How To Advocate For Your Child Now

Mother Talking to DoctorA parent is their child’s number one advocate. If a parent does not act on behalf of their child, who will? There are multiple areas where parents must act as an advocate for their child.

Advocating At The Doctors

When a parent is sure that a child is falling behind the other children in their play group, the first step is to visit the pediatrician. However, if after consulting the child’s pediatrician they say, “just wait,” a parent does not have to wait. They must listen to their own instincts Read more

10 Tips to Getting Your Family on the Right Fitness Track!!

Spring break is here, flowers are blooming and summer is just around the corner! Kids are itching to get out of the house and spring is a great season to increase their activity levels. Obesity is an increasing epidemic in America and children are quickly becoming a part of this crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese—a number that has tripled since 1980. A great way to get your children in shape in time for summer is to have the whole family involved (and even your pets!).Family Fitness

Below are some fun ideas to help your family spring into fitness:

1) Get some fun party music going in the house and have a “dancing hour” dancing with your kids to their favorite tunes.

2) If you have a dog, include your children in the daily dog-walking. Challenge them to see if they can out-run their canine in a backyard race. Read more

What Is Executive Functioning?

Disorganized Child“Executive functioning” is a buzzword right now in the academic and parenting worlds. I often hear teachers use the term loosely at staffing and school meetings. What does it actually mean, though, and why do so few children seem to have executive functioning skills?

Executive Functioning Defined:

The definition of executive functioning is actually implied in the name – it is the CEO of an individual’s daily activities. These skills make up the child’s ability to organize, plan, problem solve, inhibit responses, fluidly transition between tasks, monitor work, and effectively change solutions based upon new information.

Examples Of Executive Functioning Skills:

These skills can be seen throughout a child’s day: does the child have a set plan for a morning routine, or is it chaos on a daily basis? Is the child’s room organized so that anyone walking in knows where items should be? What about his/her backpack or locker? Does the child forget to turn in homework assignments that he/she actually completed? Does the child forget to write down daily assignments or forget to bring home necessary materials? What about the social world – does the child struggle planning activities with friends? Read more

Vaccines and Autism: Science or Hoax?

Boy getting vaccineThe controversy surrounding the relationship of common childhood vaccines and autism has been raging for nearly two decades. However, the debate is comprised of about 10% science and 90% politics and media exposure. In the wake of the most recent revelation that Andrew Wakefield, MD, the original author of the 1998 article linking autism to MMR vaccinations falsified medical history on nearly all of the patients that comprised his study http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/index.html, many families are left to wonder if they can really trust any medical advice. The impact of Wakefield’s article has done egregious harm to the general health of children worldwide. While the article was ultimately retracted by the publishing journal and Wakefield himself was stripped of his medical license in May of 2010, many countries noticed a precipitous drop in childhood vaccinations in the past decade. Surges of measles outbreaks rose in the aftermath and the CDC reported that 90% of the outbreaks in th US of measles were in children not vaccinated.

In addition to the impact on general medical care for children, popular media sources were quick to raise concerns about the safety of childhood vaccines and the preservatives used in them. With the most recent revelation that the original data may have been fabricated, many parents wonder if there is any way to make a reasonable decision about vaccinations.

The Relationship Between Vaccines and Autism

There is some science that families can draw upon. Large scale epidemiology studies are available that shed light into the relationship of vaccines and autism. In my own practice, I tend to rely upon studies that track live births over long periods of time in several geographic regions. For example, the city of Yokohama, Japan decided to terminate their MMR vaccine program that ran from 1988 to 1993 and institute an alternative program. With the new system, the rates of vaccinations fell to under 2% of the population between 1993 and 1998. This rapid change provided an ideal model to study the rates of autism since essentially the MMR vaccination rate dropped to nothing. Results from the study indicated that autism rates rose dramatically during the 1993 to 1998 time frame and could obviously not be attributed to MMR vaccines (Honda, Shimizu & Rutter, 2005). Studies conducted in Denmark (Madsen et al., 2002) and the UK (Smeeth et al., 2004) also demonstrated no relationship between autism rates and MMR vaccinations. Read more

The Truth About Lying | 12 Ways to Make Sure Your Tween Doesn’t Lie

Below are 12 easy ways to ensure that you will maintain a healthy and honest relationship with your child:

1. Keep communication open. Designate time, every night, when you and your child can talk about the day’s events. Discuss parts of your day at dinner time, bath time, and bed time.

2. Make yourself approachable. If your child is scared of you, they won’t feel comfortable telling the truth about certain things. Make sure you welcome any news with open arms. Mom and Teenage Daughter

3. Be proactive. Discuss the meaning of truthfulness, honesty, and sincerity. Discuss why honesty is important at home, in school and in the community. Teach The Boy Who Cried Wolf principle (a very effective moral lesson).

4. If you catch him/her lying, sit down and have a serious talk. Remove all distractions and give your undivided attention. Tell them you need to understand why they lied, and have them walk you through what happened or what they were thinking.

5. What are alternatives to lying? Share with them what you might do instead of lying and model it for them.

6. Make sure your child knows that you understand them – you’ve been a teenager too. Show them you can relate by making statements that reflect the feelings behind what they’re saying.

7. Give them the right to not tell you everything. What is acceptable to be kept private and what is not?

8. Make sure they are not lying to cover up another serious problem. Explain how this can turn into a vicious cycle and how they can get themselves into even more trouble this way.

