tackling_the_holidays_blog.jpegThe weather is getting colder and the holidays are right around the corner. No matter which holidays you celebrate, November and December are traditionally a time for family gatherings, vacations, parties, and festivals. This comes with schedule changes, loud noises, decorations, and crowds. For many, this is fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. 

For families with special needs children, the holidays often result in anything but cheer. Unable to cope with being overstimulated, children often act out, parents may become embarrassed or upset, and everything becomes unhinged.

Everyone deserves to enjoy their time with family and friends, and we have put together some ideas for how to de-stress the holidays for families and kids that may need a break from all the fuss. We know these may not work for every child, but hopefully with a little planning in advance, your holidays will be joyful.

  1. Tackle the family calendar. It is no secret that life gets busier during the holidays. In addition to the already crowded family calendar, special events, parties, and extra errands pop up during November and December. For a family with a child who thrives on a schedule, a...

Natashia joined the Army right after she graduated from high school. Joining the Army was her chance to start over in another city, to learn new skills, and to meet new people. She didn’t get letters from home like most of her fellow recruits, but she didn’t let that get her down. She was resilient, and she believed that made her strong. 

During her training, she worked hard to overcome her obstacles. She became an Army medic and a sharp-shooter on the air assault team. She also got married and had a son. While exciting, all of this was exhausting and stressful. As a young, working mother, she experienced mood swings and often lost her temper, which she attributed to the stress and exhaustion of parenthood in the Army. Although she was proud of her Army service, when her company was deployed to Bosnia at the same time her husband was deployed to Panama, Natashia accepted a hardship discharge to raise her baby full-time. She hoped this would ease some of her stress.  

veterans_day.jpgLeaving the Army did not reduce Natashia’s drive. She took full advantage of the GI Bill to earn her Associate’s degree, eventually going on to earn her Bachelor’s, and then a Master’s Degree in Nursing and...


Halloween is just around the corner, and the Sheppard Pratt Security Team is interested in keeping everyone safe not only at work, but at home too. The excitement of Halloween can often make children forget to be careful. So, here are some tips that will help keep your little ghosts and goblins safe:

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Trick-or-Treating:

  • Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth accompanies young children.
  • Plan and discuss the trick-or-treat route your children intend to follow. This is ideally a well-lit, well-populated course. Instruct your kids to stick to this route, and establish what time they should return home. 
  • Write your child's name, address, and phone number on a piece of paper, and slip it in a pocket or pin it to his or her costume in case your child gets separated from the group.
  • Review pedestrian safety rules with your children, including looking both ways before crossing the street and not crossing the street between parked cars.
  • Remind your children to stop only at homes that are well-lit, and to never enter a stranger's house. 
  • If you're driving your kids around to trick-or-treat, make sure they get out of your car on the curb side of the road.
  • Instruct your...

Most young parents are concerned about everything when it comes to their children – their health, their schedules, the toys they play with, and of course, their development. Parents want their children to behave appropriately, and meet their “milestones.” Sometimes, however, you may notice that your child is not sitting during “circle time,” or seems cranky more than expected. Every child is different and sometimes parents begin to question if their child is “okay” or not. When these behaviors persist, parents may wonder if their child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most common disorders affecting children. 

ADHD_post.jpegChildren are often not identified as having ADHD until they are in school, but children as young as three or four can be tested for ADHD. The main characteristics associated with ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Left untreated, those with ADHD can struggle with organization, sitting still, and maintaining focus, which impacts their ability to learn and maintain relationships. While there is no cure for ADHD and children do not “outgrow” ADHD, early intervention and treatment can significantly help those with...


officeblog.jpegToday is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme is mental health in the workplace. One in four Americans will experience a mental illness this year, and in workplaces where stigma prevents employees from recognizing their own symptoms or seeking treatment, the economic cost is staggering for all of us.

Mental illness and substance use disorders cost employers an estimated $225.8 billion dollars in lost productivity and increased accidents each year. These losses not only come from absenteeism, but from lost productivity from employees who show up to work, but are not focused or engaged.

When employers are intentional about addressing mental illness and improving mental health, they see an increase in productivity and a decrease in losses.

So, how can employers improve mental health in the workplace?

  • Encourage mental health breaks. Folks who are able to clear their heads or chat with friends during the work day are ultimately happier and more productive. Friendships are easy to foster and maintain when there are opportunities to eat lunch together or take a short walk across campus. Encourage your team to take a few minutes to themselves throughout the workday so they can...

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