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Executive Functioning refers to cognitive and mental abilities that enable people to successfully employ goal-directed actions. Some executive functioning abilities include:

  • Analyzing tasks
  • Self-motivation
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem Solving
  • Planning how to complete a task
  • Organizing oneself around a task
  • Conceptualizing and developing timelines
  • Changing steps if necessary
  • Completing tasks

Executive functioning skills are the abilities our brain develops to allow us to achieve our goals and prepare for the future. Individuals with Executive Functioning Disorder (EFD) struggle to organize and regulate themselves in ways that would help them to accomplish goals that take some time, like writing papers, projects, and other long-term goals. EFD often becomes apparent as academic demands increase.

Who is Prone to Executive Functioning Disorder?

Most children with ADHD also suffer from EFD. Neurotypical people tend to develop executive functions in succession. In general, children with ADHD develop executive functioning skills much slower than neurotypical children.  Then they start developing the next executive functioning skill later than their peers and fall even farther behind—they need help to catch up.

Children with learning disabilities can also suffer from EFD. It’s important that clinicians carefully assess if a child truly has ADHD when treating EFD. Generally, once stimulants are working for children with ADHD, the EFD improves. Children with learning disabilities do not see an improvement in EFD skills after taking stimulants, and will need to work with a learning specialist.

While depression and anxiety do not have to co-occur with EFD, they are likely to present in conjunction with it. Adults may mistake EFD for laziness or a lack of intelligence, which children pick up on. Furthermore, as academic demands begin to increase and children recognize that for some reason they cannot keep up, this can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem. For more information on anxiety and EFD, see this article: https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/managing-feelings/stress-anxiety/are-learning-and-attention-issues-risk-factors-for-anxiety

How can I help my child with EFD?

Therapists and learning specialists can help children with EFD to develop and succeed. Behavior Therapy has been proven to be an effective tool in supporting children with EFD (https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/adhd-and-behavior-therapy-what-you-need-to-know)

If you suspect your child has EFD, you can get them evaluated, or start treatment with a behavioral therapist. To schedule a consultation, call us at: 646-450-6210.  You can also work with your child’s teacher to brainstorm concrete solutions to everyday EFD challenges. Think about solutions that have been helpful to your child in the past, and see if they can be modified to fit in a classroom setting.

The post What is Executive Functioning Disorder? appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 13- to 17-year-olds are experiencing stress at a higher level than they themselves consider to be healthy.  What’s the main source of this stress?

School tends to be the top stressor for teens while getting into a good college or deciding what to do after graduating comes next.  For some teens, stress is a source of motivation to achieve, which can lead to growth, but for others, it can lead to emotional problems such as anxiety, sadness, irritability and anger.  Due to this, it is important to take a hard look at the stress that is being placed on teens and consider ways that this stress can be mitigated.

How do I know if my teen is overly stressed?

Recognizing the symptoms of unhealthy stress levels is the first step in helping your teen.  According to the APA, the signs to look out for include irritability, anger, excessive worry, insomnia or sleeping difficulties, and disordered eating (either over- or undereating).  If stress goes uncontrolled, teens may even start engaging in the use of illegal drugs or engage underage drinking.  Studies have also shown that teens that are experiencing unhealthy stress levels may start engaging in self-harming behaviors and begin to have thoughts of suicide.

Because of this, it is very important to keep the lines of communication open so that your teen can open up to you about their experience.  Spend some one-on-one time with your teen each day, during which they are allowed to lead the conversation.  Avoid lectures and instead allow your child to share with you whatever might be on their mind.  Ask open ended questions and listen intently.

What are the specific steps I can take to help my teen cope with stress?

There are several things that both you and your teen can be doing to help mitigate stress.  Some steps include the following:

