UPCOMING WEBINAR: February 25 on Sensory Issues at Home & at School

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Making Sense of Sensory Issues – How to manage heightened senses at home and in the classroom

February 25, 2015

Presented by Dr. Michelle Miller, Psy.D., a New York State-licensed clinical psychologist who works at Therapy West, a group practice in Manhattan, and as post-doctoral fellow in the Tourette’s Syndrome Clinic at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.

Over the years, parents and teachers have been increasingly attending to childrens’ sensory-related struggles; however, understanding and supporting sensory problems still remains unclear for so many people who work with children. Research also has suggested that 1 in 6 children are significantly impacted by sensory issues, further highlighting the need for this area to be addressed. This webinar is aimed at exploring what sensory issues are, how they look in different children and adults, and what can be done — both at home and at school — to help children with sensory issues thrive.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

Continue reading

Why I care about special education

I wish I could answer that question with an easy simple sentence, but I can’t.  Before my son was diagnosed with Tourette’s and all it’s friends, I can honestly say I didn’t give too much thought to special needs children.  It just wasn’t in my limited radar.  They were there, and I would see them sometimes, but it wasn’t a major part of my world.  And then a funny thing happened.  It became my world.

My family became very different then.  Every moment, every action, I saw the label.  I saw my son as different, as “not normal”.  I was in denial for a long time.  Not because of him, but because my mind, my heart, it couldn’t accept what was right before my eyes.

Over time, this changed.  My son’s disabilities were with me every waking moment.  I tried to hide from it, to run away from it, but they were there, saying “Help me Daddy”.  And I’ve tried.  For the longest time I thought if I just treated him like every other normal child, maybe things would change.  But they didn’t.  I had to take a strong look at myself before I could accept him for who he was.  I had to, and still have to, realize that it doesn’t matter what others think.  It doesn’t matter, at all.  Let them judge, let them stare.  It’s reality.

First and foremost, I am a husband and a father.  My family isn’t the perfect Norman Rockwell family that so many dream of.  I know I did for a long time, but it’s just not in the cards.  But what I have is something better.  I have something real.  Something so crazy and imperfect that it makes the most sense in the world.  I get to see something some can never see.  I see human emotion in it’s pure, truest form.

Love, anger, sadness, happiness, jealousy, hope.  It’s all there.   My son has the ability to display all of these.  But it’s more than emotions.  It’s like they are colors.  Beautiful, radiant colors, that shine the brightest in his soul.

Conversations I had with people in the past used to consist of my latest TV show craze, whether it was X-Files, Lost, or Game of Thrones. I would talk about music, some politics, but for the most part I was a very self-centered person. My world was MY world and I felt people were crazy for not liking what I liked. Then a little thing became a big thing, and before I knew it, I was fully immersed in a cause. It didn’t happen overnight. It built up for a long time, and I didn’t even realize it.

When my son started having numerous problems at his old school, I figured he was just a misfit of sorts and he liked causing trouble. But it continued, and I knew something was off, but I didn’t know what. Eventually, I found out. He had Tourette’s Syndrome. And ADHD. And Sensory Processing Disorder. And OCD. And Anxiety. And Depression. He wasn’t even in double digits yet, and he had all of this to look forward to. I didn’t have the slightest clue how to help him, and I’ll be honest, sometimes I still don’t.

I don’t expect perfection. Let’s get that on the table right now. I accept mistakes, if they are made with the right intentions. But when the “old school” denied my son services that should have been his by federal law, I was pissed off. When I fully realized the scope of it all, I was well beyond pissed off. So I researched everything. Schools. The DOE. The Government. Common Core. Rodel. Smarter Balanced Assessments. The Charter School Network. What I found was a clear path, visible to those who follow the steps.

It’s the oldest game in the world. Survival of the fittest. Cavemen did it, and those in power do it now. They don’t want to relinquish their power and they will hold onto it as long as they can. Those who get in their way are pushed aside. But something new and bizarre is happening in the power landscape. The Power People are getting together and banding together. They are forcing their will on the people through coercion and specific techniques. And it all begins with education.

We think we know what’s going on, but there are depths and levels of which most people don’t have a clue. It’s a game of chess, and their pieces have been placed in a potential checkmate position for a long time.

