June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Month

By Jessica Hamblen, PhD and Erin Barnett, PhD, for PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Children and Adolescents Experience PTSD, Too

What events cause PTSD in children?

Any life threatening event or event that threatens physical harm can cause PTSD. These events may include:

  • Sexual abuse or violence (does not require threat of harm)
  • Physical abuse
  • Natural or manmade disasters, such as fires, hurricanes, or floods
  • Violent crimes such as kidnapping or school shootings
  • Motor vehicle accidents such as automobile and plane crashes

PTSD can also occur after witnessing violence. These events may include exposure to:

  • Community violence
  • Domestic violence
  • War

Finally, in some cases learning about these events happening to someone close to you can cause PTSD.

What are the risk factors for PTSD?

Both the type of event and the intensity of exposure impact the degree to which an event results in PTSD. For example, in one study of a fatal sniper attack that occurred at an elementary school proximity to the shooting was directly related to the percentage of children who developed PTSD. Of those children who directly witnessed the shooting on the playground, 77% had moderate to severe PTSD symptoms, whereas 67% of those in the school building at the time and only 26% of the children who had gone home for the day had moderate or severe symptoms (6).

In addition to exposure variables, other risk factors include:

  • Female gender
  • Previous trauma exposure
  • Preexisting psychiatric disorders
  • Parental psychopathology
  • Low social support

Parents have been shown to have protective factors (practice parameters). Both parental support and lower levels of parental PTSD have been found to predict lower levels of PTSD in children.

There is less clarity in the findings connecting PTSD with ethnicity and age. While some studies find that minorities report higher levels of PTSD symptoms, researchers have shown that this is due to other factors such as differences in levels of exposure. It is not clear how a child’s age at the time of exposure to a traumatic event affects the occurrence or severity of PTSD. While some studies find a relationship, others do not. Differences that do occur may be due to differences in the way PTSD is expressed in children and adolescents of different ages or developmental levels.

 

Keystone recognizes June as PTSD month in support of the children we serve who work to manage PTSD.

As in adults, PTSD in children and adolescence requires the presence of re-experiencing, avoidance and numbing, and arousal symptoms. However, researchers and clinicians are beginning to recognize that PTSD may not present itself in children the same way it does in adults.

 What does PTSD look like in children?

Criteria for PTSD include age-specific features for some symptoms.

Elementary school-aged children

Clinical reports suggest that elementary school-aged children may not experience visual flashbacks or amnesia for aspects of the trauma. However, they do experience “time skew” and “omen formation,” which are not typically seen in adults.

Time skew refers to a child mis-sequencing trauma-related events when recalling the memory. Omen formation is a belief that there is a belief that there were warning signs that predicted the trauma. As a result, children often believe that if they are alert enough, they will recognize warning signs and avoid future traumas.

School-aged children also reportedly exhibit post-traumatic play or reenactment of the trauma in play, drawings, or verbalizations. Post-traumatic play is different from reenactment in that post-traumatic play is a literal representation of the trauma, involves compulsively repeating some aspect of the trauma, and does not tend to relieve anxiety.

An example of post-traumatic play is an increase in shooting games after exposure to a school shooting. Post-traumatic reenactment, on the other hand, is more flexible and involves behaviorally recreating aspects of the trauma (e.g., carrying a weapon after exposure to violence).

Adolescents and Teens

PTSD in adolescents may begin to more closely resemble PTSD in adults. However, there are a few features that have been shown to differ. As discussed above, children may engage in traumatic play following a trauma. Adolescents are more likely to engage in traumatic reenactment, in which they incorporate aspects of the trauma into their daily lives. In addition, adolescents are more likely than younger children or adults to exhibit impulsive and aggressive behaviors.

Besides PTSD, what are the other effects of trauma on children?

Besides PTSD, children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events often exhibit other types of problems. Perhaps the best information available on the effects of traumas on children comes from a review of the literature on the effects of child sexual abuse.

In this review, it was shown that sexually abused children often have problems with fear, anxiety, depression, anger and hostility, aggression, sexually inappropriate behavior, self-destructive behavior, feelings of isolation and stigma, poor self-esteem, difficulty in trusting others, substance abuse, and sexual maladjustment.

