Saving the CHIP Program

Saving the CHIP Program

Many people may not be aware but there is a program called CHIP which provides life saving medical care for children whose parents make to much to qualify for Medi-Cal. Many middle class or lower middle class families make to much to qualify for Medi-Cal. However, they do not make enough to pay for health insurance or what their insurance does not cover. The CHIP program helps parents pay for their child’s life saving surgery or medication.

It is in danger of being cut due to Trump’s proposed income tax program. Due to cutting the tax rates on corporation and lowering the tax bracket for people who make more than a million dollars a year, there are not enough funds to cover this program.

For this to happen in the United States is insane. We are supposed to be the super power in the world and the United States is supposed to be the advocate for human rights. We go to counties which violate human rights and threaten to impose sanctions. However, in our on country we are violating the rights of children to life saving medical care. This is the first time that this program is in danger of being cut.

Jimmy Kimmel discusses this issue on his show. His son was born with a life threatening heart condition and has needed several surgeries. He can afford it, but he has seen many families who cannot afford their child’s health care. Please watch this video of Jimmy Kimmel with his son so you can really understand this issue. Here is how Jimmy Kimmel explained this very serious situation https://youtu.be/yqulWPljawo.

If you have a child or care about children call your Congressperson and Senator and urge them not to pass income tax reform without the CHIP program.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who has 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com.

Advertisements

Facts about Twice Exceptional Children

Facts about Twice Exceptional Children

Many parents are very happy to hear that their child has been classified as “gifted.” They assume that their child will do very well in school and have a very bright future because they are “gifted.” While “gifted” children may excel in certain academic areas, often they have difficulties in other social situations or academic areas. These children are called twice exceptional children. Research by John Hopkins estimates that one out of five children are twice exceptional or 2E which is a more common term. Therefore, John Hopkins estimates that there are approximately 700,000 2E children in the United States.

Wikipedia defines 2E children in the following way:

A 2e child usually refers to a child who, alongside being considered gifted in comparison to same age-peers, is formally diagnosed with one or more disabilities. Although 2e can refer to any general disability, it is often used to refer to students with learning disabilities, although research is not limited to these areas, and a more holistic view of 2e can help move the field forward. The disabilities are varied: dyslexia, visual or auditory processing disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sensory processing disorder, autism, Asperger syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, or any other disability interfering with the student’s ability to learn effectively in a traditional environment. The child might have a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or diagnoses of anxiety or depression.[6] Often children with 2e have multiple co-morbid disabilities than present as a paradox to many parents and educators.

Many people may find this hard to believe, however, as a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and teenagers, I have seen many “gifted” children who do have the disabilities listed above. A common issue I have encountered is that “gifted” children often have difficulties making friends and dealing with social situations. If they had not been classified as “gifted”, parents would see that they do meet the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome. Another common issue I have seen in psychotherapy with “gifted” children is that they have difficulties organizing their ideas and maintaining sustained attention. These children meet the criteria for ADHD.

One of the primary difficulties for these children is since they have been classified as “gifted,” many schools do not want to offer support services for a “gifted” child who has ADHD or a processing problem. Because they are not receiving the academic support they need, many of these children suffer with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. I have seen this many times with “gifted” children that I see for psychotherapy. It also creates a great deal of stress for the parents. They can see their child is having difficulties and the child is complaining about difficulties, but the school tells the parents the child is doing fine because they are “gifted.”

The research from John Hopkins University shows us that the two are not mutually exclusive. A child can be “gifted” in one area and have a learning disability in another area of life. Therefore, a “gifted” child may need a 504 plan or an individualized educational plan (IEP). Therefore, if you are the parent of a 2E child and you notice that your child is having difficulties at school, do not be afraid or nervous to advocate for your child. To make this easier, I have included a link which discusses misconceptions about 2E children, 7 Myths About Twice-Exceptional (2E) Students http://u.org/2hp0dNU. I am also providing a link to a newsletter for an organization which helps parents with 2E children and advocates for them, https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwiv8PmrxYDYAhUH6oMKHbmyD10QFggiMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.2enewsletter.com%2Farticle_2e_what_are_they.html&usg=AOvVaw35GmKdn_P9FJzqMBPkMMrD.

