The Daily Habits of Organized Kids: Simple, effective ways to keep your family organized and stress free
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Brain Azium
"Though they may insist otherwise, children with ADHD desperately need and often thrive with reliable daily routines — particularly in the morning and at bedtime. Why? Many children with ADHD exhibit executive function deficits, which means they have a hard time organizing tasks in their minds — making it difficult to figure out how much time it will take to brush their teeth, take a bath, or choose an outfit."
Today's blog discusses strategies to relieve stress and create structure in your home. Establishing routines for homework and other daily tasks can help you and your children deal with the demands of everyday life!
Written by: Dr Liz Matheis and Featured by: The Mighty
"Your child has anxiety. Your child may be struggling to get to school each day. Maybe he is downright refusing to go. Maybe she is complaining of stomachaches and headaches before bed or before school. Your child may be struggling to make friends or keep them. Maybe certain subjects are difficult. Maybe he is having a hard time taking in all of the stimulation in the classroom or school, and needs a break."
If your child is struggling with anxiety during classes, they are likely experiencing difficulty paying attention to the lesson or completing assignments because of this. Today's blog discusses two different options you have in order to assure your child gets the academic support they need!
Dr. Liz's Book Review:
Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do is a must-read for parents and parents to be. It’s easy to read, well-written, and points out 13 key pillars that parents of our generation have moved away from. This book has created a clear delineation of my role as a parent while helping me separate out the discomforts of parenting that tap into my own insecurities as a person.
My favorite "thing” of the “13 things” that Amy points out is avoiding the victim mentality. It’s one that is easy to fall into for all of us, of all ages and genders, and especially for children and adolescents who are anxious. Instead of becoming subject to circumstances, Amy points out how we, as parents, can shape our circumstances so that they serve us. Instead of feeling badly for ourselves, it’s taking the current situation and turning it into what we want it to be. I just love how she also gives us permission, as parents, to hold our children to higher standards, and to hold them accountable to those standards. It’s not that simple, I know, but if we as parents can model this for our children and use this language in our daily conversations, we will create children who are good problem solvers, leaders, and innovators.
As a Child & Adolescent Psychologist, I can attest to how these strategies and exercises will help you to raise a resilient child who is confident, self-sufficient, and ultimately, happy.
How to Take Exams: 25 Successful Exam Techniques for Multiple Choice, Essay, and Mathematics Questions
Written by: Denny from One Class
Got a final exam coming up and worried about how to approach it? It’s that time of the year now where there will be all sorts of exams coming up: term tests, final exams, midterm exams, etc. and if it’s worth a big percentage of your grade, it can be pretty intimidating. Especially so if you’re going in without a plan or strategy in mind.
That’s why we’re here! We got you covered with 15 specific techniques for multiple choice, essay, and quantitative questions AND 10 essential general exam writing techniques.
15 Exam Tips for Multiple Choice, Essay, and Quantitative Questions
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Read the Entire Question
Even if you believe you know the answer after reading a few words, make sure you read the whole question before you record your answer. Taking a few more seconds to read the questions could make the difference between a right and wrong answer.
2. Answer First
Try to answer the question before seeing the answers. This allows you to be the most certain of your answer instead of just choosing one of the potential answers without deciding on your own.
3. Process of Elimination
Read each answer and cross out the ones you know for sure are incorrect. This will make choosing the right answer much easier because you can visually see the number of options decrease and narrow down, making the decision clearer and easier to make.
4. On to the Next One
Stuck on a question? To save time, move to the next question and solve the ones that you know first. Then, come back to the ones you were unsure about. This will save you time and potential stress from facing a challenging question.
5. No Blanks
Even if you tried multiple tactics and are still unsure of a question, make sure to make an educated guess. Usually, leaving a question blank will still result in a wrong answer so you might as well have a chance at getting the question right through a guess than not having a chance at all by leaving it blank.
It’s tempting to just start throwing whatever is in your mind down on the paper but taking the extra few minutes to create an outline will make writing it so much easier. It will give you a much better organized and ultimately save you time in the long run. Also, if you run out of time, you can still get part marks for your outline.
2. Double Space
A very small thing to keep in mind but it can make a big impact on your grade. Double spacing will make your professor/examiner’s job that much easier and that itself can go a long way.
3. Read the Question
Of course, understanding what topic to write about is important but equally, if not more, important is what exactly about the topic the question is asking about. Pay attention to words like discuss, compare, analyze, etc.