  • Maintain rituals and routines – Constancy, which rituals and routines can provide, is important for teens during turbulent times. These rituals and routines also provide a time for family members to connect.  Try to establish seasonal (e.g., holidays), weekday (e.g., dining out on Wednesday nights), and daily (e.g., ending the night with a special TV show together) routines that your teen can count on and look forward to.
  • Help your child manage stressful tasks by teaching them certain skills – Take time to sit down with your child and help them break down larger tasks into steps. You can also help them write out “to do” lists and set target dates for when each task needs to be completed.  Help them organize their school materials in folders – one for each subject.
  • Encourage healthy behaviors – Physical activity and getting good rest each night are great ways to help manage stress. Help your child identify physical activities that they might enjoy and either encourage them to engage it in alone, join a class, or join a team.   Help your child create a bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities (e.g., reading, taking a shower/bath, drinking tea) for them to engage in, which will help them fall asleep rather than activities that will keep them awake such as screentime, studying, and watching TV.
  • Model healthy behaviors – The best way to teach and encourage your child to manage their stress is to show them healthy ways that you manage your own. Show your child that you take time for self-care, including engaging in relaxing activities (e.g., spa days) as well as healthy practices such as exercising and eating right.
  • Be honest with your teen (and with yourself) about the high expectations and requirements of selective colleges – If your teen has their eyes set on a selective school, assist them in identifying the certain admittance requirements of the school and talk about whether or not they are feasible. Talk with your teen about the potential things that they might miss out on if they are devoting their time to fulfilling these requirements and discuss the potential emotional impact of focusing on admittance to that particular school.  Help them understand that a great education can happen at a number of other schools that may not be as selective and talk with them about specific individuals who have been very successful without attending a selective school.  According to Randye Hoder from Your Teen for Parents, “When teenagers are not competing to get into the most selective schools, they can focus instead on deep learning, creativity, a sense of purpose, and personal connection with friends and family.”
  • Make sure that your teen knows that you value them for who they are and not what they achieve – Spend time with your teen during which achievement isn’t the focus of the conversation or activity. Identify your teen’s interests outside of school and engage in them with them.

What are the specific things that my teen should be doing in order to manage stress?

There are several things that your teen can be doing as well to help mitigate stress such as:

  • Listening to music
  • Visualization – Taking a break by closing their eyes and visualizing a space in which they feel calm and content. Encourage your teen to visual their space in as much detail as possible by having them thinking of what they see, hear, taste, feel, and smell in that space.  Your teen may also want to visualize performing just as they would like to on a test, music performance, etc.
  • Deep breathing – Deep breathing is a great way to slow down the heartrate and increase mindfulness, which can lead to stress reduction. Have your teen close their eyes and take deep breaths in through their nose and then out through either their nose or mouth.  Have them focus on their belly rising as they fill up their lungs with air and then falling when they expel it.
  • Exercise
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – Your child can practice tensing and relaxing the different muscles groups in their body. Have them start with their face and work their way down.  Tense and relax each muscle group (e.g., face, neck, shoulders, arms, fingers) repeatedly before moving on to the next one.  This type of activity can release tension from the entire body and reduce overall stress.
  • Staying organized
  • Eating right
  • Positive thinking and affirmations – Self-talk can be very helpful during times of stress. Have your teen identify negative statements that they might have on their mind and replace them with positive ones. For example, if your teen repeatedly thinks, “I will fail this test,” have them reframe this though by saying instead, “I have studied hard for this test and will not fail.  I will do my best and that is what matters.”

Although following the aforementioned tips may lead to a great reduction in stress, if symptoms persist or increase in severity, it is important that you seek professional help for your teen.  Psychologists are experts in helping teens mitigate stress and are available to help.

Resources used for this blog:

https://www.verywellmind.com/top-school-stress-relievers-for-students-3145179

https://yourteenmag.com/teenager-school/teens-high-school/high-school-stress

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-talk.aspx

The post The Effects of Stress On Teens And What You Can Do About It appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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Anger is an adaptive and harmless emotion that every child experiences. Anger is an important emotion as it provides information to children about when they are being wronged. Youth learn to assert themselves through experiencing anger and by learning to regulate this emotion. Therefore, the adaptive expression of anger is an important skill that develops throughout childhood. In this sense, there are expected differences in the way anger is regulated and expressed based on the child’s developmental level.

For example, when children are very young, their anger may be expressed through tantrums, which often include crying, screaming and minor aggression. In older children and adolescents, a child’s anger may present as irritability. This is usually evidenced by frequent arguing or talking back to adults or by withdrawing from others when upset.

There are certain times in development when parents can expect to see increased anger in their children. For example, when children are between the ages of one to three years old they may present with increased tantrums. When youth enter into adolescence, they may also show increased anger, often directed toward parents. In fact, studies have shown that on average, teens and parents experience conflict approximately 20 times each month.

When should I be concerned about my child’s anger?

