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How often do you experience tantrums, meltdowns, and refusals in your home? If you’ve experienced more of them during at-home learning than before, so have most parents! The unexpected challenges kids have faced the past year contributes to behaviors, and can lead to an all-around stressful home environment. If you’re in this boat, finding proactive methods will be key in creating balance. Let’s talk about managing behaviors in your home!

What kids need most amidst the ambiguity of distance learning is exactly what they may be lacking: structure. There must  be a clear delineation between what is “school” and what is “home”. Set up a table that is for school alone. Partitions around the table can aid attention. You may even try putting tape on the ground for where school starts and home “ends”. Create this space to resemble school as much as possible. 

Visual cues can work wonders. Create a schedule for your child (visual or written, depending on their age), or use a token board to motivate them throughout their school day. Having different devices for different uses, and setting parent controls on school devices, helps a child differentiate between work and recreation. This will make work time more productive. 

Along with structure comes consistency. Without it, the structures we set won’t mean much. Establish a clear routine that a child can count on every day, as close to their previous school routine as possible. The unknown breeds anxiety, and can lead to behaviors. When a child knows what’s expected of them will help them feel calm and work with a new environment. When we give children a clear and consistent routine that they can count on, we avoid the drama that comes with lack of certainty. 

Behavior analyst, Rima Frederickson, advises parents to provide the same accommodations to children at home as they had in school (e.g. seating, fidgets, movement breaks, etc.) Children are at risk of regressing without the structure and social interaction that school provided in the past. Rima urges parents to help their child maintain the things they enjoyed doing in the past, even if it’s a modified version. Communication may look different these days, but it doesn’t have to stop! For example, instead of waiting to see a close friend, children can send letters or projects they’ve created in the mail. 

Set aside time to teach children the play skills they will need when they return to their peers. This can be practicing eye contact, conversation tactics, or social awareness. Role-playing with these activities with a parent gives your child a safe place to practice for when they will be able to apply them again. 

If you’ve established consistent structure within your home that resembles a typical social and academic setting for your child, and you still have concerns, seeking help from a professional is a healthy option! Gateway Learning Group has trained professionals who can establish a behavior plan for your child, and give you the results you’re looking for. 

Watch Rima’s full interview here.

 


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If you’re like most parents of school aged children in 2021, you understand the difficulty of helping your child pay attention, in class, on a virtual platform. Virtual classrooms may create additional problems for students, parents, and teachers. 

Triton Empowers Parents!

Triton’s Director of Programs, Katerina Violante, provides adapting strategies for you to implement at home for what may have been an uphill battle until now. Here are some key factors to consider in supporting your child’s attention. 

  • Capacity to attend

Having realistic expectations from the beginning is the first place to start. Parents must determine how long their child can reasonably pay attention to a task before setting up any systems. As a rule, an average attention span is 3-5 minutes per year of a child’s age. (If the child is 10 years old, 30-50 minutes is reasonable.) This varies depending on how enjoyable a child finds a task. If expectations are too high, this will lead to frustration in both your child and you. 

 

  • Attention barriers

Barriers vary greatly between individuals. Determining the optimal learning environment (e.g. amount of sensory stimulation in the environment, time of day, order of tasks, task preference) is a starting point. What factors have you noticed are particular barriers for your child? What modifications can you make to create an environment that will foster attention? 

 

  • Motivation

Motivation is a factor that will carry over in other areas of your child’s life beyond attention. Especially when completing a task your child dislikes or avoids, proper motivation can change drudgery that takes hours, into swiftly completed tasks. You’ll be surprised what your child can accomplish when properly motivated. (This goes for special needs kiddos, too!) 

Motivation must be positive, not a punishment. This can be difficult if we wait until our child’s behavior has gone awry. Being proactive is the best way to approach motivation. This means instituting a behavior plan from the beginning.  If you’re thinking it’s too late since your child has already been doing at-home school for months, that’s okay! Turning over a new leaf by introducing a motivator is good. What we don’t want to do is merely respond to bad behavior in the moment without having set any expectations or system. (This quickly spirals into bribery, which is counterproductive in the long run.) 

An effective motivator will establish an end goal of the child’s choosing, and provide intermittent steps to achieve that goal. An example of this is a token board. Steps are always given, never taken away, and depend upon an established accomplishment of the child (e.g. responses, or time worked). 

What your child’s motivator entails is entirely up to your child’s preferences and your personal style. Questions to consider while preparing a motivator: Will they earn tokens, tallies? Will they work for a physical prize, a preferred toy, an event? What does task completion mean? Would it be beneficial or not to show time passing? All of these factors depend on a child’s age, developmental ability, and personal preferences.

 

If you’re looking for more guidance on attention, stay tuned for our free (virtual) Parent Activities, coming soon! If you want support now, please fill out this form to speak with a Parent Representative. Find out more about what Triton offers here! Follow us on Social!


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When it comes to finding the right therapy for your child, options may feel overwhelming.. While most parents are familiar with traditional therapies, such as:  speech, occupational, or ABA therapy, there are other  alternative therapies available that prepare the brain for learning. Today we’re an alternative, for your child, that can really make a difference in their growth and development.

If paying attention is a challenge for your child, time spent in traditional therapy can lack productivity. Microcurrent therapy retrains the brain’s electrical impulses to support focus and attention, and can supplement the work that other therapies accomplish. Microcurrent is especially helpful for children with an ASD or ADHD diagnosis. 