-Discuss: Give overall picture. Broad understanding
-Compare: Compare two topics/items
-Analyze: Give a detailed analysis of the topic
4. Concise Sentences
Make sure that your sentences are not ongoing and it sounds like you’re rambling. Writing in clear and concise sentences is a lot easier for your examiner to understand and be convinced that you are sure of what you are talking about.
5. What is the Question?
When writing an essay it’s very easy to get lost in the many sentences you’re writing. Always make sure that what you’re writing is tying back to the main question at hand and is contributing to answering it.
If you’re not allowed a cheat sheet, make sure you write down the formulas you need somewhere on your exam before starting to make sure you don’t forget them. If you don’t know the formula you won’t be able to answer the question!
Since there are many steps where numbers can be miscalculated, especially in a long question, make sure to check if your answer makes sense. If your answer to a question about how much revenue a huge company like Apple generated in a year is $500, you’re most likely wrong. Work backwards to see where you miscalculated!
When showing calculation steps, make sure to be as organized as possible. Even if you get the wrong final answer, it is very likely you’ll get part marks for attempting and showing the right steps.
4. Word Problems
In a long word problem, make sure to give it a thorough read and highlight/circle the numbers and key facts so you don’t have to focus on the irrelevant details (since word problems include these details to throw you off). Always ask if there is information you don’t need and cross them off or ignore them.
5. Don’t Forget the Small Things
Sometimes the small things can have big impacts. Make sure to have the proper units (kg, g, mg, etc.) and appropriate decimals
If you keep even just a few of these techniques in mind, it’ll help a great deal with your organization and confidence when going into your next multiple choice, essay, or quantitative exam. To make sure you can get all of the resources as you can to help you with your next exam, we have 10 of the top general techniques for your exams right below, check it out!
TOP 10 General Exam Techniques
Before even looking at your exam paper, make sure you’re in a positive mindset rather than a negative one. Starting a 3 hour exam that’s worth 50% of your grade is daunting task for sure but feeling anxious and nervous won’t help the situation especially if you don’t have a strategy or technique to convert those negative feelings into positivity and productivity.
Take a few deep breaths, realize that you know more about the subject than you think (this is often the case), and start your exam with a positive attitude
2. Quick Scan
Once you open your exam, make sure to quickly but thoroughly read over the instructions and questions to make sure everything is clear. This also gives you the chance to see how much each question is worth to give you an idea of how long you should spend on each question.
This will make sure you don’t spend an hour on a question that’s worth only 10% of your exam!
3. Make a Plan
If there are options, choose which ones you are going to answer. Of course, choose the ones that you know the most about!
Plan how long you will spend on each question and what order you’ll answer the questions in based on their weighting and difficulty.
4. Easy Questions First
Solving the easy questions first will make sure you’re getting marks for the questions that you know you can solve for sure; and of course, every mark counts.
Additionally, it will create confidence and momentum going forward which will be very useful for the more challenging questions.
5. Clear and Concise
When answering a question, it is almost always better to be clear and to the point than to ramble on about something unrelated to the question. It wastes your time and your energy and suggests to the examiner/marker that you aren’t sure of your answer.
In addition, the examiner probably has hundreds of exams to mark so making it easy for them will benefit you as well. So ensure your answers clear and concise, easy to read, and organized. A small thing like this can really go a long way.
6. Time Management
Always make sure you are looking at the time. You could be stuck on a question and next thing you know an hour passes! Make sure you are going to the pace that you had planned for yourself.
One thing that makes exams such a stressful task is the time crunch. It can really throw students off their focus and concentration, leaving them frustrated and overly stressed during the exam. If this happens, take a 1-2 minute break by putting your pen down, and closing your eyes. Sometimes we all need a break and 1-2 minutes can help you refocus and potentially make the difference between a pass or a fail!
7. Brain Food
If you are allowed, try to bring in water and some snacks that you can nibble on during the exam. Not only will it give you something to destress with while taking a short break, but healthy snacks can give you that extra boost or kick to help you stay focused and alert during an exam. Some great brain food examples are:
-Nuts (all kinds, especially walnuts)
-Anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables: Blueberries, Citrus Fruit and Peppers
-Naturally caffeinated drinks: Green tea, Coffee
A lot of people may not think this is important but it’s something that is strongly recommended. If you just spend 5 minutes maximum to quickly go through your answers, it could save you a lot of marks that you would have gotten wrong otherwise.