While some degree of anger in children and adolescents is normal, anger in youth can also be indicative of underlying difficulties. There are a number of warning signs that a child or adolescent’s anger is cause for concern:

  • The expression of anger is developmentally inappropriate. This usually presents as tantrums occurring later on in childhood.
  • The child’s anger is accompanied by aggression (such as hitting, kicking, biting or punching) or destruction of property. This is especially concerning in older youth and adolescents.
  • The child experiences anger with great frequency. He or she may present as irritable or angry more frequently than not.
  • The child’s anger reactions are of great intensity and present as disproportionate to the situation that triggered the anger.
  • The youth’s anger and accompanying emotional reactions last for extended periods of time and may not resolve even when the cause of the problem has been addressed.
  • The frequency and severity of anger responses are distressing to the child or interferes with his or her functioning.

Why is my child experiencing difficulties managing his or her anger?

Difficulties with anger regulation are common in various psychological disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, anger difficulties can occur in youth even when there is not a related diagnosis present.

Significant anger difficulties rarely resolve on their own and can often lead to a number of academic and interpersonal difficulties. Anger concerns can be addressed by treating any underlying disorder and also through cognitive behavioral treatment focused on teaching adaptive emotion regulation skills. This treatment modality typically involves both parents and children. Sessions generally involve identifying the child’s triggers for anger, identifying their current responses to anger and coming up with alternate responses, such as taking breaks before trying to address the issue. Depending on the age of the child, treatment also involves identifying and challenging any associated maladaptive thought patterns.

Resources:

APA, Developing Adolescents, 2002

Newcorn, Ivanov, Chacko, Halperin, 2010

https://www.webmd.com/

The post How Do I Know If My Child’s Anger Is Normal? appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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ABA is a safe and proven therapy for removing socially and physically harmful behaviors, including behaviors associated with ASD.
ABA relies on evidence-backed principles based on academic study, which are applied based on direct observation by the therapist in a clinical setting.  A licensed and certified behavioral therapist is specifically trained to apply ABA safely and effectively, and to design programs in a way that reduces behaviors in the long term.

ABA often appears very natural to an observer.  This is because a trained ABA therapist will meet a child where they are, and then gradually guide them to experience their full potential.  A lot of ABA will therefore look like play.  Some very early learners cannot absorb information the way a typical child does. DTT (Discrete Trial Training) may be used with children like this until they develop the foundational skills to be successful in more natural forms of play.

Sometimes, ABA may cause a child to temporarily intensify a behavior when the therapist does not reward or validate the behavior in the first instance—this is part of the process of extinction and, while it can be uncomfortable, is a normal part of the child learning that a harmful behavior will not help the child to get what they want.

In short, ABA is a safe, highly beneficial therapy.  But if a therapist is not properly trained or attuned to the child, the therapist could inadvertently make target behaviors worse or lead to the creation of new problem behaviors.  As with any type of therapy, it is important to look closely at the specifics of the therapist and the therapist-child relationship to determine if your child is receiving ABA therapy that is meaningful and helpful.

Here is some information to help you evaluate ABA in a particular situation.

How to know if your ABA therapist is qualified to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis?

Your ABA therapist should be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (“BCBA”) or have another certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).  Alternatively, your therapist should be a graduate student in ABA receiving direct, weekly supervision by a BCBA.  Other individuals may or may not be talented providers, but they are not qualified to provide ABA services and may have never formally studied ABA.

Notably, different states have different rules when it comes to who is legally permitted to provide ABA.  Some states, like New York, have strict criteria that overlap with the criteria to become a BCBA.  In other states, however, a master’s degree in a therapeutic field is all that is legally required to provide ABA without supervision.  Providers should be able to give proof of their credentials upon request.

How do you know if your child’s ABA therapist is providing appropriate therapy?

  • Goals should be established between the parent and the professional. Any goals your ABA therapist wants to work on with your child should be explained and communicated to you up front.

A qualified, experienced behavioral analyst should explain what they are doing and why, which behaviors they are targeting and why, and whenever possible, find a way to address these behaviors in a way that conforms to their code of ethics (is evidence based), while also making parents feel comfortable. Goals should be established between the parents and the professional.

  • Therapy should also be individualized to your child.

Part of what makes ABA (when done well) so effective, is that it is individualized to each child’s unique needs. If your child’s therapist has procedures written up for your child that look like they were made for another child (have the wrong name, etc.), this could be a sign that this person is not thinking of your child’s unique needs.

  • If something isn’t working, it should change.

