Dr. Liz is the newest NJ 12 Education Ambassador: click to see her most recent VLOG

Dr. Liz has recently joined the News 12 Education Ambassador Board. The purpose of this board is to offer multiple perspectives from individuals and professionals within the community involved with parenting, education, medicine, and mental health. The goal is to offer information and to help all of us see that we are not alone during these tough times.

“Dr. Liz Matheis is licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist who specializes in assisting children and their families with Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Management in Livingston, New Jersey…”

A Psychologist and a Special-Needs Teacher’s Tips to Help Kids With Disabilities Learn at Home

A Psychologist and a Special-Needs Teacher’s Tips to Help Kids With Disabilities Learn at Home

by Murphy Moroney 

Featured on PopSugar

For parents of kids with disabilities, virtual learning presents a new set of challenges. Because many students receive additional attention and hands-on support from their special-education teachers, emulating that environment at home is nearly impossible. In the US, 7.1 million kids have individualized education programs (IEPs) — a document developed for each public-school child who is eligible for special education — which may make staying on top of your child’s workload more complex. To help parents and caregivers who may be feeling frustrated with virtual or hybrid learning, we asked experts for their best tips for helping students with disabilities learn at home.

Cooking Up Some Love During Quarantine

Cooking Up Some Love During Quarantine

By: Heidi Lynn Borst

 

I watched my friend grab a piece of pizza from its cardboard box and pass it to my 7-year-old. Noticing the long strands of melted cheese dripping off both sides, I presumed he would reject it, which he confirmed in perfect synchronicity with my assumption. “I don’t want pizza, mom,” Brody said. I knew this wasn’t exactly true; he wanted pizza, just not that particular piece. I rescued the cast-off and put it on my own plate, cutting a new slice in its place. This time, I was careful to ensure the edges were harmoniously even, and my son took a bite, giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up of approval. This scenario is typical for us, and if I come across as a pushover, trust me- it’s a bit complicated.

 

More Than a Picky Eater

I’ve always loved to cook and bake, testing out new techniques often. Putting my personal spin on recipes is a great outlet for my creative side. Trying new, yummy foods is an obvious perk, but most of all, I love the act of feeding people, because it’s a meaningful way to express affection and appreciation for my loved ones. Since my kid turns up his nose at pretty much everything I make these days, I don’t experiment as often as I’d like; I stick with the tried and true foods he actually consumes.

Brody is not just a picky eater; he has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Kids with SPD can be oversensitive to different elements of their environment, for example, noise, clothing, and food. Among other things, Brody has an extreme sensitivity to food textures. As a result, he prefers foods that are predictable and uniform in consistency, like crackers, chicken nuggets, peanut butter, and applesauce (when he started eating quesadillas and turkey sandwiches a few months ago, it was a really big deal). He’s becoming more adventurous over time, but more often than not, he involuntarily gags when tasting something new. Brody turns down any food he judges atypical or malformed, be it a misshapen berry or even a pancake with slightly asymmetrical borders. For this reason, expanding my son’s palate is a herculean task.

 

The Film Bao and My Impending Empty Nest

When it comes to introducing new foods, I’ll take the smallest window of opportunity and run with it. Recently, Brody and I watched Disney Pixar’s “Bao,” a short animated film in which a Chinese mother, whose adult son has moved out on his own, imagines the bao (dumpling) she’s about to eat comes to life. Bao quickly becomes a replacement for her grown child, transforming into a most cherished companion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rspQR7rhf0.

I originally viewed “Bao” some time back at the theater, prior to the feature presentation we’d gone to see, but, being distracted with the more pressing job of pouring m&ms on my popcorn, I didn’t pay much attention. This time around, I was fully present, and with emotions ripened by pandemic stress, my eyes quickly welled up with tears. I recognized the metaphor in the story of Bao, a beautiful rendition of the inevitable transition from childhood to adulthood. Bao, once lovingly attached to their mother, eventually grows up, pushing boundaries tentatively at first, then enacting a full-out rebellion, finally fleeing the safety nest of home in quest of independence. With this new perspective, I appreciated the parallel to my own life held within Bao’s story. My child still adores me and craves time together, but I know that ultimately, one day, he will leave, ready to spread his wings and fly. I accept and encourage this passage, yet my heart can’t help but ache in silent trepidation over the changing dynamic that is motherhood.

