Resources & Tools
What the heck is ABA anyway?
When you’re the parent of a child with complex challenges, you get pretty used to acronyms. IEP … ASD … ADHD … the letter lists are endless – and can quickly get overwhelming.
So today, let’s add some meaning behind three letters that are becoming increasingly common and important in schools for children with complex learning differences, such as The Quaker School at Horsham – ABA. What is it, really?
The Keys to Success for Children with ADHD
All parents want their children to grow into successful adults. Each of us may define success slightly differently, but it’s likely that we all hope our children will grow up to be independent, responsible, self-supporting, and content. The question, when ADHD is in the mix, is how to get them there. As you’ve just read in the Introduction, ADHD comes with a group of challenges that at times may make your child’s prospects of achieving success seem somewhat dim. The impulsiveness, inattention, disorganization, deficient emotional control, and other effects of executive function deficits can make it difficult for your child to make good choices in the moment and plan for a good future, whether that’s later today or 10 years from now. How can your son or daughter get around these challenges?
My interest in the concept of resilience and the application of a strength-based approach to psychotherapy, parenting, and teaching began more than 40 years ago. Several key experiences contributed to this interest, including my role as (a) the principal of a school in the inpatient unit of a child and adolescent program of a psychiatric hospital and (b) a therapist for many children, adolescents, and adults, a number of whom were struggling with learning.
Rise Above: Second Thoughts are Better than First Thoughts
As a child and adolescent therapist, a session sometimes stars with a recounting of the day as follows: Sarah spilled her cereal this morning. “This is going to be the worst day ever!” On the school bus, her best friend had extra bags and couldn’t make room for them to sit together. Sarah simultaneously thought and muttered “Jerk!”. Arriving at school, her first class was her least favorite, math. Sarah’s mood plummeted and she talked back to her teacher. And so it went…
Teaching the Student with Inadequate Working Memory
Working memory is one’s ability to hold and manipulate information in immediate awareness. It is an imperative skill upon which many other mental processes are based. Think of it as a human’s RAM (random-access memory). Working memory has limited capacity and duration, which increase with age during childhood. The average 5-year-old is able to hold about two bits of information in mind. This increases to about four bits by age 10, five bits at age 13, and six bits by age 16-years.
The Youth Mental Health Crisis & What Parents Can Do About It
While the world continues spinning against the effects of a global pandemic that remains seemingly evasive to our efforts, a second pandemic has been inflicting our youth for much longer. Over the past decade, rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among youth have increased significantly. More recently, between 2019 and 2021, rates of depression and anxiety among children doubled, with 25% of kids reporting depressive symptoms and 20% endorsing anxiety.
According to a new 53-page advisory from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s office, America’s youth are no strangers to mental health challenges prior to the pandemic, but he says, “the COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating.”