These problems are often seen in children and adolescents who have experienced other types of traumas as well. Children who have experienced traumas also often have relationship problems with peers and family members, problems with acting out, and problems with school performance.

Along with associated symptoms, there are a number of psychiatric disorders that are commonly found in children and adolescents who have been traumatized. One commonly co-occurring disorder is major depression. Other disorders include substance abuse; anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder; and externalizing disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivitiy disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder.

How is PTSD treated in children and adolescents?

Although some children show a natural remission in PTSD symptoms over a period of a few months, a significant number of children continue to exhibit symptoms for years if untreated. Trauma Focused psychotherapies have the most empirical support for children and adolescents.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Research studies show that CBT is the most effective approach for treating children. The treatment with the best empirical evidence is Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT). TF-CBT generally includes the child directly discussing the traumatic event (exposure), anxiety management techniques such as relaxation and assertiveness training, and correction of inaccurate or distorted trauma related thoughts.

Although there is some controversy regarding exposing children to the events that scare them, exposure-based treatments seem to be most relevant when memories or reminders of the trauma distress the child. Children can be exposed gradually and taught relaxation so that they can learn to relax while recalling their experiences. Through this procedure, they learn that they do not have to be afraid of their memories.

CBT also involves challenging children’s false beliefs such as, “the world is totally unsafe.” The majority of studies have found that it is safe and effective to use CBT for children with PTSD.

CBT is often accompanied by psycho-education and parental involvement. Psycho-education is education about PTSD symptoms and their effects. It is as important for parents and caregivers to understand the effects of PTSD as it is for children. Research shows that the better parents cope with the trauma, and the more they support their children, the better their children will function. Therefore, it is important for parents to seek treatment for themselves in order to develop the necessary coping skills that will help their children.

Parent Resource: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Keystone Launches Two New Schools

Since its opening in 2013, Keystone Child Development Center has grown rapidly. The school was founded based on the inclusion model that provides opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers. The center’s leaders have spent the past four years developing and perfecting an educational approach that is thoughtful and balanced. They have successfully prepared hundreds of preschool children for success in primary school and beyond.

“Our goal was to produce an educational program that is developmentally appropriate for all young children and based on the best practices in the education field,” Katie Falwell, CEO and founder, said. “We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we have blended together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.”

As a result of rapid growth and what has been learned from the success of Keystone Child Development Center, Dr. Falwell is retiring KCDC and launching two new schools. Collage Day School and Mosaic Day School will open with the 2017-18 school year.

Collage Day School opens in Palm Valley with the first day of school on Aug. 10.

Collage Day School

Collage Day School, an academically challenging, independent day school that will open in Palm Valley this coming August, is currently accepting applications for students from 3 months old through 5th grade. The school focuses on providing a rich, integrative curriculum that encourages creative thinking and that is personalized for each student.

Students will start classes on Thursday, Aug. 10, and the school will follow the St. Johns County Public School Calendar. Collage Day School is located at 171 Canal Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. The 8-acre campus is nestled between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean in the heart of the Ponte Vedra Beach area of St. Johns County, which offers students hands-on experiences with nature and outdoor learning and additional layers of education, history and ecology.

The faculty of the School is made up of a combination of certified lead teachers and assistant teachers. Each teacher is tasked with bringing subject matter to each student in a way that is engaging and appropriate for the developmental stage of the student, rather than following a scripted lesson plan developed by someone else.

Our approach is thoughtful and balanced. It is also developmentally appropriate and based on the best practices in the education field. We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we blend together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.

Collage staff is challenged with uncovering the unique learning profile of each individual student and matching that knowledge with instruction to help their students develop the tools to be problem solvers, innovators, creators and change makers.

The grounds around Collage Day School will be put to good use as a “living classroom” where children can develop cognitive, social and emotional skills. The school is dedicated to promoting students’ health. Students do not spend their day sitting in front of computers under artificial lights, but have the opportunities to move and use their bodies in healthy ways and to spend time outdoors with a myriad of natural features such as woods and pathways, garden, play equipment and an inner courtyard that provides a common area for the Collage family to gather and socialize.

