Warrington, PA 215.491.1119

October is National Bully Prevention Month

In recent years, bullying has become a national concern. It appears that bullying has increased in settings such as school and in our local communities. Bullying can include behaviors such as verbal and cyber threats, physical aggression and excessive teasing.

What we know about bullying is that boys and girls tend to engage in bullying, but each tend to use different forms. For example, boys are more likely to engage physical bullying, while girls are more likely to engage in verbal and cyber threats. Research indicates that there is no one cause for bullying. Some contributing factors can be negative family, school and peer environments. Both bullies and victims can be at greater risk for future emotional difficulties. An additional challenge in combating bullying is that many adults do not recognize or consider bullying to be a serious issue. Additionally, many schools still do not have programs that address bullying.

The US Department of Justice reported that younger students are more likely to be bullied than older students. Bullying appears to be more prevalent between the 5th and 8th grade. Other reports indicate that students with special needs, such as Autism, are especially vulnerable to bullying.

What Can Parents Do?

  •  Parents can investigate whether their school has a preventive bullying program that goes beyond a “zero tolerance approach”. Effective school prevention programs emphasize a positive school climate with involvement and training on bullying for students, parents and faculty. This approach has proven especially effective at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Parents can check their child’s social media activity on a regular basis.
  • Parents can keep the lines of communication open with their child with regular talks about their social and school experiences.
  • Parents can try to be aware of changes in their child’s behavior such as a child who becomes withdrawn, unhappy, has experienced a recent drop in grades, or demonstrates an unwillingness to attend school or go outside.

Jean Ruttenberg, MA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean Ruttenberg, MA

Jean is a well-known and respected specialist in the area of autism, ADHD and emotional disorders.  She assists all age groups and is skilled at solving difficult behavior problems.

DBT Group For Teens Starts Next Week!

Dr. Lovrinic and Dr. Jansen are starting a DBT Group on Thursday, October 20th from 6pm-7pm.  This group will be offered to teens in 9th through 12th grade, and their parents. Parents are free to join the group without a child also attending, as are teens free to join without a parent.

DBT Informed groups provide skill training and opportunity to connect with others. Parents will meet with Dr. Jansen, while teens meet with Dr. Lovrinic.

Teens

  • Dealing with Stress? Talk to other teens about how to deal!
  • Dealing with friendship/relationship drama or stress? We can help with that too!

Parents

  • Trying to figure out the right balance in parenting your teen? We can help.
  • Trying to manage your own emotions when your teen is giving you attitude or making poor choices? We can help!
  • Talk to other parents in a confidential setting about how to deal with today’s teen challenges.

If you are interested in joining this group or have questions, please call our office at 215-491-1119.

Savor the Summer and Survive the School Year

Not ready for the summer to be over? Wishing the first day of school would be delayed indefinitely? Here are some quick tips to help you transition back to school as painlessly as possible.

  1. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Instead of dreading the upcoming school year, spend your time at the beach or the pool, relaxing by yourself or with friends. Read a book, watch your favorite show, or become a tourist in your own town. Determine to make the most of what’s left of summer break.
  2. Carry your love of summer into the school year. Think about why you most enjoy the summer. Perhaps it’s a sport or an activity that you can continue in the fall. Or maybe it’s more of a carefree mindset which allows for new hobbies, and fun explorations. Whenever possible, plan time to continue pursuing your “summer loves” even as the seasons change.
  3. Determine to be different. Maybe the summer—or even last school year—weren’t what you hoped they’d be. What would you change? Perhaps you wished you had spent more time with your friends or tried something new this summer. Maybe last school year was a disaster and you’re hoping that new teachers, classes, and maybe some new friends will make a difference. Focus on what you can control, like your perspective, habits, friends, and activities.
  4. Take a deep breath and relax. You have a whole year to make friends, learn algebra, and decide whether or not you like your English teacher. Prior to the first day of school, all you need to know is what kind of person you’d like to be on the first day. A pencil and notebook may be helpful, too.