Reviewing can help you spot answers that on second thought don’t make sense, calculation errors, etc.
9. Essential Things to Remember
The following may seem obvious but there is a surprising amount of incidents where these are forgotten or done incorrectly.
-Check both sides of each paper to make sure you don’t miss any questions
-Don’t forget your name and date. Also, if you have a nickname and an official name, make sure you put the official name that is registered with the university!
-Fill in the scantron properly. Make sure you’re filling in the answers for the right question, or else the incorrect order of your answers could result in all of the following answers being wrong!
Making sure to do these could really make the difference in a pass or a fail so make sure you don’t make these silly errors!
10. MOST IMPORTANT: Prepare!
These tips will help you during an exam but it goes without saying that the most important thing to do to ace an exam is to, you guessed it, STUDY!
If you know the material like the back of your hand then it will be much easier for you to get that A. Of course, it’s easier said than done so we have some great note taking tips and memorization tips to help you study for your next exam, check them out!
Written by: Dr. Rick Manista
If you are suspecting that your child may have ADHD, you may begin to also notice signs of anxiety. Anxiety can sometimes look like ADHD, and ADHD can lead to the experience of anxiety. That is, your child may be preoccupied with anxious thoughts in class, which could look like he is being inattentive. An anxious child may need to leave the classroom because she is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work or what other kids may be thinking about her. She may need to fidget because her anxiety is high and she needs a place to let go of the negative energy.
Likewise, we have seen many adolescents and young adults with ADHD who become anxious when given a long-term or multi-step assignment. A young woman worries about how she is going to write the 5 page paper that is coming up at the end of the week, so she either does it within the last hour before it’s due, or she doesn’t work on it at all. A young man can’t keep track of all of his school demands and social demands so he ends up not going to class or meeting up with friends.
Let’s break it down…
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a condition where children, adolescents and adults have difficulty sustaining attention and controlling their impulses (Gargaro et al, 2011). According to the DSM-V, it’s broken down into 3 categories: hyperactive and impulsive, inattentive or combined.
When we break it down, we have our children and adolescents whose attention is wavering all within the same 20 minutes, and/or they have a hard time sitting still and become physically overwhelmed if they are unable to move. This is often seen by the classroom teacher as the child who is falling out of his seat, or calling out or runs across the classroom to sharpen his pencil once he notices that his pencil point is low.
This can make being a member of the class quite difficult because of the need to move, the need to work for small spurts of time, and the struggle to wait one’s turn or raise one’s hand. This can lead to overreacting in situations, having difficulty with organizing and finishing tasks, and having too much energy.
Children with ADHD typically meet all developmental milestones, but many of our kids aren’t picking up on the social cues and non-verbal language between their peers. They miss the cues and either join the situation too late or make statements or comments that are not related to what’s really going on.
Or, if you have a hyperactive child, he may be trying to impress with his athletic skill or is jumpy and touchy, which over time, begins to turn off his peers. Whereas he was once funny, now he’s just annoying.
Generalized Anxiety is the experience of anxiety over several situations but not limited to one. If your child is preoccupied with his thoughts or is afraid of what others may be thinking, it will be that much more difficult to see or read social cues. Someone with Autism may not be able to take perspective or think abstractly, while someone with ADHD may not be focused enough to read a social cue.
Garcia-Winner and Crooke (2015) label this world based anxiety. Our social world is constantly changing. Children who have difficulty reading social situations can become easily confused with what is expected with them, what is coming next and what someone’s else intentions are. This can make them worried about new experiences, changes in routine and challenging social situations. Social Stories and Visual Schedules can be quite helpful.
Another reason for anxiety is difficulty communicating with others. When children have challenges expressing themselves and relating to others, they can have negative social experiences. This can cause social anxiety, where children may be afraid to interact with a person, feel uncomfortable when they are speaking, and be judging themselves after talking to someone. Social skills training can help children be able to read social cues and give them the confidence to participate in social situations.
For children with ADHD can experience changes in their mood. This can give them difficulties socializing with peers and succeeding in the classroom. This can cause them to have negative feelings towards themselves. Inability to focus can also extend to their ability to process emotions. Not being able to track and understand their feelings and triggers can cause them to get stuck. Counseling and mindfulness can help children with ADHD process and express their emotions.