Collage is completing the process for full membership and accreditation by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The school’s VPK program is endorsed by the Florida Department of Children & Families.

How important is preschool?

As reported in Parents.com, “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool,” says Parents advisor Kathleen McCartney, PhD, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time.”

Mosaic Day School

 Mosaic Day School offers education for children with special needs, ages 1-7. Mosaic has classes designated for early intervention for students who are not appropriate for Collage Day School. Students attending Mosaic will receive services from Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, as needed, and attend either a half-day program (morning or afternoon) or a school day program (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.). Before- and after-care will also be available. Mosaic also offers a day treatment program for older students that are not able to successfully participate in a classroom setting.

The school primarily serves children with behavioral/developmental issues who have experienced failure in the continuum of available public or private special education environments and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention. The program includes intensive one-to-one sessions and small group sessions, when appropriate, which teach students to relate to their peers and participate cooperatively in group activities. The goal is for each student to reintegrate or matriculate to a less restrictive academic setting with traditional classrooms.

Mosaic Day School is located at 6867 Southpoint Rd. N, Jacksonville, FL 32216.

To learn more about Collage Day School, visit @Collage Day School on Facebook and contact Rebecca Bowersox, director of admissions, rbowersox@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.900.1439.

To learn more about Mosaic Day School, contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619.6071.

Psychiatrist Joins Keystone to Provide Medication Management

Beginning April 4, psychiatrist Chadd K. Eaglin, M.D., joins Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics as our new medical director in charge of medication management. He will work with our team of providers to develop a comprehensive plan for your child to assist your family and primary care physicians.

Chadd Eaglin, M.D., psychiatrist, becomes Keystone’s medical director, with appointments beginning on April 4.

Depending on the specific concerns and/or diagnoses that a child may have, such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression or other behavioral issues, a course of medication in combination with other therapy techniques may be helpful. Keystone’s team works collaboratively in diagnosing, monitoring and treating any issues or concerns that parents may have about their child, consulting to determine whether medication may be helpful. If medication is determined to be helpful, Dr. Eaglin will prescribe and closely monitor the effects.

It is important for a child to have regular medical checkups to monitor how well the medication is working and check for possible side effects. Most side effects can be relieved by changing the medication dosage, adjusting the schedule of medication or using a different stimulant or trying a non-stimulant.

Staying in close contact with Dr. Eaglin will ensure that Keystone therapists and parents find the best medication and dose for their children. After that, periodic monitoring by Dr. Eaglin is important to maintain the best effects.

Dr. Eaglin comes to Keystone with 11 years of education and experience in medicine and psychiatry. He received an M.D. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency training program at the University of Hawaii. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with specialty training in NeuroStar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy. He focuses on diagnosis, treatment and management of patients from school-aged children to geriatrics who have mood disorders, anxiety disorders, impulse control orders, autism and complex behavioral challenges.

For now, Dr. Eaglin will be available by appointment each Tuesday morning, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The goal is to build his caseload to a full time practice with Keystone. To set an appointment, call 904.619.6071 or fill out the online Appointments form.

Second Keystone OT Therapist Named 2016 Fieldwork Educator

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Samantha Bean West helps develop skills that will lead to success in everyday life including: motor, social, personal, academic and vocational pursuits.

Samantha Bean West, pediatric occupational therapist, assistant director of occupational therapy, CMS Early Steps Provider, Handwriting Without Tears® Level 1 Certified Handwriting Specialist, joined RJ Navarro, director of rehabilitative medicine, in being recognized as 2016 Fieldwork Educator of the Year by Florida State College at Jacksonville and Florida Occupational Therapy Educational Consortium on Nov. 5, in Orlando, Fla., during the opening ceremony of the annual FOTA Conference.

Every year FLOTEC selects fieldwork educators from across the state and honors them with the Award of Excellence. Award recipients have been nominated and selected by an academic program or students as a fieldwork educator who exhibits superior communication, interpersonal behaviors, professional and teaching behaviors.