 

A Lasting Moment to Savor 

After the film, my son found a recipe for bao buns (courtesy of Pixar) and asked if we could make them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2DbCilk8oA.

I was over the moon to share this cooking experience with Brody, plus it was a fun way to encourage him to eat something new. After gathering the necessary items, we measured out each ingredient, letting the dough rise in our pantry while we mixed together pork and cabbage filling. Brody helped eagerly with each step of the dumplings’ construction, a process that was easy to follow, but time-consuming. I relished each moment of the bao-making process with my son, contentedly rolling out dumpling after dumpling while he scooped small rounds of filling into each. We steamed batches of bao in a bamboo basket specifically purchased for this purpose. The finished product was delicious, a hit with everyone (the recipe yields 30-40 jumbo-sized dumplings).

More than a mere culinary adventure, this day spent in the kitchen with my son was a precious moment in time I will savor for many years. I know the day will come when I find myself navigating an empty nest of my own, and this memory will carry me through.

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Fun in the Sun

Fun in the Sun

Written by Jennifer Mandato, MA LAC

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a whirlwind of events and emotions. Most of us are reaching the point of the year where we have become just a little stir crazy sitting in our homes.  Our kids have been home for months with everything being closed and not much besides their screens to occupy them.  As we are in the heat of summer we are seeing more things open up, giving us a few more activity options we can do with our kids safely.  Below are just a few ways to enjoy some family fun this summer into fall.  As always, safety first! Remember your masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and maintain social distancing!

 

Enjoy your local parks

Local recreational parks as well as county parks are now open where you and your family can enjoy the outdoors at a safe distance.

Discover a new hiking trail.  This could also be another opportunity for family conversation either while walking or while having lunch in the park.  Here is a resource to help locate trails in your area: https://njtrails.org/

Have a daily family walk.  This is a great opportunity to talk about everyone’s day.

Take a family bike ride

Have a family picnic in the park.

 

Explore local farms

Many area farms have pick your own seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Their websites allow you to make reservations to purchase tickets in advance.  This allows them to limit the number of families they have at their farms at one time.  You can then take these items home and prepare these foods with your kids in the kitchen.

 

Create in your own backyard

While it is not always possible to bring your kids out to engage in activities every day, they always have access to their yard.  I have noticed in my neighborhood kids having front yard social distance picnics with friends or create obstacle courses around their house.  These allow your kids to be social, active and safe.  Plan a campout on a clear night and observe the stars and tell stories.  Don’t be afraid to get messy in those rainy day puddles! Plant a garden for your children to tend to and watch grow.  Plan a family game day tournament.

 

Whatever it may be that your family enjoys, take this time to savor every minute!

Get to Know Us!

Welcome to our practice! We are happy you are interested in learning more about Psychological & Educational Consulting. We are a group practice specializing in the child, adolescent, and young adult with special needs, and their family. Watch the video below to find out more!

Apps for Students With Learning Disabilities: Organization and Study

Guest BlogWritten by Rebecca Petersen.

Students with learning disabilities often have trouble with study skills like getting and staying organized—a crucial executive function skill—and remembering what needs to happen and when. We have researched and/or tested the following apps, and found them especially helpful. We know that every person has slightly different needs, but it’s worth taking the time to find out which apps work for your child.

Here are some apps that may be helpful to you and your family:

IconHero

iStudiez Pro

This app is a great for students, teachers and parents. It helps you stay on track by scheduling your appointments and reminding you of deadlines. Its features may be more intuitive for high school and college students.

Welcome to our new employee Nick Campestre

Nicholas Campestre, LCSW is a Certified NJ School Social Worker with over 20 years experience working with adolescents, young adults and their families. Nick’s experience includes being the Coordinator of School Based Youth Services for a public school district and the Coordinator of Adolescent Partial Care at a major medical center. He provides group, individual and family counseling to address a myriad of challenges that adolescents and young adults face, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, and behavioral issues.

Contact Nick: NCampestre@psychedconsult.com

"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