Mr. Wonderful Meets Niloo

Niloo! What a wonderful talk we had. She met Mr. Wonderful and there was just this instant connection between them. You would never know that she does not typically work with children since he took to her like a favorite stuffed animal!

We spent about an hour reviewing his past medical history, medications and therapies he has tried to manage his issues and she was overwhelmed and concerned about some of the past efforts made to help him. Of course early on when we began searching for answers as to why he was delayed in his crawling and then walking they automatically ruled him “autistic” — there was some testing done and yes, he did not seem to be as engaging as other children, but I never felt he was.

imagesWith that diagnosis came the drugs. And lots of them. He hated them – and so did I.

They made him groggy and not himself. He would just want to lay around and do nothing. I wanted my normal active baby back. Although he was not crawling and doing some things that children his age were doing, he still had a boatload of personality and the drugs took all that away. It was nice to have a doctor tell me that she felt the drugs were not the right route for him! I already love her.

We spent a good part of our time just going over past behaviors and she took some time to really sit with him and get to know him. By the time our consultation was done she felt strongly that we can continue our sessions via Skype so that we did not have to trek into the city too often. We are country bumpkins as you know and the big city is kind of scary for a small town couple like us!

Going forward we are going to try and start weaning Mr. Wonderful off his drugs. We are going to begin with some cognitive behavioral therapy which the Dr. seems to think will have wonderful benefits for him. He is a bit older now and she seems to feel that maybe some of his bad treatments from past doctors have caused him more harm than good.

It is the first time in a long time I actually feel in sync with a doctor and feel like she really cares and is not just in it for the money!

So we are now off to a wonderful afternoon in the city — hopefully Mr. Wonderful can keep his calm in this big wonderful city!

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Just A Shout Out!

So I have been back from a vacation for a couple of weeks now and it was amazing! I cannot put into words how much it was needed and how we enjoyed this time together. Although we did miss our son immensely – and of course worried whether grammy could handle him for the whole time we were away, it was time that was much needed to give our marriage a much needed kick start.

While we were away we did receive daily texts – of maybe more than daily about Mr. Wonderful, and overall it looks like he did a great job without us. I have to thank Grammy for being the patient loving grandma that every kid deserves. I am not sure how I can ever thank her enough for all the love and devotion she shows Mr. Wonderful even when he is at his worst. They have a true connection that I will never take for granted.

2 Dogs Design NJ Based SEO and Web Development AgencyAnother person I have to send a special shout out to is my friend and supporter Jill over at 2 Dogs Design. She handles my websites for me, yes I have a few, and while I was away there were some major issues with some spamming and some kind of attacks on my websites. I got a text from my hosting company about this and of course stressed. But when I reached out to Jill – she was already on it – but somehow that does not surprise me. I have been working with her for years on several web design projects – and although now she primarily focuses on SEO and Digital Marketing with her NJ business 2 Dogs Design, she is always there to help me out when I need it. By the time I reached out to her my site had been locked down and all issues that may have led to catastrophe where taken care of.

I love her.

We have a big doctor appointment this week for Mr. Wonderful – it is with a Psychotherapist in NYC – her name is Niloo and our initial call went very well. Although children are not her primary focus – she does have experience and felt confident that she could offer some tips and help with our unique situation. We are willing to try anything at this point.

Well, off to do some pumpkin picking with my men! Have a great day everyone!

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A Vacation? Why, Yes Please!

I could not be more thrilled at the moment! I cannot really remember the last time my husband and I took a trip alone together! Really, I can’t!

So with our anniversary just around the corner – someone decided to surprise me, and what a surprise it was! 3 days and 4 nights in beautiful Aruba! Just me – and him basking in the sun, drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them and lots of sleeping! As you can imagine having a son with so many behavioral and mental issues can be draining – on everyone in involved. I wish I could say our marriage is a perfect specimen, but um, no that is not the case. We love each other – a lot – but having a child with so many difficulties can push any person to their brink of destruction. There are days we both wanted to just run away – but we didn’t – we are here.

We love our son. He can be charming and personable, he is super smart and loves to entertain us. But he can also be destructive and angry, and we never know just what can cause these outbursts. He has trouble expressing himself we have been told, and that is what often causes his anger. We are working on it.

But these things can take a toll on a marriage and make it become more of a job than a partnership. We have really put our marriage on the back burner as we spend most of our time at doctors, psychologists and just trying to stay sane.

Luggage Reviews From Best Luggage StopSo, a vacation? Why, yes please!

I am buying some new clothes and researching some luggage options. How said that we have had not purchased a suitcase – ever? That is right we have no luggage of our own, since we never imagined traveling. Taking a peak at Best Luggage Stop where they do a great job of showing the best luggage available and all the luggage reviews for the top brands has me dreaming of this trip and already planning our next one.

Oh, and if you are wondering about Mr. Wonderful – well he will be in loving hands with grammy! We try not to have her take care of him too often because he can be such a handful, but my hunk of a husband and I need this trip – desperately! Who knows, maybe Mr. Wonderful will become a big brother on this trip – is it in the plan?