UPCOMING WEBINAR: January 21 on Habit Reversal Therapy

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Creative Applications of Exposure Therapy and Habit Reversal Therapy

January 21, 2015

Presented by Dr. Joelle Beecher-McGovern, a clinical psychotherapist at the Child & Adolescent OCD, Tic, Trich & Anxiety Group (COTTAGe) in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has strong experiential support for a number of psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents. It includes several treatment modalities, including exposure therapy for pediatric anxiety and habit reversal training for tic disorders and trichotillomania. Despite the strong evidence for these treatments, they can be difficult for children and families to implement for a number of reasons, including logistical barriers, motivation issues and difficulties with follow-through in out-of-session work.

In this presentation, Dr. Hilary Dingfelder will briefly describe these treatment modalities and discuss some of the practical issues associated with implementing these treatments with children and adolescents. Dr. Dingfelder will then discuss some creative applications of these strategies to enhance these treatments for children and adolescents. Examples of areas that will be covered include:

  1. How technology can be used to supplement treatment (e.g., using the smart phone to monitor progress or supplement exposures)
  2. How to strengthen reward plans to improvement motivation
  3. Creative ways to enhance exposures with young children (e.g., through the use of games and puppets).

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

Continue reading

Sensory What-egration?: The 411 on Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Dysfunction

The National Office of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (TSFC) received several questions about sensory integration dysfunction (SID), a common co-occurring condition with TS.

Just last week, a parent asked a National Office staff member if SID was a “real thing.” The National Office staff member assured her that it is real, however there is some debate in the medical community about whether it is a stand alone condition or a symptom of other conditions. The concerned parent asked where she could go for help with treatment and diagnosis. If you are in the same position and what to learn more, please read on.

Below are some FAQs on sensory integration and sensory processing dysfunction.

What is sensory integration?

Sensory integration is using senses to understand the world around us, or “the organization of sensation for use.” It refers specifically, to the ability of the brain to filter and process incoming information from all the body’s senses or sensory systems.

What are sensory systems?

Sensory systems include touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing as well as “vestibular” or movement, and “proprioceptive,” which refers to the info you gain through receptors in your joints and muscles.

What is sensory integration dysfunction?

Each of the body’s sensory systems work together to ensure that a person can successfully interact with, and make sense of, the world around them. A problem or disruption in this process is called sensory processing dysfunction.

What causes it?

The cause is not entirely clear. It may include genetic, hereditary, environmental factors, but the exact cause continues to be studied. So far, scientists have had some success in linking structural and chemical imbalances in the brain to the body’s uncharacteristic or disproportionate response to sensory stimuli.

Continue reading

UPCOMING WEBINAR: November 12 on getting kids motivated for school

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Getting Kids Motivated for School: Strategies to foster your child/teen’s motivation to achieve in school

November 12, 2014

Presented by Dr. Graham Hartke, is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Roseland, N.J.

As our schools continue to increase curriculum, testing, and workload standards, many kids and teens are struggling to stay motivated in school. These are students who do not like school, struggle to complete homework, procrastinate often, have slipping grades, are bored, say they “don’t care about school”, avoid school work, get in trouble, are disorganized, and/or feel disconnected from classroom learning.

This webinar focuses on strategies parents and educators can use to increase student motivation to succeed in school. Strategies will address the causes of low motivation, learning difficulties, improving the homework process, improving organization, and reducing procrastination.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

OTHER UPCOMING WEBINARS

 

Bullying & Vulnerable Populations

November 19, 2014

Presented by Nadia Ansary, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Monsters, Robbers & Nightmares, Oh My! Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

December 3, 2014

Presented by Courtney Weiner, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Continue reading

List of all NJCTS webinars, including October 29 on mental health in the African-American community

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Mental Health Stigma in the African-American Community

October 29, 2014

Presented by Dr. Christine Adkins-Hutchison, Associate Director of the Office of Counseling and Disability Services at Kean University in Union, N.J.

Asking for help of any kind can be difficult. Seeking psychological services can be even more challenging. For many in the African American community, acknowledging the need for help and pursuing assistance in many forms, especially in the form of counseling, can feel next to impossible.

This webinar will discuss the stigma regarding help-seeking and mental health issues that persists in this ethnic community. How to recognize the need for support, and ways to encourage help-seeking in this population also will be considered.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

OTHER UPCOMING WEBINARS

Getting Kids Motivated for School

November 12, 2014

Presented by Graham Hartke, Psy.D.