If your child is consistently melting down during therapy during the same task (for more than 6 consecutive days), your ABA therapist should be discussing why they continue to elicit this behavior, why they think this is happening and what they want to do to help a child improve. Most good therapists want children to be able to feel successful, calm and happy. This doesn’t mean they aren’t afraid to elicit a tantrum (actually, good behavioral intervention often intentionally elicits tantrums), but the goal is always for these tantrums to extinguish. The reason that ABA therapists take such scrupulous data is to see if an intervention is effective or not. If the data indicates and intervention is not effective, they change what they are doing.

What is DTT (Discrete Trial Training)?

Discrete Trial Training is an intensive, highly structured form of ABA therapy in which children are required to sit for significant periods of time and run drills.  This particular style of ABA is not appropriate for every child.  Unlike other applications of ABA, DTT does not look like natural play.  DTT is useful for very early learners who do not yet have the skills to absorb information from their natural environment, but who are capable of learning with targeted motivation and encouragement.  DTT helps these early learners build numerous skills quickly, which is crucial for children who are developmentally delayed.  The goal of DTT is to develop the building blocks to engage in more creative, functional, natural play.  As your child’s skills evolve, DTT should be faded from their therapy sessions, and a more advanced type of learning like PRT (Pivotal Response Training) can begin.

  • How long should a particular DTT session last?

Depending on the age of your child they should be given appropriate breaks.  Sitting for DTT longer than 30 minutes is probably too long for most children under 5.  Furthermore, DTT should not be the only technique your therapist applies. DTT should be mixed with other activities that allow your child to move around, explore and grow.

Is the point of ABA for my child to be indistinguishable from his peers?

The goal of ABA is unique to each particular family.  Therapists work with clients and families to establish goals that are appropriate based on the child’s development, the family’s priorities, and the child and family’s sensibilities.  Not all children with ASD are the same, nor are their families.  A good therapist will work with your family to target a goal that is right for you.

  • Really, ABA wants to be socially significant

ABA therapy should target goals that are socially significant, meaning that what a therapist teaches a client makes a meaningful difference in their lives, and the lives of their families. Overall, ABA therapists want to teach children skills that will help them be successful across settings and situations.  They want to use scientifically validated approaches to make this happen. They want to make sure that they are being consistent, effective and using the principles they are trained in and qualified to assess to help their clients succeed.  Sometimes this goal is speech, sometimes it is toilet training, and sometimes it is matching pictures of animals.  If a parent and therapist disagree on the importance of a goal, they should talk about it together and come to a conclusion that is right for the child.

Does ABA force children to do things that are physically painful?

No—an ABA therapist should not make a child do something that is physically painful.  That said, a family may want to desensitize a child to certain textures or sounds, and an ABA therapist can facilitate this, likely in conjunction with an Occupational Therapist.  For example, if a child cannot stand the sensation of soap, it may be appropriate for a Behavioral Analyst to work on desensitizing them, so they can bathe, avoid getting sick, and participate at school.  ABA therapy teaches this should be done gradually, methodically, and compassionately.  First, they may just have the child tolerate having the soap next to them, then they might touch it for one second. They should not be pushed to another step until they are very comfortable with whatever step they are currently working on. So, if your child cannot tolerate being in the same room as soap, they should not be asked to wash their hands yet.  A good therapist will not try to rush this process, so the child will not experience pain.

Should my therapist ever use aversives with my child?

The use of punishment (introducing a consequence that makes a behavior less likely to happen in the future) should only be used if all other attempts at reinforcement have failed.  Furthermore, punishment should only be considered for dangerous behaviors.  If a child is engaging in a behavior that’s very dangerous to themselves or others, punishment may be introduced for safety purposes.  Just like if a neurotypical child tries to touch a hot stove and a parent screams “NO!”