If this sounds like your child do not panic. Arrange to have your child evaluated by a mental health clinician who is familiar with 2E children. They can help you develop a treatment plan and let you know if your child needs accommodations at school.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. In fact, he specializes in treating children and teenagers. If you want to know more about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com\drrubino3.

Coping with Demanding Children and Teenagers

Coping with Demanding Children and Teenagers

Many parents worry about their children be too demanding or materialistic. Especially during the Holiday season when most children are preparing lists about the gifts they want for the Holidays. I often have parents ask me how to cope with demanding children or children who threaten parents if they do not get their way.

This is a common issue that parents often seek psychotherapy for their children. There are also different ways to cope with this situation. I recently read an article by Empowering Parents that provided a number of tips that I often recommend to parents and use with children in psychotherapy. I have found these tips and approach to be effective. I have included the tips from the Empowering Parents article that I recommend to parents.

Here are some tips to help you guide them away from self-centeredness while helping kids to maintain their passions in life.

1 Listen first: Allow your kids to express their desires and demands and try to just listen. Calm your own inner voice down by remembering that they have a right to their feelings. Don’t be threatened; these are just feelings. Because your kids want something doesn’t mean they have to have it. Nor does it mean that they are ungrateful, lousy kids or that you have been lousy parents. Instead of blurting out comments like, “You only think of yourself, “ or “You know we don’t have the money, so why are you asking,” “You are so spoiled.” or “What’s wrong with you?” try comments more like :“I understand how much you want that. I know it means a lot to you. We are willing to give you x dollars toward it – the rest you can either save up for take from your allowance.” Or, “I know that you really want this new video game. Perhaps we can get it for you on your birthday, but if you want it sooner, then maybe you can try to get an extra tutoring job or mow the lawn for Dad and make some extra money.” This way, you’re putting the responsibility on the child rather than saying NO all the time or saying YES all the time.

2 Don’t let them think they’re the center of the universe: Notice if your conversations are overly child-centered. “Do you need anything for your science project? What would you like for dinner tonight?” Try to balance these conversations by including yourself more. “I had a long day at work and I’m looking forward to some relaxation time tonight; what’s on your agenda this evening?” Try to not make your child the center of the universe – they are not. Don’t make them believe your purpose on earth is to provide for them by jumping quickly to their every request.

3 Remember to teach your kids to think about you and others: Teach them to always ask if others would like something if they’re getting up from the table. Ask them for help when you have a dinner party or a project to complete. Expect them to do jobs and chores around the house. Remind them to say thank you. Make sure they call their grandparent to see how he is doing or if there is anything he needs. Teach them to ask about your day. Make sure they do something to help out in their school or community. Show them they’re not the only ones that matter. Respect yourself so that they learn to respect you.

4 Don’t over-empathize with pleading: Every child and particularly teens want, want, want. Remember to not over-empathize with their pleading, begging and crying. Empathize but don’t over-empathize, because if you do, you might automatically give in to their every wish. The danger of indulging them is that you risk resenting them – they, then are at risk of being resented, undermined, ungrateful and unsatisfied.

5 Talk about advertising and media messages: Living in a society that prizes material things above all else is a force we must counteract. Watch TV together or look through magazines and discuss ways advertisers attempt to manipulate. Enforce the old fashioned values of success and perseverance, which come from developing a good character versus success that comes from being the best or having the most. Make sure you to live by these values, as well.

Defiant Kids Who Threaten and Misbehave to Get What They Want

When it comes to more defiant kids, the same applies: you just have to hold on stronger and not let the intimidating, threatening behavior cause you to give in to the “gimmes.” Let’s say your child is being rude, disrespectful, aggressive or defiant when he does not get what he wants. His birthday or Christmas is coming up, and you are probably tempted to withhold his gifts since he’s been treating everyone in the family poorly. This is understandable, but it’s not be the most effective way to handle things in the long term.

