I Hate Virtual Learning!

I Hate Virtual Learning!

Helping our children get through remote learning.

written by Dr. Liz Matheis/ published on Psychology Today, 3/1/2021

Never did I imagine that school would look like each of my three children sitting in front of a computer. Never did I imagine that teaching would take place via video, where the teacher is trying his or her best to re-create the classroom environment. Never did I imagine that a teacher would turn the camera to the board or share her screen as she attempted to present a lesson to students.

Virtual learning has been difficult for many of our children who need a multi-sensory learning environment in the presence of a teacher and other students. Never have I appreciated the physical school space where our children are able to enter into a building, walk through the halls, sit at a desk, and travel around the building to attend different subjects and classes.

Needless to say, it’s been a struggle for us, as parents, a struggle for our teachers, and a struggle for our children.

A School Psychologist’s Guide to Supporting Your Child in COVID-19 Lockdown This Year

A School Psychologist’s Guide to Supporting Your Child in COVID-19 Lockdown This Year

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis/Featured in The Mighty 1/2021

The beginning of the new year usually brings hope, resolutions and plans. This January 2021, the new year feels different. More of the same. It’s been 10 months, almost one year of living through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our lives are the most isolated they have been given the dark, cold winter and a holiday season that was “OK” and pretty much unsatisfying for many. As we continue to parent day by day with virtual learning, working from home, video meetings and chats and limited interactions with the outside world, our stress and exhaustion level is increasing.

What a Mess!

7 Strategies for Getting Through Virtual Learning During COVID-19

7 Strategies for Getting Through Virtual Learning During COVID-19

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis/ Published 1.18.2021 on www.shieldhealthcare.com

Virtual Learning. It’s become the bane of our existence.

As parents, we are watching our children struggle while we struggle with them. Our children are having a hard time paying attention, finding assignments, completing them, and turning them in via virtual learning. It requires additional skills such as typing, navigating email, portals such as the Google Classroom and grading portals. Prior to the pandemic, many of our children entered into the classroom, were supervised during each task, had the ability to ask questions, and were provided with handouts that they were able to complete and return without forgetting to click “Turn In.”

For middle school students and high school students, it is difficult for our children to sit for hours and complete written or online work. For example, if your child has ADHD, sitting at a desk or table for several hours will likely result in lost periods of time staring out the window, chatting with friends, or even staring at the riveting ceiling fan.

For younger students, it’s difficult to cover the multiple demands of being a student with little teacher assistance through a computer. Our young children are required to type some of their responses, or even essays. How many children in kindergarten do you know who are proficient typists? Not many. That leaves parents to type their children’s answers or incomplete assignments if parents are not available.

With teaching taking place via video screen, there is plenty of room and time for our children to log on to YouTube or watch videos while appearing to be present and attentive in class. For many adolescents and young adults, they are struggling to get started on assignments and end up having multiple missed assignments which is resulting in lower grades than in past years. Low motivation and anxiety and depression are also on the rise for many of our children. They miss seeing friends, walking to school, getting on and off the bus, participating in specials and playing on the playground.

5 Charts You Need If Identifying Your Emotions Is Hard

5 Charts You Need if Identifying Your Emotions is Difficult

Written by Gabrielle Ferrara, MSW, LSW/ Featured in The Mighty 9/17/2020

“How do you feel?”

No, really. How do you actually feel?

Identifying our emotions can be one of the most difficult things we do on a regular basis. It’s easy to say we are feeling “good” or “happy”; even saying we’re feeling “stressed” has become normalized. However, how we are truly feeling (and why) is often much more nuanced and complicated. Luckily, various artists, authors and researchers in the field of psychology have created charts and tools to help us out. Here are five charts you may need if you have a hard time identifying your emotions.

