Topic: Stress

Reducing Children’s Stress (and Yours!) During the Holidays

It’s supposed to be a time of joyful excitement, but the truth is that the holiday season can be stressful for children and parents alike.

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Oppositional Defiance or Faulty Neuroception?

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.

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The Top Priority When your Child is Diagnosed with Developmental Differences

We want to shift away from viewing developmental differences as something that needs to be quickly “fixed”. Rather, we need to soften the stance to view differences with patience and compassion; with reflection regarding what behaviors or capacities should be targeted for change, and why

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Are Parents Considered the Experts of their Own Special Needs Children?

This has been a rough IEP season at my office.  Not because money is still tight and funding sources are scarce for special education services, or because these meetings can go on for hours on end, but because it seems parents are often not considered experts of their own children with special needs.  And when […]

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Preventing More Violence

How many more deaths must occur before we take action to prevent future acts of violence in this country?  While discussion around limiting gun access is important, as a mental health specialist I can speak to the need for early identification of potential perpetrators. Our current methods of identifying and treating persons with mental health […]

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When Something doesn’t Feel Right

As a parent, you might experience confusion about your role in your child’s services.  You may feel that “pit in the stomach”, or “queasy feeling” when one of your child’s therapists makes a suggestion/comment that just doesn’t seem right. Because you have such a close relationship with your child, your weigh-in during these moments is […]

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Time to Re-think Treatment Techniques?

  Last week, at Bessel van der Kolk’s Annual Trauma Conference, the number of references to autism intrigued me.  While one would not necessarily expect to find those two words together in a conference, some of the underlying neurobiology found in trauma may be similar to children with autism, including weak or disconnected neural links […]

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Are you at Risk?

A recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois validates many other studies linking an increased risk of stress and depression experienced by mothers of young children with autism spectrum disorders (Jeans, 2013).  Fathers are at risk as well, however their symptoms may look different than those of mothers. This is somber news, and […]

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Redefining Oppositional and Challenging Behaviors

One of the goals of the Profectum conference  last month was to help parents and professionals expand their understanding of challenging behaviors in children. Connie Lillas described an optimal state of mental health as the “green” zone, a zone of calm awareness which supports learning and communicating.  Connie and I emphasized how important it is […]

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