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Children’s Therapy Place Blog

Managing Technology in Tweens and Teens

Finding Opportunities for Communication with Tech-Obsessed Kids

Limiting the amount of time that tweens and teens spend using personal tech devices is often a major challenge. A digital diet can help to moderate tech use in favor of more opportunities for conversation and human interaction. These are key to children’s communication health and development. Here are some tips for putting your family on a digital diet:

  1. Create a family technology plan—together. An agreed upon set of rules around family members’ technology use (when, where, how much, for what, with whom, etc.) is a good way to keep everyone on track. By involving your kids in the process, you are more likely to achieve the results you want. Technology is often an integral part of teens’ social experience—so being respectful of this will help. Schedule regular check-ins to see how the plan is working and to determine whether you’re actually substituting tech time with more quality time together.
  2. Sign a pledge. Make your plan official by having family members sign a pledge. It helps hold everyone accountable. This is a model that has been used for years, especially when it comes to issues such as drinking and driving, texting and driving, etc. Here are some examples from Common Sense Media that you can use and modify. Focus on the positive replacements for technology, such as uninterrupted family dinners.
  3. Keep a log. How much time does everyone in your family spend online? Alternatively, how much time does the family spend talking and engaging in activities together? Just as a food diary can be eye opening, keeping a log of a typical tech week may help identify habits to change and goals to set in terms of family bonding and communication.
  4. Sponsor tech-free nights/events. Whether it’s a game night, a neighborhood block party, or another type of gathering, going tech-free on occasion can provide rich opportunities to build family and social relationships.
  5. Designate tech-free zones in the home. The kitchen, bedrooms, the family room . . . there may be one place in your home that you can keep devices out of, as a general rule. This helps with the temptation to constantly check your phone or jump at the sound of every incoming notification. It makes a difference to even have 30 minutes free from tech distractions.
  6. Talk over text, when possible. Texting offers tremendous convenience for parents to get in touch with their kids. But texting is not a replacement for verbal exchange. Tone, facial expressions, and other nonverbal signals are just some of the ways in which texting falls short (emojis don’t do the trick). Try to avoid texting your teen when both of you are at home, as a start.
  7. Take a vacation from your technology. Some parents have turned to tech-free vacations to connect more with their tweens and teens. Unplugging completely may not be realistic for everyone. However, there may be specific activities or times when you can leave the devices behind. Family communication can increase. Everyone will be “in the moment” instead of documenting the moment for Facebook or Instagram.
  8. Listen safely. Many tween and teens spend hours a day with the volume cranked up, using headphones or earbuds. Unfortunately, they are putting their hearing at serious risk. This damage is irreversible. The World Health Organization has labeled unsafe listening an international health threat—1.1 billion young people are at risk of harming their hearing from unsafe listening of personal tech devices or at noisy entertainment venues. This is a message that tweens and teens need to “hear” from their parents.

Remember that tweens and teens will be watching their parents’ habits closely. Practice what you preach when it comes to limiting tech use. Keep yourself on the same digital diet that you set for your children.

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Mental Health Facts Children and Teens

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For questions or concerns please contact our Mental Health Department at 208-323-8888.

FREE speech screenings

For the entire month of May Children’s Therapy Place will be doing FREE Speech Screenings. Are you worried about your child’s speech/language development? Take a look at this articulation chart we have provided to compare to your child’s speech sounds. If you have any concerns please do not delay to schedule a speech screening!

Call our office at 208-323-8888.

FREE speech screenings

Or use our contact form

Autism Society Treasure Valley 15th annual Run For Autism

Event Info

15th Annual * April 30, 2016 * Veterans Memorial Park, Boise, Idaho * Educate, Advocate, Support!

Join the Autism Society Treasure Valley for our 15th annual Run For Autism. Create a team, bring your family & friends, or just come along for a lovely riverside run or walk in support of autistic individuals.

REGISTER ONLINE BEFORE APRIL 1st TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EARLY-BIRD PRICING!Autism

8:00am Registration opens
9:00am Kids Course
9:15am 5K Run
9:30am 2.5 mile Family Stroll
10:30am Raffle prize winners announced

“Early-Bird” Pricing (4 and under is free)

  • Adult: $22
  • Child (ages 5-12): $15
  • Autistic individual: $7
  • Team/Group (4 or more people): $18

T-shirt sizes

Youth small, med, or large
Adult small, med, large, or x-large **2-4XL sizes cost $2 extra

Autism Society Treasure Valley is a 501-C (3) nonprofit volunteer-operated organization.

* Discount for teams of 4 and above. The discount rate of $18 applies to team members who would normally pay $22. Rates for children and autistic individuals remain the same.

* If you want to register as part of a team, simply type in the team name. This lets us know who is walking/running together.

* 1 raffle ticket is included with your registration. You may buy extra tickets at $5 per ticket.

Follow our Facebook page and subscribe to events:  Autism Society Treasure Valley

Follow us on twitter @ASATVC

REGISTER HERE

Reading Activities at Home

A baby stacking cups

Children spend a lot of their time at home. You can support your child’s learning while you do daily chores. You can invite your child to help you, or you can provide an activity for your child to do close to you. That way, you can talk and listen to your child while you work.

Baby/Toddler

Pretty Picture. Make sure your baby has interesting things to look at while you are busy around the house. A colorful picture or a vase of flowers in front of her will get her attention. Her favorite thing to look at is you! As much as possible, place her where she can see you and hear you as you work. Talk to her about what you are doing using simple language like “Watching baby, watching baby, washing dishes, watching baby!”

Pots and Pans Music. While you work in the kitchen you can keep your baby close. Give her some light pots and pans of different sizes. Then give her a wooden spoon. She can make music while you use words like loud, soft, bang, and tap. Show her what the words mean by using your body and voice too. For example, when you say “That’s so loud!” cover your ears. When you say “That’s so soft!” speak in a whisper.

Recycle Problem-Solving. Toddlers love to create and solve problems using simple materials. Give your child some clean recycled items like cans of different sizes. Make sure there are no sharp edges. He will spend a long time fitting the cans inside of each other. As he works, introduce words like small, medium, large, inside, and fit.

Preschooler/Kindergartner

Super Shadows. Place a large sheet over a table so that it hangs down around the table. Show your child how to use a flashlight safely. Invite him to go into his cave under the table to make shadows. Use words like dark, light, bright, night, shine, and shadow. Notice words that rhyme like light, night, and bright. Add small toys and encourage him to make shadow shapes in his cave. Notice words that start with the same sound like shine, shape, and shadow.

Making Boats. Your child can use recycled materials to make boats. Collect items like foam meat trays, small pieces of cloth, toothpicks, craft sticks, tape, bottle caps, paper, and crayons. You will also need scissors. Help your child think about how he can use these materials to make a boat. “What will you use for the bottom of the boat?” “Will you make a sail?” Then, help him to make the boat. Later, he can use it in the bathtub. “Do you think it will float?”

Reading Corner. Make a small reading corner for your child. Put pillows and a soft blanket in a corner of the room where you are working. Add some of your child’s favorite books, or some new books, for him to look at. Ask him to choose a book, look at the pictures, and tell you the story in his own words. Give him lots of encouragement for looking at books independently.

Pretend Party. Children love to play pretend. Invite your child to have a pretend birthday party. Provide paper and markers or crayons so she can make the invitations. “Who will you invite?” Write down the names of the friends she wants to invite. She can copy these names onto the invitations. Then decide on the menu. Explain that the menu means what food she will have at the party, just like the menu at a restaurant. “What will you wear to the party?” If possible, let her dress up. Then have a special snack and a party for two!

First-Grader/Reader-Writer

Scrubbing bubbles. Older children love to help with washing dishes. Provide a stool for your child at the sink. Give him the dish soap and read the label together. For example, one phrase may be “Avoid contact with eyes.” Explain what that means. Then, tell him and show him the steps for washing a dish (remove fragile items). For example: 1) Put water in the sink; 2) Add dish soap; 3) Scrub the dish; 4) Rinse the soap off; and 5) Place the dish in the drainer. Later, during a family conversation, encourage him to explain the steps for washing dishes.

Sorting Socks. While you fold laundry, put your child in charge of matching the socks. “Now you can match the socks in pairs.” Invite him to make a plan to do it. “How do you think we should start?” Tell him and show him how to separate different colors and sort them into piles. Next, tell him and show him how to put socks together that look the same. Remind him to compare the size and the design of each sock as he puts them together.

Make a Book. Give your child some paper and markers or crayons. Invite her to write a story about a favorite activity, for example, playing at the park. First, talk with her about what she did. “First you played baseball with your friends. Then we looked at trees and collected leaves.” Then help her put each activity into the story. Use words like begin and end. “How will you begin the story?” When she is finished encourage her to number the pages and decorate the cover. Help her to write her name on the cover using the words author and illustrator

Taken from: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-activities/reading-activities-at-home/

© PBS 2003 – 2016, all rights reserved

Make sure you are taking care of yourself this Season!

Make sure you are taking care of yourself this Season!

Tips on how to deal with all the stress the holiday season (and post-holiday season) can bring.

Written by one of our own CTP mental health counselors Nate Pearlman:

Complete this sentence: Tis the season …………? To be merry? To be happy? To be joyful? To be thankful? What about to be sad? Depressed? Suicidal? Stressed? Anxious? Alone? Grieving? For many people this time of year IS merry, happy, joyful and thankful! However, for the rest of the people this time of year can bring sadness, anxiety, grieving, loneliness and yes even thoughts of suicide! I was asked to write a short paragraph outlining some signs to watch for in people that might be feeling sad, anxious, lonely or suicidal. shutterstock_295288130Although there is no blue print or specific set of signs, there are common themes to pay attention to such as subtle or dramatic changes in a person’s mood, their affect, their routine or their attitude. In order to recognize these changes we need to slow down our own lives and really listen, really pay attention to others when we are interacting with them! During the holidays it is very easy to get caught up in the pace of the season! When, in fact, what we need to do is slow down our pace and enjoy the true meaning of the season. People want to know that they matter, that they feel heard or that people see them as significant! SO, remember during this holiday season; SLOW DOWN, be present in your relationships or contacts with others, look them in the eye and make them feel that they matter! Whether you are talking with a close family member or a stranger at the grocery store give them the gift that matters this holiday season: YOUR TIME and ATTENTION!!

NOW, on a related, but often neglected topic, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about SELF CARE!!! When talking about SELF CARE I like to think about self-care in SIX areas: 1) Physical Self Care 2) Psychological Self Care and 3) Emotional Self Care 4) Spiritual Self Care 5) Workplace or Professional Self Care and 6) Balance. For many years I have used a Self Care Assessment Worksheet for my own life as well as the lives of my Co-workers and Clients. This worksheet is from “Transforming the pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization” by Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton 1996).

Please download the worksheet here.

REMEMBER: You can’t take care of others if you aren’t first taking care of yourself!!!

 

How to Pick a Toy

Toys tip sheet-1 Toys tip sheet-2

Children’s Therapy Place T-Shirt Design Contest

You can be as creative as you want! Here are some guidelines:

1) Make sure that your design includes the words “Children’s Therapy Place”
2) We are looking for an original design that embodies Children’s Therapy Place.
3) Deadline is Nov. 21st.
Email designs (or questions) to lcaroselli@childrenstherapyplace.com or stop by any of our offices to drop them off today! If hand drawn designs please draw them on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thanks!

T-shirt Design Contest

Enjoying Halloween with Sensory Challenges

BETWEEN 5% AND 15% OF CHILDREN in the general population demonstrate difficulties with sensory processing—the interpretation of and response to sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and perception of movement and position.

If you are the parent, relative, educator, or friend of one of these children, you know that modifying the activities and the environment can help them enjoy an activity and manage their challenges. But how do you adapt the environment and activities so children can live life to its fullest on Halloween? The following tips are from pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who have experience with addressing sensory challenges.

Consider these activity tips:

  • If you would like to help your child know what to expect: Prepare your child for the holiday by discussing some of the associated traditions and activities. Read a book, create a story, or role play. Many Halloween traditions clash with established rules, like taking candy from strangers. To help your child understand what Halloween is—and is not—review your values and establish rules and boundaries.
  •  If you would like to have your child wear a costume: Remember that “pretend” does not necessarily involve elaborate costuming. For example, a simple green shirt may suffice to indicate a turtle. Before shopping, discuss costume guidelines so your child’s expectations are clear. Be sure costumes aren’t too scratchy, tight, slippery, or stiff. Test your child’s comfort when walking, reaching, and sitting. Costumes that are too long or too loose pose tripping and fire hazards. Consider whether your child will be too warm or too cold in character, and whether he or she will also need a coat. If your child has facial sensitivity, avoid make-up and masks. Masks can also occlude vision.
  • If you would like to take your child trick or treating: Trick or treating is not mandatory: Meaningful participation in Halloween festivities could include helping to roast pumpkin seeds or picking apples. Choose activities that best fit your child’s sensory needs.

If you want to try trick or treating, focus on a quiet street with sidewalks. Trick or treating while it’s still light out helps to reduce anxiety and increase safety.

Practice the sequence of walking to the door, saying “trick or treat,” putting the treat in the bag, and saying “thank you.” If possible, go only to homes of family and friends to keep the comfort level high. Skip homes with flashing lights, loud noises, and scary decorations. Eating candy while trick or treating can be a choking hazard or trigger allergies, so review ground rules before leaving home. Often, children enjoy handing out candy as much as receiving it.

  •  If you would like to have your child participate in a party: At Halloween parties, some children enjoy wet or sticky textures like pumpkin filling and skinless grapes, whereas these make others feel uncomfortable and even nauseous. Instead of carving a pumpkin, decorate a jack o’ lantern with stickers and markers. A child who won’t enjoy bobbing for apples can put the apples in a bucket. Consider planning an event at home with a few friends. Small groups present an opportunity to socialize. A short, successful outing is always preferable to a longer stay that leads to a “meltdown.
  •  If you would like to help your child avoid a meltdown: Limit the duration and number of people and activities. Give your child choices and advance notice of the sequence of events. Help your child learn to advocate by practicing phrases like “when is my turn?” or “please don’t touch me.” Know when to stop or disengage from the festivities by recognizing sensory overload—fatigue, hyper excitability, crying, combativeness, etc.—and immediately go to a quieter, smaller space.

Occupational therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitation, and educational service that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

Copyright © 2011 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. This material may be copied and distributed for personal or educational uses without written consent. For all other uses, contact copyright@aota.org

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Boise, ID 83704

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Phone 208.323.8888
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