychologist, I was fortunate to learn about social-emotional development from the writings of such pioneers as John Bowlby, who launched the field of study known as attachment theory. Bowlby was among the first to recognize the importance of early emotional attachments and their positive impact on [...]
November 16th, 2016
Rose’s parents and teachers were concerned about how to help her find success in kindergarten. Sometimes she went with the flow but at other times Rose fussed so much that she disrupted the whole class.
Then her teachers devised a plan that everyone thought would help. They designated a small, separate section of the classroom [...]
October 13th, 2016
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) should be viewed as a child's response to stressors. Porges' concept of neuroception is key in supporting children and creating treatment plans to help them find their way back to emotional regulation.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) should be viewed as a child’s response to stress. Viewing challenging behaviors on a continuum of stress and stress recovery reveals a whole new way to think about this stigmatizing disorder, as well as a new way to support children, informed by current neuroscience.