Posts Tagged ‘therapy for children’

7 Ways to Overcome ‘I can’t do this’

September 17th, 2012

I can do it!

Have you ever noticed your bright, creative, resourceful child shutdown over something difficult? Whether it’s a difficult school subject, a social event, a challenging situation, all of a sudden they have completely shutdown. They may hang their head, burst into tears, whine or pout, become non-responsive, or even leave the room lamenting ‘I can’t do this’. As a parent you are left scratching your head wondering what set off this chain of events, and questioning what you can do to help your child.

Here are 7 ways to help your child shift their thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘How can I’:

  1. Become a detective: Channel your inner Colombo and become really curious about what’s happening. Are there specific events or circumstances that set your child into a downward spiral of ‘I can’t’ thinking? Notice when and where this happens, how intense the response is, and how long the episode lasts.
  2. Identify the triggers: Help your child identify situations or circumstances that trigger ‘I can’t’ thinking and behaviors.  Without judgment or criticism, discuss what happens.
  3. Explore the gap: When your child responds with ‘I can’t’ do they need some additional support? Are they missing some information or need some support, but they haven’t learned how to ask for what they need? Explore if there are things they need to learn (such as organization or time management skills) to help them overcome the struggle they are encountering.
  4. Encourage communication: Children who shutdown and express ‘I can’t’ may have a difficult time communicating what they are feeling, what they want, or what they need. During a period when they are calm and open take the time to talk about how they feel when they say they can’t do something. Help them label their emotions, and identify feelings of stress and overwhelm, and discuss different ways they can respond when they are feeling like they can’t do something.
  5. Look for the exceptions: Notice when your child encounters something difficult and they are able to continue to work through it without giving-up or saying ‘I can’t’.  Be curious and ask how they did something difficult, and point out how their response was different.
  6. Reflect: Look back at the intensity and frequency of their responses in the past and how their thoughts and behaviors have changed. Take time to acknowledge their tenacity and celebrate their determination.
  7. Explore therapy to help uncover underlying emotions and beliefs: ‘I can’t’ thinking and behaviors are often rooted in beliefs of not being enough- not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough. Children may feel unlovable, inadequate, misunderstood, or incapable.  Even children who come from a stable and loving home may feel these feelings. Therapy can help your child explore their feelings and release these unhealthy beliefs.

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:

Here’s a creative activity to help your child shift their thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘How can I’.  Use clay or paper and create a magical helper that can help solve the problems your child encounters. Allow your child the opportunity to be really silly and talk about the special qualities and characteristics this magic helper would have to overcome any obstacles they encounter (and don’t forget to name it too). When small problems arise during the day ask your child what their magical helper might do in this situation and allow for playful and divergent solutions.

Do you need more tools and support to help your child manage difficult situations?  Check-out our library of resources at your fingertips 24/7!

Share

Sexual Abuse and Trauma Treatment for Children

October 18th, 2011

Children respond to sexual abuse in their own way and each person processes their experiences individually. Depending upon the relationship with the perpetrator a child may feel shame, self-blame, and guilt. They may experience dissociation, whereby they become disconnected emotionally as a way to cope with the sexual trauma.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) responses include triggers of smells, tasted, textures, places or other sensory or physical experiences that may cause the child to re-experience the trauma. A child may become regressive in their behaviors and take on younger developmental behaviors such as sleeping with the lights on. Their endocrine system, which regulates the body, may be taxed to to continual stress and hypo-arousal. Children may developed physical illnesses, such as ulcers, in response to sexual abuse.

As they mature they may struggle with wanting to feel loved and how to be receptive to affection and expressing their sexuality. They maybe overtly sexual in an attempt to assert control and power or to feel validated and loved, or they may withdraw from expressing their sexuality and may feel threatened or vulnerable in close relationships.

