5 Tips for COVID19/Quarantine Anxiety To Start Using Now

Jamie Frederick, LCPC

For many families, the COVID19 Pandemic has taken anxiety and stress levels to a new high. In addition, many of our go-to outlets for healthfully managing our stress are no longer available due to shelter-in-place restrictions. Homes have become our places for work, play, and school with little to no time to prepare for these changes. The good news is, there are simple things that both children and adults can do to help navigate these tough times. The five tips below can be implemented immediately and consistently across all members of the family to help offer a sense of calm in the chaos. 

  1. Focus on what you can control. When our minds wander to all the challenges facing us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, lose hope, and feel helpless. By focusing on what you can control, you regain your power and peace of mind. For example, you can’t control how others choose to respond to the crisis but you can control steps you and your family can take to keep yourselves healthy. 
  2. Begin or continue to practice yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, and gratitude. These practices are healthy and lower our stress, anxiety, and depression during times of normalcy. During difficult times, these practices become even more essential to our well being. If you don’t know where to start, YouTube has numerous yoga and relaxation videos for all ages and levels. There are many easy to use phone apps, many of which have a free version, available to teach basic meditation and relaxation techniques that all ages can do and benefit from. Finally, while it is appropriate to feel some added stress, anxiety, and fear when facing uncertainty, writing down or verbally expressing what simple things we are grateful for can help balance our emotions and focus our energy on what is important. You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to start a new family tradition around gratitude. Start today and see the benefits it can bring!
  3. Take things one day at a time. There is so much uncertainty right now; don’t add fuel to the anxiety fire by worrying about what will change tomorrow or next week. Focus on what you’d like to or need to accomplish today. Do the same for children. Also, remember to give everyone a fresh start each day, including yourself. It’s understandable to have bad days, irritability, and increased arguments with family members during this time. Each new day is an opportunity to make the most of your situation and a chance for both children and adults to find joy, be kind, and make better choices.
  4. Rely on your strengths. Look at what has worked in the past and apply it to this situation. What are ways that you and your family have successfully managed stress or anxiety in the past? Physical activity? Art? Talking with friends or extended family? Seeing a therapist? Implement what you know works. For example, maybe you can’t go to the gym to work out your frustrations and socialize/vent to friends, but you can do physical activity at home and use technology to stay connected. Your child can’t attend an art class, but now is a great time to use up supplies around the house and be creative. If seeing a therapist has been helpful for you or your family in the past to help process and cope with stressful situations, consider therapy again. Many counseling services offer teletherapy for all ages from the comfort and safety of your home, including STEPS for Kids
  5. Plan for structure and allow for flexibility. Most of us do our best when we have some kind of structure to follow, whether that’s our working hours, school hours, exercise time, family time, meal times, cleaning schedule, etc. it gives us a sense of consistency and a framework from which to build the rest of our day on. It can be helpful for all family members to have a general schedule and a daily to-do list. This provides a sense of normalcy and consistency, as well as a sense of accomplishment and control, in a chaotic time. However, keep in mind, these are unprecedented times we are living in. If your child was to complete school work in the morning and clean his room in the afternoon but wakes up eager to tackle his room. it may be wise to let him feel a bit more in control and enjoy a sense of empowerment by changing today’s schedule. If a child is having a hard day emotionally (or, if you are!), maybe a quiet day of snuggles, art, movies, and lots of reassurance is a healthier use of time.  

Whatever you do to relieve stress and anxiety, remember that you are not alone. Even though we are facing challenging times that keep us physically apart, we can be there for each other by using technology to connect and engage with others. If you are in crisis, help is available.  If you would like to know more about mental health services provided through STEPS for Kids, please contact us today.

This information provided by STEPS for Kids counselor, Jamie Frederick, LCPC. Jamie has over 9 years of experience as a counselor working with children from pre-school through high-school ages. She is passionate about supporting all children through a family-centered approach that focuses on the strengths of both the child and family while working on skill development vital for the child’s success. Jamie can help with adjustment issues, behavioral concerns, anxiety, emotional-regulation difficulty, social skills, and more. She is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and trained in play based therapy. She is available to support children, teens and adults with a variety of conditions and concerns through individual, group, and family based treatment approaches. Her services are available via teletherapy remote treatment sessions during the COVID19 Shelter-In-Place order.

