Happy Thanksgiving from NATSAP!
Worry, fear, meltdowns, inability to concentrate, refusing to go to school. Students’ outward behavior can often indicate an internal struggle with anxiety. And as the most common emotional disorder affecting kids today, anxiety is having an impact on thousands of classrooms nationwide.
But how can you know when students are dealing with anxiety? And what can you do to help?
New resources from Rogers Behavioral Health
To help manage school anxiety, Rogers has released a comprehensive set of educational tools, helpful handouts, anxiety-reducing exercises, and the new “Anxiety in Schools” podcast. In this six-part series, Rogers’ medical experts share ways school professionals can identify at-risk students, practical tips for addressing anxiety in the classroom, and clues for knowing when it’s time to seek professional help.
Listen to the podcast and access a library of additional resources to help students at rogersbh.org/student-anxiety.
The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) is excited to announce our latest collaboration with TEACH-NOW, in order to increase high-quality certified teachers in NATSAP member programs and in schools around the globe!
TEACH-NOW’s five-star, 9-month certification program leads to a regular, renewable K-12 Teacher’s license, earned through a collaborative, activities based virtual program that includes a student teaching experience. TEACH-NOW also offers a dynamic 12-month Master’s Degree Program, focusing on Research/Literacy or Globalization, Special Education, ESL and Education Leadership and one on early childhood, teaching multilingual learners. The TEACH-NOW Graduate School of Education has been nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (http://deac.org) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (http://caepnet.org). These degree programs have been approved by Washington, DC’s Office of State Superintendent of Education (http://osse.dc.gov/) and the Arizona State Department of Education (http://www.azed.gov/highly-qualified-professionals/azboardapprovedprograms/).
NATSAP members are now eligible to receive a discount of 10% when applying for the TEACH-NOW program. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
You might have noticed that things look a little different with NATSAP these days. As we approach our 20 year anniversary, the NATSAP Board undertook a rebranding project where they reviewed where NATSAP has been and where it is heading. Over a series of meetings with our Board, Outsource Marketing, and our Public Relations Rebranding Subcommittee, we have crafted a new message and look for NATSAP. Although Supporting Programs, Healing Families is still at the core of what we do, we are also Guiding The Way.
If the category of Therapeutic Schools and Programs were a wheel, NATSAP would be the hub, and its members the spokes. NATSAP guides the entire category (members, families, youth) by “turning” toward advocacy, standards, innovation, and growth.
NATSAP is the friend you turn to when you have a difficult problem; the mentor you meet with for advice; the boss you look to for standards; the advocate you trust to represent your cause; the resource you look to for networking and opportunities.
Who we are and who we’re for
NATSAP is an association of therapeutic schools and programs assisting youth and young adults with emotional and behavioral difficulties.
How we’re different
Through its conferences, legislation efforts, online directory, and research, NATSAP serves members as a guide for growth, and helps parents navigate the rough waters of adolescent mental health and disabilities.
Why that matters
Members are given support and guidance; parents, resources and options; and youth and young adults, hope and renewed life.
As we unveil our new logo, our new tag line, and (in the next few months) our new website, we invite you to join us in Guiding The Way for members, families, and youth that we serve.
The National Institute of Health estimates that kids spend an average of five to seven hours a day using screens for entertainment, which is equal to or even greater than the total time spent in the classroom. This has increased two and a half hours a day from just 10 years ago.
Surveys are showing that they also face more anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles than previous generations. There are a number of factors thought to be contributing to this, but screen time is a major one, according to Peggy Scallon, MD, medical director of the FOCUS Adolescent Mood Disorders program in Oconomowoc.
“There are huge implications for youth,” Dr. Scallon says. “What are they not doing when they’re on screens? What experiences are they missing out on?”
The distractions of the screen mean less time for homework, physical activity, family interactions, and face-to-face time with peers. Without these necessary social interactions, kids are growing up unprepared and unable to cope—sometimes creating an unhealthy environment for their mental well-being.
“We know that anxiety and depression are correlated with high levels of screen time,” Dr. Scallon says.