ADHD can cause children to not be able to focus on their emotions and their environment. This can cause them to have negative experiences and experience anxiety. Helping them focus through social skills and mindfulness can give them strategies to reduce anxiety and give them more success academically and socially.
Garcia-Winner, M., & Crooke, P. (2015, September 18). Updates on the social thinking's cascade of social attention: A conceptual framework to explore a system's approach to social communication. Retrieved October 15, 2018, from https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?
Gargaro, B. A., Rinehart, N. J., Bradshaw, J. L., Tonge, B. J., & Sheppard, D. M. (2011). Autism and ADHD: how far have we come in the comorbidity debate?. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(5), 1081-1088.
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Shield Health Care
"The new school year is upon us! With a over a month under our belts, our children with special needs are beginning to accept that summer is over and this new school year is for real! For our children with dyslexia, school work, homework, and any task that includes reading or writing is tough. Children with dyslexia are relieved during the summer when this demand is decreased significantly, and begin to dread the new school year with all of its perceived difficulties."
Today's blog discusses the signs of learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, what to do if you suspect your child is struggling, and the classroom accommodations that are available to your child!
Written by: full time working Mom and author Hilarie Gamm, www.billionslostbook.com
As a full time working mom, I was asked to list my five best tips to get through each day, sane, happy and helpful. Whether you are balancing a paying 40+ hour work week with active parenting....or just balancing multiple obligations as a caregiver I hope these words of experience bring you a positive perspective.
#1 Smile - and ask your children to smile in return.
The act of smiling - is scientifically proven to improve one's mood. Think about that....by simply lifting the two corners of your mouth upward, you can feel more upbeat. A mom's responsibilities are vast and varied. Flexibility is key to success. But, when we are running around trying to sign permission slips, write checks, pack a healthy lunch, make the beds, start the laundry, and insure everything and everyone is in the car and ready to go to on time....we don't often spend a lot of time looking at ourselves in the mirror.
Choosing to smile, even when it doesn't come naturally, is powerful. We often take for granted the power of a smile, not only for ourselves but on those around us. And in the morning, a smile from your children will light up your day and start you off on the right foot. A smile and a genuine compliment from you sets the stage for your child to enjoy a great day regardless of what they will encounter before the sun goes down.
Confidence is built most effectively by repeated, incremental encounters; you can begin building your child's confidence today with just a few small actions and words.
#2 Appreciate Everything and Everyone.
When kids are complaining because they're late, don't like their shoes, or can't find anything they "like" to wear, it may be a stretch for a harried, crazy busy mom to stop and feel grateful for the gift of what it means to be a parent.
As your day kicks off, whether your children grace you with a smile, or stubbornly.. talk about appreciation. There are so much you can say: " I really appreciate your smile!', "Thank you for my hug!", "Wow, you are awesome, I am so lucky to have you for a daughter!", "You are the best son ever, thank you for not being upset with me even though we are running late!"
You might even learn to appreciate that you have children who sometimes upset and frustrate you. It sounds crazy, but it's the key to getting through the toughest parenting moments. When you recognize your children as the gifts they are you can turn each stressful, demanding, almost impossible parenting moment into an opportunity. Children will have a very tough time growing up to be mindful, caring, thankful adults if they do not understand what that sounds looks like.
And guess what, studies prove that appreciative people are happier people. As a parent you have the opportunity to model appreciation every day - and as you practice "thankfulness" you will raise children who appreciate you, what you do for them, and the incredible opportunities you provide them. In return, by practicing active thankfulness....on your hardest days you will find solace in the fact that you have your children along for the ride to enjoy a beautiful sunset, a colorful flower, or a funny story.
Whether your child is 8 months, 8 years, or 18 years old..... the key to a positive relationship is shared experience, and you and your child will forever benefit from the ability to appreciate each other and those around you.
#3 Spend Time With Your Children.
Not "quality" time, just time. Dragging your children to the grocery store is a challenge whether they are toddlers or teenagers.
It seems they never outgrow wanting to throw something in the cart that you might not need or want. Going for a walk alone while your kid stays home playing video games, might seem like the best the option...and sometimes if may be. But trust me on this, work hard to get your kids to spend time with you whether it's dropping off a sibling, folding the laundry or stopping at the grocery store to pick up dinner. Even though my kids often complain about my requests to "keep me company" - I can't count how many times we have returned home - and they have said "Thank you for making me come with you."
