Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com
Here in south-eastern Ontario, spring is trying desperately to make its presence known. One day it’s warm & sunny with birds chirping and little green buds pushing out of the earth, and then the next day it’s super cold and brisk. In the very near future, we are hoping to enjoy more birds chirping and less ice scraping.
Navigating the Kids’ Mental Health System:
But I digress! As I mentioned in this post, one of the reasons I decided to reinvigorate my blog after several years’ hiatus is because a few months ago, out-of-the-blue, a woman wrote to me seeking assistance. She and her husband were desperately searching for resources in Ontario for their child who has learning disabilities and some neurological/mental health challenges. I was able to provide specific resources in the Greater Toronto Area and for that she was grateful.
For this week’s post, I’ve gone through my blog (all four or so years of posts) to capture some of the books, experts and resources I’ve collected for readers regarding kids and mental health. Note that some of these resources are specific to Toronto/Ontario/Canada but most are universal.
- The Waiting Game – Anyone with a child or loved one experiencing mental health challenges will know the frustration and heartache of waiting for services. People in countries outside of Canada may think that just because we enjoy universal healthcare, we don’t have to wait for services or that every medication, procedure and assessment is free of charge. Those of us living here understand that this is certainly not the case! However, this post outlines some of the steps you might want to take while sitting on a waitlist (or ten).
- Results of CADDAC survey on kids with ADHD – One of the first resources I discovered when my child was diagnosed with ADHD is the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada or CADDAC. In this early post, the results of a survey of parents of children with ADHD are shared. This advocacy group helps parents, children, teens, physicians and others better understand Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder.
- A Trip Down Bipolar Road – “My struggle of overcoming bipolar disorder was a tortuous winding road encompassing twenty years,” says Barry Shainbaum, radio host and speaker. I love this Q&A I did with Barry many years ago. However, I notice that his web site is no longer up and running. Still, I think you’ll find his intelligent and deeply personal responses about living & thriving with bipolar disorder to be useful.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
4. The Long-Term Implications of Spanking – This is a fairly recent post that deals not so much with spanking (as most people know that it’s unhealthy for both parent and child) but the frustration that parents or caregivers can feel when a child is acting out or not listening. Sometimes it’s difficult for adults to control their temper and/or we don’t have the tools to try something else besides yelling or violence.
5. Self-Regulation is One of the Keys to Good Mental Health – Finally, here is a link to an article I wrote for Parents Canada magazine. While I was a freelance writer, I focused mostly on researching and writing about child development and parenting. “Self-regulation” is a term that many people may not be familiar with but it’s very, very important to long-term success.
I’d love to hear your suggestions for studies, experts, books, web sites, conferences, etc. that have been helpful to you or others. Write to me at: lisa.tabachnick (at) gmail.com or comment in the comments section below.
Posted in Books, Conferences, Experts, Parenting, Services, Study
Tagged attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, children's mental health markham, experts adhd, experts mental health, kids mental health ontario, learning disability child, learning disability ontario, parenting resources, parenting resources york region, parents canada, resources, self-regulation, toronto mental health kids
Are you aware of the advocacy group CADDAC (Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada)? This organization (and its sister org CADDRA) is a useful resource for parents, families, psychologists, educators and those diagnosed with ADHD themselves.
Today, on the CADDAC blog, there’s a useful explanation of a new University of Mississippi study indicating that movement actually helps facilitate learning and growth for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. From the study: “Hyperactive movements associated with the disorder may allow children with ADHD to enhance their cognitive abilities.”
This makes sense in many ways as many of us (even those without ADHD) feel the need to stand up, “fidget”, tap fingers or toes, twirl hair, or bounce up and down to get our creative juices flowing.
Sitting still for long periods of time not only inhibits healthy development and may cause severe health implications but, for children with ADHD, it can cause stress and dissuade imagination and working memory.
Here’s more from U of M: “By allowing the hyperactive behaviors to continue, children with ADHD are able to increase their arousal and remain alert in the classroom. Yet conventional teaching and treatment methods demand ADHD children remain still, and the ability to focus on the lesson is lost in the child’s struggle to focus on not squirming or fidgeting, said Sarver.”
These days, many educators and teachers (at least in our school board) better understand that occasional movement, special seating arrangements, more frequent “health breaks” and re-imagined dynamics not only allows all students to more fully enjoy school but allows those with ADHD to fit in, become more engaged and reach their full learning potential.
While meds like Adderall or Vyvanse may work for some, others might be interested in choosing an alternative to Western medicine by way of natural supplement. Here’s an informative article that may shed light on questions about supplements: https://www.cognitune.com/best-natural-adderall-alternatives/
Please note: This article was shared by agreement with myself and Cognitune.