Instead, hold him accountable to better behavior. Deal with the unacceptable way he is taking out his frustration on everyone when he’s not getting what he wants. Let him know it’s unacceptable to act out that way and hand him consequences when you are both calm. Perhaps he loses cell phone privileges for a short time until you see better behavior. Perhaps he loses his social privileges and stays home so you can have a problem-solving conversation with him about better ways to handle his emotions. No matter what, make sure you teach your child successful ways to manage himself when he’s faced with disappointments and limits.

If your defiant child uses threats to get what he wants, be sure to not let this behavior work. Stay in charge of yourself and don’t be controlled by the intimidation. If he’s a young child, remove him from the situation if he’s ruining your holiday or yelling in public. If he’s an older child, ask him to leave the house if he is acting out during holiday festivities. He will need to pay for any damages if he destroys property. If he refuses, you can take the money he owes for the damaged property and deduct from a holiday gift. (Let him know ahead of time if this is what you have in mind.)

Children need to be “all about themselves” in order to successfully separate from us and create their own identity. Their need to believe that they are important and amazing is not a bad thing as long as it has its limits. Remember this is a stage of development. No need to “futurize,” and worry that they’ll never change. Being an understanding parent and setting firm boundaries will help assure that your child will blossom into an adult who likes herself, and knows how to get her needs met in the world while thinking, caring and giving to others.

Remember you may not see results right away but if you are consistent over time with these suggestions, you should notice positive changes in your children and teenagers.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience working with children, teenagers and families. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.

Special Need Children and the Holidays

Special Need Children and the Holidays

As a psychotherapist who treats children, I work a great deal with children with special needs. Children who have Autism, ADHD, difficulties with being over stimulated by noise, processing difficulties etc. These children can respond differently to all the Holiday activities. Therefore, parents need to be prepared to cope with the Holidays. I recently read a blog by Lori Lite which gives good tips for how parents can prepare. I have provided some of her tips below.

Set Up a Safe Brain Break Space: Your child can enjoy downtime when they feel over-stimulated at your house or at your relatives. Set up a brain break space and be sure that the other children and guests know that this space is off-limits. Empower your special needs child to recognize when they need to go to their brain break space. Practice, practice, practice…. ahead of time to recognize when mood is escalating… Did I say practice? Empower children by packing a relaxation bag they can go to if they are feeling anxious. Bring earphones and their special relaxation music or stories. Play dough, stress ball, music, video game, even a camera can help children relax and give them a focus if they have social anxiety.

The Indigo Dreams Series gives you stories that incorporate actual relaxation techniques. The stories and music can be downloaded to an iPod or iPad. The other kids may actually be jealous…give them their own space to de-stress. You may start a new trend!

Get Ready: Social stories, books, and movies can be a big help in preparing your child emotionally for holidays. Comfortable clothing and small dose exposures to holiday sounds can help physically. Think ahead with an eye for anxiety causing issues. If wrapping paper too loud? Use easy open bags or just decorate with a bow. Are the electronic bears with bells at Grandma’s house going to cause sensory overload? Ask her to unplug them before you get there. Let friends and family know about triggers ahead of time. If your child doesn’t like to be hugged suggest a handshake or just a wave. Your friends, family, and special needs children will be glad you did.

Prepare Your Children For Gatherings: Eliminate unnecessary anxiety associated with getting together with family members you rarely see by looking through photos of relatives prior to your event. Play memory games matching names to faces. This will help your children feel more comfortable with people they may not have seen in a while. Aunt Mary won’t seem quite so scary when she bends down to greet your child.

Use Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate deep breathing or other coping strategies into your day. Let your children see you use techniques when you are feeling stressed. Encourage them to use relaxation techniques on a daily basis. Breathing, visualizing, and positive thinking are powerful tools.

Incorporate Positive Statements Into Your Dinner: This is empowering and reflective. Each person at the table can state an attribute of their own that they are thankful for. For example, “I am thankful that I am creative.” Feeling stressed? Try, “I am thankful that I am calm.” Your special needs child can prepare ahead with a drawing or sign language if they want to participate without speaking.

Don’t Rush: It’s simple; none of us are very good at rushing in a relaxed way. The two just do not go together. It is impossible for children or teens to rush without getting angry. Make sure you leave enough time to enjoy the journey and avoid meltdowns. Children with special needs should be given notice of transitions.

