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The Monthly Connect - Online

Welcome to The Monthly Connect - Online. The Monthy Connect is sent out regularly via email to Connecting for Kids subscribers. This page also contains many of our great articles. To get a copy of The Monthly Connect in your email inbox next time it comes out, Join Us today!

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  • 11 Feb 2020 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Nikki Rotshtein, OTR/L, Occupational TherapistGalvin Therapy Center

    Before we can improve on executive functioning skills, we must first build them in our children – starting from a very young age. What we do for them when they are young will become glaring deficits as they get older. Let's remember to coach them and not criticize to make them want to do more.

    Preschool

    • Tidy bedroom or playroom with assistance. (Often by using a backward chaining method – start with you doing the first 75% and have them complete). This takes a huge mountain of a job and makes it into a small hill. They will also feel accomplished vs. overwhelmed. You can continue to scale back as you see they are managing it as their "just right challenge.”
    • Perform simple chores and self-help tasks with routines such as clear dish from table after mealtime.

    Kindergarten – Grade 2

    • Run errands (with two to three step directions).
    • Perform simple chores and self-help tasks with reminders such as making the bed before going downstairs in the morning.
    • Bring papers to and from school. Complete homework assignments (20-minute maximum).

    Grades 3—5

    • Run errands that may involve time delay or greater distance such as going to a nearby store or remembering to do something after school.
    • Tidy bedroom or playroom (ask them what they might prefer, for example, vacuuming or dusting).
    • Perform chores that take 15—30 minutes such as cleaning up after dinner, raking leaves or cleaning up from the cake they just baked with you.
    • Keep track of belongings when away from home (sleeping at a friend's, returning library books).
    • Plan simple meal prep or baking activity and create menu/shopping list needed.
    • Keep track of changing daily schedule such as different activities after school.

    Grades 6—8

    • Help out with chores around the home, including both daily responsibilities and occasional tasks (emptying dishwasher, raking leaves, shoveling snow). Tasks may take 60—90 minutes to complete.

    High school

    • Make good use of leisure time, including obtaining employment or pursuing recreational activities during the summer.

    Soon they will go from helpless to helpful!

  • 10 Feb 2020 5:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jaime is from Bay Village and has two children.

    What do you do to relax?

    Go for a walk, have some wine, take a hot shower.

    What else would you like to tell us about yourself?

    I’m a stay at home mom to a 20-month-old, a 5-year-old and 3 fur babies. I survive on coffee, wine and laughter.

    What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?

    CFK has given me a place where I feel understood and validated in my feelings and struggles. It’s so nice to read posts from other parents who have gone or are going through similar experiences as us. It’s also a great feeling to be able to help other parents who are struggling with something we might have dealt with ourselves.

    Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?

    The CFK events are great ways to interact and meet other families and gain knowledge. We haven’t been to many unfortunately due to our wild schedules, but we hope to attend more this year. We have found some great doctors for our son based on other parent’s recommendations. This has been huge for our family, we all know how hard it is to find a good doctor or specialist, and when you add in our son’s special needs it makes it even harder. Having parents to ask first has been beyond helpful.

    The area where I have grown the most...

    The area where I have grown the most is being confident in myself and my child. Looking back, I spent so much time skirting around his struggles, making excuses and brushing things off. It took me a long time to tell people outside of our close family and friends about his diagnosis. Even then it almost felt like it was someone else’s kid I was talking about. I’d stumble over the words and question if I was saying it the right way.

    Two years later, I am very confident and comfortable talking about my son’s Autism, his therapies and his struggles. When I meet a new person it’s one of the first things I mention about my life, even though Autism doesn’t define him or our family, it is a big part of our life that affects daily decisions and routines.

    What I worry about most…

    What I worry about most is my son’s future. It feels so far away, but it also feels like it’s right here, dangling over my head. What will it look like? Will he ever live independently? Have a relationship? Or will he live with me forever? And then enter the fears of what will happen to him if something happens to me. It goes on and on and on.

