Free Webinar – Conscious Parenting: Staying Sane Through the Summer

Free Webinar – Conscious Parenting: Staying Sane Through the Summer

Parenting is an ongoing learning process, and many parents are reporting intensified challenges that are arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please join Samantha Curiale-Feinman, Director, New Frontiers Executive Function Coaching, and Dr. Liz Matheis, Clinical Psychologist, Psychological & Educational Consulting, Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 1pm for a discussion on what conscious parenting is, how the pandemic has affected parenting, tips on how we can structure the rest of the summer to parent proactively, and much more.

Samantha Curiale-Feinman and Dr. Liz Matheis

Navigating Special Education & Partnering with your Home District


Presented by: Dr. Elizabeth Matheis and Dr. Harold Tarriff

Thursday, June 4, 2020 7-8:30pm FREE!

This session will provide parents with information on the requirements for the provision of special education from both legal and professional perspectives; beginning with a brief overview of legal requirements, followed by prerequisite procedures and, most importantly, the most effective ways for parents to participate meaningfully in this process. As a result of this session, parents will be better prepared to be co-equal partners with the professionals charged with meeting the unique special needs of their children.

Dr. Tarriff has an extensive background as a Special Education Administrator, in both public and private schools. He holds a doctorate in Special Education and is a  Director of Special Services. Dr. Matheis is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist who specializes in treating the whole child, adolescent and young adult, which includes home and school, emotionally, socially and behaviorally.

Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Silver Lining of Quarantine Life: NJ Moms Share the Bright Side

We asked our New Jersey mom friends about the moments they treasure most about staying home.

#NJstrong has taken on a whole new meaning since we started staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Finding the silver lining of quarantine life matters more than ever. Never before have we been more united in our gratitude for healthcare heroes on the front line of this pandemic as well as every essential worker making sure we are safe and have access to food, medicine, and other necessities.

Meaghan Murphy chalk art

These past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. We’ve felt anxious, scared and hopeless. But we’ve also felt peaceful at home with our loved ones, grateful for all that we have through this tough time and more united than ever before knowing we are in this together. And we feel hopeful, knowing we will get through this and be stronger for it. We feel thankful knowing that the simple act of staying home is making a big difference and that we can pull together to help those who need it most by donating supplies, food and more.

In the spirit of positivity, we asked our mom friends to share the silver lining of quarantine life… 

Click Here to Continue Reading on NJFamily




Image by Pexels

by Dina El Nabli

Shining Stars Recreational Activities In Livingston

Are you looking for a fun activity for your young ones to get involved with? Check out the Shining Stars Sports League in Livingston!

The Shining Stars Sports League is a wonderful developmental opportunity for your special needs individual. League activities focus on gross motor skills, fundamentals of each sport, and socialization.
Participants will enjoy both clinic-style instruction and games in each season. The league uses modified equipment, game play and rules to enhance the learning and play experience.Image by: Pexels

Hearts of Hope

Hearts of Hope is an organization with a mission to provide service to those who experience trauma, and loss through healing art, education, and compassionate outreach.

With chapters and outreach across the United States, Hearts of Hope has created and given away more than 114,000 gifts of hope to people worldwide. They have been actively responding to community tragedy since 9/11. They have been involved in providing to support to communities effected by tragedy, including, but not limited to:

  • Elementary school shooting – Sandy Hook, Connecticut
  • Boston marathon bombing – Boston, Massachusetts
  • Charleston church shooting – Charleston, South Carolina
  • Pulse Nightclub shooting – Orlando, Florida
  • Stoneman Douglas High School shooting – Parkland, Florida
  • Mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Synagogue shooting at Tree of Life – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hearts of Hope has a chapter located in Northern New Jersey. From earliest days, Hearts of Hope have been created by caring communities who prepare, package, ship and deliver Hearts of Hope to people in need everywhere. North Jersey “Paint with a Purpose” events are held in various locations throughout the year as “Pop-Ups” at schools, restaurants, community centers and houses of worship.

Watch for “Pop-Up” event announcements throughout the year on Facebook at @OurHeartsofHope or on Instagram @heartsofhope

Visit their website to learn how you can get involved with Hearts of Hope!

Image provided by Pexels

Keeping the Fun in Halloween for your Child with Special Needs


In theory, it’s a fun day filled with free candy, sugar highs, and running around your neighborhood with your child and his friends. Well, if you’re a parent of a child with special needs, you know that’s not always the case.
Halloween can be tricky for many kids, especially kids with special needs. For some of our kids, going to a stranger’s home and ringing their doorbell is overwhelming. Then, let’s factor in that ringing the doorbell doesn’t mean that someone will come to the door, or that they will come to the door with the type of candy they like. How about that barking dog? Or the scents that come out to greet you once the door is open.  

It’s a lot to process and a lot to make sense of while you’re trying to keep up or hold on to the parts to your costume and keep your candy in hand.  In an effort to setting the stage, let’s talk about some ways you can prepare your child for the BIG day: 
Create a Social Story for Your Child 
Before writing the story, sit down with your child and ask him what they remember from the year before. What did they enjoy? What did they dislike? Factor these variables into your story so that there is the expectation that some houses will have the lights on, but no one will answer the door, or that a dog will bark, etc.  In fact, turn it into a game. Keep a log of how many houses had a barking dog and how many houses didn’t answer the door. 
Keep the Costume Comfortable 
Sometimes, store bought costumes can be uncomfortable, itchy, stiff, and smelly. Find a costume that has some homemade pieces to it – an old sweatshirt, comfortable socks, their own winter gloves.  Don’t want to wear a mask, how about face paint? If face paint is too uncomfortable, use women’s make up. 
Not sure how it will all feel on the day of? Wear it a few times before Halloween to get used to it so that it ultimately feels like another pair of pajamas.  
Create a Plan 
Still not sure of how your costume is going to hold up? Not sure which route to take? Take a walk around your neighborhood with your child in his/her costume and walk up different neighbor’s driveway so they can go through the motions and be super familiar.  You and your child may even want to make a plan for how many houses you want to hit before it’s time to go home and count the loot! 
For younger children, set a time limit and place them in a wagon that you can pull. Little legs fatigue faster which can trigger melt downs as well. 
Eat and Go Before You Go 
Instead of trick or treating on an empty stomach, have a fun meal so that your child is not filling up on sugar and then crashing hard. Have stable blood sugar will also help your child to tolerate the walking around. Hit the bathroom before you make your way out to the streets. Nothing stinks more than having to go to the bathroom and having to leave everyone behind to empty out.  
In the end, practice special Halloween mindfulness.  Soak up the moment and let go of the expectations of how Halloween should be.  Look for the gleam in your child’s eye even if they can only tolerate going to two homes.  Take a moment to be present – feel the chill of the air, the laughter swirling around, the pitter patter of feet to the door before the ding-dong, the shouts of Trick or Treat and finally the sweet taste of a favorite candy that you will indulge on! 
Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween! 
For free social stories, check out these resources: 
Safety tips for all: 
For children with selective mutism, Dr. Shipon-Blum from the Smart Center shares her tips for you:
by Michelle Molle-Krowiak, LCSW, Ed.S
"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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513 W Mt Pleasant Ave, Ste 212,
​Livingston, NJ 07039