Microcurrent is an electric-based therapy that sends gentle electrical impulses to the brain and central nervous system via electrodes. These tiny electrical signals mimic those already naturally occurring in the body, and retrains the brain to produce alpha waves. The brain ideally produces alpha waves in a state of calm wakefulness–the brain is not actively concentrating, but is experiencing relaxation. 

Experiencing a mental state of calm presence associated with alpha waves allows the brain to receive and process information for learning. 

Some behaviors in children are a result of sensory overload. Jumping, banging, squeezing, and fidgeting can be sensory-seeking behaviors in children that seek to receive satisfactory neurofeedback in their bodies. Bodily sensations such as tingling, numbness, or a feeling of floating can also have sensory-related causes. By organizing the sensory processing of the central and peripheral nervous system, a child is much better prepared to pay attention. 

Rickie Lee Ryan, founder of Microcurrent 4 Kids, advises parents to maintain concurrent therapies for their child to get the most benefits. “Microcurrent helps regulate and stabilize the central nervous system, which allows children to be calm, be present, and attend. Microcurrent doesn’t change a behavior or teach a new one, it cleans the canvas to be ready to learn.” Rickie Lee has seen her clients improve their fine motor skills, speech, attention, and even social awareness after consistent microcurrent treatments. Research also supports the efficacy of microcurrent for back pain, knee pain, and ATP generation. Watch Rickie’s video interview here

If you or parents you know are looking for alternative or supplemental intervention for your child (or yourself!), read more at Microcurrent 4 Kids

When it comes to services for your child, Triton supports parents by exploring a wide range of modalities and disciplines. A collaborative approach may help parents see new ways to incorporate learning. You’re just 8 questions away from a new discovery!

 


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October is ADHD Awareness Month, and we would like to zone in on attention. Whether your child has a diagnosis or is just a wiggle worm, we want to share tips for parents to apply in their homes to help their kiddos pay attention. Author and ADHD coach, Roxanne Fouche, shares her recommendations from 25 years of experience working with individuals with attention disorders.

Helping a child pay attention involves finding a somatic outlet for their energy that allows their attention to stay on the task at hand.

The most important accommodation to allow for is movement breaks. These should happen often! Fouche reminds us, “Working in front of a computer all day is not natural for anybody. It’s particularly difficult for wiggly people who need to move in order to think.” She recommends a child get up to get a drink, go up and down stairs if possible, do jumping jacks, or go outside. Movement breaks are essential to anyone’s productivity and well-being, particularly a child’s.

Seating accommodations that provide resistance can help reel the mind in while the body has something to employ itself. Try placing resistance bands over the front legs of a chair, and your child can kick his or her legs between the bands for stimulation. If a standard chair is under-stimulating for your child, other seating arrangements include a wobble chair or a weighted medicine ball that requires using core strength to sit still.

Handheld fidgets (in one hand only) are another accommodation that is highly versatile. Fidgets must be beneficial for the child, but not disruptive to others, so quiet fidgets are best. These can be pens with a rubber bubble at the top, silly putty, or an artist’s eraser. Many gadgets are made specifically for fidgeting–the options are endless. Even chewing gum during a test is an oral fidget that helps with concentration.

If your child needs additional and perhaps more personal support with attention, an attention coach can help him or her manage the expectation of their current environment. “When there is a large enough gap between what a person is capable of and the level of executive functioning that is required of them, a coach can give personalized strategies, tools, and habits to serve them,” Fouche says. Children who struggle with self-efficacy, avoidance, procrastination, and memory, can benefit from coaching.

Fouche reminds us that online schooling is hard for everybody. It requires a tremendous amount of self-regulation and organization that does not come easily. These tips are not only helpful for children diagnosed with ADHD, but can be beneficial for children of any abilities (not to mention parents!). A good technique can benefit everyone.

Watch Roxanne’s full interview here!

To learn more about ADHD and get the find resources, visit Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

 

 


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Does your child jump from activity to activity without finishing any of them? It’s hard to learn when you can’t pay attention…

Let’s take a look at areas where attention is needed and some factors that can help increase your child’s ability to attend. 

Getting your child to pay attention to schoolwork, a task, or even directions can sometimes or often be a challenge. The challenge may be even more trying if your child has an attention disorder. Everyday tasks that are unavoidable may present a constant struggle. 

Is your child struggling with any of the following areas that require attention? 

  • Listening to instructions
  • Completing homework  
  • Following directions
  • Completing tasks 
  • Sitting still

Whether or not a diagnosis is present, helping children attend to a task or a conversation is an essential skill, though it doesn’t always come naturally. Many different factors play a role in a child’s ability to focus. Factors such as nutrition, getting sufficient sleep and physical activity can really have an effect on your child’s capacity to attend. Healthy lifestyle habits will help your child manage symptoms.

Emotional stress is a major inhibitor of concentration. Consider the family or school stress your child may be experiencing, and the comfort and reassurance he or she may need. 

You can learn quick tips for supporting attention by our Student Representative here. For a deeper look, please view Triton’s parent course on ATTENTION for tips you can implement into your child’s routine.

Learn more about helping kids stay focused here.


MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to provide a multisensory educational care platform for students, while providing support and coaching for their families. We use a team approach to provide efficient and effective services, helping special needs children to thrive.

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