School Or Clinic Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Many children with special needs qualify for therapy services in the school. Parents sometimes think that these services are enough to meet their child’s needs and do not pursue options for clinic based therapies which might greatly enhance their children’s development. Some children are struggling at home but don’t qualify for therapy services in the school. Parents may assume that their child wouldn’t benefit from therapy in a clinic setting or don’t know that this option is available. It’s important to know the difference between therapy services provided in different settings.

School Based Therapy:

  • Is provided as a related service to support the child’s participation in and ability to benefit from educational programs.
  • Is required by law to be a part of the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) when deemed appropriate by the educational team.
  • Is limited to the needs identified by the educational team and only addresses needs that impact educational performance or participation.
  • Is not provided if the child is not demonstrating a need in the school setting that requires specific therapy interventions.
  • Is subject to the limitations of service identified by the IEP and requires a team meeting to make changes, such as increasing therapy time.
  • Only occurs during school hours; often limited by school calendar and staff shortages.

Clinic Based Therapy:

  • Can be provided for any child who has demonstrated need for therapy support services.
  • Is provided in the clinic with options for home and community based services
  • Addresses the needs of the child in the context of the family, identifying strengths and supporting access to community resources.
  • Is usually covered under medical insurance plans or can be paid for privately without limitations placed by insurance providers.
  • Can be scheduled with frequency and duration most appropriate for the child’s needs with flexibility for modifying the plan as needed.
  • Clinic therapists collaborate with the schools when child is receiving both types of services, thus enhancing treatment outcomes in all settings.

Whether a child is currently receiving school based therapies or has been found not eligible for services in the school setting, clinic based therapy may be a good choice for supporting development.  If you have questions about the difference between therapy services please contact our office for more information or to discuss your child’s therapy needs.

Sensory Awareness Month: Resources and Support

October is Sensory Awareness Month! A great time to share information and advocate for those with sensory differences and sensory processing disorders which complicate participation in daily activities.  If you are looking for information on sensory processing you can follow our blog right here and follow us on Pinterest.  Here are five other places on the internet to find helpful information:

1) Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation:  This is the premier research and treatment center founded and directed by Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR.   The SPD Foundation and the STAR Center offer cutting edge information and support for parents and children coping with SPD.  Explore the latest research, take a webinar or learn more about signs and symptoms of SPD.

2) The Spiral Foundation:  Another great research and learning center with a focus on educating the community and advocating for people coping with SPD and its impact on daily life.

3) Raising A Sensory Smart Child:  The book authored by Lindsey Biel, OTR/L provides comprehensive information on what SPD is and ways to manage SPD in a variety of settings.

4) Angie Voss, OTR, author of Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signalsprovides resources, tips and information to help with better meeting your child’s needs from a sensory perspective.

5)  Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support website offers a parent’s perspective and lots of tips, strategies and equipment suggestions to guide you through the journey of parenting a child with SPD.

While virtual sites and support are wonderful, sometimes we all need a little more face to face support.  In response to our community, STEPS for Kids is pleased to announce our new SPD Parent & Caregiver Support Group that will be meeting at our Yorkville clinic on Tuesday October 28, 2014 from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm.   The meeting will be facilitated by STEPS for Kids owner/director, Debra Johnson, MS, OTR/L.  The first meeting will be organized around establishing the needs of our community and setting up regular monthly meetings for supporting parents, caregivers,  children and families affected by SPD and related conditions.

No registration is required for this event but seats are limited.                                          Please call us at 630-552-9890 to reserve your seat today!   You can contact our office with questions or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about events.

We hope you can join us for our first Parent & Caregiver Support Group and look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces!

NEW: SPD Parent & Caregiver Support Group

STEPS for Kids will be hosting the first Parent & Caregiver Support Group on Tuesday October 28, 2014, from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  The group will meet at our clinic in Yorkville and will be a source of support and education for parents and caregivers who are interested in knowing more about SPD and related conditions.

