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Partners in your child’s wellness

Dr. David Callies, Child & Adolescent Psychologist
 

Welcome to Gyro Psychology Services!

We provide psychological testing, assessment and treatment services to children, adolescents, young adults and families with a wide variety of mental health and behavioral needs. Gyro Psychology Services is committed to providing effective and compassionate psychological care that is grounded on sound research, practice and discipline.

We’ll collaborate with professionals who are involved in your child’s health care and education so that your child can reach their full potential in all areas of their lives.

Join us! We would be honored to be your partner in the behavioral healthcare of your child, adolescent and your family.

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GYRO’S DAILY WELLNESS TIP

Getting Involved in Your Child’s School

Whether their kids are just starting kindergarten or entering the final year of high school, there are many good reasons for parents to volunteer at school. It's a great way to show your kids that you take an interest in their education, and it sends a positive message that you consider school a worthwhile cause.

Many schools now have to raise their own funds for activities and supplies that once were considered basic necessities, and parent volunteers are essential to organizing and chaperoning these fundraising events and other school activities.

Reasons to Get Involved
Parent volunteers offer a huge resource and support base for the school community while showing their kids the importance of participating in the larger community.

Not only will the school reap the benefits of your involvement — you will, too. By interacting with teachers, administrators, and other parents on a regular basis, you'll gain a firsthand understanding of your child's daily activities. You'll also tap into trends and fads of school life that can help you communicate with your kids as they grow and change (all without intruding on their privacy or personal space).

Even if you haven't been involved in the past, it's never too late to start. In fact, it may be more important than ever to get involved when kids reach secondary school. Some parents may experience "volunteer burnout" by the time their kids enter high school or decide that the schools don't need them as much then. Many parents who volunteered a lot of time during their kids' elementary years return to full-time careers by the time their kids are teens, so there's often a shortage in the secondary school.

Finding the Right Opportunity
One of the best starting points for getting involved is a parent-teacher conference or open house. These are usually scheduled early in each school year, and are a great opportunity to approach your child's teachers or principal about volunteer involvement.

If you have something to offer, or if you just want to help out in whatever way you can, discuss the possibilities with teachers, who might arrange something with you personally or direct you to a department head or administrator who can answer your questions and make suggestions. It's also a good idea to join the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or parents' advisory council.

Here are just some of the ways a parent volunteer can help:
~Act as a classroom helper
~Mentor or tutor students
~Help children with special needs
~Volunteer in a school computer lab
~Help organize, cater, or work at fundraising activities
~Act as a lunchroom or playground monitor
~Help to plan and chaperone field trips and other events
~Help to plan and chaperone in-school events
~Organize or assist with a specific club or interest group
~Assist coaches and gym teachers with sports and fitness programs
~Help the school administrators prepare letter-writing campaigns
~Attend school board meetings
~Work as a library assistant
~Sew costumes or build sets for theatrical and musical productions
~Work with the school band or orchestra
~Help out with visual arts, crafts, and design courses and projects
~Hold a workshop for students in trade or technical programs
~Spend some time with a specific club or interest group
~Volunteer to speak in the classroom or at a career day
~Supervise or judge experiments at a science fair

Remember that not everyone is suited for the same type of involvement — you may have to "try on" a number a few activities before you find something that feels right. If you're at a loss for how you can help, just ask your child's teacher, who will likely be glad to help you think of something.

Getting Started
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when signing up to volunteer:

Make it clear before you begin just how much time you're willing to volunteer. Even stay-at-home parents don't have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer — many parents have other activities and interests, as well as other kids to care for. Don't be afraid to say no if you're being asked to do more than you feel comfortable with — just try to say it early enough so that someone else can be found to take your place, because many trips and activities can't be taken unless the school has a certain number of chaperones or supervisors.

Start small. Don't offer to coordinate the holiday bake sale, the band recital, and a swim meet all at once. If you've taken on too much, find out if you can delegate some duties to other interested parents.