The purpose of ABA is not to force children to engage in activities that hurt them. It’s not to make them look normal.  It’s not to make them touch things they don’t like, smile when they aren’t happy, or force them to confirm to social norms that are uncomfortable and don’t make a meaningful difference in their lives. The purpose of ABA is to use evidence based strategies to help children actualize their full potential, usually with a lot of laughter, fun and adventure along the way.  If you have any questions about ABA, and how to know if it is right for your family, please email me at db@manhattanpsychologygroup.com

More information about the benefits of ABA:

https://www.ktnv.com/news/previously-non-verbal-las-vegas-boy-is-speaking-with-aba-therapy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68XQBechJb4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3196209/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/pivotal-response-therapy-prt

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28963874

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5488784/

https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/how-is-discrete-trial-training-used-in-aba-therapy/

The post CAN ABA BE HARMFUL FOR MY CHILD? appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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There is a growing body of research that indicates how deeply our brains are wired to seek social approval.  For example, a study done at Harvard in 2012 indicated that humans devote up to 40 percent of our time to self-disclosure, and that doing so can be as pleasurable as eating food or having sex.  It therefore ends up not being a surprise that social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat have taken center stage in many teen’s lives.  If you walk by a group of teenagers today, you will likely see them interacting with their phone just as much (if not more) than with each other.  Selfies are taken.  Pictures are snapped and then filtered. Groups of friends are photographed together. And all of this is mostly done with the intention of sharing it via social media.

Mental health consultants across the country though have indicated that social media has become an anxiety-provoking factor.  According to anxiety.org, this is due to the following experiences that teens have while using social media:

  • Comparing their own experiences to those posted by others – People tend to post pictures of the fun things that they are doing. Some of these pictures may also be doctored by using filters, which may lead to their experience appearing even better than it was in real life. Scrolling through these pictures though can lead to your teen feeling as though they are not out living life in the same ways that others are and that their experiences are less exciting and appealing.
  • Comparing their number of followers to others – Teens have indicated that it is the number of followers that is most important to them, not the quality of those followers. Therefore, feeling as though you have less followers, less “likes” or less retweets can lead to anxiety.
  • Fear of missing out – Teens may see their friends and classmates posting pictures of themselves out doing things and might feel left out.
  • Addicting nature of social media – A study by the University of Chicago indicated that social media can be more addicting than cigarettes. According to Graham Lavey, PhD, this addiction can then also interfere with physical and psychological well-being.

How do I help my teenager combat anxiety caused by social media?

  • Help your child take an objective look at the media that they are viewing. Have them ask questions such as is this picture an accurate portrayal of this experience?  Has it been filtered?  Remind them that this picture was taken at one moment in time – one that the person thought was worthy enough to share – but that there are many moments throughout their day that they chose not to share.
  • Encourage your teen to take a look at the effect that social media is having on them. Are they comparing themselves to others?  Are they spending time taking several pictures to find “just the right one” to post?  Are they feeling the need to filter their pictures to make them look better?
  • Limit the amount of time that your teen spends on their phone.
  • Have them put their phones away at bedtime.

If your teen seems to be addicted to social media or if its use is leading to significant symptoms of anxiety and depression, it may then be important to seek professional therapy for your child.

Resources used for this blog:

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/fashion/for-some-social-media-users-an-anxiety-from-approval-seeking.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201612/social-media-loneliness-and-anxiety-in-young-people

https://www.anxiety.org/social-media-causes-anxiety

http://www.nbc15.com/content/news/Instagram-giving-teens-anxiety-and-depression-454121863.html

The post The Effect of Social Media on Anxiety in Teens appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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Date: Sunday, Feb 25, 2018

Time: 3 pm – 5 pm (For Parents of Kids Ages 0-7)

Location: 805 Columbus Ave, Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Entrance is on 100th St, just east of Starbucks.

Babysitting Included: While you attend the workshop, trained advanced college counselors will supervise your children watching a Kids Netflix movie. Kids must be ages 4+.

Cost & RSVP: Discounted rates for individuals and couples who register in advance.

Register for the Workshop

———–

Based on popular demand, child and adolescent psychologist, Dr. Joshua Rosenthal, is returning once in 2018 to give his fun and engaging parenting workshop.

Workshop Description:

When children don’t listen, how do you stay calm and not lose your temper? How do you know which strategies to use for each situation? Based on years of clinical experience and the latest research, Dr. Rosenthal teaches parents specific and concrete skills and scripts that really work. Parents will learn how to reduce conflict and prevent typical child behaviors from becoming bigger problems. Warning! This is not a boring, passive lecture. This workshop will be fun and engaging and may cause serious improvements in your parenting skills!

———

Learning Objectives:

After attending this workshop, parents will know how to:

  1. Recognize the function of different behaviors and respond accordingly
  2. Recognize and respond to minor vs major misbehaviors appropriately
  3. Enhance the parent-child relationship via specialized play skills
  4. Create routine and behavior charts for repetitive and difficult behaviors
  5. Give indirect and direct commands with appropriate follow-through
  6. Give an effective time-out (ages 2-6) or loss of privilege
  7. Co-parent collaboratively and think “big picture” about the family culture

Attendees will receive a handout outlining all the material taught.

