back_to_school_resolutions.jpgAs I opened the newspaper this morning, the Back to School Ads were the first thing that I saw. I can’t believe it is already time for summer to wind down and a NEW school year to start. Although summer can feel long for those of us with special needs children who thrive on structure, going back to school has its own set of challenges. 

As the new school year approaches, the thoughts from your child’s last school year may enter your mind. If the year was a good one, the new school year can bring your child excitement about seeing friends, finding out who their teacher will be, and getting to go shopping for new clothes. But if school is a challenge, those back to school ads may trigger fears and anxieties about new teachers, difficult classes, seeing other students who may have caused hurt feelings, and more. Our children can get stressed about grades, schedules, social media, and so much more. 

If your child struggled last year and summer was a welcomed reprieve, set your child’s expectations to make this year their best one yet. As the name suggests, it is a New Year. You can work with your child to make New Year’s resolutions for the start of the school year just like you...

When thinking about being nicer to and less critical of ourselves, people often hear about and gravitate toward self-compassion. There are many books and online resources for building in more compassion for yourself (check out resources here, here, and here). Self-compassion, different than having higher self-esteem, is about being kind to ourselves, recognizing that our struggles are part of a part of a shared experience of being human, and being mindful. Self-validation is another way to be kind and move away from the strong self-criticism and hatred people can experience. It includes being compassionate to ourselves, and focuses on some other points as well; it helps us find more balance in life. In a nutshell, self-validation is about acknowledging and accepting ourselves, especially our feelings and thoughts, for what we are. An expert in self-validation, Alan Fruzetti, PhD, focuses his definition of self-validation on thinking what we think, feeling what we feel, and so on, with acceptance and without judgment or second guessing ourselves.

When we invalidate (or are invalidated by others), often our emotions end up getting stronger and more intense. Our thoughts tend to turn to a...

Depression doesn’t discriminate: it impacts about 14.8 million American adults each year. Five million of those are men.

Signs and Symptoms

The hallmark signs of depression are sadness and loss of interest in activities. But, did you know that depression can look very different in men and women?

Here are some of the signs to be on the lookout for in men:

  • Anger and aggression. Negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness are a common aspect of depression. For many men, this can result in feeling irritable and angry, leading to lashing out.
  • Feeling reckless or ‘on edge.’ Depression can manifest as reckless behavior in men. This can include engaging in risky activity, or suddenly making questionable choices.
  • Unexplained physical aches and pains. Physical pain and digestive issues often go hand-in-hand with mental illness. If there isn’t a physical reason for symptoms, it’s time to take a look at what’s going on in terms of mental health.
  • Sleep problems. Both sleeping too much and sleeping too little are indicators that there may be a bigger issue like depression at stake.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family. It’s one thing to be staying at the office late for a...

alzheimers_blog_post.jpgJune is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and it seems fitting that it occur in the month that marks the longest day of the year. For the 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as their caregivers, each day is the longest day as they deal with the impact of this disease. And so often, they face that struggle alone.

We need to shed light on the awareness and impact of Alzheimer’s. While many tend to think of Alzheimer’s as an “old person’s disease,” there are approximately 200,000 people UNDER age 65 living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

So what can you do about it?  Educate yourself. Learn the facts about Alzheimer’s disease and what we know about preventing it. Ongoing research shows that lifestyle factors can have an impact on cognitive health. We all know that a healthy diet and regular physical exercise are good for our bodies, and it turns out our brain benefits too. Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help reduce your risk as well. Still smoking? Kicking the habit can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. If your exercise regimen includes biking (or rock climbing or skydiving), don’t forget the helmet...

All_2018_graduates.jpgDear graduates: 

This June, we have more than 65 graduates from nine schools; I am so very proud of each and every one of you. Congratulations to our incredible graduates from The Forbush School at Glyndon, The Forbush School at Glyndon - Hannah More, The Forbush School at Hunt Valley, The Forbush School at Oakmont Upper, The Forbush School at Prince George’s County, The Frost School, The Jefferson School and Residential Treatment Center, The Jefferson School at Finan, and The Berkeley and Eleanor Mann School and Residential Treatment Center.

Graduating high school means that you have all made it to the end of an incredible journey. A journey that was probably challenging in many different ways, but hopefully rewarding too.

Having the perseverance to make it to this phase in your life speaks volumes about the type of person you are, and the type of person you will become.

It means you sat and learned for countless hours in classrooms, maybe sometimes wondering why you had to learn algebra, or about the Constitution, or the periodic table of elements.

It means you had the courage to face issues that might have been holding you back at home, at school, or in the community.


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