    We thought getting the diagnosis was the hard part, but looking back it was almost the easiest part of it all. We know he has Autism, we know it’s forever. But no one knows what that means. No one can tell us what is going to happen, or what we need to do to give him the best outcome. Everyone has ideas and opinions and knowledge for us, but when they start conflicting each other ... then what? We make choices as we go, based on our gut and what we think is best for our son.

    The best thing about parenting a child who struggles is...

    The best thing about parenting a child who struggles is what it has taught me about life and being a mom. To celebrate all the small things, and see the beauty in all of it. Things that would be easily overlooked by some, can stop me in my tracks and leave me staring in awe of my child. I appreciate every little hug, every kiss and every word spoken. Without his diagnosis I can’t say I would see things the same way I do now.

    Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?

    Finding Cooper’s Voice and Carrie Cariello Exploring the Colorful World of Autism are two of my favorite bloggers. I highly recommend The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene, PhD. to parents with kids who struggle with their emotions.


  • 07 Jan 2020 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by: Bridget S. Richard, LISW-S, Owner, Lamplight Counseling Services, LLC

    Bullies are everywhere. Even as adults we run into people who use aggression to influence others and get their way. Though most parents want to protect their children from bullies we can’t always be with them. The next best thing is to enable your child to handle a bully with assertiveness skills.

    Bystander awareness teaches us how to assert ourselves if someone else is in a helpless situation. Teaching our children about bystander awareness empowers them not only to avoid confrontation but gives them the tools they need if they, or anyone they know, is in a dangerous situation.

    These skills can be broken down into 4 steps C.A.R.E.

    Create a Distraction: Your child can start a new game which will bring others closer to them. They can walk up to the person, while ignoring the bully and state that the teacher or principal needs to speak with them…right now!

    Alert Authority: School counselors, teachers, principals, and resource officers are all good resources for when situations get out of hand. You can ask to have desks moved, lunch times changed or other accommodations which will separate your child from the person they are having trouble with.

    Redirect: Try using 'fogging' to deflect the bully. Fogging means making a joke or funny comment that makes it seem you don't care about what the bully said. You can also pretend to agree with the person. For example, you could say something like, "Guess you must be right", or "Well, since I'm such a …. I’ll just go, bye."

    Engage Others: It’s hard to stand up to a bully alone, and they know it. Therefore, helping your child to develop a peer group within and/or outside of school is so important. When children have other people their age to rely on it is difficult for a bully to make them feel isolated.

    If your child needs help with a bully or with learning assertiveness, reach out. There are many wonderful programs which are ready to assist them.


  • 07 Jan 2020 2:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jennifer is from Westlake and has two boys.

    What do you do to relax?

    Sew, cook/bake

    What else would you like to tell us about yourself?

    I am a single mom.

    What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?

    CFK helped me figure out the steps to take to get both my boys a formal diagnosis. CFK helped me find resources to help THEM thrive at school and at home.

    Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?

    The Resource Fair to find local classes/camps/therapists was invaluable. And the Speaker Series parent education sessions are great too.

    My greatest lesson learned was...

    We are all doing the best we can with the resources available to us. Seeking access to better resources is the key to growth and change.

    How parenting a child who struggles has changed my ideas on parenting...

    Before I had kids. I thought I knew what parents "should" do and how children "should" behave. Then I had kids. The first couple of years seemed to fall in line with my uninformed expectations. My children seemed to grow and behave similarly to those of my sister's and my peer's children. That is, until they didn't anymore.

    I remember vividly going to a preschool concert for my youngest son — he was almost 4 at the time — and all the other children were happily singing along to the Christmas carols. He, however, was sitting on the floor quietly rocking back and forth with his hands over his ears not participating, no matter how the adults tried to coax him to stand up. I was, at first, terribly embarrassed and ashamed. I thought everyone would now know that I was a terrible mother and that I couldn't control my child. It was all my fault. But in that moment, something snapped in me. I was somehow able to shake off my own ego and realize this had zero to do with me, and everything to do with him. It was right after that day I started asking for help. Sarah was just getting CFK off the ground back then and she was a fount of knowledge. She helped me figure out how to get started getting a diagnosis for my son. Then, helped me find therapists for him, get me on the road to getting accommodations at school for him, and help me figure out his second diagnosis a few years later.