They may seek out ways to feel in control of their feelings or body, such as using eating restrictions or self-injurious behaviors (cutting/ substance use) as a way to manage their feelings. They may also sublimate their feelings and become over ambitious in sports or in school and later in life use work as a means of control and power (and perhaps as a means of  avoiding feelings).

If your child has experienced trauma art therapy can help. Click here to schedule a child support consultation.

Share

What is a child occupational therapist and what are the signs your child may need one

September 16th, 2011

What’s a child occupational therapist and what are the signs your child may need one?  An interview with Michelle Matteoli Adams, licensed
Occupational Therapist and founder of Pediatric Therapy Solutions, Inc. Bradenton and Sarasota, FL.

What’s Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

A child’s occupation is to learn, play, explore, interact, function, and communicate at an age appropriate level so they can be successful both at home and in school. An OT helps children achieve the goals of functioning appropriately at home and in school environments so children can accept and integrate new knowledge and experiences to learn and achieve.

What are the signs that your child may need to be evaluated by an Occupational Therapist?

There may be delays and the child is not meeting developmental milestones. The child may be struggling in peer groups or at school with emotional or behavioral issues, or a teacher/counselor may notice that the child has delays in development. A child may have sensory issues, they may be hypersensitive (over reactive) or hyposensitive (under reactive) to their environment  and they may react because the environment is too overwhelming.
Some of the common issues children have that suggests they should consult with an OT may include: poor handwriting, picky eaters, issues with potty training, disruptive sleep cycles or difficultly sleeping, bathing/brushing teeth issues, reactive to environment, clothing sensitivities, difficulty self-regulating behaviors and developmental delays such as rolling over, sitting, crawling, walking, bike riding, etc.

Sometimes parents think their child’s problems are just behavioral issues. How do you help them to determine if there is something more such as sensory or processing issues?

With a comprehensive evaluation it is determined and the treatment goals are developed to help best support that child. Let’s say that the issues are sensory related we teach the child and parent sensory protocols, external resources to control and regulate their body. We teach parents how to implement this in the home with what they have, so they don’t have to go out and purchase anything extra. Instead, they can use common household items to help their child calm and attend.  This is often referred to as a “sensory diet.”  A sensory diet includes various sensory protocols such as brushing programs and listening (music) programs coupled with activities that stimulate specific sensory organs that naturally can occur at home with the ultimate goal being to functional appropriately at home/school ready to accept new knowledge and attend and learn and achieve in their environment. Our Pediatric Therapy Services Include:

  • Developmental Screenings
  • Evaluations
  • Treatment Plans
  • Home Programs
  • Speech-Language Skills
  • Fine motor Skills
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine motor Skills
  • Visual-Motor Skills
  • Visual Perceptual Skills
  • Handwriting Skills
  • School Readiness Skills
  • Self-Care Skills
  • Oral-Motor Skills
  • Sensory Integration
  • Self-Regulation/ Sensory Modulation
  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)

What are the typical children you see in your Pediatric Occupational Therapy practice?

The ages range from 0-18 years of age. We treat children with Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, children on the autism spectrum (ASD) including those with Asperger’s, children with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Also, children with learning disabilities, developmental delays, auditory processing issues, sensory integration dysfunctions, and behavior and self-regulation issues.

What are some of the results parents can expect when working with a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

Children who attend Pediatric Occupational Therapy often feel better about themselves and their bodies. They are happier and there is an increase in positive affect because their body is able to move in a more controlled fashion. The families learn how to support their child and help them be successful in multiple environments, they function better in school and there is an increase in academic success, better grades, improved attention, and improved sleep patterns and diet.

What other services do you offer?

We also provide speech and language therapy and Interactive Metronome which is an assessment and treatment tool to improve neurological processing, motor planning and sequencing beneficial for those children with ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, non-verbal learning disorders, and auditory processing delays.

Our treatment modalities also include:

  • Therapeutic Listening Program ®
  • Oral Tactile Technique
  • Wilbarger Deep Pressure Protocol
  • Handwriting Without Tears ®
  • How Does Your Engine Run? ®

If a parent has a concern about their child what’s the best way to learn more?