For now adios!

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Will Play Therapy Work?

Dealing with a child with issues like social anxiety disorder and autism are a challenge I cannot even put into words. Leaving the house can sometimes feel like a futile effort that is not worth it. With that said, Mr. wonderful and myself tend to have a lot of quiet time at home – that seems to give me the most peace and seems to be when he is at his happiest. We do of course try to keep him socialized and have a few close friends that do come by with their kids, and that usually (note I said usually) goes well, but can sometimes lead to quite the meltdown as well – unfortunately, I have no way to know which way it will turn out!

Thankfully, I have great and super understanding friends.

Then, a miracle happened.

In one of the forums I am active on, one of the moms noted they tried something called play therapy for her autistic daughter. I had never heard of it but figured that could never work for Mr. wonderful given his fear of people. But this mom, whom I know has a daughter with very similar issues as my son, took the chance and after only 4 sessions claims her daughter has shown incredible improvement in her social skills. I of course was a non-believer. Although I do not completely understand the process, I figured it was worth checking out and learning more.

I did a quick search and found this article which was interesting:

Then I wanted to see if I could find something that actually showed play therapy in progress – this video has me even more intrigued!

Thankfully I live in the wonderful world of NYC, which has ample opportunity to help my son – but why has no one notified me of this option? Countless doctors, psychologists and testing we have been through and not one person suggested this for my son. Maybe they thought he could not handle it or would not be a good subject for this kind of treatment? Either way – as a desperate mom, I had to try it.

So, the search began for a new child psychologist that was willing to give my Mr, wonderful the chance he deserved. I began the dreaded search for a play therapy group in NYC – but how would I choose? I called a few that came into the results but did not get the warm and fuzzies. Finally after several frustrating calls, I found Dr. Rosenthal who runs a variety of groups just for kids, including a play therapy group in NYC just for kids like Mr. wonderful! Click here to see all the great things he offers for kids with behavior or social skills issues.

So our initial consultation is scheduled – and I am excited to see what he says and where we can go from here.

If I don’t get out of this house soon I may burst! Wish me luck!


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Psychological Effects of Moving on Children

Moving is hard. Whether you are an adult or a child, the thought of moving to a new neighborhood or even a new state can be traumatic. But as an adult you have better mechanisms for handling the stressors – your kids, not so much. There are a lot of components that can affect your child’s reaction to a move – including reason for the move, distance, personality and family unit. Studies have found that children who move due to military requirements can often adapt well because of the tactics used by the military to help families adapt and because other children are in the same boat and can also adapt.

Child Stressed With MovingChildren moving due to a corporate move, family finances or divorce are often more distressed by the relocation. Because of the stressors that probably took place in the home prior to the move, that just adds to the angst of the child in regards to the move. A study done by the Journal of Social and Personality Psychology notes that frequent moves are tough on kids and on introverted children the results are worse. The study has shown that children who moved a lot struggle to make lifetime friendships causing them to score lower on well-being and life satisfaction. Clearly the long term affects can be huge.

If a child is already dealing with stress such as job loss, divorce or extreme fighting – this can make the move itself that much worse on a child. They can exhibit fits of anger, defiance and become more anti-social during this time.  Dr. Joshua Rosenthal, a NYC based child Psychologist, offers social anxiety disorder treatment for children and has seen the affects a move can have on children. “If you are dealing with a child who already has some social anxiety or can be introverted in social situations, I highly recommend that after the move has taken place – a parent reaches out to a local child therapist to help ease the transition. Sometimes a social skills group or cognitive behavioral therapy can help a child rework their thinking and help them see the new opportunities from the move as a good thing or something to be excited about.” states Dr. Rosenthal

The best way to help your child better handle the move is to show them that you are a strong family unity! Support each other and your child, listen to their fears and worries and help them overcome them. Even in cases of divorce, if the family can come together and work together for the sake of the children, they will be better able to adjust to their new surroundings.

Make the move a sense of adventure for the kids! We know you are stressed and can tend to snap during this trying time, but the more fun you can inject into the process – the better for your children. Show them you are excited – talk about all the great things the new neighborhood has! Are their great parks, are the schools amazing with great new programs, is it a kid friendly environment? If your kids are sports nuts you can talk about all the great teams in the area that they can join – the point is to find their trigger that makes them happy and explain how the move will make that happy trigger go off!

Do not be afraid to reach out to a local realtor for tips as well. No one knows your new area better than a realtor – so ask is they can help you come up with a list of things that will get the children excited about moving to their area. Jack Green, a Monmouth County, NJ realtor adds, “We try to talk to our clients about all the great things that are available in our area for our families. We provide them a list of the beaches, amusement parks, programs and more that are available for their kids. Because we are so strongly family oriented we feel it is our duty to help our clients help their children to adjust, and by letting them know how great our Jersey Shore is – it helps them feel excited about getting here!”

You can also read a great article that the NY Times did on this subject. Their findings show that there is a pretty significant long term affects on those with certain personality type – so it is important to address those before the move! Some great information there as well!

