Tag Archives: social

SNAP to it!

Stop Now and Plan program logoWhat if, when confronted with a stressful or contentious situation, instead of instinctively fighting or fleeing, we made the decision  to SNAP – stop now and plan?

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Alas, if it were, there were be a lot less brutality and trauma in this world. SNAP was developed in the 1970s at the former Earlscourt Child and Family Centre, Toronto, Canada (now called the Child Development Institute). The program teaches children to come up with positive and proactive strategies and is aimed primarily at kids under the age of 12 who experience behaviour issues.

A more formal definition from the SNAP web site: It is a cognitive-behavioural strategy that helps children and parents regulate angry feelings by getting them to stop, think, and plan positive alternatives before they act impulsively.

More key info:

  • SNAP is available across Canada and is utilized by social workers, psychologists, parents and teachers in Australia, the U.S., Sweden and the Netherlands.
  • Its emotional regulation techniques are universal but social workers do tweak the program to accommodate clients in different regions/cultures.
  • Dr. Leena Augimeri, SNAP’s co-creator, explains that behaviour can’t be changed overnight but the techniques help clients to “slowly undo and unwind”.
  • The program is free of charge for clients who meet the SNAP criteria!

“Families are the key to success,” explains  Dr. Augimeri. However, she understands that sometimes “families are depleted and have nothing else to give...” Based on this, SNAP staff work with what/who they have in the program.

I was wowed by the awards and honours bestowed upon SNAP and its creators.

  • Just recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented SNAP with the inaugural Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award. SNAP won in the category of Social Innovator in Ontario.
  • Last month, Dr. Augimeri was the recipient of the 2012 Elizabeth Manson Award for Community Service in Children’s Mental Health from the Department of Psychiatry at The Hospital for Sick Children.

If you know a child who fits the criteria outlined in the SNAP model, I urge you to read up on this fantastic program. If it’s not available in your area, try asking your local social services agency to adopt it or contact the CDI or Children’s Mental Health Ontario for more information.

Results of CADDAC’s Parent Survey on ADHD

Follow the path to enlightenment

Just yesterday CADDAC released its first-ever Canadian parents’ survey on ADHD. It was conducted between June and December of 2011.

The online survey had 735 respondents and focused on gathering information from parents and caregivers about their experiences with ADHD, the educational system, assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

I will interview  Heidi Bernhardt, President & National Director, CADDAC, in the near future about these results but, in the interim, here are some of the most interesting (to me) findings:

  • 18% of participants have more than one child with ADHD
  • 27% of respondent’s children (RC) waited more than 1 year for an
    ADHD assessment from a qualified medical professional
  • 73% of RC are on medication; 15% receive behaviour therapy
  • 92% of RC had difficulty staying focused at school
  • 48% of RC have difficulty making & keeping friends
  • 55% of parents feel they have not received sufficient information on ADHD from the physician treating their child

These are just a few of the highlights.  The full published study is available on CADDAC’s web site. To be honest, none of the results are surprising to me as the parent of a child with ADHD but they may astonish and surprise some teachers/administrators/school boards/physicians.

I will post more findings as well as the interview in the next few days. In the interim, please feel free to leave your comments and questions here.

Expert Guest Post on Math Anxiety

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Math for Grownups

I’m thrilled to have Laura Laing guest post on my blog today. Laura encompasses an almost unheard of quality – a professional writer who’s also good with math. In this post Laura expertly walks us math-phobes (parents and kids) through the dark, mysterious world of numbers.

If you’re interested in reading about my history with math anxiety, check out my guest post on Math for Grownups X to the Power of Huh? Or, How Math Anxiety Almost Ruined My Life.

Raise your hand, if any of these statements describe you:

“I was no good at math in school.”

“The thought of doing any kind of math makes my hands sweat and my heart beat faster.”

“I’m worried that my child will feel nervous and not confident in math class.”

Anyone identify? Heck, I do, and I’ve got a degree in math education and make a living writing about math—for parents, schools and average, everyday folks. Fact is: math makes lots of people squirm.

And I’m guessing that most of you know this is not a good thing. Math is an important and absolutely necessary tool. But what are we supposed to do about our lack of confidence or anxiety? And how should we help our kids avoid these awful feelings—or worse become truly math anxious? Read on.

Watch Your Language

Ever find yourself saying, “I’m no good at math”? If so, stop it.

Our kids really do listen to what we say. And as much as we might think otherwise, they aspire to be like us. So when they hear us say we don’t like math or aren’t able to do simple calculations, guess what? They take on those characteristics themselves.

But that doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with math or lie to your kids about what you understand. Try these responses on for size: “Math isn’t my favourite subject, but it’s really useful” or “I don’t know the answer; let’s find out” or “I have trouble doing math in my head, but I’m trying to get better at it.”

Consider this: Would you ever say, “I’m no good at reading”? Probably not. And most likely, you’d cringe if you heard your child saying the same.

Insert Math Here

All of us parents know how to raise young ‘uns who love to read, right? We start by filling their nurseries with books and reading to them, faithfully, every single day. But math is a little tougher.

Or is it? Fact is, it’s pretty darned simple to sneak in some math that builds numeracy (the math form of literacy) and helps fend off math anxiety.

With little kids, count everything, point out geometric figures and ask which things are bigger or smaller. With older kids, put a pile of change on the table and ask what the total is. Encourage your child to read a digital and analog clock. Do projects that require math: build a birdhouse, plant a garden or sew a pillow. (And check out Bedtime Math for a daily age-appropriate math question that you can ask your kids.)

In other words, demonstrate the math in everyday life and let your kids see you doing math. Make math ordinary and necessary.

Be a Parent, Not a Teacher

It’s tempting to purchase workbooks and flashcards. But the real truth is this: everyday math is a much more powerful tool. And hopefully that bit of news is a big relief.

Unless you are your child’s teacher, you really don’t need to take on that role. For once in your life, you can do the fun stuff that really builds confidence and ability. For example, if your child is confused about a concept, ask her to explain what she understands to you. Having her teach you is a great way for both of you to learn.

During homework time, there are some really important questions you can ask your child, like “How did you get that answer?” In this way, you’re instilling a critical truth: math is more than the outcome; it’s the process. And you’re demonstrating that you care about what’s going on in her head.

Talk It Out

Just like with other childhood anxieties, it’s important to listen to your child talk about his feelings. They may seem overwrought or irrational, but research shows that simply letting those emotions out can greatly reduce math anxiety.

It’s also critical to speak with your child’s teacher. You’re not necessarily looking for any special accommodations here, but you do want the teacher to be alert to any problems in the classroom. And if you worry that she is sending the wrong messages, let school administrators know. Unfortunately, research shows that girls can learn math anxiety from their female elementary school teachers.

The more matter of fact you can be about math—whether it’s homework or everyday math—the better off you and your child will be. So make an effort to deal with your own math fears, as well as your child’s. It’s an investment that will pay off for both of you.

Author of //rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?ref=qf_sp_asin_til&t=kidsmentalhea-20&m=amazon&o=15&p=8&l=as1&IS1=1&asins=B0057RIVYS&linkId=db05138c9b36b50a8b6e945ca0eef38f&bc1=ffffff&lt1=_top&fc1=333333&lc1=0066c0&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Math for Grownups, Laura Laing blogs at www.mathforgrownups.com and is the math expert at MSN.com’s Mom’s Homeroom. A self-proclaimed math evangelist, she asserts that math doesn’t have to be your BFF, but you can get along in public!

Note: The above Math for Grownups link contains an affiliate link meaning that if you purchase the book using the link above, I may receive a commission.