Our first meeting will include an overview of SPD and behavioral issues related to sensory disorders.  We will take time to get to know one another and gather information to help shape the focus of the group so that it meets the needs of those attending.  Facilitated by Debra Johnson, MS, OTR/L, the group will offer an opportunity to connect with others who face similar challenges everyday while learning new skills and strategies to make everyday life easier.

This support group is designed for parents, grandparents, extended family members, foster parents/guardians, teachers and daycare providers.  All who are interested and invested in the care of a child coping with the impact of sensory processing disorder are invited to attend.  The group will be meeting the last Tuesday of each month.  We look forward to providing on-going support for our community members.

There is no registration required to attend but seats are limited. Please contact the office by phone (630-552-9890) or email to let us know if you are planning on attending so we can reserve a seat for you.

SPD Parent & Caregiver Support Group

Tuesday October 28, 2014           7:30 pm until 9:00 pm

STEPS for Kids, Inc  1555 Sycamore Rd. Yorkville, IL  60560  P: 630-552-9890

 

Sensory Friendly Film Event: Saturday October 18, 2014

It’s time for another great movie in a sensory friendly environment!  Join us this Saturday October 18th for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at NCG Cinema in Yorkville.  Film will start at 10:00 am at NCG Cinema Yorkville, 1505 N. Bridge St. Yorkville.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day follows Alexander, who wonders if bad days only happen to him until the day that his whole family experiences a day just like his.  In a modern version of the children’s story, Alexander and his family learn lessons about sticking together and making the best of things.

This film is rated PG and has a run time of 1 hour 20 minutes.

Can’t make it this Saturday? Our next film is scheduled for Saturday November 29 and will be a screening of Home , the latest animated adventure from Dreamworks.

Our sensory friendly films are shown in a comfortable setting with the lights turned up a bit, the sound turned down and the freedom to wiggle around when you need to!  It’s a great way for the whole family to enjoy the movie on the big screen.  Admission is always $6 per person and group rate concessions are available (with free refills on fountain drinks and popcorn!).

Know someone who would enjoy this type of event? Please spread the word! These showings are open to the general public to benefit all.

Please let us know if you have enjoyed these movies and would like them to continue through 2015.

Contact us at 630-552-9890 with questions.

 

 

 

Next up in our Sensory Friendly Films is Planes: Fire and Rescue!

Have you had a chance to try out one of the great Sensory Friendly Film showings at NCG Cinema in Yorkville?  Now is your chance! The next special screening is Saturday June 26th at 10:00 am.  Come enjoy Disney’s latest animation adventure Planes: Fire and Rescue in an accepting and relaxed environment.  The sound is turned down a bit, the lights are left a little brighter and there is plenty of room to wiggle around.   A great chance for the whole family to enjoy a movie on the big screen together!

When you attend one of our special event film screenings, you can purchase concessions at the discounted group rate and there are always free refills on drinks and popcorn!  Tickets for the movie are just $6 per person.

Check out the full line-up of first run Sensory Friendly Films for 2014 and mark your calendars now so you won’t miss a single one!  After a break in August we will be back with Dolphin Tale 2 on September 20th.

Contact our office for more information: Phone 630-552-9890 OR  email: info@rightstepsforkids.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory Friendly Film Event June 21

Ready for another great movie in a comfortable and relaxed setting? Next up is How To Train Your Dragon 2.  Join us at 10:00 am on Saturday June 21st at the NCG Cinema in Yorkville.  Lights are turned up a bit, sound is turned down and there is plenty of wiggle room for all.  Beat the heat, get out of the rain and watch a movie with the whole family on the big screen!

How To Train Your Dragon 2 picks up 5 years after our friends Hiccup and Toothless first met. When they discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Can’t make it this Saturday? Don’t worry, we will be hosting sensory friendly films all year! Our next film, Planes: Fire and Rescuewill be shown on July 26th at 10:00 am.  Check out our full schedule for 2014 and mark your calendars for all the upcoming shows.   Admission is always $6 per person and special group concession rates are available with unlimited refills on popcorn and drinks.