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Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder Naturally

Do you have a child that is dealing with emotional disorders? Is oppositional defiant disorder an issue your child is dealing with? Being a child is hard enough, but when you couple that with the endless list of disorders that can affect their day to day life, you have challenges that can really put your child and your family to the test.

Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder NaturallyOppositional defiant disorder (ODD) can cause disruptive behavior at home, in school or just about any public area. It can seriously impact a child’s ability to interact with their peers and educators in a positive way in turn causing long term emotional issues. Many doctors when diagnosing a child with ODD automatically turn to drugs as a treatment, but they may not always be the best alternative. Drugs can have severe side effects – both emotionally and physically which could make your child even more miserable. Because every child is different in how they react to drugs, it is important to closely monitor whether the drugs are working enough to help their ODD symptoms to warrant them taking them.

There are a variety of therapies and techniques that can be used to replace the drugs that can give your child a whole new outlook on life! Drugs can alter the mind and cause other issues, but these therapy procedures can help rework the issues that your child has that is causing the unwanted behaviors.

Dr. Rosenthal, a licensed child psychologist based in NYC, offers the following treatments for children dealing with emotional issues such as ODD, social anxiety disorder, eating problems, sleeping problems and so much more.

1) Group Therapy – by immersing your child in a group of children that are in their own age range we can help them learn to socialize better with their peers in a more natural environment. Typically when a child is taking part in group therapy they are also receiving individual therapy which results in a much higher improvement rate.

2) Social Skill Training – in social skills training groups their are goals that are set for each child and through the use of drawing, role-play, discussion and sharing of experiences children can learn to overcome barriers to their social skills. These groups help children deal with anxiety, depression and help them learn to express feelings, problem solve and other issues such as aggression. With this type of therapy often the parents are met with as well to help them continue working with their children on the techniques they learned in the group therapy.

3) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – this type of therapy focuses on finding the faults in your childs thinking that is bringing on the bad behaviors and then works on changing those thoughts. This treatment is a short-term treatment where everyone involved works together to identify and meet specific goals and objectives. Thought monitoring, activity management and response prevention are some of the treatments within CBT Therapy that will help your child learn to define the issues and control them before negative behaviors begin.

4) Family Therapy – because some children have emotional issues because of the family dynamic, it is important to have family therapy sessions to ensure everyone understands the issues and goals. It offers the opportunity for children to express themselves in a more neutral environment and allows the therapist to see how the family unit works which in turn will allow them to better help your child. Hidden anger or pent of thoughts can be set free in this therapy will adults, siblings and the child with the issue be more open and able to better handle conflict. By building a stronger family unit – many behavioral issues can be resolved.

Although we understand in some cases that drugs are the only option, we sincerely hope most families will consider reaching out to their closest child psychologist for a full evaluation. Ask about the therapies available that can best help your child and work with the psychologist closely on a program that they create just for your unique situation.

If after trying the therapies there is no major improvement, then it is time to consider the use of drugs in conjunction with the therapy.

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Drugs or Therapy? Which is better for children?

It seems everywhere you turn these days drugs are being prescribed for children for everything from common colds to anxiety and even depression. It seems when I was a child – kids did not have depression at the rates they are today – which I think is interesting in itself. Is the world that much more difficult? Are parents being more critical and have higher expectations than those from 40 years ago? We cannot be sure but children are being treated for emotional and mental illnesses at a higher rate than ever before – now the question is, do natural treatments and therapies work or are drugs always required?

Choosing Drugs or Therapy For KidsIn studies that have been done – it has been shown that even three years after starting treatment for attention deficit disorder, children can continue to see improvement in the symptoms that they are experience. Contrary to what most people believe, medications have shown to not have those long term affects and ultimately when the medication stops it seems the symptoms eventually reappear. With so many available therapies these days including behavioral therapy, cognitive therapies, play therapies and more – we do recommend that you try therapy before medication for any behavioral issues your child or teen may have.

When deciding which route to to take for your child – of course it is critical to take into account what your doctor or therapist is recommending, but you as the parent should give thought to your child’s specific needs.

When deciding whether to use medication – please consider these items:

1) MONITORING – you should closely monitor your child if you decide to go the medicinal route. Children can have side effects from some drugs and it is important that when they start a new drug you are available to monitor their well being and report any negative reactions to their doctor.

2) TIME – just because your child gets started on medications it does not mean you need to keep them on it forever. It is OK to test it and see how it works. After time if all seems to have improved, then ask your doctor about reducing the prescription and work on weaning your child off.

3) CO-TREATMENT – we believe this is critical! Medication is great, but when combining it with therapy – then  you know your giving your child the best opportunity for a long term resolve to his issues. By working with a child psychologist who specializes in therapies that help various issues – you can help your child improve to a point where medicines will no longer be required to manage their issues.

If you are not sure if your child has behavioral issues and would like to get some feedback before making a call to a doctor, you can do a quick web search. We like Wikipedia personally, but there are many great sites to assist you. Be sure you are using a credible website for your searches though!

What do you think – drugs or therapy? Which has worked for you?

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