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Testing Students for a Learning Disability

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Having been in school about 2 and 1/2 months, my mailbox at school is getting busier with referrals.  As the school psychologist in an elementary building, there’s been ample time for teachers to identify concerning students, try individualized interventions, and monitor their progress. For some of those students who are still struggling, it’s time for including the school psychologist for some discussion with the parents: should we be considering testing?

How and when should parents and teachers begin to consider a child for testing?

What should you expect if you decide to move forward with testing?

As my well trained teachers know,  lack of sufficient growth to grade level instruction can be an early indication, along with insufficient rate of growth despite individualized intervention. Because of changes in the law that governs special education and testing, most school districts require some period of intensive, individualized interventions either prior to testing  or as part of the evaluation. This is called ‘response to intervention’ or R.T.I.  Throughout this time period, the expectation is that the student’s response to the intervention  (progress) is monitored and documented. This is an important concept to keep in mind and to consider prior to initiating the testing process or, at the very least, to understand once testing is underway.

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7 Rules in Shame-Based Families

Teen Family Time
Shame has been a popular psychotherapy topic in social media lately and due to its fame it is frequently on my mind.  Today I’ve been thinking specifically about shame-based families and how this toxic feeling is often handed down through generations.
Shame can be passed through a family in myriad ways.  A common path is for it to travel through family rules.  With some prompting, maybe you can recall some of your family’s rules.  What rules did your family have about touching and sexuality?  What were the rules regarding marriage, money, vacations, religion, socializing…?
In John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame That Binds You he outlines 7 rules that are maintained by shame-based families.
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Help With Homework? Re-frame Your Approach This Year

SCHOOL KIDS

The school year is now underway, and for most of us, that can only mean one thing. It’s just a matter of days before ‘it’ begins, ‘mom, where is my science book? I know it was in my book bag and now it’s gone!’ or ‘dad, YOU SAID you would help me with my English!’ Homework season has begun.

When did homework become so intense, so stressful? Does it have to be this way? Here are just a few ideas to re-frame the homework experience to make it easier on you and help you remember why we do it at all.

Pro or con, the homework debate has been going on for as long as most of us can remember. How much is enough? Is it worth it? Should you monitor your child? Most research leans towards yes, generally speaking, though not always in the way we might think. Overall, a good rule of thumb is approximately 10 minutes per grade, so a first grader completes about 10 minutes, and so on.

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Back-to-School Jitters: Tips for Parents

SCHOOL KID ANXIETY

The Back To School Jitters

For many parents, the beginning of the school year not only brings a sigh of relief, but also a feeling of panic with the emergence of the endless school supply lists, homework, and trying to get not just to bed on time but to school! For many children and teens however, the first few weeks of school are not just a struggle because they are mourning the lazy days of summer.  Many kids experience anxiety and really struggle adjusting, especially if it is one of the “firsts” – 1st grade, the start of junior high, high school, and the senior year.  These are major milestones as well as rites of passage for kids growing up into adulthood, with many hurdles and the unknown of what to expect.  Click on the link below to watch this segment for tips for parents on how to move through these first few weeks smoothly as we calm the Back To School Jitters.

 

https://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/back-to-school-jitters-tips-for-parents

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A List of Surefire Ways to Feel Happier & Fight Depression

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A List of Surefire ways to Feel Happier and Fight Depression
Over the years depression has been steadily increasing in adults as well as children.  So how can we fight these feelings of sadness? How can we help our children?  I recently came across this website that discusses nature and our mood, and why it helps.  It is a very quick read and the website offers a list of ways that we can increase our happiness; each suggestion is backed by clinically proven research.  The source offers specific ideas and things to do for adults as well as for children.  It gives suggestions that can take as little as five minutes of your time, to more extended amounts of time.
Check out his link and get see if there is a something for you to get you feeling good:
http://my.happify.com/hd/nature-makes-us-happier-infographic/?srid=self
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5 Common Creativity Myths: LCSW Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5


5 Common CreativityMyths(1)

When you think of the idea of creativity, what comes to mind? A brilliant painter? A famous film director? An acclaimed composer? While those examples certainly are true, there is more to creativity than famous artists and their work. For the purpose of this discussion, the definition of creativity is the ability to make new things or think new ideas, transforming existing materials into something novel and beneficial. Here are 5 common myths about creativity:

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How to Reduce Mom Guilt: Dr. Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5

