ADHD Resources for Parents and Children: Billy Can’t Slow Down!

30 Jan

ADHD Resources for Parents and Children: Billy Can’t Slow Down!

Do you know a child who is easily distracted, has a short attention span, can’t concentrate for long on one task, and never seems to finish anything he or she starts? Or maybe you know a child who is fidgety, restless, can’t sit still, talks excessively, and is always ‘on the go’? Perhaps you know a child who is inattentive as well as hyperactive and impulsive?

Billy Can't Slow Down Front Cover

As a child psychologist, I have met many children who are struggling in school, at home, and with their peers because of their challenging behaviours, like the ones described above. Parents and teachers alike are sometimes at a loss as to how to help their child or students address these behaviours. Plus, ADHD resources for parents may seem hard to find. Continue Reading

My Child Has ADHD: Individual Learning Plans and School Interventions (Updated)

17 Oct

ADHDbyDavidCastilloDominic In a previous post I wrote about many of the challenges and issues faced by children and adolescents suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the importance of obtaining a proper diagnosis which should include psychological testing and input from teachers, parents, as well as your child’s physician. Assuming that your child has been fully assessed and properly diagnosed, the next step for you, as a parent or caregiver, is to understand what you can do to help your child cope with his ADHD at school and at home. This is where a school intervention plan that is tailored to meet the particular needs of your child becomes important. Just like each child’s symptoms and difficulties are unique to them, there is no “one size fits all” school intervention plan. Continue Reading

Sam’s Big Secret: Therapeutic Resource to Help Your Child Cope with Fear

23 Feb

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I am super excited to announce the release of a new therapeutic resource for children to help cope with fear and phobias. As you probably noticed, it has been several months since I wrote a new post. Well friends, not too long after my first authored children’s therapeutic book called When Monkey Lost His Smile was published, I teamed up again with the very talented Elaheh Bos and was hard at work at writing this new therapeutic resource which is a not only a children’s story about fear but also explains what fear is and teaches seven different coping tools on how to conquer fear. This collaborative effort is a book I am very proud of and thrilled to share as I hope it will help many children (and adults, too) feel empowered and able to overcome their fear!
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Could My Child Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

31 Jul

OCDIn my clinical practice, I have seen a number of children and adolescents who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here are different examples of how OCD presented in 3 of my clients:

(1) A 15-year old teenage girl reported that she had an uncomfortable feeling inside telling her something was not okay or not quite right. She had developed all kinds or rituals to get rid of that feeling so that she could continue on with her day. worried_teen_girl_at_homeFor example, she had to flush the toilet handle multiple times and repeatedly turn the faucet sink handles, turn the lights on and off repeatedly, check and re-check her hair iron to make sure it was off, do certain things an even number of times only, and perfectly align and order her clothes in her closet and in her drawers. Continue Reading

New Resource to Help Your Child Cope with Sadness: When Monkey Lost His Smile

25 Mar

Monkey-front-cover

You may have noticed that I have written fewer posts over the past few months. The reason is I was busy doing a very different kind of writing. I want to tell you about how I came to be the author of my first therapeutic resource book for young children on sadness.

A little over a year and a half ago, I was introduced through a colleague to Elaheh Bos, a very talented children’s author and illustrator. I collaborated with her on A spot of blue, a resource book for children (ages 4 to 8) on anxiety, gave feedback and insights on strategies to help with this emotion, and wrote the foreword. Not too long thereafter, I collaborated with her on a second project, The tiger in my chest, another therapeutic resource book for children (ages 4 to 8) on anger. For this book, I wrote the Anger Management Strategies section and I must admit that I really enjoyed the process of writing, explaining, and essentially teaching young children how to tame their anger.

Well along the way, something happened that I was not expecting. Not only did I discover a passion for writing, but I developed a desire to be the author of my own therapeutic resource book for children. Continue Reading

What to Do About My Child’s Fears and Phobias?

20 Feb

Fear_courageNot too long ago, a friend asked me for advice about how to help her 9-year old daughter who has developed a fear of death. This young girl expressed repeatedly to her mom that she was afraid her mom and dad were going to die and then what would happen to her. Her fear seemed to stem from her grandfather’s recent minor surgery but it was becoming an issue that was affecting her mood, behaviour, and sleep. My friend was concerned about how to approach this topic with her daughter as well as how to reassure and help her.

It is common for children to develop fears at different ages and the types of fears generally change over time. Importantly, fears are not necessarily bad. Continue Reading

How to Tell if Your Child or Teen Has an Eating Disorder?

31 Jan

What are Eating Disorders?

Eat_or_diet_signsEating disorders (EDs) in children and adolescents are serious psychological conditions that cause changes in eating habits and can lead to serious or even life threatening health problems.

There are three main types of eating disorders:
1. Anorexia nervosa, a condition in which a child refuses to eat adequate calories out of an intense and irrational fear of becoming fat and subsequently becomes underweight
2. Bulimia nervosa, a condition in which a child eats large quantities of food (binge eating) and then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain
3. Binge eating disorder, a condition in which a child engages in binge eating, but without purging

What are the Signs of an Eating Disorder in Children and Teens?

Eating disorders typically develop during adolescence or early adulthood. However, they can start in childhood too. They are much more common in girls, but do affect boys as well. Continue Reading

Parenting Tips: The Power of Praise and Other Positive Reinforcement

30 Dec

great-job-signPraise is powerful. It is something we all relish. Everybody likes to be recognized for what we are doing well, for our successes, and for our efforts. It feels good to be praised. Plus, we feel motivated to continue to work harder, to do better, and to achieve more. It is no different with children. Children respond positively to being praised. They thrive when their parents, teachers or coaches acknowledge their good behaviour, effort, listening, sharing, empathy, etc. Moreover, the benefits of praise include helping to build your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Continue Reading

How to Help Your Child or Teen Develop a Positive Body Image

19 Nov

Kids-sun-means-youthsWith so much talk nowadays about food, diets, shape, and weight, it can be confusing as a parent to know how to help your child develop positive feelings about their body, no matter what size they are. Body image disturbances can begin as early as preschool, and can have lasting impacts. Why is it so important for children and teens to have a positive image of their body? Because young people with a positive body image are more self-confident in general and are less likely to develop eating disorders or weight-related problems such as obesity, or other emotional problems like anxiety or depression. While body image in children and teens is influenced by many different sources – including family, friends, and the media – parents play a pivotal role in helping to promote positive body image at an early age. Continue Reading

DOs and DON’Ts When Telling Your Child You Are Getting a Divorce

30 Oct

Divorce-Sign-Post
In my clinical practice, I often see children whose parents are either separated, in the process of divorcing, or divorced (and sometimes for many years). In some cases, the conflict between the parents can be very intense and heated, and the children feel they have to choose sides. Unfortunately, these are the children who suffer the most and have a hard time coping with all the changes that occur as a result of their parents’ decision to divorce. In contrast, when the fighting between the parents subsides after the separation, the majority of children adjust to their new reality within two years. Of course, every situation is different. Continue Reading