These three ideas should help you to embrace the school year, despite its routines and demands. If we can help you transition to the school year or deal with any other challenges you’re currently facing, please call us here at the Center at 215.491.1119. If you would rather email us, please click here.

 

-Dr. Lorna Jansen specializes in treating children, adolescents, and families. She helps clients manage stress, deal with relationship issues, and also offers academic coaching.

Parent Group Starting Soon

Questions most frequently raised by parents…
 
• How much responsibility should I expect from my child/young adult?
 
• What consequences are appropriate for his/her age?
 
• What rules should I set up and how should I enforce them?
 
• How do I encourage good sleep and homework habits?
 
• If my child/young adult has a special need, do I adjust my expectations and how do I explain this to my other children?
 
• “Hot Topics” – social media, drugs and alcohol, sexual behavior
 
If you are interested, sign up for a 6 week group of like-minded, concerned parents to address these issues. Hosted by Jean Ruttenberg, parenting and child specialist with expertise working with families and children with special needs.
 
For more information or to sign up, call our office at 215-491-1119

Lego Group is Starting Up Soon!

The Center Lego Club

 

 

At LEGO CLUB, kids will engage in set builds, production of Lego stop-motion movies, and much more.  Your child will develop their problem solving skills, social abilities, and creativity, all while having a great time! The goal of LEGO CLUB is to create fun and interactive experiences for your child.

WHAT IS IT? The LEGO® CLUB is a collaborative, play therapy in which children work together to build LEGO® models. Dr. Lovrinic, Psychologist, facilitates the natural learning of social skills by engaging your child in a creative modality that they love!

Six, 1 – hour sessions, on Thursdays, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning July 14th at The Center.

COST: $150.00 per child for six sessions

WHY DOES IT WORK: LEGO® based therapy focuses on key social experiences such as collaboration, division of labor, joint attention, sharing, turn taking, eye contact, verbal and non-verbal communication, and social problem solving.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? All children are welcome, ages 10-13. Children with social communication challenges, are socially shy/anxious, have trouble understanding verbal and nonverbal communication, and trouble with joint attention. If you love Legos and want to develop your leadership skills in working collaboratively with others, this group is for you. Bring your creativity.

On the first night of the Lego group, a parent session will also be offered. During this time, parents will be given an overview of the group, as well as strategies to encourage appropriate social skills in their children. This session is designed to highlight ways in which the parents can act as “coaches” for their children at home, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the group overall.

Cost: $25 per parent/couple

To sign up your child, please call our office at 215-491-1119! Space is limited!

June Talks at the Bucks County IU

Our talks at the Bucks County IU are winding down for the season! Below is our final topic for June. This talk is from 7pm – 8:30pm.

If you would like to register, please call our office at 215-491-1119. If you need ACT 48 Credits, also register through the Bucks County IU by calling 215-348-2940 x1341. This talk is free of charge however there is a fee for ACT 48 Credits.

 

June 16th - Anxiety And Spectrum Disorder – Jean Ruttenberg, MA

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum often experience anxiety. In this workshop we will explore anxiety and its effect on learning and behavior.

The objectives of this workshop will be to:

  • describe and define anxiety
  • describe how anxiety effects our behavior
  • describe how anxiety effects learning
  • describe how anxiety effects social interaction(s)

 

For more details on this event, please feel free to contact us.

Our May Talks at the Bucks County IU

Our talks at the Bucks County IU are continuing through May! Below are the topics for May. All talks are from 7pm – 8:30pm. If you would like to register, please call our office at 215-491-1119. If you need ACT 48 Credits, also register through the Bucks County IU by calling 215-348-2940 x1341. These talks are free of charge however there is a fee for ACT 48 Credits.

