Psycho-Educational Evaluations are Now Available

Psycho-Educational Evaluations are Now Available

Now that we have been providing home instruction to our children for over 3 months, we have become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. Many parents may be noticing that their child is struggling with a particular subject, skill, or is restless, hyperactive, impulsive, and struggles to focus. Many of you may be realizing the impact that anxiety has on your child’s ability to learn. At Psychological & Educational Consulting, we are now available to conduct Psycho-Educational Evaluations that will answer your questions about your child’s learning profile. Your evaluations consist of an IQ test, achievement testing and executive functioning testing. Your completed report will include a diagnosis, if warranted, as well as recommendations for support programs in school such as a 504 Accommodation Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as well as accommodations for home and school.

Please call (973.400.8371) or email (DrLiz@psychedconsult.com) so we can review your child’s individual profile. I look forward to working with you and your child!

Dr. Liz Matheis

Psychological & Educational Consulting LLC

513 West Mount Pleasant Ave, Ste 212 Livingston, NJ 07039

DrLiz@psychedconsult.com

973.400.8371

How to Help Young Children Feel Secure in Uncertain Times

How to Help Young Children Feel Secure in Uncertain Times

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

It’s been almost two months since we started to quarantine due to COVID 19, and we, as adults, are pretty spent. Our children – especially younger ones – continue to be baffled by what is happening and why they can’t go to school, see their friends or their grandparents, cousins, or go to the store. Their little lives have been changed dramatically, and this change took place rather quickly.

Many of us adults didn’t think this would last this long and that we would return to ‘life as usual’ sooner than later. However, that’s not the case and you may be noticing that your toddlers and young children are sad, angry or becoming increasingly anxious in these uncertain times.

You may be noticing the following behaviors

  • Inflexibility – e.g., “I want the red cup!” and no other cup will do
  • Tearfulness over things that didn’t create tears before quarantine
  • A greater number of meltdowns over “small” things
  • Physically clinging to Mom or Dad
  • Becoming anxious if Mom or Dad leave the room
  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Regression in potty training
  • Middle of the night wake visits

The Standards of “Shoulds”

The Standards of “Shoulds”

Jennifer Mandato, LAC

As I sit home in the silence of this quarantine, my mind is riddled with “should’s”.

I should be cleaning my house more…. I should be exercising more…. I should be practicing more mindfulness…. Those are only a few that I hear daily.  I felt because I am home more SHOULD be able to get done.  Then one day as I was unwinding after work scrolling through social media, I came across this quote by Jenny Jaffe “You’re only unproductive by the standards of the world we live in two months ago and that world is gone”. Almost instantly I felt myself exhale and a weight lifted off my shoulders.  In that moment with everything going on that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I was comparing myself to our previous normal of what I could get done but things are not that way.  I cannot go to stores and go about daily routines as I used to.  Our world is very different now and what I can accomplish in a day is enough.  What we can do on a given day under the circumstances is enough.  This quote has almost become a daily mantra to remind myself of as to know I am doing everything I can and that is enough.  What you are doing is enough and breathe!

 

 

Image source unknown

Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Dear COVID-19,

I can’t believe how you, a virus, have taken our world and turned it upside down. You have shutdown our world, isolated us, taken away our ability to hug and to lay a warm hand on another’s shoulder who is not in our immediate home. You have taken away our ability to work outside of our homes, physically sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal or go to the movies.

You have taken away our children’s milestones, planning for a vacation and ability to go into stores without being panicked. You have taken away our ability to be human interacting with humans.

I’m so mad at you!

I feel isolated, sad, anxious and tired because I can’t sleep without waking up…

 

Image by Pexels

Quarantine 2020: It’s OK to Grieve

Grieving the loss of milestone events.

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis 

Here we are, weeks into quarantine, and there is so much that has changed in so little time. In my house, I have a son who is in 8th grade and a daughter in 5th grade. This year marked graduation, special trips, and many events to commemorate the completion of one milestone and the start of the next one.

Last week, my daughter shared with me that she felt sad. She was sad that she would not be able to enjoy so many activities that a large group of parents and I started planning in June 2019. She’s sad, and I felt sad too. I wanted to make it better for her but realized I couldn’t offer her a consolation prize, or anything else in its place. Nothing.

My heart breaks for all of our kids, our 5th grade, 8th grade, high school, and college seniors. I realize that it is OK for our children to feel sad and to grieve the experiences they won’t have. I was speaking with my neighbor, a grandmother who is a retired teacher, who offered this perspective: “In a few years, we hope that our kids will move on to other milestones, and these milestones won’t hurt as badly.” One can hope and pray.

