Only four more days to go!
As much as I love to write, blogging every day for 30 days isn’t always fun and comes with its own stress. Still, I’m happy to report that I only missed one day of blogging and now have a great deal of content to look back on and share with readers, editors and friends.
Today I want to do a round up of some of my favourite and the most popular posts on Kids and Mental Health:
For Extreme Parenting Read The Glass Castle – I’ve read this blisteringly honest memoir a few times. It’s a true story that you’ll never get out of your head once you’ve read it. Trust me on that.
Can Children Be Hoarders? – This is by far the most popular post on my blog. I hadn’t realized that children can also have hoarding tendencies. Guest poster Janine Adams outlines how hoarding can start and what to do about it.
Is Your Kid’s Glass Half Full? This is also a popular post based on parents’ ability to influence positive thinking in our children. Not always easy to do when you’re tired or not feeling so positive yourself.
What topics would you like to see explored on this blog?
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.
Posted in Conferences, Experts, Facts, Family, Home, Parenting, Services
Tagged about, ADHD, alternative health, anxiety, behaviour, brain, CADDAC, CADDRA, child's voice, creativity
Today my partner and I ventured down to The Beach (or Beaches) – a gorgeous, popular strip of boardwalk, beachfront and shops along Lake Ontario.
The weather was perfect for people-watching, froyo, listening to music, walking the long stretch of boardwalk and petting the myriad dogs who accompanied their owners on this beautiful sunny day.
Canines of all kinds were in abundance – dachshunds, German Shepherds, dalmatian puppies, golden retrievers – you name it, we saw ’em. As much as I’d love to get a dog and one day I will – I’ve already promised my kids – we currently have a fantastic, clever cat whom everyone adores.
Not only are pets fun and playful (and I lot of work of course), studies show they’re good for both children’s and adults’ mental health.
Image from Animal Planet
While it seems counter-intuitive, the dander and bacteria from pets can actually help babies develop their immune systems.
By exposing children to various pet allergens, some allergies and diseases like asthma can be avoided.
Owning a pet also breeds empathy, compassion, love, friendship and key social skills.
What does the special furball, fish or ferrat in your life do for your family? Can you imagine life without Fido?
I’m sad to say I missed a day of blogging yesterday. Dock me ten points during the blogathon. ):
Ironically, I missed posting because I was attending a parent advisory board meeting for a mental health organization and passed out cold when I got home around 9 pm. This was the first meeting of a newly configured board of (mostly) women whose families are affected by mental health challenges.
One issue that always comes up when talking about mental health intervention is waiting lists. The waiting list is the torturous reality that most, if not all, parents and children face after contacting a government-run mental health care agency.
Rarely will a child be seen right away. If there’s a real crisis (and we joked last night about the clinician’s version of crisis versus the family’s version), families can head to their nearest ER and be seen within a few hours.
However, most families require short or long-term counselling and programs for their child in addition any crisis intervention.Because waiting lists are so long (many people wait 1o months or more before their first appointment), frustration, sadness and stress ensues.
What can be done? I’ll be posting more about Ontario’s changing mental health strategy (of which I have some insight) in the coming months. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) also has a decent list of ideas for children and families currently on waiting lists, including:
- Checking in frequently with your family doctor
- Putting your child or youth onto other lists for services in your community/city
- Taking advantage of any employee insurance or private services (which can often happen within days) available
- Spending good quality time with your child
- Getting enough rest and having fun with the whole family in order to reduce stress
We have a long, long way to go before lists can be cut down to more reasonable wait times. Parents and kids with mental health challenges have enough on their plates and sitting on a waiting list for months at a time does nothing to counteract that frustration.
Posted in Books, Experts, Parenting, Peer relationships, Services, Study
Tagged about, alternative medicine, CHEO, child's voice, counselling, frustration, services, wait list for mental health services, waiting lists