#4 Practice "Just in Time" Planning and Allow Your Children to Take Responsibility for Their Own Schedule.
With over 15 years of parenting, on some days with 10+ drop-offs and pick-ups, I have found this is the ONLY system that works. Ready?
If your children really want to get somewhere on time, they need to be responsible for their timely arrival. That means they get their stuff together and more importantly get you on board with where they need to be and when.
Every day I remind my children, that they must retrieve me, remind me, come into my office and visibly see that I get off my conference call exit my e-mail or end whatever task I am doing to get them where they need to be. And yes, they have been doing this since they were toddlers. My most frustrated times occur when one of my older kids forgets to come get me and we end up rushing to get to practice on time.
On days when I have multiple kids to get to multiple different locations at the same time, I let them negotiate between each other who should be dropped off first/last, etc..., I apologize profusely when I am late to pickup a child. I also have a rule, that if my kids are waiting for more than five minutes, they must call and find out if I am on my way...because YES - I have forgotten to pick up various kids at various times. Every parent is guilty of this once in a while. And guess what, it's okay!!! Most importantly, my children appreciate that I drive them all over and they see the effort it takes to do so while balancing a full time job, it is a real time example of time management, and it helps them learn how to manage their own time more effectively.
#5 Your health and happiness need to be a priority.
Everyday, make sure you spend some time doing something that allows you the mental break needed to cope successfully with the everyday stresses of a parent. When that down time is also exercise you double the benefit. Whether you jog, run, paint, bake, swim, shop, or just take a long shower, make sure you are doing something to re-charge, stay mentally stable, and feel good about yourself. Everyone around you will benefit. And most importantly, you will lead by example. You will teach your children firsthand the importance of good mental and physical health and the right way to build in de-stress activities into an active, often too hectic life.
All work an no play is no fun for anyone, including those who rely on you the most. Everyone, especially kids, wants to be around others who are not screaming, crying, miserable, hungry, tired or mean. When we don't take "me time", we short change our ability to not only be successful parents, but just successful in life. Kids need to learn how to take a break from technology, and stress, but sadly, in today's day and age, so do most of their parents. Put your device away, and go do something that will help you be your best self. Let your mind wander, break a sweat, say hi to a stranger on a quick walk around the block, do whatever it takes to give yourself a short re-charge, today and every day.
Go do something that gives you the opportunity to be good to yourself then watch how quickly you will become the best parent ever!
Written by: Chrissy Perone-Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC
Trying to figure out the special education system in your school district can be a full-time job. One thing I learned early on as a parent with a child with special needs is that if you don’t advocate and ask for help, then your child may not receive the accommodations that will make classroom functioning possible. In many cases, by the time that your teacher suspects learning difficulties, critical years of remediation have been lost.
As a Special Education Teacher, Educational Consultant, and Executive Functioning Coach, I’m exposed to the many sides of special education… sometimes all in one day! If I can offer just one piece of advice: DON’T WAIT. If you are noticing that your child is struggling to identify letters and their sounds consistently, is reversing letters and numbers, speak to your child’s teacher. Consult with a Psychologist with specialty in education. Ask questions. Request accommodations based on what you are doing at home that is helpful. Share your child’s struggles at home with homework or meltdowns about going to school if your teacher doesn’t see this.
This will require you to advocate for your child. What does this mean? According to Dictionary.com, advocating is defined as, “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.”
Let’s discuss a few places to begin in advocating for your child:
Know your child’s strengths, their attention issues and specific learning challenges so that you can communicate their needs effectively to the school and you and his teachers can find the best way to support his needs.
Build a partnership with your child’s Teacher, Principal, School Nurse, and Guidance Counselor. and any other staff members that work with your child. Keep the lines of communication open and e-mail, call or write a note if you a have a question or concern, remember you are part of the team too. Also, take into consideration any positive or negative comments the school has to say about your child and always be curious.
Talk to your child about school. Look over her assignments and quizzes. Ask simple questions like, “What is easy to do each day?” or “Which subject do you wish you had only once a week instead of every day?” Carefully consider their answers. You can also teach your child lingo so that he can self- advocate for himself if he doesn’t understand a particular concept in school.