According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief that we tend to pass through. Those who are sad and grieving are likely to witness different emotions that they are likely to experience as they process the loss:

Image by pexels

Managing Your Child’s Anxiety during COVID-19 Interview.

Managing Your Child’s Anxiety During COVID
Dr. Liz with Dr. John D’Ambrosio of Structural Chiropractic’

Managing our children’s anxiety during quarantine has been difficult for parents, to say the least. They want to know when the can see their friends, go to park, birthday parties and resume life as they once knew it. As a parent, we don’t have the answers but there are a few things we can do. Watch this interview with Dr. John D’Ambrosio of Structural Chiropractic to hear a few good strategies.

COVID-19 Updates for Families of Students with Disabilities

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Questions and Answers document to give guidance on how Districts should be providing services to students with disabilities as the school buildings begin to close.

This past weekend, they issued a Supplemental Fact Sheet wherein they made it clear that Districts may provide special education and related services through distance instruction, whether virtually, online, or telephonically.

The question we have most frequently received since school closure became a possibility is: Does the district still have to follow my child’s IEP? In short, the answer is YES, as long as they are providing educational opportunities to the general student population. Specifically, the DOE stated that “schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP developed under IDEA, or a plan developed under Section 504.” However, with the onset of this national emergency, the United States Department of Education has urged that parents and school districts be flexible and collaborative in working within the confines of distance teaching and safety measures to provide disabled students with a free and appropriate public education. Thus, related services that require physical contact may not be feasible at this time, but other services/accommodations such as extensions of time for assignments, videos with accurate captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and many speech or language services through video conferencing, may be able to be provided.

School districts will be required to assess on a case by case basis whether compensatory education services are required when school resumes.

We have had a few IEP meetings via google hangout and conference call within the past week. So far, they have gone more smoothly than anticipated. We are learning ways to make them more efficient (i.e., mute if you are not speaking, in order to eliminate background noise; if it is just an audio call, have speakers identify themselves). Please be patient with Districts as they work out the kinks in this new way of conducting meetings. If you have an IEP meeting coming up, or are due for an annual review meeting, we recommend you reach out to your child’s case manager to inquire how the meeting will be conducted. We have obtained the appropriate technology so that if your IEP team states that they are unable to handle a remote meeting, we can certainly “host” it for them.

Finally, we hope you are all staying safe, and isolated!

If you’d like to schedule a virtual meeting, please contact Melissa (admin@manesweinberg.com), and she will schedule something for you. You can also call our office (973) (376) (7733).

 

Manes & Weinberg | Special Needs Lawyers, LLC

 

Image by pexels

Keepin’ Our Kids Busy during COVID

Written by Michelle Molle-Krowiak

As of now, we have been homeschooling our children for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks longer than we had anticipated. Homeschooling is overwhelming for many parents, like myself. As a mom of 4, with two younger children who need a good amount of support to complete their daily assignments, and as a working mom, this is beyond tough and anxiety-provoking.

If you’re like me, I had grand visions and plans for distance learning. I envisioned myself planning ahead and knowing exactly how to instruct on the different subjects. I’m not sure why I thought this as I don’t have training in education!  What I am finding is that I am in an endless battle with hours of daily screen time, while I try to work and instruct at the same time.

I have found a few great games and activities for you to engage in with your children from @BigLifeJournal (www.biglifejournal.com). I’ve broken down the suggestions into toddlers, early elementary and late elementary-aged children.

At the end of the day, please try to set your guilt aside as we are not trained to teach our children, and we certainly can’t expect to multi-task two very big demands. Be forgiving of yourself, try to avoid holding the expectation that you will be able to give your child the same number of hours of instruction as to when they were physically attending school. Your time is better invested in creating a schedule that builds in time for your child to engage in some screen time activities, downtime and non-screen/electronic activities, games, and crafts.

 

Toddlers

Animal Hide & Seek

  • Either print pictures of animals and have your child color them, or take stuffed animals or figures of animals and hide them in the house.
  • Give your child clues as to where they could be and go seek them out!

 

I Spy Clean Up Game

  • Tell your child that you ‘spy with your little eye’ different categories of toys that may be lying on the floor in your playroom, family room, kitchen, bedrooms, or wherever and ask him to find those items and place in a labeled bucket so that finding that toy and putting it away is easy

 

Early Elementary

The Floor is Lava

  • Declare that the floor is ‘lava’ and designate a few safe spots.
  • Start the count down and once you hit 1, everyone’s feet must be off of the floor and on something else.