FLOTEC honors fieldwork educators with the Award of Excellence for exhibiting superior communication, interpersonal behaviors, professional and teaching behaviors.

The award recognizes Samantha and RJ as educators who are able to:

  • Clarify expectation of supervision at outset
  • Establish and maintain boundaries
  • Teach practical skills
  • Maintain membership in his/her state and national association.
  • Be assessable and available to the student
  • Encourage students to explore new ideas and techniques (think outside the box)
  • Use and promote reflective practice
  • Show enthusiasm for Occupational Therapy
  • Foster autonomy and independence
  • Model professional and ethical behavior
  • Assess student’s learning needs
  • Accept values and celebrate diversity
  • Be aware of our own limitations and strengths
  • Work collaboratively with students – listen more than talk to students
  • Maintain open and honest relationships with student
  • Convey a supportive and caring attitude

Keystone is proud of and congratulates both Samantha and RJ!

Military Transitions Clinic Helps Children Cope

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Brian Ludden, director of the Military Transitions Clinic, is a licensed mental health counselor, national certified counselor and certified clinical mental health counselor.

Under the direction of Brian Ludden, MS, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, Keystone’s Military Transitions Clinic focuses on those issues that are unique to service members and their families. Our experience with military families allows us to provide the support these families need through a variety of military-life transitions; for example, preparations for permanent changes of station, deployment readiness, deployment separation, reintegration, separation from the Armed Forces, and even death and loss.

Keystone’s proximity to Mayport Naval Station and Naval Air Station Jax (NAS Jax), as well as NAS Jax’s designation as an EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) provider makes us ideally situated to meet the mental health and behavioral health needs of Northeast Florida’s very mobile military service members and their families. The clinic uses evidence-based therapeutic practices to treat military-transition related concerns. Some of these therapies include Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Rogerian Therapy, Family-Systems Therapy, and more. Keystone’s compassionate and caring clinicians acknowledge and va

Our highly trained, experienced and compassionate staff is eager to support and assist families through any and all transitions, struggles and successes they may experience, military related or not.

Common diagnoses include:

  • Separation Anxiety: The experience of inappropriately extreme or excessive fear or distress when separating from parents/caregivers or other major attachment figures or items in the child’s life. It can cause a reluctance to leave home or significant individuals, as well as causing nightmare, sleep disturbances and physical symptoms including headaches and stomachaches.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Uncontrollable worry about multiple situations, performance, social, academic and health; “what if” concerns that span far into the future, physical symptoms including headaches and stomachaches, inability to unwind, low risk-taking and needing constant reassurance
  • Major Depressive Disorder: A significant depressed mood, loss of interest in pleasure and activities, or both, nearly every day. It can impact appetite, sleep, concentration and cognitive function, and reflexes.
  • Adjustment Disorder: Emotional or behavioral issues in relation to an identifiable stressor. Stressors can include changing schools, moving, parental separation, loss of friendships, and more and can be accompanied by depression, anxiety and conduct issues.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): For children of military service members, learning that their parent/sibling/loved-one has been involved in a traumatic event can be enough for them to experience PTSD symptoms. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts of the event; hypervigilance; extreme avoidance of distressing thoughts, memories, or feelings about the event; frightening dreams; problems with concentration; sleep disturbances; irritability, and more.

Before joining Keystone, Brian spent three years working as a mental health counselor in Clay County School in northeast Florida as the county’s Military Connected Student Support Specialist, where he provided counseling support for military families and children coping with transitions, deployments, separations and grief.  Brian’s primary experience has been in supporting and assisting children with anxiety disorders through art therapy and guided visualization, as well as intensive cognitive behavior therapy and exposure and response prevention. 

Brian is a licensed mental health counselor, national certified counselor and certified clinical mental health counselor with a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling from the University of North Florida.  He is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at UNF and will be defending his dissertation later this year, with a focus on the availability of adolescent mental health services in urban public school settings. 

In addition to serving as director of Keystone’s Military Transitions Clinic, Brian serves as the director of the Anxiety and OCD Clinic and provides mental health counseling and support to children and their families.  Additionally, he provides supervision to master’s level mental health interns seeking to gain experience in the field of counseling.