Professionals are welcome to attend to earn CEs (we are not an official CE vendor but can verify attendance)

——–

About the Presenter:

Dr. Joshua Rosenthal is a NY & NJ licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults. He is the Director of Child and Adolescent Treatment at Manhattan Psychology Group and the founder of Big Apple Day Program, the only social skills summer treatment camp in Manhattan. Dr. Rosenthal provides CBT, PCIT, Parent Management Training and family therapy. He frequently presents and writes about Parenting, ADHD, Anxiety and Behavioral Issues in children and teens. To learn more about Dr. Rosenthal, please visit www.ManhattanPsychologyGroup.com

——–

Click here to watch videos and testimonials from parents who attended this same workshop on 5/7/17 and 9/25/16

The post 2/25/18 – NYC PARENTING WORKSHOP: Getting Your Child to Listen Without Yelling (For Kids 0-7) appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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Date: Sunday, Feb 25, 2018

Time: 3 pm – 5 pm (For Parents of Kids Ages 0-7)

Location: 805 Columbus Ave, Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Entrance is on 100th St, just east of Starbucks.

Babysitting Included: While you attend the workshop, trained advanced college counselors will supervise your children watching a Kids Netflix movie. Kids must be ages 4+.

Cost & RSVP: Discounted rates for individuals and couples who register in advance.

Register for the Workshop

———–

Workshop Description:

When children don’t listen, how do you stay calm and not lose your temper? How do you know which strategies to use for each situation? Based on years of clinical experience and the latest research, Dr. Rosenthal teaches parents specific and concrete skills and scripts that really work. Parents will learn how to reduce conflict and prevent typical child behaviors from becoming bigger problems. Warning! This is not a boring, passive lecture. This workshop will be fun and engaging and may cause serious improvements in your parenting skills!

———

Learning Objectives:

After attending this workshop, parents will know how to:

  1. Recognize the function of different behaviors and respond accordingly
  2. Recognize and respond to minor vs major misbehaviors appropriately
  3. Enhance the parent-child relationship via specialized play skills
  4. Create routine and behavior charts for repetitive and difficult behaviors
  5. Give indirect and direct commands with appropriate follow-through
  6. Give an effective time-out (ages 2-6) or loss of privilege
  7. Co-parent collaboratively and think “big picture” about the family culture

——–

About the Presenter:

Dr. Joshua Rosenthal is a NY & NJ licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults. He is the Director of Child and Adolescent Treatment at Manhattan Psychology Group and the founder of Big Apple Day Program, the only social skills summer treatment camp in Manhattan. Dr. Rosenthal provides CBT, PCIT, Parent Management Training and family therapy. He frequently presents and writes about Parenting, ADHD, Anxiety and Behavioral Issues in children and teens. To learn more about Dr. Rosenthal, please visit www.ManhattanPsychologyGroup.com

——–

Click here to watch videos and testimonials from parents who attended this same workshop on 5/7/17 and 9/25/16

The post 2/25/18 – PARENTING WORKSHOP: Getting Your Child to Listen Without Yelling (For Kids 0-7) appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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How do you react to bad behavior?
If your children are concerned about negative consequences such as being punished when they make mistakes, they will not feel safe with telling you the truth. Practice neutral reactivity with your calm voice and body language (although it can be hard at times!) and focus on solutions that will solve the problem instead of assigning blame.

How do you connect with the emotion of the moment?
When your child is being dishonest, try to understand what made her feel that she could not be honest with you. Instead of pointing out the lie, try, “That sounds like a bit of a tall tale to me. Maybe you felt worried to tell me the truth. Let’s talk about it.” You will get the honesty you are looking for, as well as information that may help you encourage the truth in the future

Do you provide your child a chance to remediate the problem first?
Do not give your child the opportunity to lie by asking questions to which you already know the answer. For example, instead of asking, “Did you study for your math test?” try, “What are your plans for preparing for tomorrow’s test?” If your child has not studied, she can save the moment by focusing on a plan of action rather than lying to you.  Encourage any last minute attempt to “save the moment” by creating opportunities for telling the truth.