9. Insist that your child take responsibility and apologize when it is due. Some children lie for the purpose of avoiding responsibility, so this is an important skill to focus on.

10. Use self-admittance and repentance as your course of discipline if lying is a new problem for your child, letting them know what consequences will follow if the behavior continues.

11. End the conversation on a positive note whenever you can. Is there any part of their decision, action, or feelings that is praiseworthy? Was there any good intention that they could pursue differently next time?

12. If lying becomes serious and pattern-forming, parents should consult with a professional counselor in order to understand and correct the lying behavior.

References: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2004, No. 44

*Blog Disclaimer

North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Inc. (NSPT) intends for responses to the blogs to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; all content and answers to questions should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).  Questions submitted to this blog are not guaranteed to receive responses.  No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by NSPT  to people submitting questions.  Always consult with your health professional first before initiating or changing any aspect of your treatment regimen.

Alternative Therapy: If it sounds too good to be true…. guess what?

Several weeks ago I attended a library lecture at which a gentleman was discussing his therapeutic company.  The individual was describing how his intervention can “miraculously improve” learning disabilities, ADHD, and Autism.  I found myself thinking, “Wow, this guys is good.”  And what I mean is that he was good at being a salesman.  Parents all too often are looking for a quick cure- an instant fix for whatever condition their children have.  We as clinicians all too often get mad at these parents for trying alternative therapies instead of what we know to be scientifically sound interventions.  However, who can seriously blame these parents?  They want the best for their children.  These parents desperately want their children to behave and appear like a neurotypical child.  They want quick fixes and lasting change. 

A relatively recent book, Snake Oil Science ,by R. Barker Bausell, explains the fallacy behind many alternative interventions.  In the book he explains how patients and physicians are often sold into the benefits of alternative therapies with no real rhyme or reason as to the proposed mechanisms for improvement.  Bausell’s main arguments against alternative interventions are two-fold: 

1) there is no explanation behind the reason for change and

2) the research behind the therapies is often quite lousy

This is a great read for any clinician who provides recommendations for parents or patients in general. 

Dr. Teri Hull wrote a blog article a few weeks ago describing the limitations of Developmental Vision Therapy as an intervention.  This is a touchy subject for many people, as there are numerous practitioners and patients who have either prescribed or benefited from vision therapy or some other alternative intervention.  I would admit that there are certain people who benefit from such interventions.  However, what we know from sound scientific research is that these studies do not benefit a sample at the population level.

I am curious as to everyone’s thoughts on alternative interventions.

What do you as parents think? 

Therapists who are reading this blog, what are your opinions? 

Do you ever refer parents to such alternative therapies? 

What have your results been?

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: Tremendous in theory BUT implemented all wrong!

This article Definitely hits the key issues:
http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/2119457,CST-NWS-savage24new.savagearticle

 Children with special needs need to be included in mainstream classrooms and held to the same standards as their “typical” peers.  If this standard isn’t kept, won’t it be difficult to accurately determine children’s progress and hold educators accountable? 

What if we kept programs like these in place because they allow for measurable outcomes, which are necessary in order to promote accountability and best help each child?  There is definitely room for improvement with NCLB, but changing IEPs or 504s will not improve the functioning of children with special needs.

This appears to be more about decreasing budget deficits than actually helping these kids.

Easter Holiday, The Last Supper, and Pediatric Obesity. Let’s Help our kids grow up and live longer and healthier lives!

Researchers reported today that the food in famous paintings of the Last Supper meal has grown by biblical proportions over the last millennium.  The researchers conclude, If art imitates life, we’re in trouble.  The size of the main dish grew 69 percent; the size of the plate, 66 percent, and the bread, 23 percent, between the years 1000 and 2000.

Supersizing is considered a modern phenomenon, but “what we see recently may be just a more noticeable part of a very long trend,” said Brian Wansink, a food behavior scientist at Cornell University.

Michelle Obama has her head in the right place when she wants to focus on obesity.   We are Supersize-it obsessed!  

Pediatric licensed dietitians such as Sarah Allen at North Shore Pediatric Therapy understand that it takes family education and repetition to make real changes!  Are we willing to do that?  Let me know how far you think you are willing to go and your chances of succeeding?

www.childrensmemorial.org/depts/…pediatrics/obesity.aspx

www.pediatricobesity.com/…/chicago-tribune-news-local-news-weather-traffic-shopping-and-classified/

 

How will health care reform affect pediatric therapy?

Is this health care bill revamp a positive or negative move for families of children with autism and other predominant and growing special needs?  What will this do for children needing occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, applied behavior analysts, psychology?  Is insurance up for grabs now?  I hear everyone is going to have access to the best health care, the “same ones that the congressmen in Illinois have” is what someone just told me.  Like I said, I have no idea if this new insurance deal is yay or nay but I have some research to start doing very quickly!  Any cheat sheets you have to send me on this new bill and how it impacts therapy is much appreciated!  Please share whatever you know.  I want to hear what you have to say!  Here is where I am starting my research….Let me know what you find!

http://occupational-therapy.advanceweb.com/Article/Health-Care-Reform-and-Disability-Rights.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Pediatric-Neurologic-Physical-Therapy-Clinics/dp/0443087644

http://illinoisaap.org/