Resources for Parents/Caregivers:

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families – Free Academic Tutoring for Dependents of Active Duty Service Members

Military Connect – “Connect with Kids Like You”

Keystone CEO Recognized for Integrated Healthcare

Keystone CEO Katherine Falwell, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, was recognized in a recent issue of the Ponte Vedra Recorder for her efforts to help children with integrated healthcare that focuses on all areas of behavioral, developmental, socio-emotional and learning services provided by Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, which Dr. Falwell founded in 2008.

The article chronicled the path that led Dr. Falwell to open Keystone, starting with her postdoctoral residency at the University of Florida, where Dr. Falwell became part of the faculty at University of Florida in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She became aware that Northeast Florida needed more comprehensive pediatric services than it had available at the time to meet the growing numbers of children with unique needs and took the opportunity to open Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics in 2008 to further her idea of collaborative, integrated healthcare.

Keystone provides Integrated Healthcare that Focuses on All Areas of Behavioral, Developmental, Socio-Emotional and Learning Services

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Katie Falwell (far right), in addition to her passion for helping children become successful, is also devoted to her family and northeast Florida beaches community.

Next, Dr. Falwell opened Keystone Child Development Center in 2013, because she believes passionately in research that supports the importance of providing individualized instruction and support as early as possible in a young child’s life. She designed KCDC to focus on all aspects of a child – mind, body and soul – to offer children the best opportunity for success in elementary school and throughout life.

In response to the paper’s question about her focus on early intervention, Dr. Falwell notes, “All children learn and grow at different rates. These first five years of a child’s life are filled with major developmental milestones that prepare them for lifelong learning.” She refers to research which shows that 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed by age 5.

Research also confirms that getting help early can lead to the best outcomes for kids. Developmental, learning, behavioral and social-emotional issues are estimated to affect one in every six children. Because these issues are often very subtle in young children, only 20 to 30 percent are identified as needing help before kindergarten.

The article described Keystone’s new Right from the Start Clinic designed to help parents know whether their baby would benefit from early intervention to solve or alleviate any issues before they become problematic. The Right from the Start clinic is a free screening clinic for children between the ages of one month and 5-1/2 years old. Parents can complete a free questionnaire online by clicking on the ASQ logo on our website. The questionnaire gives Keystone therapists an idea of areas of a child’s development that are of concern to the child’s parents. A client care coordinator contacts the parents after the clinic receives their completed survey and invites them to visit Keystone for a free multidisciplinary screening evaluation to assess their child’s developmental progress. Parents will meet with clinicians from Keystone’s psychology, occupational therapy and speech language departments, as well as a pediatrician. At the end of the visit, they will receive information on how their child is doing developmentally, with suggestions to target any areas of need that have been identified.

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, located in Jacksonville, Duval County, northeast Florida, offers integrated healthcare by a collaborative, interdisciplinary team of 130 child psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, behavior analysts and technicians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, teachers, and pediatrician working in 17 specialized clinics. The focus is on early intervention regarding health and wellness, the whole child and all issues that affect a child’s potential for success including physical, developmental, learning, behavioral and social-emotional issues.

Keystone works with children from one month old to 22 years old on all types of behavioral, developmental, socio-emotional, physical and learning issues in four types of clinics: assessment clinics (Neuropsychological, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Health and Wellness and Educational and Learning), developmental clinics (Autism and Developmental, Right from the Start, Early Intervention and Day Treatment); Rehabilitative Clinics (Feeding, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language); and Treatment Clinics (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Disruptive Behavior and Mood).

Keystone Child Development Center offers safe, nurturing and stimulating preschool and early intervention services from infancy through kindergarten. We have a minimum of two teachers in each classroom and a child development team that works with the teachers to focus on intellectual, social and behavioral success for each child. With maximum class sizes of 12, KCDC is able to create individualized learning plans.

Right from the Start Clinic Identifies Challenges Early for Best Outcomes

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Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics’ Right from the Start Clinic helps you know whether your child would benefit from early intervention to solve or alleviate any issues before they become problematic.