Don't give your child special treatment or extra attention when you're volunteering at the school. Follow your child's cues to find out how much interaction works for both of you. Most kids enjoy having their parents involved, but if yours seems uncomfortable with your presence at the school or with your involvement in a favorite activity, consider taking a more behind-the-scenes approach. Make it clear that you aren't there to spy — you're just trying to help out the school.

Get frequent feedback from the teachers and students you're working with. Find out what's most and least helpful to them, and ask what you can do to make the most of the time you spend on school activities. It's important to keep the lines of communication open among teachers, administrators, students, and volunteers, and to be flexible and responsive as the needs of the students and the school change.

Remember that volunteering not only benefits your kids, but will enrich the classroom, the whole school, and the entire community by providing students with positive interaction, support, and encouragement.

And don't underestimate the students — you may feel that what you have to offer might not interest them or might be above their heads, but you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. You'll help build skills, confidence, and self-esteem that will last beyond their school days.

Courtesy of KidsHealth & D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
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3 days ago  ·  

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GYRO'S DAILY WELLNESS TIP

The Teen Brain

Here is a YouTube video narrated by two comedians about the developing teen brain. This might help parents who have difficulty understand why their teen does what they do and normalize their behavior a bit.

Sorry about the before and after advertisements.

With Warm Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services


www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KQb3Mx2WMw
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4 days ago  ·  

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GYRO’S DAILY WELLNESS TIP

Connecting With Your Preteen

Staying connected as kids approach the teen years and become more independent may become a challenge for parents, but it's as important as ever — if not more so now.

While activities at school, new interests, and a growing social life become more important to growing kids, parents are still the anchors, providing love, guidance, and support.

And that connection provides a sense of security and helps build the resilience kids needs to roll with life's ups and downs.

What to Expect
Your preteen may act as if your guidance isn't welcome or needed, and even seem embarrassed by you at times. This is when kids start to confide more in peers and request their space and privacy — expect the bedroom door to be shut more often.

As difficult as it may be to swallow these changes, try not to take them personally. They're all signs of growing independence. You're going to have to loosen the ties and allow some growing room.

But you don't have to let go entirely. You're still a powerful influence — it's just that your preteen might be more responsive to the example you set rather than the instructions you give. So practice what you'd like to preach; just preach it a little less for now.

Modeling the qualities that you want your preteen to learn and practice — respectful communication, kindness, healthy eating, and fulfilling everyday responsibilities without complaining — makes it more likely that your son or daughter will comply.

What You Can Do
Small, simple things can reinforce connection. Make room in your schedule for special times, take advantage of the routines you already share, and show that you care.

Here are some tips:

Family meals:
It may seem like a chore to prepare a meal, particularly after a long day. But a shared family meal provides valuable together time. So schedule it and organize it just as you would any other activity. Even if you have to pick up something pre-made, sit down together to eat it. Turn off the TV and try to tune out the ringing phone. If it's impossible to do every night, schedule a regular weekly family dinner night that accommodates kids' schedules. Make it something fun, and get everyone involved in the preparation and the cleanup. Sharing an activity helps build closeness and connection, and everyone pitching in reinforces a sense of responsibility and teamwork.

Bedtime and goodnight:
Your child may not need to be tucked in anymore, but maintaining a consistent bedtime routine helps preteens get the sleep needed to grow healthy and strong. So work in some winding-down time together before the lights go out. Read together. Go over the highlights of the day and talk about tomorrow. And even if your preteen has outgrown the tuck-in routine, there's still a place for a goodnight kiss or hug. If it's shrugged off, try a gentle hand on the shoulder or back as you wish your child a good night's sleep.

Share ordinary time:
Find little things that let you just hang out together. Invite your preteen to come with you to walk the dog. Invite yourself along on his or her run. Washing the car, baking cookies, renting movies, watching a favorite TV show — all are opportunities to enjoy each other's company. And they're chances for kids to talk about what's on their mind. Even riding in the car is an opportunity to connect. When you're driving, your preteen may be more inclined to mention a troubling issue. Since you're focused on the road, he or she doesn't have to make eye contact, which can ease any discomfort about opening up.