How can you reinforce and encourage honesty?
When your child tells the truth, praise her! Express encouragement when the truth is told for example, “That must have very hard for you to tell me what really happened. I admire your courage for telling the truth”

Do you own up to and celebrate mistakes (even your own)?
Think of mistakes as a way to learn to make better choices in the future. If children know that you will not be disappointed when they make mistakes, they will be much more willing to share the truth. To respond, say something like, “Here’s a great opportunity to think about what you could have done differently.  If you could have a chance to do this again, what would you do differently?” If your child’s actions negatively affected another person, ask, “What do you think can be done to help make the situation better for your friend?”

Provide unconditional love.
“I will always love you even though I am disappointed in your behavior”.  Make sure your child knows the distinction! Let them know that while you sometimes do not like their behavior, there isn’t a thing they could possibly do that would change your love for them.

What are ways for you to model appropriate behavior?
Be aware that children are observant and are always tuned in. Whether you are failing to correct the cashier who gives you too much change or making up a story about why you cannot volunteer for a school fieldtrip, remember your actions provide an important example for acceptable behavior.

The post Creating an Environment that Encourages Telling the Truth appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse (CSA).  For this reason, talking to children about good and bad touch is essential in helping them keep their bodies safe.

When is the best time to teach my child about good and bad touch?

Although children are the most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13, there are perpetrators who target victims as early as infancy.  Because of this, the best time to talk to your child about good and bad touch is as soon as they are capable of understanding your words.

How should I talk to my child about good and bad touch?

First, it is important that you talk with your child in kid friendly language that they will understand.  There many activity and educational books available (see resources below) if you feel that you need some help in figuring out the right language to use.  These books cover the different concepts that should be addressed when talking about good and bad touch and generally include the following:

  • Talking about Bodies:
    • Let your child know that their body is very special and that it is important for them to take care of their bodies.
    • Educate them on the names of their different body parts – both private and not private. During this part of the conversation, do not shy away from using the correct anatomical names for private parts (e.g., breasts, vagina, buttocks, penis).  It is important that children know and practice saying the correct names so that they are not embarrassed and if they are touched inappropriately, they can accurately explain it to others.
    • Use the bathing suit rule – Tell your child that both girls’ and boys’ private parts are covered by their bathing suits.
  • Talking about Good and Bad Touches:
    • Good touches:
      • Help your child identify good touches (e.g., hand holding, hugging, high fives).
      • Let them know that although these kinds of touches are generally okay, if they make them feel uncomfortable in any way, then they are not okay.
      • Also teach your child about touches that might not feel okay, but are still good for the body (e.g., shots, cleaning a cut).
      • Talk with your child about grown-ups who are allowed to touch their private parts at specific times (e.g., doctor, parent).
    • Bad touches:
      • Talk about touches that are not okay because they hurt or leave a bruise, a cut, or a burn (e.g., hitting, kicking, pushing). Let them know that it is not okay for other children to do these things to them and if an adult does, it is called physical abuse.
      • Tell your child that it is not okay for grown-ups or older kids to look at or touch their private parts and that it also is not okay for a grown-up or older kids to make them look at or touch their own private parts. Not okay touching of private parts is called sexual abuse.
    • Once you have talked about both good and bad touches, give your child some examples and see if they can identify if it is a good or bad kind of touch.
  • What to do about Non Okay Touches:
    • Tell your child that they can say “No” or “Stop” or “I don’t like that” or “Don’t touch me” or anything else that means NO. Also tell them that they can run away.  Practice this with a role play.
    • Tell your child that sometimes a person who touches a child with a not okay touch will tell them that it is a secret. Talk to your child about what kinds of secrets are okay and which ones are not.  Let them know that this is not an okay kind of secret and so they should always be shared with a trusted grown up.
    • Help your child identify who they could talk to if someone has touched them in a not okay way.

Remember that talking about good and bad touch is not a one-time conversation.  Children learn best from repetition and openly talking about it will help your child feel more comfortable talking about it as well.