You can go to  http://www.pediatrictherapysolution.com/home.html and download the Free Developmental Checklists. You’ll find Checklists for Fine and Gross Motor Skills & Visual Motor Skills, Self-Care Skills, Speech & Articulation, and Language Skills. You can also contact me at or 941.360.0200 or michelle@pediatrictherapysolution.com to schedule an initial phone consultation.

I appreciate all of your generous information Michelle! Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate together and help children by coordinating our services. Children who come to occupational therapy often benefit from art therapy to reinforce positive expression of their feelings and learn creative ways to manage their behaviors to get their needs met. Many of the children in Art Therapy can benefit from the skills taught in Occupational Therapy. It’s amazing to watch the children and families make remarkable gains when occupational therapy and art therapy are used in tandem!

Thanks again Michelle!!

Share

Are you raising a codependent child?

July 14th, 2011

In the past codependency was associated with person who enabled an alcoholic or drug addict. These days codependency has become associated with emotional dependencies in a relationship. All relationships involve a dependency on another person to some extent. However, when an individual compromises their own values and wants to avoid rejection and anger they are exhibiting codependent behaviors.

The reason why this is so important for parents to understand is that its origins start in childhood. So if you are doing the following three things you may be planting the seeds of codependency.

1. Being inflexible ( or the type A- “Superparent”)

If you are the type of person who has a rigid plan of how and when things are done you do not allow your child an opportunity to voice their choice.  If you are so in control of their schedule, their food choices, their clothing choices, or their playmates you are restricting your child from having the opportunity to explore their choices. You send out a message loud and clear to your child that they are not responsible for their choices or decisions and someone else has all the power.  As they grow older they are likely to seek out relationships in which someone else has all the power and control.

What can you do? Allow your child some freedom of choice. If it is not a safety issue then it is negotiable. Let go of the need to be in control so you child has the freedom to grow and learn, even from their mistakes!

2. Having your child meet your needs

I know many parents who fall into this trap but do not see that they are doing this. If you are not fulfilling yourself in other areas of your life, like your relationships, your work, or your passions, you may default to living vicariously thorough your child. When you spend more energy on your child’s interests and less on what gives your life meaning and pleasure you model codependent self-sacrificing behaviors. You also unconsciously teach your child that their value comes from pleasing you. The cute “look mom” behavior phase that most kids go through when they want your approval may continue into adulthood.

What can you do? Get your own needs met with positive relationships and ways to replenish yourself. Instead of constant praise ask your child how they thought they did. Encourage them to self-praise.

3. Wanting to solve problems for them

When they come home and talk about a mean peer or a problem at school what do you do? Do you react and rescue, slipping into your parent problem-solver mode and coming up with a plan of action? Essentially you are taking control of their ability to solve the problems they are encountering. This sends your child the message that they are not competent or responsible enough to figure out how to solve their problems and that someone else needs to do it for them. Imagine what this will look like as they become adults? Will they find relationships in which another person will tell them what to do?

What can you do? Safety first, everything else is negotiable! If it is not a physical or psychological safety issue allow your child the opportunity to figure out how to solve the problem.  If you LISTEN, without offering advice, your child will likely figure out some things they can do differently.

The reason why so many children have success in our programs is that we offer a safe place for them to explore their thoughts, feelings, and choices. When given an opportunity, children will come up with ways to solve their problems. As adults we can offer support and encouragement as they explore their choices.

One last important thing. If you find that you are doing one or more of the behaviors above, congratulations! That’s right, Congratulations! Why? Because it means that you are aware of what you are doing, and awareness is the first step in making changes. So the next time you notice you are defaulting to one of the behaviors above, STOP, and explore what other things you can do. If you’d like more support we would be happy to help you. Click here to schedule your Complimentary Support Consultation

Share