Monday, April 23, 2012

Using an ADHD rating scale

          As many as 3-9% of school aged children in the United States suffer from ADHD.  The use of an ADHD rating scale can help practitioners with the diagnosis for ADHD.  An ADHD rating scale can be filled out by any two different people who see the child on a regular basis in two different settings.  Most popular choices are parents and teachers.  There are a number of ADHD rating scales available; this is an example of one of them.

by Kristin Petersen


Supporting the use of an ADHD rating scale are the following resources:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anxiety Body Signals in Children

Children seen in a mental health setting have an estimated occurrence of anxiety between 12-20% (Carter, 2010).  Often feelings of anxiety and its concurrent physical discomfort  can cause feelings of fear and confusion which may cause children to have avoidant or distracting responses. 

The therapeutic treatment in relation to anxiety in children and having primary efficacy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  In the preliminary phase of CBT treatment, psycho-education, the clinician can assist the child to identify their body’s signals when anxious.  By being able to focus on their body’s responses to anxiety (e.g., which signals are the strongest and most noticeable) they become more self-aware and able to promptly use calming or relaxation techniques. 

The below-referenced articles provide more research regarding up-to-date information about anxiety and  children, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches, intervention techniques and applicable worksheets. 

Click here for a worksheet for discussing anxiety body signals with children.  This worksheet appears in the book called Anxiety by Stallard, referenced below.

by Tara Shirek

  1.  Carter, S. Managing anxiety in children. (2010). Retrieved on April 14, 2012 from:
  2. Jongsma, A. E., Peterson, L. M., & McInnis, W. P. (2006). Eating disorder. In T.J.Bruce (Ed.), The adolescent psychotherapy treatment planner (4th ed., pp. 109-117). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Beidas, R.S. , Benjamin, C.L., Edmunds, J.M., Kendall, P.C., Puleo, C.M. (2010) Flexible Applications of the coping cat program for anxious youth. Cognitive Behavioral Practice 17(2): 142–153. doi:10.1016/j.cbpra.2009.11.002.
  4. Stallard, P. (2009). Anxiety: Cognitive behavior therapy with children and young people.  Routledge, London.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reducing Pica Behavior

   Studies have found that some children may engage in Pica behaviors, because they receive an oral stimulation from the texture of the inedible item.  The use of a Pica Box follows this theory and attempts to replace inedible items with items that are edible, but have the same texture as the inedible item.  The video will demonstrate how to use a Pica Box to help reduce Pica behavior in children.  It will give examples of edible items that can be exchanged for inedible items and it will also give examples of verbal cues that can be used when intervening with the Pica behavior.

The linked articles below provide more information and research on the concept of exchanging edible items for inedible items to help reduce Pica behavior.

by Cassandra Dale

  1. The Use of a Pica Box in Reducing Pica Behavior in a Student with Autism
  2. Reducing Pica Behavior by Teaching Children to Exchange Inedible items for Edibles

Managing Anger- Exploding Balloons

by Amanda Gustafson

     Often times, children and adolescents are not taught the coping skills necessary to manage anger.  It may be common for them to be told their behavior is “unacceptable” in how they react to the situations in which they experience anger.  These children then hold in their feelings and as their anger builds inside, they explode, just like an overfilled balloon, when acceptable coping strategies are not utilized in their anger management.  Through this exercise, these children and adolescents are shown a symbolic example of what happens when anger is kept inward.  Through this example and discussion of alternative coping strategies, counting back from 10, relaxation techniques, thought stopping, etc.; more appropriate  behaviors will be learned and reinforced as the child begins to better manage feelings of anger.

Source: Lauren Snailham Published in Creative Family Therapy Techniques Edited by Lowenstein, 2010

Kendall, P. (Ed.). (2011). Child and adolescent therapy: Cognitive-behavioral procedures. Guilford Press.

Miranda, A., & Jesús Presentación, M. (2000). Efficacy of cognitive‐behavioral therapy in the treatment of children with ADHD, with and without aggressiveness. Psychology in the Schools37(2), 169-182.

Zeman, J., Cassano, M., Perry-Parrish, C., & Stegall, S. (2006). Emotion regulation in children and adolescents. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics27(2), 155-168.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Feel Good Files- a Self-esteem intervention

    Children of varying ages including adolescents can benefit from creating a “Feel Good File.” The primary goal of creating this type of file is to encourage positive self-talk through the identification and verbalization of positive self-qualities. This activity provides a child with an opportunity to focus on their strengths while learning how to release negative self-thoughts and images by focusing on positive affirmations.  The feel good file can be used in the therapeutic setting as well as within the child’s home. The child can also learn how to use their file on their own and continue to add to the file over time. This video will demonstrate how to create and use a feel good file with a child in a therapeutic setting.        

by Shawna Hall

Clin Child Psychol Psychiatryvol. 13 no. 3 395-407

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

1-2-3 Intervention for Autism to increase communication

   The intervention that is used in the video is the 1,2,3 intervention designed to help children with Autism. The intervention helps children learn eye contact, gestures and words. This helps children improve quality of communication and social interaction. The intervention also seeks to help parents reduce stress dealing with lack of communication.

by Kellyn Morlock

Wong, Virgina and Kwan, Queenie. (December 18, 2009). Randomized Controlled
                    Trial for Early Intervention for Autism: A Pilot Study of the Autism 1-2
                    -3 Project. Journal of Autism & Development Disorders. 677-688.