Useful activity and educational books:

“Let’s Talk about Taking Care of You” by Lori Stauffer, PhD and Esther Deblinger, PhD

“Good Touch Bad Touch” – http://www.villagecounselingcenter.net/Good_Touch_-_Bad_Touch_-_Workbook.pdf

“Some Parts are Not for Sharing” by Julie K. Federico (For ages 6 months and up)

“It’s MY Body” by Lory Freeman (For ages 3-8)

“Loving Touches” by Lory Freeman (For ages 3-8)

“My Body is Private” by Linda Walvoord Girard (For ages 6-11)

“The Right Touch” by Sandy Kleven (For ages 3-8)

“The Trouble with Secrets” by Karen Johnsen (For ages 3-8)

“Your Body Belongs to You” by Cornelia Spelman (For ages 3-6)

“My Body Belongs to Me” by Jill Starishevsky (For ages 3-8)

“A Secret Safe to Tell” by Naomi Hunter (For ages 3-8)

“Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept” by Jayneen Sanders (For ages 3-8)

 

Resources used for this blog:

http://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

https://b-inspiredmama.com/10-tips-for-teaching-kids-about-good/

Stauffer, L. & Deblinger, E. (2003). Let’s talk about taking care of you. Hatfield, PA: Hope for Families.

The post How can I Teach my Child about Good Touch/Bad Touch? appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is hugely variable.  People with ASD can have opposing symptoms. There are children with ASD who don’t like to be squeezed and cannot even tolerate a handshake—others crave the sensation so badly they bump their bodies into others. Sometimes individuals with ASD are so high functioning, people don’t immediately realize there is something different about them. Other times, they are unable to speak or take care of their physical needs. The futures of individuals with ASD can vary as much as their symptoms. Just like neurotypical individuals, the future of people with ASD depends on their strengths, passions and skillsets.

It is important to understand that a diagnosis of ASD does not mean that your child cannot make friends, date, go to college, get married, become a parent, and/or have a satisfying lucrative career.  Just as typically developing children need to develop skills to become successful adults, children with ASD require the same; however it’s important to note that this process often looks different than what a typically developing child experiences. It is widely understood at this point that children with ASD have better outcomes when they get diagnosed early and are inundated with evidence-based therapies to help them develop to the skills necessary to be functional and successful children and adults. The most well-known effective treatment to help children with ASD develop functional life skills is Applied Behavioral Analysis (See https://manhattanpsychologygroup.com/aba-therapy-autism-can-help/). Depending on their areas for growth children can also benefit from Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

Autism and Marriage:

A diagnosis of ASD does not need to prevent anyone from getting married. Just as in any relationship, individuals with ASD need partners who are understanding and respectful of their needs. Sometimes they may need to have a more direct communication style in which partners clearly explain what they want and need instead of waiting for them to intuit it. This is not necessarily limited to couples where one individual has ASD. All couples need to find their own mode of communication that works for them. An experienced couples therapist can often help adults with ASD to navigate a romantic relationship.  In fact, couples therapy techniques already focus on teaching couples to take turns talking and make sure they understand each other, and are not created with ASD in mind. Below you can find some essays written by married adults with ASD to get a clearer picture on how this can work:

Autism and Careers

The skills an individual with ASD has will impact what kind of career they can explore. Of course, this is true of the general population as well.  There are several extremely successful individuals with ASD who have written about this.

Dr. Temple Grandin, perhaps the most famous individual with ASD today has some excellent advice for choosing a career when one has ASD based on individual thinking style:
https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Choosing-the-Right-Job-for-People-with-Autism-or-Aspergers-Syndrome

Dr. Grandin was able to find a career that allowed her to exercise her unusual thinking style and passion. She has revolutionized how slaughterhouses function today, humanizing and expediting the process in a way a neurotypical person would likely not have been able to imagine.

John Elder Robinson, another famous successful individual on the Autism spectrum, has written about his experiences in love, life, parenting and career while managing his symptoms:
http://www.johnrobison.com/autism-consulting.php

John Elder Robinson, in addition to being a very successful author, was able to use his “aspergian strengths” in a career in technology. Most notably, he built the trick guitars used by the band “kiss”. His autobiography “Look Me in the Eye” is an excellent portal into his unique mindset and paints a clear portrait of a functional adult living with ASD.

For individuals with ASD who cannot live independently, job opportunities exist as well. Multiple not for profit organizations in New York alone exist with the sole purpose of helping to find people with various challenges gainful employment opportunities. Some examples are here:

There are also halfway homes for people who want to live independently but need some extra assistance. Autism speaks has a resource guide to learning more about this:
https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/housing-and-community-living

If you have more questions, or need assistance coping with your child’s ASD diagnosis, you can call 646-450-6210 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Clinicians.

The post What can I expect in the future for my child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? appeared first on Manhattan Psychology Group.

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