All children learn and grow at different rates. We know that getting help early can lead to the best outcomes for kids. Because these issues are often very subtle in young children, only 20-30 percent are identified as needing help before kindergarten. Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics’ Right from the Start Clinic helps you know whether your young child would benefit from early intervention to solve or alleviate any issues before they become problematic.

Developmental, learning, behavioral and socio-emotional issues are estimated to affect one in every six children

The Right from the Start clinic is a free screening clinic for children between the ages of 1 month and 5½ years old. We provide a multidisciplinary screening evaluation to assess your child’s developmental progress. You will meet with clinicians from our psychology, occupational therapy, and speech language departments, as well as our pediatrician. At the end of the visit, you will receive information on how your child is doing developmentally, with suggestions to target any areas of need that have been identified.

Common concerns that might indicate your child could benefit from a screening include delayed speech, not making eye contact, not smiling in response to you smiling, poor coordination, toileting delays, motor delays, prematurity, concerns about emotional or behavioral development, or other developmental delays.

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) is a developmental screening test that assesses communication, fine motor, gross motor, problem solving and person-social skills. Complete the ASQ online before your appointment, and the results will be reviewed with you during your visit.

At the conclusion of the Right from the Start screening appointment, you will meet with a psychologist to review the findings and recommendations. We will help you create an action plan of next steps to take, based upon what concerns were identified, if any. We provide local resources to assist your family, and our Client Care Coordinators are available to provide further guidance in accessing those resources.

Contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619-6071, to talk to a Client Care Coordinator.

By Rebecca J. Penna, Ph.D., NCSP, Neuropsychologist and Clinical Psychologist, Director of Right from the Start Clinic

Crafting is Good Occupational Therapy

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Making crafts with your child to celebrate the season is a great way to create memories, while helping your child improve hand and eye coordination.

With the holidays upon us, we turn our attention to decorating the house and entertaining friends and family. RJ Navarro, OT/L, cNDT and director of Rehabilitative Medicine for Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, reminds parents that craft activities are a great way to have fun with your kids this holiday season, while helping them develop important skills that can translate into their daily activities at home and in school. Crafting with your children can promote: 

  • Fine motor coordination – Crafts that incorporate drawing, cutting and manipulation of small items will develop your child’s fine motor coordination. Fine motor skills are necessary for manipulating clothing fasteners such as buttons, for improving pencil skills and utensil use, and for manipulating other small objects.
  • Bilateral coordination – Crafts that involve the use of both hands together will develop your child’s bilateral coordination. Examples include cutting activities, gluing or taping, and beading. Bilateral coordination is necessary for any activity in which your child needs to use both sides of her body together, such as dressing or playing.
  • Visual perception – Crafts that incorporate following a pattern, following a template, and sorting or matching shapes or colors will develop your child’s visual perception skills. Visual perception is necessary for discriminating shapes and colors, for identifying objects, for avoiding obstacles and for reading.
  • Visual motor skills – Crafts that involve writing or drawing, cutting, beading and following designs will develop your child’s visual motor skills. Visual motor skills, or hand-eye coordination, are necessary for all pencil and paper tasks, for play and for dressing.
  • Problem-solving – Encourage your child to think by allowing him to attempt to figure things out on his own and make mistakes. Facilitate corrections as needed.
  • Sequencing – Crafts that follow steps or instructions will develop your child’s sequencing skills. Sequencing skills are important in daily activities such as toileting, dressing, brushing teeth and preparing food.
  • Social skills – Crafting together in itself has a social component. Encourage appropriate behavior, sharing, conversation and discussion!

 Resources:

 Pinterest – Crafting

DLTK’s Crafts for Kids

Parents – Creative Holiday Crafts for Kids

Crafts for Kids

ActivityVillage.co.uk Crafts

 

Group Behavior Therapy Gives Children Support and Perspective

Depending on the nature of your child’s challenges, group therapy can be an ideal choice for addressing your child’s concerns and making positive changes in your child’s life. Group therapy may look different depending on a variety of factors including the ages and developmental levels of the attendees, the issues that various children have and the purpose of the therapy program as developed by the therapist.

