Finding the Right Mental Care Health Professional

Frank Ridge Memorial FoundationJoin the Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation for their 3rd Annual Symposium

The Duke Ellington Room
400 West 43rd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY
Sunday, September 17, 2017
12:30 – 4:00pm

This FREE Half-Day Event Features:

  • Lively panel & participant discussion
  • A silent auction of art created by people with metal health conditions & entertainment industry memorabilia
  • Healthy refreshments catered by Fountain House

RSVP Required:

Download a list of other Frank Ridge Memorial Foundations seminars for 2017.

 

Register for Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation Seminars

Frank Ridge Memorial FoundationRegistration is Now Open for May & June Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation Seminars

Explore the Unexplored: about Tourette’s, Anorexia and OCD

When: Saturday, May 6, 1:00 – 4:15 pm – 3 CEs
Cost: $60

The Internet & Mental Health

When: Super-Monday-Full-Day seminar, May 15, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm – 6 CEs
Cost: $150

Connecting Dots Too: Focus on Children, Adolescents & Families

A 4-part mental health film series – 12 CEs for the series*.

When: 4 consecutive Saturdays – June 3, 10, 17 & 24; 1:00 – 4:15 pm
Cost: $225 per person for the complete series

*All 4 seminars must be taken for series credit.

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Don’t Pay Attention to: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

As a Pre-School Consultant, I design school wide systems to ensure systemic behavioral intervention plans (BIP), consistent with behavioral interventions known as applied behavior analysis (ABA)for children. The design of the interventions is consistent with New York State, State Education guidelines. It is important that all Teachers regularly assigned to the classroom are trained in any child’s BIP. This includes all related service providers as well as substitutes and floaters. This is no easy task as it requires a commitment from the whole team including administration. Too often neglected are the parents. Working in the classroom with parents helps but at home it is even better.

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Atlas Camp Days

Atlas is aware that there are no vacations from Autism or learning opportunities! They offer families a reprieve and students a place to come that is both fun and supportive. Learn more about their Camp Day, April 10th to April 18th.

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Change

Dear Parents and Colleagues:

Why is a discussion about change necessary? When and why do things change? It is often said: “The only constant in life is Change”.

For children life is constantly changing. They are constantly changing due to their developmental maturing. Their physical and cognitive skills are constantly in flux and as such their perception of the world changes and evolves. As they develop, our perceptions and expectations of our children change as well. Change can be a good thing, fixing something, making it better, it can be a bad or sad thing, such as loosing someone you love. In most cases, change can be perceived as having both positives and negatives, some known and some unknown. Change can cause anxiety if we have fears, worries or concerns as we don’t always know what is going to happen when things change.

In our school, all year we work setting up routines and schedules, to provide consistency for each of our children so that they come to feel comfortable by knowing what to expect. We provide as best we can, consistent expectations. Each teacher and related service provider are part of the schedules but they provide more than consistency, they should be providing emotional constancy. This means that as teachers we provide care in terms of love and support and each of us in our own way become attached to the child as the child becomes attached to us.

Beginning in December of each year we start preparing the paper work for our aging out children; our children turning five years of age, “T5s”. By the end of January, the paper work is done. But the real challenging tasks in preparing our children for kindergarten is just beginning. Our T5s need to be prepared for change as do our children within our school, who are changing teachers and/or classrooms, aging up from 3 to 4-year-old classrooms.

During the period, February through September we must be aware that all of us are going to be dealing with changes in our jobs, who we work with respect to colleagues and losing the children we have come to care for and love. Many of us don’t like change and prefer not to talk about it. But talking about moving on, change, in life is part of life. Weather we talk about it or not, change and loss happens. As teachers, it is our responsibility to talk about it and be aware of the children’s feelings. As parents, teachers and clinicians it is important to let the children know as best we can what is going to happen to them. It is important to find out what they are thinking and feeling about moving on to the “big school”. What are their fears and thoughts? Are they excited about meeting new people, making new friends, being with an older sibling at the “same school”, meeting new challenges and mastering them? Are they feeling scared and/or sad about losing teachers they have come to know and love?

As we know sometimes our children cannot speak well due to developmental delays. But even typical children will have difficulty talking about change and loss depending on the parenting and/or social environment. If children cannot talk about things, they may well act out. This leads us to our children who have behavioral challenges and trying to understand the “communicative function of the behavior”. (That is, what is the child trying to tell us by acting the way they do?)

