Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Importance of Daddy Time: Early Time Spent Together Pays Off Big Down The Road

A recent article on Medical News Today highlights a study in which researchers find that a Father's interactions and positive time spent with infants at age 3 months result in less behavioral issues for tots aged 12 months and beyond. The study projects that fathers who spend quality time with their infants and toddlers have children who grow up with fewer behavioural issues and overall do better in many social aspects of life.

Although this seems to be common sense to most of us, especially to those of us who work with kids who have Not had positive male or female influences in their early lives, its interesting reading, and is meant to support education for new parents of the future.

Even though you may be working with older kids who have suffered because of lack of good parental influences in their early lives, its not too late to effect a change in their behavior. Remember, RAD or trust disorder kids must be taken back to an infancy-stage of nurturing when you are working with them to begin to build that trust (see the blog post titled: RAD Kids: Working with Your Support System, Finding the Weak Link and Breaking the Manipulation Cycle) so this is a good time for the Father (foster or adopted) to spend some quality time as well as the primary care giver (usually the mother in most cases) to influence the child as he might have had, he had the child at 3 months of age.

Here is the report:

Father-Infant Interactions Linked To Child's Behavior

Article Date: 20 Jul 2012 - 0:00 PDT

Children whose fathers are more positively engaged with them at age three months have fewer behavioural problems at age twelve months, according to new research funded by the Welcome Trust. The study suggests that interventions aimed at improving parent-child interaction in the early post-natal period may be beneficial to the child's behaviour later on in life.

Behavioural disorders are the commonest psychological problem affecting children. They are associated with a wide range of problems in adolescence and adult life, including academic failure, delinquency, peer rejection and poor psychiatric and physical health. Research suggests that the roots of enduring behavioural problems often extend back into the preschool years.

Epidemiological studies have identified a number of risk factors for the onset and continuity of behavioural problems. Amongst these, parenting characteristics and patterns of parent-child interaction appear to be particularly important. However, studies of parental factors usually focus on the role of the mother.

In a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Oxford studied 192 families recruited from two maternity units in the UK to see whether there was a link between father-child interactions in the early postnatal period and the child's behaviour.

Read more here

image:  Flickr
AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Bryan Gosline

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pet Therapy with Kids with Anxiety: Another Example

by John and Diane.

We've talked about pet therapy with foster kids a few times here, with horses, dogs, I have turtles and chickens.  Not only do pets help kids with RAD and trust disorders, ADD and other issues learn to interact and be responsible for living things, they allow caregivers and counselors a chance to monitor the child's development and growth when it comes to social skills and overcoming social obstacles like self-isolating behavior and building empathy.
I do recommend using pets with kids, they help lessen anxiety and help bridge the gap between new foster kids and their environment, although close monitoring and awareness of the child's behavioral and mental issues is vital in keeping animals safe.
Here is a success story I wanted to share involving an unusual cat and a boy with anxiety disorders.  Enjoy.

Cat gives young boy a voice

Lorcan and Jessi-cat, hanging out. (Photo by Cavendish Press)On a difficult news day that may have made you question your faith in humanity, we were delighted to spot a story that reaffirmed our faith in, well, felinity: an article in The Sun about a fluffy kitty named Jessi-cat who's helping her young owner to find his voice.

Lorcan Dillon is a 7-year-old from Davyhulme, Greater Manchester who suffers from an anxiety condition that makes it almost impossible for him to communicate or express emotion. But that all began to change when his mother, Jayne, brought home a cream-colored Birman cat named Jessi-cat a couple of years ago. (Birmans, not to be confused with Burmese, are semi-longhaired cats with distinctive sapphire eyes and pure white "gloves" on each paw.)

Lorcan bonded strongly with Jessi-cat, and as a result, he's better able to show affection, Jayne told The Sun. "The bond between Lorcan and Jessi-cat is so touching as he's able to show physical affection to her which he doesn't like doing with people – even me." Not every cat is up for lots of canoodling, but according to Jayne, Jessi loves it: "She's such a delightful, responsive cat and he hugs and kisses her all the time." Aw.