Write Things Down: Getting the constant chatter and lists out of your head decreases stress and anxiety. Kids love making lists. Give them a clipboard or dry erase board. Help your child make a list of what they want to do for the holiday. It might be helping decorate or what to pack for self-care relaxation bag. This will help you relax and help your children feel involved. Encourage them to add happy words like laugh or draw a smile face on their list.

Schedule Downtime: Don’t overbook your children. It’s important to use holiday time for relaxation. Try staying in pajamas till noon. Pop your favorite popcorn and watch a movie when you wake up. You’ll be surprised how an hour or two of relaxation can rejuvenate your children’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

Shopping: Avoid taking your children shopping on the busiest shopping days of the year. The chaos, noise of large crowds, and long lines will definitely add stress to your life. If your child is absolutely known to meltdown during shopping you can select a few gifts and bring them home. Set up a shopping experience in your home for your child. The whole family can participate. Have a checkout counter and a gift-wrapping table.

Be Flexible: Relax your expectations and definitions of what a fun experience is for your children. Most of us do not need the full blown exhausting experience of holidays to reflect that we had a good time. A few positive minutes is worth a lifetime of memories!

Let The Children Participate: Let your children do one thing for the holiday that makes them feel proud. Kids can collect acorns or place a few jingle bells into a bowl for a beautiful stress free centerpiece.  Children can fold the napkins or put the forks out. Let them draw a special picture to place on your guest’s chair. Be prepared to accept their participation as perfect and wonderful. Restrain for correcting or straightening out the napkins and enjoy the holidays with your special needs child!

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience working with teenagers and children with special needs. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com.

Coping with Divorce and the Holidays

Coping with Divorce and the Holidays

The Holiday season is usually a difficult and stressful time for many families. Everyone trying to make plans and trying to see grandparents and other family members. It can be especially difficult for divorce families. After a divorce the issues often become even more stressful.

One thing that parents need to remember is that they decided on the divorce the children did not. I often hear arguments about parents want their time or wanting to continue their family’s holiday traditions. However, they often ignore what the children want to do.

Many times a divorce may be finalized, but the parents are not done fighting with each other. Therefore, the use Christmas as a reason to continue to argue or try to hurt each other. What they forget is they are really hurting their children more than each other.

Based on dealing with families who are divorced, I would make the following recommendations to parents. First, parents need to remember that Christmas is more about the children not them. Next they need to develop a plan together regarding the Holidays. The first step is for the parents to talk together about what the children seem to enjoy the most about Christmas. Also parents should also ask the children what they enjoy most about Christmas.

After you have this information then sit down civilly and see how you can allow the children to do what they enjoy most about Christmas. Another thing to remember is the children should not be forced to choose between Mom and Dad. Come up with a plan where the children have equal time with both parents. Also they should have equal time with grandparents, cousins and other Extended family from Mom and Dad’s side.

The other thing is don’t turn Christmas into a competition. Gifts should not be used to influence the children. You should discuss with each other what your children want and what you plan to get the children. When you were married you discussed what to get them so even after the divorce you can coparent and discuss what is realistic and what is not.

Finally, remember Christmas time is a time to get together as a family and enjoy each other. Therefore, for the sake of your children put your divorce aside and decide how this can be a happy family time for everyone. If you can do things together, that would be the ideal situation. If you can’t then being kind to each other and making the Holiday season fun for the children is the goal for you as parents. Stated another way, the children should still feel like they have one family at Christmas not two. Maybe things are being done a little differently because of the divorce but they still have a mother and father.

If you achieve this goal, it will make you feel better too. A divorce should not wreck your lives. Obviously, your lives will change after a divorce but you can still be a family.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years working with children/teenagers and families. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com

Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress

Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress

The Holiday Season is here and people are stressing about buying gifts and spending the day with relatives. For many people this Holidays are a happy time and for others it is a stressful time. The Holidays can be stressful because they may bring up family issues that have not been resolved yet or everyone is trying to make the day prefect that it becomes a stressful day not a happy one. Also parents are concerned how their children will act around the entire family and what will happen if their child receives a gift they do not want?