    My biggest parenting "ah-ha" moment happened at that concert that winter day. I came to realize that judging yourself or others on how a child "should" behave is 100% rooted in your own insecurities and fear, which does nothing to serve the child. Parenting children who struggle has given me a wealth of compassion for all children who are misunderstood. Surprisingly, it's also allowed me to understand and have deep empathy for those outspoken, judgmental people who secretly live in fear of being judged too.

    The hardest thing for me to learn was...

    The hardest thing for me to learn — and, believe me, I still have to revisit this all the time— is to step back and let my children struggle and grow on their own timeframe.

    Yes, growth comes from overcoming obstacles. Yes, learning through doing is key. Yes, the end goal is having the kids function independently. And yes, change takes time. But that doesn't make it easier for me to sit back and watch them struggle with their issues while having big emotions and not always swoop in to take the weight off their shoulders and make it all better. Because that's a temporary fix. It doesn't make the situation better. It just makes ME feel better in the moment.

    So instead, I've learned to celebrate the small, incremental victories with them. And over time, we've been able to look back and say "WOW!! Look how far you've come!"

    Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?

    We loved the books by Julia Cook. Lots of great topics. The Social Detective series was great too. And Whole Body Listening Larry is another favorite.

    Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?

    My kids are growing now and are close to aging out of CFK. My oldest son was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression in 3rd grade. He's 13 now and doing great! And my youngest son was diagnosed with SPD combined with auditory processing issues at age 5, and then ADHD at age 7. He's 11 now and is also thriving. We used a lot of resources found through CFK to get to where we are now. We are forever grateful for CFK's commitment to helping parents who don't know where to turn.


  • 29 Oct 2019 2:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Mario Mastroianni, Sales Executive, Life, Oswald Companies

    For parents with a child who has a disability, securing the financial future of their children is of utmost importance. Government assistance programs can provide some support, but may not provide everything you as a parent would want your child to have.

    With so many other financial challenges, planning for the untimely death of a parent or caretaker could prove daunting.  However, obtaining life insurance and professional advice has become easier and more affordable than ever.   A healthy 45-year-old (male or female) can acquire $100,000 of ten year term life insurance for less than $13 per month. 

    In many instances, healthy individuals can obtain $1 million or more of death benefit in less than 48 hours without a blood draw or other medical requirements.  Technology has streamlined the acquisition of life insurance so that now qualified individuals can complete 100% of the process online.   

    If you think your medical history would prevent you from qualifying for this accelerated underwriting process, full underwriting is still an option.  An insurance broker should have access to many life insurance companies, many of whom specialize in insuring certain medical impairments.  The advances of modern medicine have made it possible to insure cancer and heart attack survivors, and number of other health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. 

    Providing a lump sum benefit to your child with a disability can be easy and affordable.  Do not let health complications prevent you from exploring life insurance as an option.  A qualified life insurance broker with access to many carriers has the tools available to help you acquire term life insurance in a cost effective and efficient manner.   

    Contact Info: 

    Mario Mastroianni

    Sales Executive, Life
    mmastroianni@oswaldcompanies.com

    Oswald Companies
    O | 216.367.8787   F   | 216.916.4279

    D | 216.369.8489   M| 216.956.9887

    1100 Superior Avenue | Suite 1500
    Cleveland, OH 44114

    oswaldcompanies.com



  • 29 Oct 2019 1:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kevin has three children and lives in Lakewood

    What do you do to relax?

    Read, play trivia, watch tv

    What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?