The article also says that Lorcan is doing better in social situations recently. In the last couple of weeks, Jayne said, he's "started communicating with people he doesn't know very well and even reads to one of the teachers now," which he hasn't done before (aw!). And he's started saying "I love you" for the first time. Awwww!

Read the rest of the story

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kids Who Steal for Thrills and How to Stop It.

By John and Diane.
This is the second part of our 3 part series on dealing with kids who steal.   Check out the first part : Impulsive Stealing: An ADD/ADHD Problem?

Unlike Impulsive Stealers, Kids who Thrill-Steal are usually found to have everything they want and the money to get anything else they might need.  Their parents usually fulfill the child’s needs and desires freely and quickly.
I met a lot of these kids when I worked at the courthouse. I would wait with the kids and talk with their parents when they arrived to pick them up after they worked their community service hours. (You can read more about my own history and experience in the updated About Me page.)
Often the parents would say, “I can’t believe my boy did this! He had the money in his pocket. He could have bought it. Why steal it?”  
Good question! I made a point to try to figure it out.
 I started talking to the kids as they worked with me   They would open up to me about their lives and I found out that many times this type of child (the thrill-stealer) had no Idea how to work.  
They had nothing to do at home as far as chores and usually no responsibilities.  Dad mowed the grass and took out the garbage, so they were bored.  If you were looking in from the outside at the family you’d see loving parents who took good care of their kids.  Interestingly enough, most of the kids I dealt with were not in school or recreational program sports.  The kids simply didn’t have much going on at home (chores or responsibilities) and not much outside of the home either (organized sports, or social organizations.)
 I even found overly protective parents, you know the kind, “My child could not have done this they most have been another child who got him or her to do It. “ The bad thing was, they would try to get the child “off” if they could.  My blaming others, the parent neutralized the consequences that the court would use to try to get the child to change and take responsibility for his or her actions.
 I saw a lot of these kids go to jail after a while.  It seems they were always coming back and I could not do anything to stop it.  I would warn Mom or Dad and that their kid was heading to jail if they kept telling them “it’s not my child’s fault, it’s someone else’s.”
 Now the reason why the child is stealing the first time may have been just because he or she wanted the toy or item.  But what happened? Why is he or she still stealing? Because what you may have done, not knowing you even did anything, was empower the child.
 In the child’s eyes they are now in control of you.  Yes, they feel empowered, even sometimes closer to you than ever before.
This will start a cycle. If you stand behind the child and they know they are getting away with stealing, even if the court gives them consequences, in their eyes it does not matter. As long as Mom and Dad think they are innocent, they win.  
The child might even think it was kind of fun because “My Dad and Mom said bad things about the teacher or even the judge.”  Kids eat this up.  It’s like playing a fun new game. This is how a parent neutralizes the consequences the child should be feeling from his or her bad-actions. Never undermine other authority figures in front of your child. If you do, they lose respect for ALL authority figures, including the parent.
Now that’s just one way it can get started but all kids-who-steal have this in common. The child gets something they are not getting out of their life now. When they steal they get to feel special.  Now you are spending more time with them in the car on the way to the community work hours or to counselor or court appointments.  Remember if you don’t spend time with your kids in a good way, you may have to spend it in the bad ways. It’s your time they need. 
Kids Who Steal for Power or to Make Friends (Gang development)
Kids who steal for power or to make friends may use the stealing to create a family unit.
 Usually this child has no parents around.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, they have someone living with them but they are never there even when they are home. I am sure you have seen them if you are a foster parent.  This child may seem very nice and they give things away all the time, stolen things that is.
They steal things that other kids want and use them to buy friends.  This type of child is smart.  They won’t tell a kid if he stole the thing he is gifting until the child had it for a while and he will build on the power-role by continuing to give his new “friend” stolen items to increase the “debt.”  
Eventually the targeted child is told, feels guilty and is afraid to tell anyone about the stolen item, therefore binding him to the “thief.”  This is similar to predator grooming behavior.
 Soon your child will be with him when he steals and now they are locked together. This is often how small gangs are formed.
Now, lets see all the things the child got out of stealing.  He now has a friend he can trust because they will “go down” together and he has your family to hang out with because you see him as a well-mannered and smart boy or girl.
 This child may or may not do well in school, it can happen with both types of students.
The Red Flag
The give-away is when you meet his or her parents and you ask them about all the nice things their son has given your son and she or he looks at you with confusion, or they say “but YOUR son was giving things to my son’ Red Flag! So always talk to the parents of your children.
I know foster parents are stuck here because the kids often have made these friends before they ever got to you and you don’t want to break up the friendships. I guess you have to go back and look at the child’s existing friends and clean up any “bad influences.” Talk to parents of your foster child’s friends and if you notice red flags, talk to the police department about the “stealing friend” and get him help too.

