Monday, June 1, 2020

Trauma and Relationships

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Pillars of Health

When we do not have these three pillars of health in place we are fighting biology to improve our mental health.


Melatonin is triggered when we engage in our sleep routines. There are things we can do that will block the production of melatonin.

Sleep chain- What you associate with falling asleep can drastically impact your sleep.

Rules to follow:
  1. Only sleep in your bed. Do not play or be active because that will prevent you from creating an association with sleep and your bed.
  2. Do not do anything to fall asleep that cannot be independently replicated in the middle of the night or you might have trouble falling back asleep.
    • Example cuddling with someone to fall asleep.
  3. Dim the lights in the house when it’s getting close to bedtime.
  4. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time 7 days per week.

If you follow these rules and engage in a daily bedtime routine your body will naturally produce melatonin when you start engaging in this routine. If you do not have a routine your body will not know when to start producing melatonin.

Research shows that sleep issues can cause mental problems even leading to mental health diagnoses.

Note taking melatonin can help in the short term but it does mess your body’s natural ability to produce the chemical. Your body will start producing less melatonin because it will think it doesn’t need to produce it. This will lead to you needing to take more melatonin over time to get the same effects. Taking melatonin should be a short term solution while getting a sleep routine established or avoided all together.

Lack of sleep amplifies symptoms of mental health diagnoses.

So if you struggle with depression and then get a lack of sleep your symptoms would be worse that following day.

If lack of sleep becomes a chronic pattern the symptoms would also become more dominant and more ingrained in your behavioral repertoire and likely to continue longer even after proper sleep is achieved.


Sugar and Refined Starches (white bread, pasta etc..)

  • 23% more likely to develop anxiety and depression if eating a diet high in sugar (study used 70,000 people)
  • In another study participants with depression switched to a sugar free, no refined starches
  • 32% of the participants became symptom free and were no longer diagnosable.
  • All participants reduce depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms, and increased energy levels.

Neurochemicals are used to process emotions and for your brain to function and communicate.

Magnesium and omega-3 is needed to relay those signals from your brain to your body. About half of Americans do not have enough magnesium and omega-3 for their brain to function well. Lack of nutrition can lead to oxidative damage (this damages brain cells).

Research is showing there is a link between oxidative damage and depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia, and bi-polar.

Gut health impacts the brain and it’s ability to communicate with the body as well.

Lack of nutrition also causes gut issues. Bacteria in our gut produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin that will help mental health issues. Lack of nutrition will prevent those mental health neurotransmitters from being produced.

Studies have been done where they take microbes from depressed humans' guts and transplant them into rodents. The rodents then display symptoms of depression and chemical imbalances.


In order to get mental health benefits from exercise you should do it 3-5 days a week.

Studies have shown that exercise can serve as treatment for even chronic mental health disorders such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, dementia, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Studies show in some cases exercise has the same or better effect than medication.

Exercise helps your neurotransmitters communicate, signal, grow and connect. Exercises also helps with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

Exercise produces neurochemicals that fight mental health issues.

Exercise specifically benefits the hippocampus. This means regular exercise will result in improved memory, emotional regulation and an increased ability to learn new information.

Risks of not exercising
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol, high blood pressure
  • Increased risk for mental health problems and increased likelihood of being diagnosed
  • Decreased emotional regulation
  • Decrease memory
  • Increased ADHD symptoms
  • Decrease executive functioning
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers such as colon, breast and uterine
  • Increase risk of developing osteoporosis

Thursday, November 21, 2019

__________________ABA FACT OF THE WEEK_________________
First of all, ALL children have problem behaviors for their parents. You are not failing as a parent if your kid acts up, and you are not alone if your child has hurt your feelings! Children will exhibit whatever behaviors are effective for them. Sometimes hurting your feelings is the most effective path!! Perhaps calling you names, or pushing his sister is getting him attention or something he wants!
Having the right perspective on your child’s behavior is so helpful for increasing the ability to respond in a way that teaches! Look at problem behavior as an attempt at communication that needs to be shaped. If that behavior works for them, it will continue.
All behaviors can be boiled down into four different functions:
1. To get something you want.
2. To get out of something you don’t want.
3. To get attention.
4. Because you like it.
When your child is having a problem behavior ask yourself, what are they getting out of this?
If they are seeking attention, instead of, “ Stop hitting me!!” try, “ If you want my attention use a calm voice and ask to play.” Then withhold attention until they follow your directions. When they do follow your directions, immediately play with them so that behavior is reinforced.
If they are seeking escape, instead of a reprimand, say, “Hitting will not get you out of your homework but it is ok to calmly ask for a break.” If they calmly ask for a break reinforce that immediately by allowing the break.
If they are trying to get something they want with problem behavior let them know, “This behavior will not get you what you want but if you want to eat that cookie you can earn it by helping your sister.” Once they do the behavior you specified to earn that item, give it to them immediately so they learn the preferred behavior is more effective than the problem behavior!
If they are doing it because they like it (often sensory behavior), find replacement behaviors that serve the same function that you are ok with and reinforce them at every chance you can!
Reinforce behaviors you want to see more of! Behavior goes where reinforcement flows.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