    We have become a part of a community and family of other parents and children who we would have never otherwise gotten to meet. Because of CFK, we never feel that we’re struggling alone with our kiddo, but rather that we’ve got a whole team of people alongside us with whatever we need.

    Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?

    Coffee and Chat, Dads’ Nights Out, CFK golf outing, and of course CFK Softball!

    The area where I have grown the most...

    I’m not all the way there yet, still a work in progress, but I’ve gotten much better not caring or worrying about what other people think. My kiddo can look, sound, and behave differently than what a lot of people are familiar with. He can swear in public, be too loud, he’s got some big scars on his head from surgeries, and he’s now in a wheelchair. It’s a lot of things that other people can be uncomfortable with. But the best thing I can tell myself, and the best way I can be present and helpful to him, is to just not care about all of that stuff. Other people will think whatever they want, and I can’t control their experience. I can only control my own.

    I worry most about not knowing what I’m doing as a parent, especially a special needs parent. I worry about my kids or wife needing me in a way that I don’t know how to provide or that I won’t be good enough to be who they need me to be.

    The worst thing about parenting a child who struggles is...

    The way your patience is tested. He can’t control his impulses or his reaction to most things, so his behavior can be very frustrating and difficult to manage. The hardest thing to remember is “he can’t help it” and tell yourself “it’s not his fault.” When your instinct is to “parent” the behavior and yell or scold, it can be really hard to remember to just slow down and be patient.

    Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?

    Learning about vulnerability from Brene Brown has been game changing!


  • 02 Oct 2019 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Beth Mishkind Roth, a licensed clinical social worker/therapist, and owner of Cleveland Integrative Counseling

    As a therapist, I am frequently asked the question, “what should a parent do if their child/adolescent refuses to come to therapy, let alone actively participate?” More often than not, this question comes from the exasperated parents of children with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Up until recently, I would encourage the parents to emphasize the importance of self care to their child, educate them on ways to model anxiety reduction techniques, and find ways that the school system can augment support (if they are not already refusing to attend). Fortunately, I am now able to respond with SPACE.

    SPACE, Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions, helps parents learn supportive ways to respond to their child’s anxiety and communicate their confidence in their ability to cope with their feelings. SPACE is conducted with the parents, not the child, thus bypassing the obstacle of the child’s willingness to attend and/or practice newly learned skills. Over the course of several months, parents work with a therapist to identify ways in which accommodating behaviors (e.g. not inviting friends over if their child has social anxiety, buying more soap if they have contamination OCD, or repeatedly answer the phone if child has separation anxiety) may be perpetuating their child’s symptoms, and develop a plan to reduce these accommodations. Parents are also given problem-solving strategies for responding to their child’s reactions to the changes.

    Through SPACE, parents learn that by changing their own behavior, they can avoid much of the escalation that stems for trying to force their child to act differently. Studies show, not only does SPACE reduce anxiety symptoms in the child just as well as conventional therapy, but parents also report a much better relationship with their children. Moreover, there is an increase in therapeutic engagement, both in attending therapy and practicing skills, amongst the formerly resistant children/adolescents.

    Beth Mishkind Roth is a licensed clinical social worker/therapist, and owner of Cleveland Integrative Counseling, who specialize in evidenced-based treatments for children, adolescents, and families. Beth’s has a strong passion for working with the siblings of children with developmental disabilities, special healthcare needs, and significant mental illness. She also works closely with children/adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, low self-esteem enhancement, and high-functioning ASD. To schedule an appointment with Beth, please call (216) 600 - 8008 or visit www.clevelandint.com


  • 02 Oct 2019 12:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Angela has one son and lives in Elyria.

    What do you do to relax?

    Read, dinner with friends, mindlessly scroll Facebook

    What else would you like to tell us about yourself?

    I'm a stay at home mom, my husband drives a truck, so I am our son’s primary care giver 95% of the time.

    What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?

    Before CFK we were with an OT who was not a good fit. CFK helped me realize I'm not a bad parent, my kid just struggles. And the organization connected us with our current OT, whom we love.

    Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?

    My son ADORES Teach Me to Play. And I swear the people who run it are magic - they get my son to cooperate and do things no one else can.

    The best way I asked for support was...

    Messaging CFK. By doing that I was able to join the CFK Families Group on Facebook. I know any time we are struggling to find care providers, or resources, they will help us.

    When my child's behavior gets out of control, I feel...

    Frustrated. I just want to yell at him, "Get it together!" But I know he can't help it.

    I get embarrassed when...

    My son gets over stimulated in public. His behavior becomes erratic and aggressive. He just appears to be undisciplined. CFK and our OT have given me tools to help reduce the times this happens, as well as ways to help calm him.

    Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?

    The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz and the Sensory Processing Disorder website were a huge help!

    Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?

    It gets better. Sometimes slowly, but it gets better.


  • 04 Sep 2019 2:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Shannon has two children and lives in Wellington

    What do you do to relax?

    Drink coffee, watch favorite shows, paint

    What else would you like to tell us about yourself?

    I am a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), working with children with autism since I was 18.

    What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?

    I enjoy reading about similar family situations and the education programs in the community.

    Which has been your favorite Connecting for Kids resource?

    Facebook

    The bad habit I picked up...

    being a typical parent using negative punishment instead of positive reinforcement. Knowing the outcomes of both. Knowing I can do better but stuck in parent mode not therapist mode.

    What I worry about most…

    is my child struggling in school and throughout adulthood. Making the wrong decisions, and continuing to argue and fight his way out. I worry for his safety to make responsible safe choices for himself and others. He likes to be super silly, inappropriate to gain a laugh but usually it comes off awkward and annoying. I don't want to see him struggle with social cues. He’s developing attention seeking behaviors that are aggressive to himself or his parents and disruptive to the environment. I worry for his ability to tell himself no, to control his reactions.

    I get embarrassed when...

    my child is having behaviors. Anywhere, in any form. I am a trained RBT, a paraprofessional, and a behavioral therapist. Nothing is more embarrassing to me knowing I am trained in this line of work and I cannot seem to help my son. I know there is an emotional component to it, a parent/child connects. I can’t seem to get over that.


  • 04 Sep 2019 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Jennifer Blankenship, Licensed Independent Social Worker, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and experienced Food Allergy Mama.

    Her private practice, North Star Family Guidance, LLC, is located in Chagrin Falls 

    When you have a child with any condition that makes eating or swallowing difficult, some level of worry is to be expected and even helpful. However, more pervasive feelings of worry can produce unhealthy amounts of anxiety. Here are several ways to assist your child:

    • Be careful with your words and the way you talk about your child’s condition. There is a big difference between, “It’s so hard for him and I worry all the time.” versus “He does have a lot of options and he knows how to keep himself safe.”
    • Externalize the problem: Have your child think about what her anxiety looks like. Draw it and give it a name. Teach her to talk back to anxiety when necessary. Some kids prefer a stronger approach, such as “Stop it! You are not the boss of me!” while other kids prefer an approach of gratitude, such as “Thank you, Anxiety, for trying to keep me safe but you have done enough. I know just what to do!” Talk over each approach with your child and see which one feels the best.
    • Get your child in the kitchen: Develop lists together of all the foods he can and will eat. Include him in the process of preparing food, creating some excitement if you can. Search new recipes together, try new spices, take a trip to the farmer’s market, pick your own berries, etc.
    • Most importantly, learn to manage your own anxiety. Children are incredibly perceptive, so if you are radiating waves of anxiousness, it is very unlikely that your child will feel calm and in control.

    Remember that anxiety can serve a purpose. It starts as a worry that is designed to keep us and our children safe. However, anxiety is worry that just gets carried away, and the best thing to do is stop it from gaining momentum by refusing to give it control. If you are feeling that anxiety has too much control over the life of you or your child, please seek help from a professional counselor.


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