This blog has been prepared by our very own, Stephanie Fredericka, LCSW
At any given moment, if you were to ask my almost four, going on fourteen, year-old son Tristan who he was, you are likely to get the response “I’m Spider-Man!” or “Batman” spoken in a low, Christian Bale-esque grainy voice. My son is a lover of all things super heroes and from the moment he could understand them, he was enamored! His identity (or the “I”) is strongly intertwined with these characters and their positive traits. He will often say “I’m Batman, look at what I can do,” with a glowing face. It is not surprising that he identifies with these superheroes as pretend play is a part of child development.
Recent studies done by Rachel White of the University of Pennsylvania and Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota explain the “Batman Effect.” In her Wall Street Journal article “The Power of Pretending: What Would a Hero Do?” Alison Gopink states that children who pretend they are a superhero do better on measures of self-control and persistence.
According to the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article, a study published in 2015 in the journal of Developmental Science details 48, 5 year-olds who were given increasingly challenging problems. They were required to use their skills of control and self-inhibition. They were asked to sort cards according to color then quickly and then suddenly change to sorting by shape. Some of the children were told to pretend they were powerful fictional characters as they worked through the tasks and some children wore props, such as cape. Then the experimenter told the kids they were Batman and ask themselves “Where does Batman think the card should go?” (Gopnik). With no surprise, the children who pretended to be superheroes did much better than the children who tried to solve the tasks as themselves.
A common exercise I like to use when working with children to help them identify their positive traits is a superhero activity. This is usually a favorite! The children are first encouraged to identify their positive traits, and asked to then draw themselves as a superhero and give themselves a name. Finally, we discuss their positive traits and how they are “superhero like.” With this, I often see children get very excited when they compare themselves to superheroes! Below are several ways you can help your children identify with their inner superhero:
In conclusion, cheers to helping your child unleash their inner superhero! The power of belief is so very strong. Allowing our children to believe they can do anything can sometimes be difficult. During those tedious times, that is when I like to call in the help of our friendly neighborhood Spider-man! Ask your child “what do you think your favorite superhero would do?” Letting children use their inner superhero thinking allows them to see that they can accomplish the goals they set out to do, even without capes and pointy-eared masks!
Today's blog comes from Noah Smith who has share shared great information with our readers in September 2017! Noah Smith conquered his anxiety battles as a child. Today, he conquers places in his travel adventures.
Most parents or caregivers wouldn’t dare dictate their teen’s dinner menu or demand they turn the lights out by 8 p.m. every school night, but there are ways to help adolescents foster healthy habits that will give them a head start in high school and in life. Here are a few tips to help teens sleep more, eat better, and get enough exercise—good practices for people of any age.
Messy bedrooms aren’t the only way some teens practice poor sleep hygiene. The National Sleep Foundation recommends teenagers get between eight and 10 hours sleep a night. But the organization's website referenced research that showed only 15 percent log eight and a half hours on school nights.
Studies have linked lack of sufficient sleep to problems including mental health issues, academic difficulties, substance abuse, and weight gain. While adults can’t exactly tuck teens in at night, experts suggest sharing these tips to help them turn off and turn in:
When it comes to nutritional advice for adolescents, doctors tell teens pretty much the same thing they do adults. Young people should be eating balanced meals and healthy snacks that lean heavily on fruits and vegetables. Teens should opt for lean proteins while limiting their intake of red meats.
Most people know the script, even if they don’t stick to it. The good news is that teens typically have fewer years of poor eating habits to make up for than most adults. Here are some tips to help them focus on food that’s good and good for them:
Like their younger peers, teens should get at least an hour of exercise a day. But studies show that half of American adolescent males and 75 percent of females fall short of that goal, according to Time Magazine. Here are a few simple suggestions to help your teen establish a lifelong exercise habit:
In addition to helping them be healthier, these tips on improving their sleep habits, daily diets, and exercise routines may even boost some testy teens’ moods—a perk parents and peers alike will appreciate.
Thanksgiving is almost here and as much as it is a delicious meal and a festive time, it can be very overwhelming for children and adolescents with Autism.
Find some helpful suggestions on getting through the day with ease in this great blog from Autism Speaks.
Every child with special needs is entitled to a free and appropriate education. Every child on the autistic spectrum has a unique profile, with unique needs. A one size fits all model does not work for our children within the public school setting.
So what variables should be considered by you, the parent, and the school in making a decision about the program, accommodations, and related services that your child needs? Watch my web show with Autism Live Show, Let's Talk Autism with Nancy and Shannon where we discussed the different options that are available for your child.
It's not easy raising kids with grit, otherwise known as old school resilience. Listen to my radio show with Tom Wood as we discuss what grit is, and how we can start building that sense of self and strength from a very early age.
Click below to listen to the radio show
Being a parent is an extraordinarily difficult job. No one talks about the 'ugly' parts of parenting. So when you have a child with special needs, the stress, shame, and worry that comes with the territory can sometimes be overwhelming.
Click here to watch this webinar, Managing Stress: Parenting a Child with Special Needs" where I discuss the parent's journey, experiences, and also ways of coping with the many emotions that are had on a daily basis.
Written by: Chrissy Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC of Psychological & Educational Consulting
Your Child’s Strengths
When we focus on our children strengths and not their weaknesses, we can provide them with confidence and stability for the future. Children are not little generalists; therefore, our parent expectation should be on what your child has a passion for, rather than your passion or the passion you hoped your child would have. The author and Psychologist, Wendy Mogel says, "in the real world there is no room for the generalist except on Jeopardy! Accept your child’s flaws and encourage her to follow their interests and help foster their strengths.
A Few Ways to Build Your Child’s Strengths
As we all know it to be true, “the days of parenthood are long, but the years are fast.” Create a home environment of positivity that focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses. Make it a point to give your child 3 praises each day (morning, evening, night). For example, “Thank you for putting your shoes in the closet. Thank you for helping to clear the table,” instead of “Your shoes are out in the middle of the living room again? Can’t you ever just put your plate in the sink?” It’s so easy to point out the negative, but it takes the same amount of energy to say something positive. That positivity will also help to build a greater bond between you and your child.
Here’s to finding your children’s strengths, building them up, and making them strong!
A child or adolescent with Asperger's Syndrome (now known as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Level 1) often struggles with social relationships. That is, they want to have friendships, but don't understand how to build them. We find that they don't understand the gray area of friendships where peers make sarcastic remarks, or are facetious. Because they can be black and white, concrete thinkers, they may struggle as to why a group of peers are joking or playing around instead of focusing and playing their instruments in Band class. They want to 'supervise' or 'lead' the group, but they are not understanding the social cues that are being sent their way to 'child out' or 'stop' because they want to have a good time.
This often leaves our children with Asperger's Syndrome feeling lonely and confused, unwelcome and not sure why. They are not invited to birthday parties, play dates, or invited to 'hang out' as they get older. They tend to also have isolated areas of interest (e.g., video games) but struggle to relate to their peers on much else other than that. They also perceive their virtual friends as real friends, which can make video games that much more reinforcing.
Click here to read this article, "Asperger's Syndrome: Problems Interpreting the Social and Emotional World" where it debunks myths that these children are dangerous, racist, not empathic or sympathetic.
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs I have ever had. Parenting a child with special needs can be even more challenging. Burnout is inevitable and self care is the last on your priority list.
Please join me as I present on this topic on a webinar sponsored by Shield Healthcare on Wednesday November 8, 2017, 12p (Eastern Time).
Click here to register for this FREE webinar!
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles