Thursday, July 30, 2015

Strong Letter from US Dept of Education re: Autism Spectrum Disorder/Speech and Language Services

Important News-Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Speech/Language Services

The U.S. Department of Education-Office of Special Education Programs just released a letter clarifying the need for speech and language evaluations and services for students with ASD.

Social and Communication Skills are important for functional routine activities of everyday living (requirement of the IEP).

Thank you to the US Department of Education!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Really great website! Be happy!

So excited to hear about The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) affiliated with U.C. Berkeley. The core themes they explore are: gratitude, altruism, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, happiness, and mindfulness. I could spend hours on this site. Research based and pragmatic information. I signed up for the free online course, The Science of Happiness that starts in September. You can too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mental Illness and Preventative Medical Care

Did you know that “people with serious mental illness (SMI) have a life expectancy that is 25 years less than the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?”

This data is from an article, entitled, “Reducing Medical Comorbidity and Mortality in Severe Mental Illness” in the July 2015 issue of Current Psychiatry.

Patients with SMI are less likely to receive preventive medical care and lifesaving treatments. In my opinion, it is often difficult for all people (with or without mental illness) to coordinate care. Most patients need to be pro-active and aggressive in seeking out treatment options. The patient with mental illness has enhanced needs for oversight and assistance in medical treatment.  This article offers ideas on how that might happen, including the need for collaboration between primary care doctors and the behavioral health providers.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Benefits of Nature!

Another great article from The Atlantic! “How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression” from the June 30, 2015 issue. 

The article discusses a Stanford study that found that walking in nature is restorative and decreases rumination, which can be a precursor to depression.

I extrapolated this information to further support the efficacy of therapeutic wilderness experiences. “Exposure to nature has been shown to repeatedly reduce stress and boost well-being.” It has been intuitive for most of us that nature is calming and will increase physical and emotional health. Now, there is more research based evidence that this is a fact. Monitor on Psychology, (September 2013 issue) discussed research based evidence that therapeutic wilderness programs have significantly improved participants motivation, hope, and emotional control.

Take a walk and enjoy nature! It’s good for you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Videogames, texting, technology-kids love it! How much is too much!

The June 2015 issue of Attention magazine has an informative article entitled “too much screen time?” The article discusses children with ADHD and screen time, but the article is informative regarding all children and teens. Excessive use of media can lead to addiction impacting the student’s family life, and evidenced by failing grades and withdrawal from friends and activities.

From a 2013 policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics-“Did you know that older children and teens spend more than eleven hours a day on media, yet two-thirds of children and teens say their parents have no media rules?”

Because technology is prevalent and necessary throughout our culture, guidelines and limits must be created for family media use. So, review the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, “Children, Adolescents, and the Media.” and create a plan that works for your family.

To quote Benjamin Franklin-“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”