Teach your child to advocate for his/herself. If your child is in High School or College, she can begin to advocate for herself. Once your child enters into middle school, you can request for your child to participate in IEP meetings and Parent-Teacher meetings so he can hear what you are hearing. You can play a big role in helping him learn how to do this by helping him come up with a plan, role playing and/or assisting with writing an e-mail to his teacher.
Know Your Rights. If your child has a 504 Accommodation Plan or an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), you must become familiar with the process in order to effectively advocate for your child. (Click here to access NJ Special Education Code).
An IEP is a personalized education plan that takes into account a child’s specific needs and can offer special education programs (e.g., In Class Resource, Out of Class Resource) and related services (e.g., counseling, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy). Your Child Study Team (CST) is composed of a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC), Social Worker, and School Psychologist. This is the team that performs your initial evaluations and determines eligibility.
A 504 Accommodation Plan is designed to provide accommodations tostudents with physical or mental impairments in public schools, or publicly funded private schools. These 504 plans legally ensure that students will be treated fairly at school.
Know that you are your child’s best advocate as you know her profile better than anyone, and you know it across all domains (home and school). Schedule follow up meetings and review your child’s progress consistently throughout the school year, perhaps once per month or once every two months.
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis & Featured by: The Mighty
"Hands down, parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t always know what I’m doing or if I’m saying the right thing. I question my judgment, I question my experience, and I question if other parents are struggling in the ways I am, too. I know I have the theoretical knowledge about how to parent, but when it comes to my own children, my emotions cloud my judgment — so what I should know, I don’t use.
The same probably goes for you too, my fellow parents. When we’re emotionally charged, we can’t see as clearly."
As parents of children with disabilities, we all deal with "burning out", struggling to find balance, or being unsure how to best support our child. In today's blog, Dr. Liz Matheis discusses the shared stressors of parents who have children with disabilities.
Written by: Nicole Filiberti LCSW
It's that time of year again when parents have a chance to sit down with their child's teacher to check in on how the school year has been going thus far. This is crazy to believe, since it seems like just yesterday was the transition from summer to school year and the sun was beaming down on us, and flip flops were appropriate footwear!
The parent teacher conference is a wonderful opportunity for a parent to voice any concerns they may have, to check in on their child's social-emotional well-being in the school environment, and to clear up any confusion about homework policies.
Here are a few tips to help your parent teacher conferences be productive and worthwhile.
1. Preparation is key.
Parent teacher conferences are often time limited, so prepare for the conference by jotting down any concerns or questions you have ahead of time. This will save you time during the conference and will avoid that annoying "oh I forgot to ask about that" thought occurring on your drive home. In addition to your child's academics, consider asking questions regarding your child's socialization and self-advocacy skills.
Let these questions guide your conference so you have the information regarding your child’s main areas of functioning within the classroom
2. Bring documentation
Fill up a folder with work samples, homework assignments, print outs of grading data, etc. Having these documents handy is crucial when discussing progress and achievement, and will help identify areas of weakness for your child. Being able to pinpoint specific skills that your child could use some extra assistance and reinforcement in will help alleviate these struggles. In addition to bringing in documentation, it's also a great idea to bring a notepad or laptop in order to jot down notes of your own. This will help you remember what was discussed and serve as a guide for future reference.
3. Ask what you can do at home
The home-school connection is critical for the success of our youngsters. Opening up a discussion with your child's teacher on what things you could address at home will enhance your child's learning and help reinforce positive school behavior. Asking questions like "is my child working up to her full potential?" can help initiate a discussion regarding learning styles and work habits. These can be carried over into the home.
After the conference, sit down with your child and share your child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. Review any pertinent information and be sure to share the positives that were shared with you. Showing your child that you and the teacher are working together as a team will help strengthen the connection between home and school.
Written by: Sarah Schuster and Featured by: The Mighty
"We know bullying hurts. We know it can damage children’s self-esteem. We know it can affect their mental health, even as adults.
What we don’t often talk about, though, is how the anxiety caused by bullying can hurt children physically as well.
With a photo of her daughter that now has over 250,000 shares, U.K. mom Carrie Golledge shared a message on Facebook to show how deeply bullying can hurt."
Sarah Schuster shares Carrie Golledge's deep descriptions of her daughter's experience with bullying as well as her own. Further, the blog offers advice and information by Dr. Liz Matheis on bullying and mental health, as well as personal stories from people in the mental health community about the effects of bullying.