It is a good idea to start talking about change in general and perhaps making changes in routine and schedule so it can be experienced and talked about.

What do you do if the child says he does not want to go to a new school or change something? We can ask why and try and get to the feelings and thoughts. We can then validate them. If they don’t want to leave you, we can understand, by being empathetic. Emphasize new teachers and others will care for him or her. Make new friends and learn about new people. Perhaps take pictures of you and the child so they can take that with them. Don’t make false promises about seeing them after they leave, they must learn to deal with the change and loss. If you speak honestly about the future and the loss, that will take them a long way in preparing them for whatever reality they are going to face. Thinking about the positive things in the relationship they have had with you, thinking about and feeling the good feelings inside in their heart and mind will be a way of coping with change in the future.

As always, I am available for consultation.

Adam J. Holstein, P.D., L.P.

Psychoanalyst/Behavior Therapist

Cell: 516.297.5705

www.BehaviorTherapists.org

 

The Motivator is the Reinforcer

Adam J. Holstein, M.S., P.D., L.P.
Certified School Psychologist
Behavior Therapist
Licensed Psychoanalyst
Office: 516-297-5705

Intervention is a matter of Perspective, Understanding and Training.

I was sitting in an Intermediate Care Facility many years ago. The Individuals were moving to a new home and an Aquarium with a ¼ of the water was sitting there with fish waiting to be moved as well. The water was dirty as the filter was unplugged. Present with me was an Occupational Therapist and Nurse. The Nurse commented that the dirty water was unhealthy, the Occupational Therapist O.T., indicated she was thinking there was not a lot of room to move about and I as the psychologist commented that they might be getting claustrophobic! (We each bring our own bias and perspective.) It is important to have a common language across disciplines such that interventions for any child be as consistent as possible. In my work in pre-schools, schools and programs under the auspices of the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, OPWDD, I train teachers, clinicians and staff to understand these basic principles.

Applied Behavior Analysis is a tool/process that all of us are subjected to from birth and all of us are utilizing in our interventions with the children we teach and care for.

I believe human behavior and child development are inextricably intertwined. As such any intervention with a child is a highly complex task and one that is further complicated by the fact development is fluid (changing from moment to moment) as are the dynamics between teacher/clinician/parent and child.

I do not believe anyone intervention is the correct intervention for all children. There is simply too much we do not know. When it comes to a child having a disability or life challenge understanding a child becomes ever more complicated. Each child’s development is like a fingerprint. Understanding what part of a child’s development is biological and what part is learned is one of the major challenges in addressing a child’s needs and/or challenging behavior(s). Adjusting the interventions to be consistent with overall cognitive abilities, speech, receptive and expressive, gross and fine motor, sensory and social emotional development is critical to successfully helping the child realize his or her potential.

As a behavior therapist and psychoanalyst my bias and interventions focus on the social/emotional and behavioral needs of the child as a whole. In my limited understanding of the other disciplines I do my best to integrate the interventions being utilized in my behavioral treatment plan to support the child’s needs in each domain and to facilitate generalization of skills learned and those being taught.

My position here is to help address the social/emotional and behavioral needs of the child. To do that I integrate the teams understanding of each child’s behavioral/social emotional needs and development. To simplify this complex process, I begin by breaking down my understanding of a child’s behavior into 5 basic categories which then fantail into each discipline of a child’s development.

By performing a Functional Analysis of Behavior (FBA) the motivation of a challenging behavior, or any behavior for that matter, is understood. Behaviorally speaking most behavior is broken down into 4 basic categories and a 5th complex category. (Depending on your perspective any of the motivators are complex.) As they say; “Nothing in life is simple!”

As I delineate the following motivators, be mindful of the title, namely the Motivator is the Reinforcer!