5 Ways to Reduce Mom GuiltMoms have a lot to do, and we often take pride in accomplishing tasks and checking items off of our to-do lists. But when we don’t achieve what we set out to, unfortunately we can beat ourselves up (this happens particularly during changes and chapter endings, such as summer winding down and kids heading back to school). It seem to be human nature to focus on what we didn’t get done, but focusing on our shortcomings (perceived or real) can lead to great unhappiness and emotional distress. Here are 5 ways to resolve mom guilt:

1) Stop the Cycle of Comparison 

Theodore Roosevelt wrote that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I recently found myself comparing my family’s summer plans with those of some of my friends and wishing that we had done more. Thankfully, I was able to catch myself and simple say, “Stop It!” Social media makes it all too easy to compare our lives with others, but every person and every family is different, and there is something empowering about owning your own life and experience for what it is (click here for a past Studio 5 segment on avoiding comparison).

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Student Resiliency: 5 Skills Your Child Needs To Suceed This Year

SCHOOL KID ANXIETY

Over and over the term ‘resiliency’ is being used in conversations between teachers, parents, and in preparation for the upcoming school year.  Most of us use the term casually; of course, students who are ‘resilient’ will do better at school – both academically and socially – but what does resiliency really mean?  Can parents help develop these skills? Can resiliency ‘be taught?’ In one psychological study conducted by Brock (2002d), student resiliency was determined to include specific internal behavioral skills or traits and that yes, these traits could be improved or fostered. Using that study as a framework, positive student resiliency behaviors/skills include:

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Fight the New Drug

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A few months ago I attended a presentation with my teenage son at Canyons School District titled “Fight the New Drug”.  As a therapist, I was expecting the typical “why porn is bad” -type of platform.  What I found was a fresh approach that was all-inclusive, carrying out an anti-pornography message across borders of religious beliefs, political agenda and social backgrounds by presenting it as a public health issue, rather than as a moral, political or religious argument.  Historically, pornography used to be a matter of personal opinion.  Some people felt it was natural, normal, even expected to be consumed.  Others felt it was “bad” or “wrong” due to their personal religious beliefs or political views.  However, few people, if any, seemed to have concrete evidence to support their view.  FTND’s mission exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography  by raising awareness using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

Teens learn how they are impacted  on 3 levels:  Personally, (recent finding in neuroscience), relationally (personal stories) and socially, (connecting the link to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation), in a delivery using multiple creative mediums that captivate youth!  Founded locally here in Salt Lake City, Utah as a non profit organization campaign in 2009, they have carried their message to over 300 schools and colleges in North America, reaching thousands of teens (it’s target population).  They also deliver through social media and have a massive following that has created a powerful social movement online.  Their slogans can be seen on T shirts worn by Hollywood stars like “Porn Kills Love”, “Fight for Love” or “Stop the Demand”.

What impressed me most about this presentation I attended and what I find sets it apart from any others I’ve seen, is their online recovery program, “Fortify”: A Step Toward Recovery”, free to anyone under age 20.  Most young people (I never see in therapy), suffer silently, already deeply trenched in a porn addiction, too embarrassed or ashamed to reach out and ask for help.  Fight the New Drug offers anonymity where  teens (and adults for a nominal fee) can finally seek help NOT just feel guilty.  The website also offers a free book “Parents guide to addressing pornography with children” to assist families.  FTND encompasses 4 programs: Media, Mobilization, Protection AND Recovery, a solid, comprehensive non profit that few others offer.

Check out fightthenewdrug.org today.

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When Frustration Overflows – Tantrums Promote Learning

CHILD TANTRUM

Review of Hand in Hand Article “When Frustration Overflows — Tantrums Promote Learning”

Have you ever found yourself sitting across from your little one who is in the midst of an emotional outburst and realized that it could possibly be the ideal time to connect with your child? Expressing emotion can manifest in many different ways, what we do with it as parents and caregivers can offer us a gateway to connecting and attaching to our children in amazing and powerful ways.
The article “when frustration overflows — tantrums promote learning”
published  by~ Lyra L’Estrange who is a Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor with Hand in Hand can be found at:
http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/tantrums-promote-learning/
In this article you will gain some insight into:
  • Why tantrums can be a wonderful opportunity to connect with your child.
  • Understanding your child’s needs
  • Allowing you child to feel heard and validated
For more specific support surrounding parenting dilemmas and struggles contact Melanie Davis CMHC with Wasatch Family Therapy at 801-944-4555.
Source:
Hand in Hand Parenting
http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/tantrums-promote-learning/
Author of article: Lyra L’Estrange
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