Posted in Conferences, Experts, Facts, Family, Home, Parenting, Services
Tagged about, ADHD, alternative health, anxiety, behaviour, brain, CADDAC, CADDRA, child's voice, creativity
Day Two of the Vanier Institute’s Families in Canada 2015 conference is now complete and my head is swimming with facts, figures, ideas and connections.
My wallet is swimming with business cards.
I’ve never felt choked up at a conference before: beyond those stats, facts and figures were real emotions, revelations, secrets, personal journeys and testimonials, connections. All of the panelists shared personal insights into the state of families today – why some are broken and why some are successful.
Everyone was touched by the candid portrayals of life as a Canadian family. Whether it was the lawyer speaking about her transition to becoming female, to immigrants talking about their own transition into Canadian life, to dads talking about transitioning into loving, caring role models (sometimes primary role models) for their children; one of the conference themes centred around moving and changing and growing.
We can all relate I’m sure. What transition are you presently going through? New parent? New grad? New diagnosis? New relationship? Please feel free to share.
Posted in Conferences, Experts, Facts, Parenting, Philosophy
Tagged conference, fatherhood, immigrant, panel, trans, transition, vanier institute
Opening disclaimer: Trusted blog readers, fear not; I have not forsaken you. I’ve begun a new job and still freelance on the side. So, needless to say: life is busy. Thank you for understanding.
Toxic banner from ED web site
Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of attending Environmental Defence Canada’s “eco-beauty” event in downtown Toronto.
Now, what does eco-beauty and toxic cosmetics have to do with kids’ mental health? Stay with me…
Environmental Defence puts on an eco-beauty event about once every six months. Open to the public, certified members share their wares for education and profit. And, boy were the products enticing. Vendors offered organic, non-toxic cosmetic and beauty items such as:
- Bath and hair oil and baby oil
- Body lotion
- Lipsticks, lip balms, face lotions
- Natural deodorants, hemorrhoid creams and sore throat remedies
Bloggers were also treated to a short presentation about the “toxic ten”: These are “cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting, and allergy-inducing substances that have been banned or restricted in European products that can still be found in Canadian products.”
The toxic ten ingredients include: triclosan, artificial musk, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, BHA and BHT. Find out more by visiting the ED’s page on toxins in personal care products.
Now the link between mental health and toxins? Beyond obvious concerns and links between ingesting toxins and the physical and mental health of adults, babies and children, researchers have found that triclosan is an endocrine disruptor: “substances that interfere with the body’s hormones…suppress[ing] the activity of mast cells, which are important to the functioning of the immune system.”
Evaluating all of this data leads me to re-read ingredients included not only in food and drink but also in my and my children’s shampoos, conditioners, body wash, body lotion, medicines, etc.
What about you?
Recently, I received two non-fiction children’s books written by Leanne Matlow – a counselor and workshop facilitator based in Toronto. Her two books are: Thinking About Thoughts and Tell Me!
Tell Me!, illustrated by Tamar Tal-El, focuses on the worry, anxiety and concern that sometimes consumes children and teens.
In this short colourful book, a pre-teen is worried about her twin sister, Kim. Kim is dealing with an anxiety disorder and the book cleverly and clearly illustrates how one family member’s health concerns can radiate out to affect family and friends. Kim’s sister is frustrated because although she can see that Kim is suffering and her personality has changed, no one explains what’s going on. She herself feels anxious and alone.
After speaking with her parents, our protagonist understands that Kim is having a difficult time. She begins to see a “coach” named Dr. Simon who later explains to her whole family what’s happening with Kim and how they too can help her out. “Finally, the truth!” says our protagonist.
Dr. Simon goes on to outline the four “superheroes” whom Kim uses to help stay calm and focused. They are:
1) Do-It Guy who tells us it’s best not to avoid; just give it a try.
2) Distraction Dude helps us focus on something else instead of our anxious thoughts.
3) Whoa! Man reminds us how to stop unreal, unwanted or unhelpful thoughts.
4) The Reflector assists us by reminding us of our past successes.
If your child is dealing with anxiety you may want to pick up Tell Me! and use it as a tool for meaningful discussion. Let me know if you do.
Leanne Matlow is a Professional Colleague of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and an Associate member of the Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Leanne’s blog for parents can be found at http://lmatlow.blogspot.ca.
Posted in Books, Conferences, Experts, Facts, Study, Uncategorized
Tagged anxiety, books, coach, counselor, depression, family, matlow, siblings, tell me, toronto