 

May 12th - Understanding and Managing Concussion in Children and Adolescents – J. Stone, PsyD

Everyone knows that the concussions are a hot topic these days, but do we really understand what happens in the brain. Is complete rest necessary? When should they return to school? To play? To friends? This workshop explains what happens exactly in the brain during a concussion and what intervention are the most helpful. We will also discuss the differences between a concussion and post-concussion syndrome – a far more troubling condition to treat. A must for any parent who has a child with a brain!

 

May 19th - How to Improve Your Attention and Memory – J. Stone, PsyD

Feel like you’re forgetting more often? Can’t remember why you walked into a room? Or half of the grocery list? Is your child struggling with managing homework and other responsibilities? This workshop will explain how attention and working memory work to allow us to be effective and efficient in managing our tasks and our lives – and how to improve your capacity to remember more and be more successful.

 

May 26th - What Is Emotion Regulation And Why Is It Important? – Jean Ruttenberg, MA

People regulate their emotions all the time. However, on most occasions we are not conscious that we are doing so. This workshop will explore how emotions affect our behavior and interactions with others.

The objectives of this workshop will be to:

  • describe and define emotion regulation
  • describe its function
  • describe its effect on behavior
  • describe its effect on relationships

 

For more details on any of these events, please feel free to contact us.

My Kid Has ADHD… Now What?

My Kid Has ADHD… Now What?
By James Stone, Psy.D.

Last week, I spoke about the core features of ADHD – mostly, a decreased ability to stop from doing something. This not only explains the impulsive behavior we see, like calling out, interrupting, quick to laugh, etc. but also inattentive and distracted behaviors, when every little thing needs to be attended to, looked at, thought about.

The main take home point of the talk was to develop appropriate expectations. Medication, therapy and parenting techniques can help our children function better, but none of them take away the ADHD. Instead of saying things such as, “You’re 12 now, you should be able to do this.” or, “You have to try harder to pay attention!”, we need to expect that that they will need help getting started, staying on task and shifting from one thing to another. We should expect that they will struggle remembering things from time to time and will forget to turn in homework. The more you know about ADHD – and specifically, your child’s ADHD, the more accurate your expectations will be. Don’t be afraid that helping too much will enable these children and “spoil” them; that they will never learn to do things for themselves. It is simply not true.

If you’re wondering how much support is enough or too much – don’t worry; it’s constantly changing! Instead, my rule of thumb is to provide as little support as is necessary for them to be successful. Note the two important parts: 1) Your support must lead to success. For example, homework will be completed; trash will be taken out (all of it – all the way to the curb). If it’s not done right, you might have helped enough, and 2) Provide only what they need. Think in terms of the executive functioning demands of the task. Are they having trouble getting started, organizing their thought for a paper, turning off the video game? Although setting a timer is good idea (and nearly cliché in ADHD), don’t be afraid to actually turn the game off yourself. Just give them a warning ahead of time so they know it’s coming. Don’t make it punitive – make it helpful.

I gave the example of a boy who was having difficulty taking out the trash completely (he’d always miss something!). Instead of doing it for him (too much) or telling him what he did wrong after he was done (too little – and too late), his mother simply walked with him throughout the process, prompting only when needed. Her presence was all he needed to remind him to stay on task, think about what he needed to do and to know that he had a safety net (mom) in case he forgot. The task was successful and he felt much better about that than always forgetting some aspect of the job. Eventually, his mother faded her help, the routine he established stuck and he did great (or as great as any other teenager does when taking out the trash!).

Lastly, when supporting children with ADHD, it is important to keep in mind what is actually getting in their way? Is it some aspect of the ADHD? It might not be. While a child might have ADHD, it doesn’t define them and there is a lot going on in childhood; normal stress and worries, normal inattention, normal mood fluctuations, etc. Be careful not to define everything through the ADHD. They are not limited by their ADHD, it’s simply something that needs to be managed, much like diabetes. If treated properly and appropriate behavioral changes are made, it can be virtually invisible. However, if left untreated it can cause serious complications. The better educated parents and children with ADHD are, the more they will know what to expect, the more likely they will develop preventive behaviors and they more likely they will be successful.