How Do You Stop the Stealing Behavior?
1.     Spend more time with you child when he does good things. (Positive Reinforcement of good behaviors.)
2.     Make it “suck” for him or her whenever you have to spend time with them over something they may have done wrong.  I don’t mean that you should be mean to your child, if you are not sure if he or she has done it or not, just don’t take them out to eat after going to see the school because they did some thing wrong.
3.     If you know they did steal, then you make them pay for the gas in your car for court visits and to take them to their work hours and you have to come down hard. No cell phones, no TV for a time, grounding, anything so the child understands that she or he can’t steal and you not going to put up with it. The Consequences have to be worse than the “reward” for the stealing (reward being the extra attention, friends, etc.)
4.     Talk about what it does to you and how it makes you feel when you heard they steal. Talk about your childhood, yes, Mom and Dad, its time for you to tell what your life was like.  This will bring them closer to you and make them feel part of the family and make them proud to have your last name.  
5.     My favorite thing is to say, ”What would (Their Name) think of you at the age of 20 while he is sitting in jail?  What do you think he would say to you? Something tells me he would be a lot harder on you then I am! You don’t want to be in jail at 20 do you?” 
6.     Always make sure there are strong consequences to the stealing behavior. Work with your local police or sheriffs dept. to take tours of the jail if possible (scared straight style,) pile on the household chores and limitations, double the court appointed community service hours with your own demands for volunteer service somewhere, etc.
How to Prevent Stealing Behavior Before it Starts
1.     Pay attention when your child does good stuff. Celebrate the positive things he or she does and not just the negative behavior. Keep it up too! You need to do this Constantly or they will eventually seek the negative attention.
2.     Get kids (and yourself) involved in sports programs after and in school. You need to be at games to support the team “good” behaviors and the build on the good experiences with the other children.
3.     Make a point to talk to your kids about the good things they did each day. Mealtimes are Very important in my opinion, and after school conversations help to give them the attention they need.  Give your kid the time they need and the positive attention so they can thrive on positive reinforcement and not negative attention.
4.     Know your child’s friends and their parents.  If you feel like the parents are “shady,” chances are the child’s friend may be as well.


image:  Flickr
AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by VarsityLife

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Preschoolers: A New Diagnosis Coming Soon

by John and Diane.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a term we all are familiar with, usually used when referring to war veterans or those who have survived combat zone trauma.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is THE book that counselors, psychiatrists and doctors use for making diagnosis and learning about mental disease. It is a reference book that lists all the symptoms and factors needed (or excluded) when giving a patient or client a clinical diagnosis.  The 5th edition of this book is in production now and will be released in May of 2013.  In it you will find what might be a surprising, (or not) new diagnosis that may help or further clarify something foster and adoptive parents work with many times with our kids.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents.

 I know this is something most of us have been aware of for many years, but it is finally being taken out of the closet and put into focus by the medical powers-that-be. I know that it is a term I have often heard being used "unofficially," and rightfully so, about some children who have experienced severe trauma in their early lives.  Officially it has been referred to simply as Trauma.