Written by: Ariana Eunjung Cha from The Washington Post
Over the past two decades, U.S. parents and teachers have reported epidemic levels of children with trouble focusing, impulsive behavior and extreme amounts of energy. A number of researchers have proposed that lack of sleep can lead to challenging behaviors that mimic ADHD.
This blog discusses the various opinions and research on this controversial topic, and what it could mean for our children and their treatment.
Written by: Miranda Dekker, MSW, LCSW
Early on in development, most children learn to coordinate their own body and mind, as well as interpret the words and actions of others to participate with increasing sophistication in order to communicate. As is true with walking, sometimes, the skill needs a little bit more help with its development. The same is true for social skills. Some kids can just do it, and some need some coaching.
Social skills groups can offer many benefits for some children. However, sometimes they are not the most effective for children. But through individual identification of the different skills with your child's therapist, different social skills can be worked on and mastered. Sometimes, social skills groups can be overwhelming for a child who is struggling with this area, making generalization of the skills very difficult.
What Are Social Skills, Anyway?
Social skills are those communication, problem-solving, decision making, self-management, and peer relations abilities that allow us to initiate and maintain positive social relationships with others. Deficits or excesses in social behavior interfere with learning, teaching, and social climate. Social competence is linked to peer acceptance, teacher acceptance, inclusion success, and post school success.
Although they sound like a luxury, it’s important It is important for parents to bring their infants and toddlers together with other children. Even though the interactions may seem parallel at first, that’s okay.
As toddlers and up until kindergarten, children gain most of their skills through playing. This is how they explore the world around them and make sense of routines and relationships. It is up to you as a parent to reinforce those skills by giving your child positive feedback. This helps her feel confident and secure.
Give Those Feelings a Name
We are not born knowing what we feel or what these feelings are called. Even at age one, when your child does not have a big vocabulary, label your child’s feelings and mirror their emotions with your own facial expressions and body language.
Through your discussion of how they feel, they begin to learn words associated with those feelings and can later use those words to talk out their feelings. This will help them transition to talking about feelings instead of acting out their frustrations. To teach emotions, Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking strategy, titled “Zones of Regulation” teaches children to recognize their thoughts and feelings in a given situation.
Michelle Garcia Winner is the CEO and creator of Social Thinking, a program created to help children and well as adults develop their social communication skills. She emphasizes learning effective communication skills by managing multiple systems at once: mind, body, eyes, and language. The importance is simultaneously engaging all these systems and interpret not only our own responses, but interpret the same systems of others as well.
The Four Steps of Communication
Step 1: Think about other people's thoughts and feelings as well as your own.
To successfully communicate, we have to take the perspective(s) of the other person with whom we are communicating. Effective communication requires all participants to be thinking (most of the time) about the same topic/idea and for the thoughts to stay connected (even if not mutually agreed upon) throughout the communicative exchange.
Step 2: Establish physical presence; enter with your body attuned to the group.
Effective communication typically requires people to not only stand about one arm's length of each other (physical proximity) but to also have a physical stance/posture that conveys a willingness to interact and an emotional calm.
Many children with a disability enter a social situation with a rigid stance and this is interpreted by others as being unfriendly or uncomfortable when approaching other people. It's important that we teach not only about physical proximity but also about physical relaxation when communicating with others. Being relaxed is social situations gives others comfortable feelings and good thoughts about us!
Step 3: Think with your eyes.
Teaching eye contact from a purely physical, functional perspective can hurt as much as help children in social situations. Instead, we need to teach students to "think with their eyes" - meaning, to use their eyes enough to monitor how people are feeling and what they may be thinking (based on what they are looking at) during social encounters. Using our eyes can help children understand when and how to approach a conversation with a group of people. If two grown-ups are having a conversation and the child interrupts, it can be helpful to have the child use this technique to understand the social situation. When it is appropriate to engage in conversation, we then watch others' eyes to gauge conversation direction and flow and follow who is speaking to whom.
Step 4: Use your words to relate to others.
Language is the way we share our thoughts with others. Just as in Step #1 we try to keep our thoughts connected while communicating together, we also must keep our language connected to whatever is being discussed. Those who don't keep their language "on topic" are considered self-centered, aloof, unfriendly and/or ineffective in their communicative attempts. We must teach students communication strategies such as asking questions, adding a thought, showing interest, etc. based on the conversation at hand and what they think other people are thinking about.
Start to use these basic strategies with your child to enhance their executive functioning and build meaningful connections with others!
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