Hello to Autumn, Hello to School days, Hello to September!
We’ve had some great articles this month beginning with an autism piece from Kale Williams. Williams reports that children diagnosed with autism before the age of four are more likely to get the behavioral therapy they need. Also, that the longer a parent waits to seek intervention for their diagnosed child, the more likely they are to try “alternative and complementary medicine, which have not been shown to be as effective as behavioral therapy.” Studies by Katharine Zuckerman, a professor of pediatrics at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at OHSU, revealed that the strongest treatment comes from a child working intensively with a therapist one-on-one, specifically on their symptoms, which can be trouble with social interaction or repetitive actions that get in the way of normal behavior.
Liswindio Apendicaesar called out to stop violence against children by teachers and parents, saying such behavior as a form of discipline is damaging to children and ineffective. “It is utterly irrational to demand children who probably aren’t yet even 10 years old to be wiser and smarter than adults. School teachers are supposed to be the ones who are able to give empathetic, reasonable and resolute explanations to their students. Teachers are supposed to be able to build a connection with the students and make them behave because they understand, not because they are afraid of punishment. Adults are supposed to be the ones who educate children by showing propriety in behavior, not vice versa.”
Applied behavioral analysis, or ABA therapy, is taking fire from adults on the spectrum who have endured it as children. ABA is extensive one-on-one therapy that teaches children on the spectrum “normal” social skills, writing, and communicating effectively, breaking the “abnormal” behaviors down through the process. However, advocates in the Autistic Self Advocacy Network say that the therapy is harmful and neurodiversity should be accepted by society, not changed.
Alethea Mshar is reaching out to comfort her fellow Mothers of special-needs children with a message of support. She says, “I know you feel invisible, like nobody notices any of it. But I want you to know I notice you. I see you relentlessly pushing onward. I see you keep choosing to do everything in your power to give your child the best possible care at home, in school, at therapy and the doctor. What you’re doing matters. It’s worth it.”
Is your child stressed? Dr. Lisa Cassidy explains how you can tell, as well as how you can get help. “How do parents determine if their child needs help? The easiest clue is if you notice a change in your child’s behavior—for example, a happy child now grows anxious in many situations. Children process information and life events differently than adults…Meet with the therapist first without your child and decide if you feel that therapist is an approachable person with whom you would want to talk.Once you select a therapist, you might also want to facilitate contact between the therapist and your child’s school, which can be very beneficial.”
Child depression is a problem that may be going unnoticed or ignored. Zirak Marker suggests that many of the children and teens suffering from depression are not getting the help the desperately need, either because they are never diagnosed, or because they (or parents) are ashamed or scared to seek proper help. “10% of children between the ages of 5 and 16 have some kind of “clinically diagnosable mental health problem… Part of the problem in diagnosing mental illness in children is that the symptoms may manifest very differently in them than they do in adults. Often, children often do not have the vocabulary to express their inner problems accurately.” If you think your child, student, or client may be struggling with depression take note and take action!
Dr. Gary talked about why AND HOW parents should talk to their kids about the violence we see all too often in the media. With the terrorist attacked Nice and Orlando, and the increasingly present killings in between officers and black men, it’s so important to make sure that your children feel safe.
“First, parents need to avoid the temptation to stay away from difficult topics. As clinicians we can model listening and empathy. Encourage parents to find out what their kids are feeling and thinking. What does the child know? Encourage parents to express their own feelings, as long as it is done in a way that is informative and age appropriate.”
Read more from Dr. Gary here!
We had another great reader submission from Brandon Menikheim! ‘Nails in the Fence’ is an activity that puts the spotlight on anger management by exhibiting to participants the emotional scars that our angry words can leave. Using a poem, nails and a hammer, and a piece of wood, the activity is a great example of how to check your anger and think before you speak.
“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” -Nails in the Fence (author unknown)
Get all the details for the Nails in the Fence activity here!
Thanks to all of our readers! We love hearing from you, so never be too shy to leave a comment or submit a blog post!
Be sure to Check out our website for specials and new products!