 

Balloon Toss

  • Blow up a balloon and have your child or children try to keep the balloon in the air.
  • If it touches the ground, the game is over.
  • Count the number of times the balloon was hit before touching the ground

 

Late Elementary

Make a Fort

  • Gather up pillows from your bed or the couch, or both, sheets, chairs and build a fort
  • Watch a movie together while in the fort

 

Create an All About Me Board

  • Give your child headings such as:
    • My Favorite Food
    • My Favorite Movie
    • My Favorite Vacation
    • My Favorite Book
  • Let your child create a board theme of their choice
  • This project may take a few hours or complete a little bit each day

Social Distancing- Is There a Silver Lining?

Written by Heidi Borst

Most of us are reeling in the midst of a pandemic we were grossly unprepared for. In the last couple of weeks, our whole world has changed. Daycares, schools, and businesses have closed. The always-bustling cities and towns we live in have come to a screeching halt as we follow our leaders’ instructions to stay home. We are desperate to ‘flatten the curve’ and keep our loved ones, and ourselves, healthy. With an economy in crisis, the fortunate amongst us are able to continue working remotely. Our days are drastically different than they were a mere two weeks ago; we’re grappling with how to maintain some semblance of normalcy to our days, if not for ourselves, for our kids.

First, the gyms and restaurants were shut down, a week later came the playgrounds and parks; athletic courts were padlocked and signs reading “Closed Until Further Notice” were demonstrably hung. Playdates, once the foundation of our children’s social lives, have become taboo. As parents, we’ve been left with no choice but to become our children’s teachers as well as playmates, whether or not the demands of our jobs allow it. It all feels like TOO MUCH.

And yet, with all of the restrictions placed upon us, we have so much to be grateful for. How can we shift our focus to the positive when our entire world has been turned upside down? It’s time to call upon our inner strength and will ourselves not to give in, but instead to get through this. It’s time to buckle down and push forward.

Stop and breathe. Instead of becoming paralyzed by what you can’t do, change your perspective. Focus on what you can do, and on what you have. If you’re holed up with your family, find ways to truly connect with each other. Play games, dance, sing songs, hug one another, talk about how you’re feeling. If you’re alone and the isolation is wearing on you, reach out to a loved one for support. There are so many members of our community who are lending their support to those in need, so just ask. If you’re able, offer your services to someone who may need them, of course always being mindful of your safety and theirs.

Reflect on the small things for which you feel gratitude. Maybe it’s a hot shower, or cupboards stocked with food. Maybe it’s the fact that your family unit is together, healthy and safe. Do everything you can during this crazy time to cultivate moments that nurture your soul- read a book, watch a movie (or binge a whole series), bake some cookies, go for a walk outside, cuddle with your fur baby, play with your kids, Facetime a friend.

More than anything now is the time to ease up on the stress of the expectations we make of ourselves. Instead, make room for self-acceptance and self-love. With so many uncertainties about the upcoming days, weeks, (months?), we have to let go. If we can re-direct the stress we’re feeling, instead of concentrating on a mindset of gratitude, our positivity and resilience will see us through. We’ve got this.

How To Talk To Your Kids About COVID-19

Written by: Marisa Brahney

Let’s admit it—being a parent during this global pandemic has a lot of unforeseen challenges. From trying to work from home while wrangling little ones to homeschooling our bigger kids to keeping our families healthy and safe, it’s all uncharted territory. And while we’re figuring this all out on the fly, our kids are asking questions. My four-year-old is as curious as they come, and I’ve been grappling with how to best explain this on his level. How can we put aside our own fears about this uncertain, scary time and be the calm, steady presence our children need right now? What’s appropriate to tell a four-year-old about the coronavirus pandemic? An eight-year-old? A teenager? We sat down with Dr. Liz Matheis, a child psychologist (who’s also one of our NJMOMprenuers) to give us mamas the professional guidance we need to help our kids understand what’s happening.

Dr. Liz advises that in circumstances like this, less is often more. Over-explaining or giving details that are too complex for children to understand can often add to anxiety. So, it’s important to keep things simple and age-appropriate. “Let children guide the conversation with their own questions,” says Dr. Liz. “Turn off the news when the kids are around and try to keep adult coronavirus conversations with your spouse or someone else mostly to yourself.” That means limiting talk about the newest death toll numbers, hospital overcrowding or other scary topics in earshot of the little ones. Another thing to think about is that to them, the biggest thing about this is how it affects them directly.
“For many kids, no matter the age, the hardest part of this to understand is the socialization. They want to know when they’ll get to see their friends,”  says Dr. Liz. “You need to think about how to explain why they’re not seeing friends right now. I would say that we’re staying home so we’re safe and don’t get the virus, and so nobody else gets the virus.”

 

"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