1. Sensory in-put: Here I defer to our OT’s and PT’s and always seek to integrate a sensory diet into the behavioral program. It is critical to meet the sensory needs as an elemental level of development. If the child is not able to organize his or her world neurologically through the various sensory modalities, the child’s ability to understand his world and attend to the world will be compromised. The inability to organize the world and perceive the world and/or attend to objects in the world impacts on all areas of development. This includes the child’s ability to organize caregivers as meaningful people and establish a warm trusting relationship, which impacts on a child’s ability to separate from parents and/or transition from one place to another and feel safe. When designing any behavior program, I want to make sure the sensory needs are being addressed as best as possible, in treatment, in the classroom and home. My goal as much as it is feasible is to rule out sensory needs / rule out the communicative function of acting out, as motivation for the behavior. Conversely consistent with the O.T. and Physical Therapist, P.T., recommendations Sensory in-put is provided either at fixed intervals during the day and/or provided as a Reinforcer for appropriate/desired behavior(s).

2. Attention: is the second most basic need children have behaviorally speaking. We are all aware of the condition called Marasmus which is defined as:

Psycho-social deprivation is very common. Such neglect is not the same as abuse, although they are often said together. Unresponsive and apathetic children can inadvertently have their needs neglected. Neglect is usually failure of the two-way communication between the mother and child – not a willful act on the part of the mother. Mothers may not know how to care properly for their children. This is particularly common when the mothers were themselves neglected as children (so it is thought of as normal behavior) and where experienced elders are not present to teach the new or young mother. Fathers, through ignorance, often make such demands upon the mother that the child is neglected. All who are dependent on others for food and care are likely to suffer from neglect. Children in schools, hospitals and orphanages, the mentally ill or disabled, prisoners, and the elderly are particularly at risk.” From: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/unicefprotect/marasmus

The contingent use of attention, in particular eye contact, holding, vocalizing, verbalizing and care through the consistent and constant emotional environment as well as ensuring health (bodily safety) and routines are all a critical structures which are part of caring, loving and attention. All of these components are interacting in microscopic and macroscopic ways shaping and forming feelings, behavior and personalities.

So when we are saying; “Oh he is acting out for attention.” We are stating that we are failing the child by not giving him enough attention AND/OR not giving him enough attention in whatever from, when he is behaving appropriately. So it is up to us to change our behavior. We have to ask ourselves, dynamically speaking; “Why would we give the child what he wants by his inappropriate behavior?” Again, we have to change our interaction(s) such that we are giving the child attention, when he or she is demonstrating the desired behaviors, thereby reinforcing these behaviors. (The Motivator is the Reinforcer!)

3. Tangible Gain: is where the child has learned that by acting out, yelling and screaming or demonstrating other challenging behaviors, he or she will get what he wants in terms of tangible objects. Examples of this can be seen in the supermarkets where a child will be yelling, screaming, falling to the floor (or worse) in order to get the food, candy or toy they desire. The parent in order to escape the embarrassment or not upset the child gives the child what he wants. This is true too of teachers and clinicians in schools and private practice. Here we want to provide the desired objects when appropriate behaviors are demonstrated. (The Motivator is the Reinforcer!)

4. Escape: is where the child gets out of doing something, a task or activity by demonstrating his challenging behavior. This can be an extremely challenging motivation, because once the child escapes he is reinforced. So here we have to be mindful to keep the demands limited with respect to level of difficulty and/or duration. Set goals within the child’s current ability and reinforce with escape or time to do as he or she pleases.

If life were so simple there would be no challenging behaviors. However, where Applied Behavior Analysis falls short too often, not all the time, is understanding the feelings behind the behavior(s) being demonstrated. This falls into the communicative function of the behavior, which in part includes the above motivators but something else. What is the child or person trying to tell us they are feeling?

5. The Communicative Function of Behavior: What is the child trying to communicate to us. What is his or her needs and/or feelings? Here the child’s level of speech development both receptive and expressive is critical. How do we communicate with the child our expectations, and how do we enable the child to communicate to us his or her needs and feelings?

In my Behavior Intervention Plans there is a direct line between our understanding of a child’s motivation and reinforcement for appropriate behaviors and a means to appropriately communication of his or her feelings and/or needs. There are proactive interventions and reactive interventions. It often boils down to; “Catching the child when he is Good!” Increasing the physical, social, verbal, tangible reinforcement when they are being good.

How much of any behavior we see is part of any given diagnostic category and how much is learned in the environment? This is also a critical line to understand and address. We also have to be mindful that any given behavioral challenge or behavior, has multiple motivations and teasing these out and addressing the need(s) is the science and art of a skilled clinician.

