Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Experiences

Well this week has been off to a great start! Residency 1 program in San Diego CA has started today and will continue till Friday. Had chance to go out with my kids today exploring the San Diego area.

The Welcome meeting in a room with 450 PhD scholars was exciting but overwhelming at the same time. The Cohort socialization and College Colloquium was a much smaller group that will be meeting with most of the week in sessions. My group is the Human Services group and it seems that I am the only one here for my specialization (Disaster, Crisis Intervention). I can already tell that I am going to learn many things this week. Learning outcomes have been given and as stated "you get want you put into this week" spend this time learning and collaborating with other scholars in your field and others, making connections and building professional relationships.

New word of the day (for me) Zemiology -http://www.reference.com/browse/zemiology

Sessions start tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. so signing off for the night!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

News from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children

Here we are in the season of wishes. For traumatized children, and indeed for all, there are some very special hopes that are dearer to their hearts than any other gift.

Today, we focus on 3 Wishes of Wounded Kids:

1) Notice me – Often a child’s biggest worry is feeling alone after having been through a trauma. Check in with them often, say a random “I love you”, and give daily doses of quality connection time. Make frequent eye contact, and find those “meaning moments” throughout the day.

2) Understand me – Remember that to be understanding, we don’t have to understand exactly what the child is going through. Be willing to listen, acknowledge, and affirm that they are having a hard time, and create learning space for them to “teach” you what life is like for them. Invite them to share with you and help them feel safe to do so.

3) Soothe me – Create opportunities to engage their senses in soothing activities. This means using sensory descriptive words, physical affection that engages the instinctual part of the brain, and even fun activities with soothing scents, sights, and sounds. Use music, soft blankets, and “quiet lights”, especially at bedtime.

Kids who have experienced trauma want nothing more than to feel safe and establish a new sense of normalcy in their worlds. The above reminders can help, and you will have given them a gift that will last them forever – confidence, connection, and hope. Be well on your journeys and best wishes to you all during this holiday season! ~ Cherie Spehar

Sunday, July 31, 2011

10 Ways to Ease Your Child's Transition Back to School

10 Ways to Ease Your Child's Transition Back to School

For most young children, going back to school is both an exciting and anxiety-provoking transition. Whether your child is going to school for the first time, relocating to a new school, or returning to the same school, these tips will help you prepare your child for a smooth transition!
1. Visit the school. Take your child to the school a few times to build a sense of familiarity. Point out the places or things that might be of interest to your child, such as the playground, auditorium, and cafeteria.

2. Have play dates with new classmates. This will help your child feel comfortable with other kids in the class.

3. Don’t overemphasize the positive. Highlighting the positive aspects of school is helpful, but try not to overemphasize them because this may create unrealistic expectations for your child.

4. Prepare your child for the first day. Tell your child about the daily routine and help them make a mental movie of the day.

5. Don’t try to fix their fears. If your child feels nervous about going to school, don’t minimize or try to fix their feelings. This may cause them to think their feelings aren’t acceptable. Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them know they are normal.

6. Make goodbye easy. When you drop off your child, don’t draw it out. Try to keep your goodbye short and simple. Also, don’t talk about how much you will miss your child.

7. Start getting into a routine. Sometimes structure falls out of place during the summertime, so you can prepare your child for school by implementing a regular bedtime and other routine habits.

8. Give your child choices. Not going to school isn’t an option, but you can still give them a sense of control with other choices. For example, you can let them choose some of the foods in their lunch box.

9. Play it out. Use dolls and toys to tell a story about going to school. This can be done in a few minutes before bed for a week or two before school starts, and it will help your child know what to anticipate and establish predictability.

10. Ask the teacher for help. If your child has trouble adjusting to school, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher for extra support and assistance.

Most children will weather the transition of going back to school just fine, but some may have prolonged difficulties. If your child continues to struggle after the first few weeks of school, consider talking with a professional about it!


Amy Wickstrom, PhD, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor

For all you parents out there with children headed back to school this week. Yes that is right some schools in Oklahoma start tomorrow August 1st!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Did You Do at School Today?

Every day parents ask their children what they did at school. Every day students answer, "Oh, nothing." Try asking these specific questions to get real answers.

What was something nice you said to a friend today?

What did you do in math?

What good book did your teacher read to you today?

Who did you play with today?

What was your favorite part of the day?

How are you going to make tomorrow even better?

What centers did you go to?

Who did you sit beside at lunch?

What was the "special" class you had today? (PE,Art,Computers, etc)