Dysgraphia is a disorder of written expression. Many times (but not always) a child with dysgraphia has comorbid conditions such as dyslexia and/or AD/HD. Dysgraphia is not yet identified well in the public school system and tailored interventions are not common to adequately address it. Please see some of the common core characteristics below:
Letter reversals that do not improve by the end of second grade
Writing too light or too heavy
Frequently crossing out or erasing words on a page
Spelling words three different ways within the same paragraph
An immature pencil or awkward pencil grip
Mixes up lower case and capital letters (that should not be capitalized)
Letters are poorly formed or do not fit on the line
The child can (sometimes) express him/herself well orally, but struggles with writing them down on paper
Uses overly simple words in written expression to avoid having to spell more complex words
Has trouble with orthographic processing (spells out words phonetically).
A family history or reading or writing problems.
If your child has some or many of these characteristics, it is suggested that you seek a formal evaluation to determine if your child has dysgraphia, and most importantly, what interventions we can suggest to help him/her through school.
ADHD is the most widely researched childhood disorder. We know the MOST about this condition, including what has been proven to work, with multiple studies over decades of data to support this. There is a hierarchy that has been established to sort out all of these data. I've included it below:
Well-established (the most research to support its efficacy):
*Medication combined with Parent Training (how to educate parents on ADHD and how to apply effective techniques that will help improve a child's behavior at home).
*Parent Training alone (even without meds)
*Behavioral Classroom Management (positive reinforcement, accommodations, specific goals to motivate behavioral change)
Possibly Efficacious (some research to support its efficacy for treatment of ADHD)
* Neurofeedback training
Questionable Efficacy (research does not support that doing these things will be effective for treating ADHD)
*Social Skills Training
*Omega 3/6 Supplements
(This is not to say that these don't have other health benefits, but they aren't proven as effective interventions for ADHD).
(Evans, Owens, Wyms, & Ray, 2017)
If you are unsure on how to best treat ADHD and aren't ready for medication (or perhaps you are) but have not yet tried parent-training, you should consider it. It's a research-backed method and a child psychologist either here at KPS or elsewhere- can help get things going on the right track.
CBD Oil and ADHD Management: Too Big a Leap
Cannabidiol oil, most often referred to as CBD oil, is a product of the marijuana plant. I've been hearing a few parents utilizing it as an alternative treatment for ADHD, and I was a bit concerned as I had not heard of any research supporting the claims made. As psychologists, it is important that we disseminate factually-based information. Here is the conclusion from one reputable source:
The research on CBD oil and other cannabis products as a possible intervention for ADHD does not show effectiveness for managing symptoms, and actually shows increased mental and physical health risks. “We don’t want to misrepresent things, and with CBD oil, it is getting misrepresented,” Dr. Mitchell says. “When people say this works for ADHD, this is going way beyond the data. That’s too big of a leap.”
For the complete article, please click on the following link:
The article goes on the discuss the research-based interventions that are supported, including parent-training to better understand ADHD and how to implement tools that work for your child, and medication, particularly stimulants. (The type of medication is outside our scope, this is best chosen in consult with a pediatric psychiatrist).
Two resources that I find helpful and often recommend to parents are as follows:
"Taking Charge of ADHD" by Russell Barkley, Ph.D.
"Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medication for Kids" by Tim Wilens, M.D. (3rd Edition)
Magination Press is sponsored by the American Psychological Association. They have complied a list of child-friendly books to help kids through a variety of psychological issues. Bibiotherapy (a.k.a., therapy through books) is an excellent way for parents to help their children identify with key issues that they may be dealing with, but do not want to talk about directly. Please take a look and browse through the catalog, it covers a range of concerns from anxiety, depression, self-control, grief, loss, and much more. Click on link below. I hope it's helpful to you or someone you know.
Parents often struggle with how to answer questions from their child/teen about sexuality. Adolescence is a time of finding one's identify, and for some, the exploration of one's sexual orientation starts to emerge. There are many terms that have emerged, from gay, lesbian, queer, questioning, and it may be helpful for to know more about them and what they mean. Research has shown that parental support/acceptance is the most important factor for the well-being of LGBTQ youth (Katz-Wise, Rosario, Tsappis, 2016).
Listed below is a resource to learn more information and tips that are helpful to know:
If you are a parent struggling to help your child, know that we are here to help. Sometimes having a trusted adult who is not a relative/parent can be a valuable resource.
Research cited source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5127283/
A student mentee of mine, Wenxin Chen, recently completed her semester project on creating a website where she has researched good parenting practice models as well as helpful links to help parents navigate useful information and tips for their child's psychological well-being.
As the mentor of her project, we have provided support to her website's content and we offer many of the services her research has referenced. If you are in need of a child or adolescent psychologist, we are likely the professionals to help you.
Here is the product of her hard work:
When we hear on the news about another senseless school shooting, it's hard to just listen. Listed below are some resources for children and adults on how to cope. These are just resources and they're not intended to substitute from advice for a mental health professional. Hopefully though, it gives you just a little more information and useful tips that may give you some support.
Building resilience to manage indirect exposure to terror
Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting
Talking to Kids When They Need Help
How to talk to children about difficult news
Gun Violence Prevention
Did you know that there are simple strategies you can do at home with your child that are effective, simple, and research based?
Check out Intervention Central (click on academic interventions)
Curious about a particular reading program or curriculum?
What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)-provides reviews on existing programs to examine their efficacy.
If you are like me, you're probably going through a shock stage and if you managed to stay safe and dry, maybe you're feeling stressed and helpless watching the news coverage. Take a break...there will be plenty of opportunities to help, do what feels right and comfortable for you. This can be physically lending a hand, or extending your wallet to organizations in need of financial donations. Here are some tips to how to get through the aftermath of the devastating hurricane.
If you or someone you know, could benefit from support and counseling, call us.
With our fast past lives, and a society that seems to value work above all else, we forget to take time for ourselves. There's lots of research out there pointing to how mindfulness exercises help us to refocus and take a much needed time "out". I've listed an app that's been helpful. Be advised, parts are free, others require a monthly membership. Whether you use this app, or some other tool, taking 5 minutes a day to recharge can make a huge difference. Try to aim for a 5-min a day meditation and see if you notice any changes in sleep or your outlook on things the next day.
Simple Habit-The Best Meditation App for Busy People