Too Noisy – App Review

“Too Noisy” App Review

written by Nicole Filiberti, MSW, LCSW/ Psychological & Educational Consulting, LLC
A social skill that can be very useful for students with special needs and neurotypical kids alike is using an appropriate voice level for their current setting. The voice level used in a library is different than the one used on a playground. This skill utilizes both self-regulation (assuring I use the appropriate voice level even if I’m frustrated or very excited) and perspective taking (how does my voice level impact those around me?) An app that can be useful for this skill is “Too Noisy”. I downloaded the app and tested it out and I’m here to share my thoughts.
  • It’s very-user friendly
    There is no need to create an account to enjoy the free version of this app. You simply download the app and get to using it right away. It is very user friendly and easy to figure out the different settings. There are options to upgrade to the “pro” version which includes more background theme options, but I find the sunny blue-sky version that comes along with the free one works just fine to assist kids with this skill.
  • It’s visually engaging
    “Too Noisy” uses a cute little emoji face who reacts to the noise level received by the app. The facial expressions change in reaction to the voice level being just right and getting too loud. This is great because it strengthens the skill of interpreting how other people feel through facial expressions.
  • It’s easy to incorporate into the daily routine
    Downloading the app on a phone or iPad means you can easily set it up to be on while your child is completing homework, playing in the living room, or getting work done during a virtual learning day. Explain to your child that the goal is to keep the emoji happy which means they are using the appropriate voice level. There are different settings you can use with the free version that allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone to best fit your needs at the time.

Strategies To Get Through Virtual Learning During COVID

Strategies To Get Through Virtual Learning During COVID

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Featured in Psychology Today 1/18/2021

Virtual learning. It’s become the bane of our existence. As parents, we are watching our children struggle while we struggle with them. Our children are having a hard time paying attention, finding assignments, completing them, and turning them in. Virtual learning requires additional skills such as typing, navigating email, portals such as the Google Classroom, and grading portals. Prior to the pandemic, many of our children entered the classroom, were supervised during each task, had the ability to ask questions, and were provided with handouts that they were able to complete and return without forgetting to click “Turn In.”

Why is My Child Having Meltdowns During the Pandemic?

Why is My Child Having Meltdowns During the Pandemic?

Written by Dr. Liz 

Featured in The Mighty, 1/3/21

Our children are feeling as overwhelmed as we are during the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has created a sedentary lifestyle with little downtime, time outside of our homes, and little social interaction. Our usual routines of spontaneous social interactions, spur of the moment runs to the store, or last-minute planning of where to have dinner tonight all now require a ton of thought and planning about how we can stay safe and keep others safe from the COVID-19 virus. As parents, our tempers are shorter, we are overstimulated and overwhelmed. Home is now our office, our school building, our restaurant, and our place for rest and relaxation. We are spending a great number of hours together each day with little interaction with others. Our children are frustrated and so are we.

image posted by The Mighty

Provider Spotlight: Lauren Palianto

Provider Spotlight: Lauren Palianto

Our provider spotlight today focuses on the amazing work of our friend and colleague, Lauren Palianto of Decoded Learning Center in East Hanover, NJ. Lauren is a certified Orton-Gillingham Dyslexia Therapist with an M.A. in Reading Instruction & Assessment and extensive experience working as a Special Education Teacher. Decoded provides individualized instruction focusing on students of all ages and abilities with learning differences such as: Dyslexia, ADHD/ADD, language processing disorders, working memory deficits and executive functioning challenges. Be sure to check out her website below for more information.

https://decodedlearningcenter.com

Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties in Adults

Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties in Adults

Featured on writix.co.uk

Dyslexia is a hidden disability thought to affect around 10% of the population, 4% severely. It is the most common of the Specific Learning Difficulties, a family of related conditions with considerable overlap or co-occurrence. Together these are believed to affect around 15% of people to a lesser or greater extent.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually hereditary and occur independently of intelligence. They include:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia or Development Co-ordination Disorder
  • Dyscalculia
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Julie C.
"Dr. Matheis has a remarkable ability to understand the unique needs of her patients and address them constructively. She builds strong, meaningful relationships with patients and their families, encouraging trust and collaboration. When working with my son who struggles with autism-related anxiety, she created an environment in which he was able to calm down and open up to her in ways I had not seen before. She was able to reach him and helped him work through his crisis/problem. Most importantly, she empowered him to move forward."
- N.L.
"Dr. Matheis is amazing. She has tremendous resources and loads of energy. She is not willing to accept anything less than the most effective results for her clients. She made me feel as if my son was her top priority throughout the entire process. I would, without reservation, give her my highest recommendations.  Thank you, Dr. Matheis!"
- Anonymous
"Dr. Matheis has an amazing ability to read kids and connect with them. She has been an invaluable resource for our family over the past several years and has helped us with everything from educational consulting, to uncovering diagnoses as well as family therapy. Working with Dr. Matheis never feels clinical and most importantly, our children love and trust her. We can not thank you enough Dr. Liz!"
- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
- LG
"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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