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To schedule an appointment with Dr. Stone, please request an appointment.

The Anxious Child – How To Identify And Help

The Anxious Child: How to Identify and Help
By Lorna Jansen, Psy.D

Anxiety is among the most prevalent mental health concerns for children. Between 15 and 20% of children and adolescents will meet criteria for anxiety disorders before the age of 18. Anxiety affects children in many ways, including:

  • Academically—when a child has anxiety about performance situations such as tests or public speaking, or about being separated from a caregiver, which can lead to school refusal.
  • Socially – when a child struggles to read aloud in the classroom, he may not be understood by fellow peers, or he may have trouble maintaining friendships if he is constantly absent from school.
  • Emotionally – often anxious children perceive ambiguous stimuli as threatening, and they have decreased sense of self-efficacy regarding feelings of anger, sadness, etc. They are more likely to self-blame, ruminate, and/or catastrophize.

Various anxiety disorders manifest differently in children. For example, a kid with separation anxiety disorder often looks sad, she may have difficulty concentrating and a variety of fears. This child may feel homesick, may exhibit school refusal behavior, and can become aggressive when forced to separate. A child with generalized anxiety disorder is usually concerned with academics, health problems, disasters, and harm to others. For those with social anxiety disorder, their top two fears are giving formal presentations and being in unstructured social situations (which could include talking to authority figures). These children also dislike: reading aloud, performing on a stage, athletic events, attending parties, talking with strangers, ordering food in a restaurant, and answering a question in class. Obsessive-compulsive disorder includes obsessions which are repeated and persistent thoughts that cause distress and/or compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors that the child feels he must perform. A child with specific phobia has a fear of a specific object or situation, which he may express by crying, tantrums, freezing or clinging. Kids with a panic disorder experience panic attacks and may describe feeling sick, but may not know how or why.

The following is a list of strategies for parents and teachers who are helping anxious children:

  • Recognize that anxiety is the most prevalent mental health concern for children and adolescents.
  • Ask yourself: What are you seeing in the child that seems different from what you observe in other children? Or, why does this child stand out to you?
    • Where are you seeing impairment?
    • Check with the family – any recent changes to the family structure? Divorce? New jobs for the parents? Recent move? Loss of a pet?
    • Consider using the nurse’s office – some children need to call home occasionally to make sure everything is ok.
  • Write directions on the board or another visible place.
  • Try to provide opportunities for the child to answer a question—either aloud or on the board—that he or she may know, as a way of building confidence.
  • Offer the opportunity for the child to do presentations in front of smaller groups (just teacher?).
  • Help connect child to other students in the class.
  • Offer other seating options during school assemblies.
  • Prepare for change – substitute teachers, field trips, fire drills, etc.
  • Limit amount of time spent on homework.

 

If you need additional help, please contact The Center for Neuropsychology and Counseling or another mental health professional for assistance from a child psychology expert. The Coping Cat is a program designed to help treat anxious children aged 7 to 13, and it can be implemented in schools or with a therapist. Worry Wise Kids is a helpful website for parents and teachers alike.

To work with one of our child psychology Bucks County professionals, please request an appointment.

Our April Talks at the Bucks County IU

We’re doing a number of talks at the Bucks County IU over the next several weeks! Below are the topics for April. All talks are from 7pm-8:30pm. If you would like to register, please call our office at 215-491-1119. If you need ACT 48 Credits, also register through the Bucks County IU by calling 215-348-2940 x1341

 

April 7th – The Anxious Child: How to Identify and Help – Lorna Jansen, PsyD

This workshop will include an overview of different anxiety disorders and how they can present in the classroom and at home. A brief guide to distinguishing between anxiety and other difficulties (ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder) will also be presented. Emphasis will be placed on offering tools and strategies for professionals and parents who work and live with children who are anxious. Coping strategies for children will be highlighted.

 

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