I am available to meet with school directors, clinicians in private practice and parents to discuss their needs and how to better serve the children they care for. I have offices in Manhattan and Great Neck. I provide staff training and consultation to schools and programs under the auspices of OPWDD.

 

NAA Golf Outing to Support the NY Metro Autism Community

I am on the board of the National Autism Association New York Metro. NAANYM is an all-volunteer organization providing an incredible array of services and advocacy – most at no cost – to individuals with autism, their parents and caregivers, and the professionals who support them in the NY metro area.  Visit the NAANYM website to learn more.

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1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Many of us have family members who are affected and the odds are, if you don’t have an affected family member, you probably know someone affected by autism.

To continue to serve the NY Metro autism community we need your support!

On July 21, 2016, we are having a golf outing at Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale. If you are a golfer, come out – it should be a fun day for a really good cause. And there are other non-golfer options – yoga, tennis, swimming, or even just dinner. Of course, we are also happy to receive donations in any amount and there are specific sponsorship opportunities as well. All donors will be acknowledged at the event. Information about the event, registration and donation is here: http://nationalautismny.org/take-swing-at-autism/

Thank you so much for your support!

 

Parenting Maladaptive Behavior & How to Get School District Funding for Behavioral Intervention

Thursday, April 7, 2016

379 West Broadway, NYC 10012, 5th floor

Small steps lead to big behavioral changes.
Let’s take some small steps together.

Presented by:

beigel walsh

Light refreshments will be served.

 

 

Parent-Child Conflict: Are You Part of the Problem or the Solution?

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Great Neck SEPTA (C.H.I.L.D) Invites You to Join Us!

Monday December 7th @10:30am
Saddle Rock School (Library)

We each bring to parenting our own childhood experiences and expectations of how we envisioned parenthood. However, our children are not us. Raising a special needs child brings on unanticipated challenges and stresses both between parents themselves and children.

Examples of strategies that will be discussed include:

  • How to accept that your job as a parent isn’t going to make your child happy
  • How to discern when your child’s behavior is a true challenge vs. unwillingness
  • How to parent mindfully when what you expect may not be realistic
  • How to negotiate with your child from their reality
  • How not to play good cop/bad cop with your parenting partner/spouse
  • How to nurture your child’s independence vs. dependence

Speaker: Adam J. Holstein, P.D., L.P.

Mr. Holstein has been involved in the field of early childhood development and education for 30 years. As an experienced psychoanalyst and behavioral consultant, he works closely with children,
families and schools to develop comprehensive, integrated and systemic programs.

Please contact or with any questions. All are welcome!

 

Support Group for Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs

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The National Autism Association is excited to announce the return of our
Manhattan-Based Monthly Evening Support Group for Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs

with our new moderator
Adam J. Holstein, P.D., L.P.

Monday, December 7, 2015
7:00pm to 8:30pm
at
Atlas Foundation for Autism
252 W. 29th St., 3rd Floor (off of 8th Ave.)
New York, NY 10001

PLEASE NOTE: THIS GROUP IS ONLY FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS but we have many events for others connected to the autism community as well!

The support group is moderated by Adam J. Holstein, PhD, LP. He has a Master’s degree in School Psychology from St. John’s University and a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Yeshiva University. Mr. Holstein obtained his license as a Psychoanalyst after graduating from the Washington Square Institute for Psychoanalysis and Mental Health. He has been involved in the field of early childhood development and education for 30 years. In this time, he has worked in therapeutic schools, daycare centers, private homes, and private practice settings. The primary focus of his professional career has been on assisting families whose children demonstrate behaviors that interfere with the learning process, particularly those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder.

Space is limited for the support group sessions.

Please RSVP to and you will receive a confirmation email back. We will send out a monthly reminder. Please remember to RSVP each month. Please indicate in your RSVP that you are attending the Queens group.

After the December 2015 meeting, Mr. Holstein will go to a “first Monday of every month” schedule. While we will make every effort to adhere to our “first Monday of the month” schedule, please understand that there may be times when the moderator needs to reschedule a meeting. If this occurs, we will post any changes to our website and notify directly (by e-mail) those who have already sent us an RSVP for that meeting.

If you would like more information, please visit the NAA NYM website. Please circulate this invitation to family, friends, and colleagues.

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