The risk factors for PTSD in kids is either direct trauma or exposure to a parent's reaction to trauma.  According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, PTSD in elementary school- aged kids "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 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."

PTSD in adolescents, it is conceded, resembles closely to that of adults. 

The VA also states:  "There are several other factors that affect the occurrence and severity of PTSD. Research suggests that interpersonal traumas such as rape and assault are more likely to result in PTSD than other types of traumas. Additionally, if an individual has experienced a number of traumatic events in the past, those experiences increase the risk of developing PTSD. In terms of gender, several studies suggest that girls are more likely than boys to develop PTSD."

Overall, it seems that some of the children we deal with that have what we now refer to as "detachment" or "attachment" or "trust" disorders, may also be getting an additional diagnosis of PTSD once the DSM-V comes out, should they meet the additional criteria. Again, we never know if additional diagnosis may help or hinder the road to healing for our kids, although perhaps an understanding of PTSD and PTSD therapies may give us another tool to help all of our kids who have dealt with early trauma.

for more information click here:  USDept. of VA 

image:  Flickr
Attribution Some rights reserved by Holding Steady

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kids Get Stressed Too: Ways to "Chillax"

 by John and Diane.

Even though we, as parents may be SUPER excited (can you tell I am excited?) about the kids going back to school soon, your kids may be feeling some anxiety and stress.

Especially tough for special education students, or new foster kids who may be starting in a new school or have social anxiety disorders or other issues, getting ready for school, or handling the prep for it, can cause stress.

Whether its Back-to-School stress, or just every-day stress from counseling and doctors appointments, or any number of issues that foster/adoptive kids and parents go through, finding ways to ratchet down the stress and anxiety levels and relax is vital and a skill that can help a child throughout his or her life.

Although teaching ADD, RAD or kids with defiance disorders relaxation techniques may take some time, teaching by example, and going through the techniques (or one particular technique that works for you and your kids) together on a routine basis is key to creating a habit that may help your kids get through a stressful situation at school or at play. So, pick a technique you can work with and then practice it each day, say, while you wait for the school bus, to get everyone in the right frame of mind to be relaxed and start the day off right.

Below is an article shared with us by the author and one of our readers that lists 10 relaxation techniques.  There are some great ideas here that I have used with my kids over the years.  Check them out.

10 Relaxation Techniques for Kids

Posted on | in Babysitting Jobs While it may seem unnatural for children to experience stress, many children actually do have high levels of stress.  Children are worried about doing well in school, winning sports games, pleasing their parents and fitting in with their friends.  As most adults know, living up to others expectations can be very stressful.

If you find your child is experiencing stress, here are some relaxation techniques that you can try with him.
  1. Deep breathing.  The convenient thing about this technique is that it can be done at anytime, anywhere.  Have your child close his eyes and take a deep breath in through his nose and fill his tummy with air.  Do this step slowly and then blow the air out of his mouth all at once.  Sometimes having him think about breathing in the good and blowing out the bad will also help to relax him. 
  2. Visualization.  Visualization can provide a vacation from the mind. The first couple of times you can help your child do this technique, and then after some practice she should be able to do it herself.  Have her sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close her eyes.  Ask her to picture herself in her favorite vacation spot.  Is it on a boat or at the beach?  Wherever it is help her intensify her visualization by asking her if she can feel the wind on her skin or the spray of the waves hitting her face.  Then move on to her sense of smell and ask her if she can smell the sea water or the flowers nearby.  Move on to her sense of hearing and ask her to listen for the sea gulls or the laughter of other children.  Once you’ve made it through all of the senses let her stay in that visualization for a few minutes as she releases stress.    
  3. Exercising.  The freedom of running causes your body to release endorphins that flood your brain and make you feel better.  Sometimes exercise can help clear his mind and reduce his stress levels.  Making a habit of regularly exercising will help him learn to cope better with stress. 
  4. Listening to calming music.  Music can be naturally relaxing. The human body is an amazing thing, and often our moods will adapt to the type of music we’re listening to.  If she listens to loud angry music she may begin to feel angry and stressed. If she listens to soft calming music it will lower her heart rate and drop her blood pressure.  These things will help relax her overall and can even be used to help her fall asleep at night.  If she’s using music as a sleep aid try to avoid music with lyrics or use the same one over and over so that she doesn’t listen to the words.   
  5. Laughter. Laughter is one of the biggest stress relievers for both adults and kids alike.  Read a joke book with him or take him to a really funny movie.  Watch a comedy on TV.  Tickle him.  Anything to get him to laugh.  The longer he laughs the more tension he will release.
  6. Meditation or prayer. Meditation or prayer is very relaxingBy removing herself from distractions and sitting or lying in a comfortable spot she can begin to meditate or pray.  Meditation requires that she closes her eyes, clears her mind, and focuses on her breathing.  Prayer can be done with her eyes closed, and as she is talking to God she can unload her burdens.  Either method she chooses will have a relaxing effect on her.
Read More by following this link...

AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Sahaja Meditation

Friday, July 13, 2012

Impulsive Stealing: An ADD/ ADHD Child Problem?

by John and Diane. 

All kids might have the urge or impulse to steal once in a while during an average childhood. We have all done it as kids, stolen a piece of gum from the bin at the grocery store, or a quarter from the table.  With some kids though the impulse to steal is more compelling… indeed, a compulsion that is irresistible.  Foster parents deal with these children frequently, as do other parents who have kids with various impulse control diagnosis.

The most likely children to have trouble with impulsive stealing are kids with ADD and ADHD.  It’s not that they are bad kids; it’s their Impulsivity that is the crux of the problem.

The main thing to remember about impulsive stealing with your ADD or ADHD kids is that there is rarely any understanding that what they are doing is wrong.
What the impulsive stealing child thinks is that he or she needs something that he finds in a store or someone’s home and he takes it. In his mind, he has done nothing wrong.

Sometimes they will pick something up and hold it, or put it in their pocket and walk out the door and forget about it.  Stealing it absentmindedly.

They never learned the basic lesson of “don’t touch things that don’t belong to you” so they hold and touch everything. In their minds, when they touch or hold something, they take ownership of it.

Later, if  impulsive stealing goes unchecked, kids will be known to steal something and throw it away. This happens when the child becomes conscious of guilt. This usually starts when a caregiver begins working on the issue and the child is aware they are doing something wrong and they don’t want to get caught, but yet can’t resist the impulse to steal.

So, the older the child is, the longer the cycle has been happening, the harder it is to break.
I have taken some classes on “kids and stealing” and they have said, “you can’t stop it.” You just have to protect the child from doing it. Not good news, now is it?
The advice was to put the child in a shopping cart until they become too big for the cart or leave them in the car. Not shopping with the kids or taking them to friend’s homes isn’t really an option for most of us… so I had to come up with a better solution.


Since “greater minds” didn’t really offer me a solution that worked in the real world, I came up with my own. It is basically an exposure-behavioral modification approach that re-educates the child while exposing them to temptation under supervision. Much like you might deal with a phobia.

Look with Your Eyes, Not Your Hands

 I would bring the kids to a store just to work with them, not to do my own shopping.  I taught them the basic rule of  “looking is done with your eyes not your hands” that most kids learn and understand early on.  

Every time their hands would go to touch something I would ask, “what are you doing?”
They would say “I’m looking at that” and I would answer with “your eyes, not your hands, you take things with you hands you look with your eyes.” 
Conversely, you could also ask, “are you going to buy that thing and do you have enough money to buy it?”
 If the answer is “yes” then you can work on the child’s math skills and if he or she doesn’t have enough money then I always answer, “if you can’t afford it, you don’t touch it.”