All movies are shown at NCG Cinema 1505 N. Bridge St. Yorkville, IL

Call or email us for more information:  630-552-9890 OR info@rightstepsforkids.com

Kids at Work: What OT for kids is all about

April is National Occupational Therapy Month; a time to raise awareness of what OT is all about.  OTs work with persons with disabilities to improve functional skills and participation in daily tasks.  Pediatric occupational therapy is a specialty area of practice that addresses child development, activity participation and performance skills so that children with disabilities can achieve their highest level of independence and success in daily activities.

Occupational Therapy derived its name from the use of “occupation” to refer to the roles, routines and activities that we engage in.   A child’s primary occupations include those of family member (son/daughter, sibling, etc), student or learner, friend and player.  A child may also have occupations such as athlete, musician, artist, caregiver for a pet, babysitter and so forth.  Occupational therapists evaluate a child’s developmental skills and assess strengths/impairments related to their ability to participate in daily activities.  Treatment is designed to help develop skills, adapt the environment, educate caregivers and improve participation in daily activities through the use of purposeful activities that are related to the occupations of the child.  The goal of OT is to help the child progress developmentally and participate in daily occupations to their highest potential.

To the casual observer, a child engaged in occupational therapy may appear to be doing nothing more than playing.  This is because a child’s primary occupation is that of “player.” It is through play that young children learn about their world and develop skills for living.   An OT session might involve use of gross motor play like navigating through an obstacle course of climbing, crawling, jumping, swinging and rolling.  Play activities are chosen to address the needs of the child and could include fine motor activities (handling small game pieces), visual motor activities (doing puzzles, drawing), or social interaction (turn taking in a game, compromising to choose play activities).  An OT is trained to analyze tasks or activities and choose those that will be motivating to the client, can be adapted to the “just right challenge” and meet therapy goals for improving skills and function.

OT includes using treatment activities to improve skills, teaching family and other caregivers about the child’s needs, educating others about environmental modifications or task adaptations to support the child’s participation and empowering the child and family toward self-advocacy for future needs.  Therapy goals are always directed toward increasing independence not only in a specific task but in the child and family being able to meet their own needs when direct treatment is over.  Treatment in a clinic setting should always be focused on helping the child to attain a level of function where they are able to participate in home and community activities in a more effective manner so that natural developmental processes can take over.

While children may receive OT services in the school setting under an IEP or 504 Plan, it is important to note the differences between OT in an educational setting versus a clinical setting.  In the school, OT is provided to support the child’s participation in school related tasks and all services must relate directly to the child’s needs in the educational setting. Services in the school are likely to target specific skills such as handwriting or producing written work or regulating behaviors and social skills in the classroom.  This is in contrast to clinic based or “private” OT services which are not limited in the same manner. Many children receive school based services but also require additional OT services to address all of their needs.

At STEPS for Kids, our occupational therapists specialize in providing comprehensive developmental services focusing on a child’s strengths to support their skill development in other areas.   Focusing on functional outcomes as identified during the evaluation through assessment and parent interview, our OT staff uses developmentally appropriate activities to engage children in motivating play that encourages active participation and skill acquisition.  We provide parent education and support for understanding the child’s needs, accessing resources and empowering families for the future.

Wondering whether your child may benefit from occupational therapy? STEPS for Kids offers free screenings that will help you know whether a full evaluation is needed.  Please contact us to schedule a screening or ask about our services.  We are happy to discuss your concerns any time.

Looking for more information? The American Occupational Therapy Association has more information about OT as well as tips for many aspects of child development and daily activities.

It’s Movie Time! Saturday April 19th for Rio 2

Our Sensory Friendly film events are continuing this Saturday, April 19th with Rio 2.  Follow your friends from Rio, Blu, Jewel and their kids, as they face the wilds of the Amazon in this new release.   The movie will be shown with the lights turned up a bit and the sound turned down a bit, to make the experience more comfortable for everyone.  If your child needs to wiggle, that’s all right, too!  Come enjoy a movie with the whole family!

When: Saturday April 19, 2014;  10:00 am

Where: NCG Cinemas, 1505 N. Bridge St. Yorkville, IL

We hope you can join us for this or any of our Sensory Friendly Film events. Check out our full schedule for 2014 and mark your calendars!