The content on the screen matters just as much as the amount of time spent on them. Teens grow up looking at airbrushed models on Instagram or seeing friends doing something fun without them. Dr. Scallon warns that some then perceive their own life as unglamorous in comparison.
Bullying is another issue, which has changed significantly since parents themselves were kids.
“Kids may be bullied while sitting on the couch next to their parents who may not even know it, and the kids can’t escape it,” Dr. Scallon says. “They carry these phones with them 24/7, so they are experiencing near-constant social scrutiny.”
Gaming addiction and screen time
Around 91% of kids growing up today play video games. Dr. Scallon says that kids who spend too much time playing games, at the detriment of other activities, can also show signs of addiction.
“These games are very compelling for kids, and they often engage in gaming at the expense of other activities.” Dr. Scallon says. “And when kids use screens excessively, it can lead to anxiety, depression, family conflict, or another mental health disorder.”
As explained in an earlier blog with Dr. Heather Jones, supervising psychologist for Rogers’ FOCUS Adolescent Mood Disorders program, kids can create a cycle of avoidance by using games, TV, or phones to avoid dealing with the challenges of anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder.
“In the short term, I might be distracted by the games, but this leads to increased feelings of depression in the long term because I’ve sat around all day without getting anything productive done,” Dr. Jones explains.
How Rogers handles screen time with kids
When a child or teen comes into one of Rogers’ residential programs, one of the big adjustments for them is getting used to much less screen time. It doesn’t always go over well at first, but Dr. Scallon says that this soon changes. “They will tell us openly ‘I feel so much better without having my phone,’” she explains.
When spending too much time with screens is the issue, it can be difficult coming up with a plan to reintegrate the electronics after treatment. Rogers asks parents to set limits on device use, remove certain devices from the house, and to lead by example.
Dr. Scallon adds, “It’s absolutely important for parents to model good behavior and etiquette for screens and devices, to limit their use, and to prioritize their relationship with their child. One of our biggest challenges in planning for discharge is working with kids and parents to limit and monitor the use of screen time in order to maintain health and wellbeing.”
Rogers treats children and adolescents struggling with mental health disorders including depression and mood disorders, eating disorders, OCD and anxiety, and addiction; in addition to a unique program that addresses mental health concerns for kids with autism spectrum disorder.
NATSAP is looking for submissions for Call for Papers for the below conferences! If you are interested in submitting for one or all of the upcoming conferences, please click on the appropriate link to get more information and to access the Call for Papers application. The deadlines are quickly approaching, so submit today!
2018 Northeast Regional Conference – submission deadline August 17th
2019 Annual Conference – submission deadline extended to August 17th
2019 Southeast Regional Conference – submission deadline August 31st
Parenting a child with autism can often be more challenging because of symptoms that are not actually part of autism spectrum disorder.
Rogers Behavioral Health provides a program for kids on the spectrum that treats secondary symptoms associated with anxiety, OCD, depression and other mood disorders with the goal of improving overall quality of life.
Dr. Marty Franklin, PhD, explains, “Using cognitive behavior therapy in a sensitive way can be effective as we address thinking errors, inflexibility in thoughts, and social communication deficits. We can help these kids learn to sit with unwanted thoughts and help them understand and tolerate emotions.”
Using gradual exposures as part of CBT can help make an extreme fear of a light switch, a death germ, or even the color yellow more manageable. Therapists can also work on compulsions for hand washing or the need for constant reassurance. The child may still have repetitive behaviors as part of ASD, but the anxiety around the behaviors can be lessened, according to Dr. Franklin.
Another component of the program is providing support and education for parents. One mom shares that she’s now better equipped to parent her son on a daily basis. “I really felt empowered, and now understand when I can demand more from our son and how to teach him more independence. I’m no longer afraid of disciplining,” she says.
“The therapists were unbelievably knowledgeable, and it was amazing how they worked on exposures. They do an incredible job,” the mother adds.
>>Learn about the four aspects of Rogers’ program for children and adolescents with ASD and other mental health disorders by watching a short video interview with Dr. Franklin.
Rogers’ program for anxiety and mood disorders for those with ASD is offered in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco East Bay, and Tampa.