More information about this webinar »

Bullying & Vulnerable Populations

November 19, 2014

Presented by Nadia Ansary, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Monsters, Robbers & Nightmares, Oh My! Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

December 3, 2014

Presented by Courtney Weiner, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Continue reading

52 Weeks of TS: Week 22

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every Tuesday, noted Tourette Syndrome advocate Troye Evers shares his “52 Weeks of TS” blog journal with the TSParentsOnline community. In cased you missed any of the first 21 weeks, you can read them here. For more information about Troye, please click on his name or visit his website.

Pinch pinch rub, Pinch pinch rub

Every once in a while I might do a tug

All day to the night, Until it feels right

Over and over, that’s the way that it goes,

That’s the way that it goes, with the tic of my nose

The loud clap of your hands, Brings the twitch of my neck

And the honking of horns, Brings the jerk in my back

I think there’s a new tic starting off,

Besides my hum, I now have a cough

I never reveal the real me,

I hide and I hide, suppressions my key

Behind closed doors, I jerk and I twitch.

This life with TS is really a bitch

But I write down my story and help people out,

There’s something to say, what our life is about.

My TS is no BS, my doctor gave me a dx

So stop staring and mocking, and pointing at me

Come ask me some info, education is the key.

Hello hello hello everyone. So I thought I’d start this week off a little different, with my little attempt at poetry. Whether its good or bad, it’s all about expression. We have to open our mouths and express ourselves. I’m always trying to educate someone about TS, but I’m also constantly learning more and more about my TS and myself.

Continue reading

List of all NJCTS webinars, including October 8 on Tourette in the Asian community

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Mental Health Issues in Today’s Asian-American Community

October 8, 2014

Presented by Dr. Andrew J. Lee

Dr. Lee designed this webinar to provide participants information about the stigma surrounding mental health issues in Asian and Asian-American communities, some cultural factors contributing to this stigma and some suggestions as to how to talk with Asians about mental health issues.

Dr. Lee will cover Asian cultural values that may contribute to the stigma associated with seeking out mental health services, the model minority myth and the negative implications of this myth, the role of ethnic identity and acculturation, and what can be helpful to know in speaking with this ethnic population about mental health issues.

Dr. Andrew J. Lee is the Director of the Office of Counseling and Disability Services, which includes both the Kean Counseling Center and the Kean Office of Disability Services, at Kean University.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

OTHER UPCOMING WEBINARS

Bullying & Vulnerable Populations

November 19, 2014

Presented by Nadia Ansary, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Monsters, Robbers & Nightmares, Oh My! Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

December 3, 2014

Presented by Courtney Weiner, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Continue reading

List of all NJCTS webinars, including October 1 on trade secrets of a Tourette doc

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Trade Secrets of a Tourette Syndrome Doctor

October 1, 2014

Presented by Tolga Taneli, MD

Would you like to learn some great tips on speaking with your child’s doctors?  How about getting them all to collaborate with each other about your child?  Did you ever wonder about the drug approval process?  Learn about this and more in this webinar!

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

OTHER UPCOMING WEBINARS

Mental Health Issues? Asians have those? Understanding the stigma surrounding mental health for Asian and Asian Americans

October 8, 2014

Presented by Dr. Andrew J. Lee

More information about this webinar »

Bullying & Vulnerable Populations

November 19, 2014

Presented by Nadia Ansary, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Monsters, Robbers & Nightmares, Oh My! Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

December 3, 2014

Presented by Courtney Weiner, Ph.D.

More information about this webinar »

Continue reading

List of all NJCTS webinars, including September 17 on getting kids motivated for school

THIS WEEK’S WEBINAR

Getting Kids Motivated for School

September 17, 2014

Presented by Graham Hartke, Psy.D.

As our schools continue to increase curriculum, testing, and workload standards, many kids and teens are struggling to stay motivated in school. These are students who do not like school, struggle to complete homework, procrastinate often, have slipping grades, are bored, say they “don’t care about school,” avoid school work, get in trouble, are disorganized and/or feel disconnected from classroom learning.

This webinar will focus on strategies parents and educators can use to increase student motivation to succeed in school. Strategies will address the causes of low motivation, learning difficulties, improving the homework process, improving organization, and reducing procrastination.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR »

Continue reading