                                             ————ABA FACT OF THE WEEK————

Attention seeking behavior is extremely common. It is most commonly directed toward parents but can be directed at anyone. If a child feels like they are not getting enough attention from their parent’s or another person, it is not unusual for problem behavior to occur. Sometimes the solution is giving attention proactively. If a child receives attention when they are well behaved more often, as opposed to when they are having problem behavior, they will be more likely to have good behavior.

One on one time with your child also helps to meet development needs. One on one time helps to improve self-esteem, opens communication and connectedness, and helps to develop relationship skills. 

Even 5 minutes a day can go a long way.

Some children have an unquenchable need for quality time! If that describes your child talk to your therapy team about creating a behavior plan to help adjust their expectation for quality time to a more reasonable level. ABA techniques could potentially include reward systems, planned ignoring, shaping procedures, social stories, scheduled attention etc.…

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Safe Sex Lesson


Topics to teach (each lesson should be 2 minutes or less):

  1.       .  What are the local laws around child support?
  2.       .  How can you catch an std?
  3.          Where do you get tested?
  4.          Where do you get condoms and what are the limitations/benefits of condoms?

Participants get credit for participation by: (pick a reward for participation that is meaningful to the participants)

  1.          Complete and follow the rules of the game.
  2.      .   Report what your responsibilities are if you have a child.
  3.      .   Report how you catch an STD and how you will know if you have it.
  4.      .   Report where to get condoms, benefits and limitations of condoms, and how to prevent pregnancy.


Goal: Help clients understand the consequences and benefits of their actions related to safe sex.

Assuming there is 5 participants:
1. Before the activity print  the activity cards below, fold them in half and tape them shut so participants don't know what's on their cards until the end.
2. Every participant gets an envelope. They may not open anything in the envelope. Each envelope has the participants profile, 5 cards and 10 tokens.
3. Instruct every participant to trade all of their cards with someone else. Participants must trade all of their cards.
4. When the trading is over the participants will be told that trading cards represented sexual interactions and they need to look at what cards they have to see the consequences of their actions and cash in tokens based on what their cards say. Participants must follow the directions on each card for if they need to cash in tokens or not.

Participant 1 Profile: You are infected with HIV, Herpes and HPV. Please cash in 3 tokens for treatment for HIV, 2 tokens for treatment for Herpes, and 2 tokens for treatment for HPV.
Instructor directions: Print off a mix of HIV, Herpes and HPV cards for the number of participant there are and place in the participant's envelope. 

Participant 2 Profile: You created a baby. Please cash in 5 tokens for taking care of your baby.  

Participant 3 Profile: You have had safe sex by using a condom and checking with your partner to make sure they did not have an STD. You do not need to cash in any tokens.

Participant 4 Profile: You have had safe sex by using a condom and checking with your partner to make sure they did not have an STD. You do not need to cash in any tokens. Also when exchanging with partners you convinced them to have safe sex so you do not need to cash in tokens for your exchange with them. (This participant has a plastic bag that they use to exchange cards with other participants) In the end of the game they do not need to give any tokens.

Participant 5 Profile: You have Crabs, Chlamydia, and Gonorrea. Please cash in 1 token for each disease.
Instructor directions: Print off a mix of Crabs, Chlamydia, and Gonorrea cards for the number of participant there are and place in the participant envelope.

STD Cards:

* If there are more than 5 participants replicate profiles or create new profiles following the format.

Authors: Carlos Torres and Katie Saint

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Help Kids Through Divorce

Here is a youtube video explaining how to help kids work through a divorce!! This is a hard time for everyone so here are some tips to help your kiddos through it!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Youtube Video on how to handle behaviors and talk to people about Autism !

Hi guys! Here is a youtube video on how to handle behaviors in public! 

Here is an outline of the discussion!

Proactive strategies
·         Tell the child the expectations
·         Write a social story
Skills needed
·         Staying near by
·         Stranger danger
·         Community helpers
·         Personal information
·         Ability to wait
·         Ablity to accept no
Reactive strategies
·         Escape
·         Want
·         Attention
·         automatic
What to say to people
·         Function of their behavior
·         Lack of education
·         Association with labels
·         Misunderstanding
·         Good intentions