Create special time:
Make a tradition out of celebrating family milestones beyond birthdays and holidays. Marking smaller occasions like a good report card or a winning soccer game helps reinforce family bonds.

Show affection:
Don't underestimate the value of saying and showing how much you love your preteen. Doing so ensures that kids feel secure and loved. And you're demonstrating healthy ways to show affection. Still, preteens may start to feel self-conscious about big displays of affection from parents, especially in public. They may pull away from your hug and kiss, but it's not about you. Just reserve this type of affection for times when friends aren't around. And in public, find other ways to show that you care. A smile or a wave can convey a warm send-off while respecting boundaries. Recognize out loud your child's wonderful qualities and developing skills when you see them. You might say, "That's a beautiful drawing — you're really very artistic" or "You were great at baseball practice today — I loved watching you out there."

Stay involved:
Stay involved in your preteen's expanding pursuits. Getting involved gives you more time together and shared experiences. You don't have to be the Scout leader, homeroom mom, or soccer coach to be involved. And your child may want to do more activities where you're not in charge. That's OK. Go to games and practices when you can; when you can't, ask how things went and listen attentively. Help kids talk through the disappointments, and be sympathetic about the missed fly ball that won the game for the other team. Your attitude about setbacks will teach your preteen to accept and feel OK about them, and to summon the courage to try again.

Stay interested:
Stay interested and curious about your preteen's ideas, feelings, and experiences. If you listen to what he or she is saying, you'll get a better sense of the guidance, perspective, and support needed. And responding in a nonjudgmental way means your child will be more likely to come to you anytime tough issues arise.

Courtesy of KidsHealth & D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
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4 days ago  ·  

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GYRO’S DAILY WELLNESS TIP

For Teens: I Bullied Someone. How Do I Apologize?

First, be proud of yourself for changing. It's not easy to admit that you bullied someone or to stop once you start. And it takes a lot of courage to try to make up for past bullying behavior.

Offering an apology to someone you've bullied is a great first step toward starting over. If you can, take him aside and say, "I want to apologize for my actions last year." Being authentic and speaking from the heart can help. Tell him, "I feel really bad for what I did. It's been on my mind all summer."

People who are bullied often have difficulty trusting others, especially the people who have bullied them in the past. So don't expect the other person to automatically accept your apology. For instance, he might ignore your apology, yell at you, or even tease you.

Be patient. You've probably heard that "actions speak louder than words." So after offering words of apology, you then need to show him that you've really changed: Be kind and helpful to him and others. Over time, he should get the hint that you've changed — then you can both move on.

This will take time. To get past any ups and downs, it can help to focus on two things: First, what you're doing takes courage and you can take pride in the fact that you are taking real steps to change. Second, whatever happens, you're building some good skills and learning more about yourself and the kind of person you want to be.

Courtesy of D'Arcy Lyness, PhD & KidsHealth
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6 days ago  ·  

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GYRO’S DAILY WELLNESS TIP

Delayed Speech or Language Development

Knowing what's "normal" and what's not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.

Normal Speech & Language Development
It's important to discuss early speech and language development, as well as other developmental concerns, with your doctor at every routine well-child visit. It can be difficult to tell whether a child is just immature in his or her ability to communicate or has a problem that requires professional attention.

These developmental norms may provide clues:

Before 12 Months
It's important for kids this age to be watched for signs that they're using their voices to relate to their environment. Cooing and babbling are early stages of speech development. As babies get older (often around 9 months), they begin to string sounds together, incorporate the different tones of speech, and say words like "mama" and "dada" (without really understanding what those words mean).
Before 12 months of age, babies also should be attentive to sound and begin to recognize names of common objects (bottle, binky, etc.). Babies who watch intently but don't react to sound may be showing signs of hearing loss.

By 12 to 15 Months
Kids this age should have a wide range of speech sounds in their babbling (like p, b, m, d, or n), begin to imitate and approximate sounds and words modeled by family members, and typically say one or more words (not including "mama" and "dada") spontaneously. Nouns usually come first, like "baby" and "ball." Your child also should be able to understand and follow simple one-step directions ("Please give me the toy," etc.).