Thanksgiving has passed and next we have Christmas. Parents you can start by looking at what occurred on Thanksgiving. Overall we’re you happy with it or are there somethings that you would like to change?

Next after you have assessed how the day went sit down with your children and ask for their opinions. Also ask about what their expectations are for Christmas. It is especially important to discuss this point with teenagers. Are they expecting to spend Christmas Eve and Day with the family or are they expecting to spend time with friends and girlfriends or boyfriends. It is important to settle this issue before Christmas. By discussing expectations and trying to accommodate everyone’s wishes, you can avoid arguments. However, many times you cannot accommodate everyone’s wishes and as the parents you may need to make the judgement call. If this occurs explain to your teenager you know they may be mad, but you hope they can understand and you would appreciate their cooperation. May be you make arrangements for them to spend time with their friends the day before or after Christmas.

The next discussion is gifts. Explain to your children the point of Christmas is to appreciate and to be grateful for the people in your life and what you do have in your life. Therefore, if your grandparents give you something you do not like, be grateful that they thought about you and say thank you. Try not to make faces or act disappointed and hurt your grandparents feelings. Again remind them the Holidays are a time to be grateful for what you have in your life.

Reminding your children about being grateful leads us into the next tip for decreasing Holiday Stress. Lori Lite who writes about stress uses the acronym G-R-A-T-E-F-U-L as her Holiday stress guide. It helps her and others get through the day in a peaceful manner. Each letter reminds you of something to do or a way to view the day so you do not get upset.

So here is how to use Gratitude as your Holiday Stress Reliever.

G- Gratitude is the opposite of stress. It is difficult to feel stressed out when we are feeling gratitude.

R- Relax your expectations and let the day unfold. You might be surprised by the outcome.

A- Acceptance is the opposite of judgment. If we accept our family member for who they are and what they are capable of we can relax and enjoy ourselves.

T- Teens can be a part of the Holidays. Ask them what they would like to contribute to the evening or day. Let them what they feel they can contribute.

E- Empower children and let them help with age appropriate assignments. Putting the nuts out or making the centerpiece. Let them do it their way…not your way.

F– Focus on family for this day. Put all work and worries on the shelf

U– Unplug the electronics for dinner so that everyone can be fully present.

L- Love is often overlooked when we are busy. Be present with love… Speak with love… Show your love and gratitude for your family during this Holiday time.

This might seem very simple and obvious, but at times the best solutions are rather simple. Also you may want to practice using this in your daily life. It may seem simple, but it may be harder to do than you think because you are accustomed to doing things and viewing life in a certain way. This idea may challenge you to reassess how you approach life in general.

Many of us are not use to looking at our lives in terms of what we have to be grateful for. Also many of us have a hard time relaxing and not worrying about work or other things we need to do. I have found that just being in the moment is difficult for most people. Most of us believe we always have to be doing something. This creates stress and disappointment. Finally, since we feel we must always be doing something, disconnecting from cellphones and other electronics can be very difficult for the children and for adults too. However, think about it? How can you have fun and enjoy the day with your family, if your mind is not fully present? You can’t. Furthermore, this can create tension for others because they feel ignored and for you because you feel they don’t respect how important what you are doing at the moment is to you. As a result, you have stress which can turn into an argument and everyone is upset. A day of happiness becomes a day of anger and disappointment.

If you notice you are getting angry or your teenager is getting angry use the acronym HALT:

H – hunger, do not try to discuss a difficult situation if you or your teen are hungry.

A – anger, if it is obvious someone is angry give them time to calm down before discussing an issue. Pushing a discussion when someone is angry will only result in making a bad situation worse.

Lonely – lonely, if someone is feeling down or alone again pushing them to talk can make it worse. Let them know when they are ready you are there to listen.

Tired – tired, trying to have a conversation with a tired teenager can turn into an argument fast. Wait until they are ready to talk. There is no need to make a bad situation worse.

Therefore, in order to avoid the possibility of an unpleasant Holiday for everyone try to

use the words GRATEFUL and HALT as guidelines for the day. What do you have to lose?

Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in working with children, teenagers and their families. He has over 20 years experience. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/drrubino3.