After a time I found that the child would begin to learn what things they are allowed to pick up and what they were not allowed to pick up and touch. It took time and patience, but after a while, it worked. 

Dealing with Home Visits or Play Dates

Now you’re at someone’s home and your child has gone off to play with his or her child. What do you do? This is a hard one.   I will tell my close friends or family member that I will pat the child down before we leave and this usually gets a laugh or two but it is a necessity and it is something the child agrees to ahead of time as he is aware of his impulse to steal and lie. 

Before we leave I pat the child down in a side room or entryway out of view of others to protect the child’s right to privacy.

Of course, the kids may have snuck something out to the car while I wasn’t looking, so I advise my host to let me know if they are missing anything later, and I may find something in a pants pocket or in the car later.  One never knows…

The “I Forgive You Box”

What about the child who throws it away? This is an easy one. You have a box in the house labeled The I Forgive You Box.  

If they steal an item, and know they did wrong, instead of hiding it or throwing it away, they put it in the box.  The box is placed in a private spot and there will be no consequences for the stealing, but the family as a group will discuss the contents of the box at a later time. This gives the child a way out, and usually leads the child to talk about the stealing without fear of consequences, which allows room for growth. 

If parents or siblings find stolen items, there will still be a consequence for the stealing.  The child who steals will lose their allowance or chore money or whatever consequence you have indicated on your House Rules and Consequences sheets. 
In one case, I had a child take something from another child, so I let that child (Victim) go in to his room (Perpetrator) and take something of his but not let the stealing child know what it was.  

This worked great.  Now “the perp.” was wondering and worrying about what was taken and he spent a lot more time thinking about what happened.  Later, I asked him how it made him feel when he had something taken from him and it opened a longer discussion about stealing, making him more empathetic to his “victims.”

So, although impulsive stealing is by no means an easy habit to break in ADD, other foster, adopted of bio kids, it is not impossible, so don’t be discouraged by naysayers and “experts” in the field. It seems to be an issue that can ebb and flow in a child’s life like many issues foster kids deal with. It can also be a reaction to stress or a delayed symptomology of abuse or neglect, but like most issues with impulsive kids, it takes re-training and patience to break through.

Coming Soon: Kids Who Steal out of Need and Kids Who Steal to Get Even


Saturday, July 7, 2012

New Resource: List of Drug Street Terms

Hi Friends,
As a foster parent you run into kids who often have a lot more street smarts than you have.  For this reason I thought it might be helpful to have a list of terms for street drugs so that you have a place to start should you hear some unfamiliar lingo you need to check out.

Let's face it, kids with attachment disorders and ADD as well as other impulsive disorders can fall into situations with drug activity, so being aware of the "code words" is vital to catching the red flags before it gets out of hand.

There are always new drugs coming out, so this list may not always be up to date, but we will do our best.  You'll find this new resource at the top of our Blog page under the Tab marked "List of Street Drug Names"

As always, your suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
John and Diane

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Difei Li

Friday, July 6, 2012

What the Heck Are They Talking About?: Announcing a New Glossary of Terms

by John and Diane.

Whether you are new to the "system" or have been in it for decades, dealing with counselors, lawyers and doctors means sometimes getting new words, or worse, abbreviations, thrown at you at meetings constantly. Diagnostic terms, bureaucratic jargon and legal words can be very confusing and you don't always get an opportunity to ask what the heck it all means. 

So, I thought I would try to find a comprehensive list of terms foster, adoptive and bio. parents might need when dealing with the foster care (etc.) system.  This turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. I was looking for something that would include both legal terms and diagnostic terms, and, well, I just couldn't find one.  Hence, I put one together.

It's not the prettiest list you'll ever see, but it is here for you to refer to when you need it.

 A good place to start for those of you who are new to the foster care system, or are hearing new diagnosis terms in relation to a new child coming into your home, consider it a place to start to help make sense of all the new stuff being thrown at you.