From 18 to 24 Months
Though there is a lot of variability, most toddlers are saying about 20 words by 18 months and 50 or more words by the time they turn 2. By age 2, kids are starting to combine two words to make simple sentences, such as "baby crying" or "Daddy big." A 2-year-old should be able to identify common objects (in person and in pictures), points to eyes, ears, or nose when asked, and follow two-step commands ("Please pick up the toy and give it to me," for example).

From 2 to 3 Years
Parents often see huge gains in their child's speech. Your toddler's vocabulary should increase (to too many words to count) and he or she should routinely combine three or more words into sentences.
Comprehension also should increase — by 3 years of age, a child should begin to understand what it means to "put it on the table" or "put it under the bed." Your child also should begin to identify colors and comprehend descriptive concepts (big versus little, for example).

The Difference Between Speech and Language
Speech and language are often confused, but there is a distinction between the two:

Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes articulation, which is the way sounds and words are formed.

Language is much broader and refers to the entire system of expressing and receiving information in a way that's meaningful. It's understanding and being understood through communication — verbal, nonverbal, and written.

Although problems in speech and language differ, they often overlap. A child with a language problem may be able to pronounce words well but be unable to put more than two words together. Another child's speech may be difficult to understand, but he or she may use words and phrases to express ideas. And another child may speak well but have difficulty following directions.

Warning Signs of a Possible Problem
If you're concerned about your child's speech and language development, there are some things to watch for. An infant who isn't responding to sound or who isn't vocalizing is of particular concern.

Between 12 and 24 months, reasons for concern include a child who:
~isn't using gestures, such as pointing or waving bye-bye, by 12 months

~prefers gestures over vocalizations to communicate at 18 months

~has trouble imitating sounds by 18 months

~has difficulty understanding simple verbal requests

Seek an evaluation if a child over 2 years old:
~can only imitate speech or actions and doesn't produce words or phrases spontaneously

~says only certain sounds or words repeatedly and can't use oral
language to communicate more than his or her immediate needs

~can't follow simple directions

~has an unusual tone of voice (such as raspy or nasal sounding)
is more difficult to understand than expected for his or her age. Parents and regular caregivers should understand about half of a child's speech at 2 years and about three quarters at 3 years. By 4 years old, a child should be mostly understood, even by people who don't know the child.

What Parents Can Do
Like so many other things, speech development is a mixture of nature and nurture. Genetic makeup will, in part, determine intelligence and speech and language development. However, a lot of it depends on environment. Is a child adequately stimulated at home or at childcare? Are there opportunities for communication exchange and participation? What kind of feedback does the child get?

When speech, language, hearing, or developmental problems do exist, early intervention can provide the help a child needs. And when you have a better understanding of why your child isn't talking, you can learn ways to encourage speech development.

Here are a few general tips to use at home:

~Spend a lot of time communicating with your child, even during infancy — talk, sing, and encourage imitation of sounds and gestures.

~Read to your child, starting as early as 6 months. You don't have to finish a whole book, but look for age-appropriate soft or board books or picture books that encourage kids to look while you name the pictures. Try starting with a classic book (such as Pat the Bunny, in which your child imitates the patting motion) or books with textures that kids can touch. Later, let your child point to recognizable pictures and try to name them. Then move on to nursery rhymes, which have rhythmic appeal. Progress to predictable books (such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear) that let kids anticipate what happens. Your little one may even start to memorize favorite stories.

~Use everyday situations to reinforce your child's speech and language. In other words, talk your way through the day. For example, name foods at the grocery store, explain what you're doing as you cook a meal or clean a room, point out objects around the house, and as you drive, point out sounds you hear. Ask questions and acknowledge your child's responses (even when they're hard to understand). Keep things simple, but never use "baby talk."

Whatever your child's age, recognizing and treating problems early on is the best approach to help with speech and language delays. With proper therapy and time, your child will likely be better able to communicate with you and the rest of the world.

Amy Nelson, MA, CCC-SLP& Kids Health
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1 week ago  ·  

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