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Mona’s Blog

The information contained on this blog is not a substitute for training, continuing education, clinical supervision, or the importance of individual consultation for each child and family. All identifying information, including names and other details, has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Robby was two years old when his dentist told his parents that it was time to lose the pacifier. Concerned at the professional’s warning that using it was causing misalignment of the boy’s jaw, they took heed and soon made it disappear.

That’s when the trouble began. Before long Robby had difficulty falling asleep. Within [...]

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It seemed like simple gesture. A college football player who was visiting a middle school spotted a red-haired sixth grader eating lunch alone, so he joined him.

Then the boy’s mother posted a photo on Facebook capturing the moment: her autistic son sitting across a cafeteria table from Travis Rudolph, the Florida State University [...]

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Thomas was proud of his young son “Roger’s” remarkable knowledge of birds. Roger’s grandmother, an avid bird watcher, had shared birding books and toy bird replicas with the boy when he was young, and he had shown such great enthusiasm for the topic that at age 3, Roger could identify more than 50 types of birds.

[...]

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Ten Things to ask for when Your Child is Diagnosed with Autism or Developmental Differences

March 15th, 2017

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As a pediatric psychologist I know that families’ journeys can be fraught with unexpected challenges. Discovering that your child has differences can be daunting. And sometimes, making sure that your child’s needs are properly met by the outside world can be even more stressful. One aspect I am especially passionate about as a psychologist is [...]

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Toddlers’ Mental Health: The Drawbacks of a Diagnosis

March 9th, 2017

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Recently a pediatrician phoned me with a concern about a three-year-old patient I see in my psychology practice. During a routine visit, the doctor said, “Karson” had bitten him.  In fact, the young child had a history of behavior problems.

“Do you think there’s a diagnosis?” the doctor asked me.

I told her I wasn’t a fan [...]

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Toddler Tantrums: Help from Neuroscience

February 20th, 2017

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Charlie’s parents felt like they were walking on eggshells.

A simple family party often set off the three year-old. The unfamiliar setting, the commotion, and relatives trying to hug and kiss the boy could easily send him into a kicking and screaming fit. Usually quiet, Charlie routinely burst into tantrums for reasons neither his parents nor [...]

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What Makes an Education “Appropriate”? Building It on Relationships

January 18th, 2017

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Every IEP team should assure that a child has the chance to develop emotional regulation through trusting relationships. Without that opportunity, meaningful learning is impossible.

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Reducing Children’s Stress (and Yours!) During the Holidays

December 16th, 2016

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It’s supposed to be a time of joyful excitement, but the truth is that the holiday season can be stressful for children and parents alike.

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Lessons from Spin Class: The Limitations of Encouragement

December 3rd, 2016

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Are we doing children a disservice by insisting on mind over matter? Some food for thought on how to tailor encouragement to suit each child's unique needs.

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Rose’s parents and teachers were concerned about how to help her find success in kindergarten. Sometimes she went with the flow but at other times Rose fussed so much that she disrupted the whole class.

Then her teachers devised a plan that everyone thought would help. They designated a small, separate section of the classroom [...]

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