Groups may be designed to target a specific problem, such as depression, obesity, panic disorder, social anxiety or chronic pain. Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness and low self-esteem. Groups often help those who have experienced loss, whether it be a parent, a sibling or friend.

Your child may find joining a group of strangers intimidating at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Psychologists say, in fact, that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be.

Groups can act as a sounding board

Other members of the group often help your child come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge and hold your child accountable along the way.

Regularly talking and listening to others also helps your child put his own problems in perspective. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they’re going through, and realize you’re not alone.

Diversity is another important benefit of group therapy. Children have different personalities and backgrounds, and they look at situations in different ways. By seeing how other children tackle problems and make positive changes, your child can discover a whole range of strategies for facing concerns.

While group members are a valuable source of support, formal group therapy sessions offer benefits beyond informal self-help and support groups. Group therapy sessions are led by one or more psychologists with specialized training, who teach group members proven strategies for managing specific problems. That expert guidance can help your child make the most of the group therapy experience.

At Keystone:

  • All groups meet for one hour, once a week.
  • Regular attendance of group sessions is a requirement, with no more than one or two absences allowed. This ensures continuity of sessions and allows skills to be built over sessions. If your child misses multiple sessions, he or she may be asked to sit out until the next running of the group.
  • Depending on the group, group size may vary from 4-12 clients at any time.
  • All groups are led or co-led by the highly qualified staff at Keystone, including psychologists, post-doctoral residents, mental health interns, psychological assistants, BCBAs, BCaBAs and behavior therapists.
  • If a group that is currently running is full, your child will be put on the wait list for the next time the group runs.

 Currently, Keystone is offering the following therapy groups:

  • 8-Week Beginning Social Skills Group – Wednesdays; Winter Round  begins February 2017; led by Keri Franklin, Psy.D.
    • An eight-week group focusing on getting children ready to play well with others and succeed in their social environment
    • For children between the ages of 5-8 years old who are able to walk/transport independently to group from reception and minimally maintain attention, have minimal expressive communication skills and are able to participate minimally in group without significant disruption.
    • Skills targeted in this group include appropriate communication with peers, emotional identification and self-regulation, ability to gain attention appropriately, how to meet new people, how to share and take turns, good sportsmanship, conflict resolution and establishing and maintaining personal boundaries
  • 8-Week Intermediate Social Skills Group – Wednesdays; Winter Round begins February 2017; led by Yadira Torres, Psy.D.
    • An eight-week social skills group aimed at elementary-aged children who need help and guidance with making and keeping friends, as well as understanding boundaries and emotional skills needed to handle social situations
    • For children between the ages of 8-12 years old who meet the following criteria: have adequate expressive communication skills and are able to participate minimally in group without significant disruption
    • Topics include what communication is, how to make and keep friends, what a friend is, establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries, hygiene, good sportsmanship, perspective taking, understanding facial expressions and body language, and building conversation.
  • 8-Week Advanced Social Skills Group – Mondays, Jan. 16 – March 6 2017; led by Andrew Scherbarth, ph.D., BCBA-D
    • An eight-week group focused on pre-teens and adolescents who need help and guidance with making and keeping friends, as well as age-appropriate emotional skills needed to handle social situations
    • Appropriate for pre-teens and adolescents between the ages of 12-16 years old
    • Skills targeted in this group include what social skills are and why they are important, levels of friendship, appropriate boundaries, emotional awareness of self and others, perspective taking, decoding body language, problem solving and conversations.
  • Other Group Therapy Opportunities – will start based on sufficient enrollment to from a group
    • 8-Week Worry Busters Group: Teaches children 6-10 years old the skills needed to overcome anxiety and worries such as learning about feelings, identifying scary situations, building the coping skills to handle things independently when worries or fears come up and practicing their new skill
    • 8-Week Anger Management Group: Teaches children 8-12 years old the skills needed to manage anger and helps them develop appropriate, alternative coping skills such as identifying anger triggers, monitoring anger, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, imagery and problem solving
    • 12-Week Managing Deployment Group: Guides youth 8-12 years old through the unique challenges of having an immediate family member deployed or about to leave for military deployment by teaching skills such as emotion training, management of negative emotions, learning coping strategies, building connections with similar children and identifying how to manage living without the deployed family member, as well as how to prepare for the return of their loved one
    • 10-Week Children of Divorce Group: Uses Children of Divorce Intervention Program curriculum to help children 6-8 years old increase their ability to identify and appropriately express divorce/separation related feelings, reduce worry and anxiety about family circumstances and build confidence by teaching coping and problem-solving skills.