You'll find it at the top of the blog on its own Tab marked "Glossary of Terms You Should Know."  It is a work in progress, and I left the comments box at the bottom of the page if you can think of some more terms I have missed and should include on the permanent list.  Again, we want this to be a resource for all of us, so your help is always appreciated!

Attribution Some rights reserved by greeblie

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED): A New Term You Need to Know.?

by John and Diane.

I was reading this article from about how uncontrollable anger seems to be more and more prevalent amongst teens these days and thought to myself.. tell me something I dont already know...

I bet alot of you foster and adoptive parents feel the same way.

A lot of children coming through the foster care system have good reason to be angry of course, with histories of abuse, neglect, and God knows what else... anger is a symptom of feeling helpless and frustrated.

I guess it took researchers from Harvard to give it a name.  "Intermittent Explosive Disorder."

I mention this new term here, because, undoubtedly, it is going to be thrown around now in the foster care and health care circles and just as "Reactive Attachment Disorder" can be called "Attachment disorder," "Trust disorder" and numerous other things... This new term may be used to identify children who have... well, basically anger issues.

There are very specific diagnostic criteria for IED, including age and occurance, but, when it comes to classifying a child for care, this new term may actually help you get the help and assistance you may need for your child from a system that likes to cut back and cut corners.

Check out the article below and as with all potential new diagnostic information, consider it just another tool to put into your foster/adoptive parent knowledge toolbelt.

Uncontrollable Anger Prevalent Among U.S. Youth: Almost Two-Thirds Have History of Anger Attacks

ScienceDaily (July 2, 2012) — Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adolescents have experienced an anger attack that involved threatening violence, destroying property or engaging in violence toward others at some point in their lives. These severe attacks of uncontrollable anger are much more common among adolescents than previously recognized, a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School finds.

The study, based on the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement, a national face-to-face household survey of 10,148 U.S. adolescents, found that nearly two-thirds of adolescents in the U.S. have a history of anger attacks. It also found that one in 12 young people -- close to six million adolescents -- meet criteria for a diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), a syndrome characterized by persistent uncontrollable anger attacks not accounted for by other mental disorders.
 The results were published July 2 in Archives of General Psychiatry.
IED has an average onset in late childhood and tends to be quite persistent through the middle years of life. It is associated with the later onset of numerous other problems, including depression and substance abuse, according to senior author Ronald Kessler, McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at HMS and leader of the team that carried out the study. Yet only 6.5 percent of adolescents with IED received professional treatment for their anger attacks.

To continue reading click here

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Bradley.J

Monday, July 2, 2012

Visual Check Lists: For Aspergers and Kids with Learning Disabilities

Hi Friends,
I have talked about the importance of chore lists and have posted my check off (Setting the Foundations: Chore Lists, Rewards and Discipline Sheets,) chores and house rules for you all to use to help keep kids on track. Especially important for kids with trust disorders and impulse control issues, knowing what to expect, and what is expected of them, is important, and having a check off list is a visual cue that can reduce anxiety.
Today I came across this article about using a schedule sheet with visual images to help kid with Aspergers ( a high functioning form of autism) reduce anxiety and move through their daily routine. Check it out.

Visual Schedules for Aspergers Kids

"My 4-year-old Aspie son has trouble moving from task to task. How can I help him finish a particular activity (like putting his legos back in the boxes), and then get him to move on to the next thing (like getting ready for bed) without creating anxiety and the resultant meltdowns?"
Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism thrive on routine and structure. As your son begins to recognize structure in his life, this may be the time to make a visual schedule to help him recognize when certain events are happening in his day. A visual schedule works better than a written schedule for obvious reasons, as your child may not be able to read and thus may not get the benefit of the visual cue.

To make such a visual schedule, you can use a white board on which you put the hours of the day and a space at the top for the day of the week. Purchase strips of Velcro that have a sticky back and place a small square of Velcro in each time slot. Using thick card, draw the different aspects of the day in visual form (e.g.,  draw pictures of food for the times of the day that you eat; draw a picture of a bed for the times your child sleeps).

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