If you feel that your child might benefit from participation in a group therapy program, but do not see a group that matches your child’s needs and characteristics, please let your Keystone therapist know or contact us online, email info@keystonebehavioral.com or call 904.619.6071

Resource:

American Psychological Association – Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy

Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development – Divorce and Separation

Keystone’s preschool offers Enrichment Membership Program

Keystone Child Development Center’s Enrichment Membership Program provides a variety of fun and educational classes for kids, in one location, for one all-inclusive price! Enrollment is open to community children, in addition to students of KCDC.

Before- and After-School Program open to all Community Children beginning Aug. 22, 2016

All children, three to eight years old, can pick and choose a variety of experiences as they explore a wide variety of classes. The KCDC Enrichment Membership Program is an unbeatable package and provides teachable moments for all children. The purpose of these classes is to enhance “the whole child,” including health and wellness, creativity, social skills, manners and much more!

Examples of Enrichment Classes that may be offered at various times throughout the year:

  • Picasso Painters – All children are artists! Become transformed into miniature Picassos. All types of media will be explored to encourage self-expression and creativity with every lesson.
  • Making Music – In an atmosphere of joy through singing, playing instruments and games and enjoying storytelling. Unleash your creativity and embrace fun through the arts.
  • Tiny Dancers – Through movement, music, games and choreography, get a healthy amount of exercise, express yourself and have a blast!
  • Keystone Yogis – Go on an adventure as you get to explore kid friendly yoga movements. Release energy in healthy, natural ways. Strengthen your body while trying new movements, such as balancing, handstands and finding stillness at the end of an energy-filled class.
  • Se Habla Español – Through games, songs, stories and movements, learn the basics of Spanish as a second language while building confidence and having fun learning.
  • Mad Scientists – The best way to learn is through experiments! Fun, easy and educational experiments (even a few messy mixtures) that will fascinate the young mind.
  • Nature Lovers – Explore the outdoors through nature walks, nature talks and ways to save the environment. Learn the importance of getting outside and being one with nature.
  • Creative Cooks – Calling all little chefs! Have a blast mixing and measuring while creating kid friendly yummy bites. Learn about mealtime manners and surprise mom and dad! This is a peanut free class.
  • Cardio Lovers – Get your body movin’ and groovin’ in the high energy class. It’s good healthy fun when you jump, skip and run!
  • Dog Care and Etiquette – Pamper your pet by learning how to feed, walk and groom your dog, as well as how to approach strange dogs in terms of petting and playing with them.
  • Computer Lab – Experiment with various software and learn keyboarding, 3D design printing, digital special effects and more!

Monthly membership fee:  

$110 includes UNLIMITED CLASSES for the month and renews monthly

Sibling discount: $25

Classes are offered before and after school at regularly scheduled times.

You and your child can pick and choose a variety of experiences by downloading and using the free MINDBODY app on your iPad or iPhone or Android cell phone. To learn how to enroll online via your computer or iPhone, Android or iPad, click here!

Contact rbowersox@keystonebehavioral.com or Rebecca Bowersox, Director of Admissions, 904.619.6071, Ext. 117, for more information and/or to enroll your child.

Keystone Child Development Center, a program of Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, is the area’s premier early learning and child development center for children from infancy through kindergarten. The center focuses on individualized instruction with a low student-to-teacher ratio designed to prepare children for success in elementary school and beyond. KCDC will offer classes for the following age groups this fall: Infants and 1’s, Preschool for 2’s and 3’s, Pre-K/VPK (VPK-endorsed by DCF) for 4-year-olds and up to two years of kindergarten. An Early Intervention class is also offered, as well as before- and after-care services.