“Talk. They Hear You.” a new national public service announcement (PSA) campaign that empowers parents to talk to children as young as nine years old about the dangers of underage drinking was launched today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The kickoff occurred in conjunction with SAMHSA’s 2013 National Prevention Week—an annual health observance dedicated to increasing awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.
SAMHSA’s latest report on underage drinking shows that more than a quarter of American youth engage in underage drinking. Although there has been progress in reducing the extent of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those aged 17 and younger, the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high.
“Talk. They Hear You.” raises parents’ awareness about these issues and arms them with information they need to help them start a conversation about alcohol with their children before their children become teenagers.
Visit www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov for more tips and information.
When: Saturday, October 19th, 2013
Where: Rosemont School of the Holy Child
Keynote Speaker: Robert Naseef, PhD., author of “Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together“.
Amy Kelly is the Director of Family Supports and Services for Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Services division. She recently shared a story about her daughter’s first toothache.
As any of you who have heard me speak about my daughter Annie in one of my family trainings knows, I often talk about the ‘silver linings’ of autism… my saying before the movie even came out this year! Since last April, Autism Awareness Month, once again our year has proven to be nothing short of small everyday miracles and plenty of challenges. Annie is now 11 years old, and her brothers Danny and Ryan are 12 and 9. Annie can now say “Rynan”, and waits for him every day after his 3rd grade school day to give him a hug and kiss. This is new since last year, and a very big deal. Also what is new is Annie’s ability and desire to express herself and communicate her feelings more effectively. She still must use her iPad since her speech approximations aren’t clear, but she now tells me when she is sad on her iPad, or when she will “C-R-Y” as she puts it in her spelling attempts at speech. She even saw Mr. Kreider at her school, Devereux CARES, and walked right up to him and spelled “M-O-M W-O-R-K”. Perhaps she thinks I’m the boss?? [Note: Mr. Kreider is Devereux's CEO.]
Recently I had an amazing ‘silver lining’ experience with Annie. She and I were sitting on my couch and she had been complaining of a toothache in her bottom back tooth for a few days by pointing to it, using my hand and putting it on that part of her chin and saying “boo-boo”. Now I must preface this story in that little Miss Annie does NOT like the dentist, even though we have the most wonderful and patient pediatric dentist, Dr. Jeff. She had her first teeth-cleaning only two years ago when I had to have her sedated in a hospital because of her severe anxiety and fears of the dentist. We can’t even drive into the driveway to the dentist without her crying.
So… Annie and I were sitting together having a conversation on her iPad and she types into her iPad “dentist. Dr. Jeff”. Usually her messages say “NO dentist” or “NO Dr. Jeff”. I said “Annie, are you telling me you need a dentist? Does your tooth hurt?” She answered a “yeah”. I said “Do you want to go see Dr. Jeff tomorrow? Mama can call and take you to see him if you really have a tooth ache.” She again said “yeah”. I said “Ok Annie. I will call Dr. Jeff tomorrow and take you to see him. But you have to let him look at your sore tooth to make it feel better. Ok?” Annie answered “Ok” (That’s another new verbal response this year!)
The next day I quietly texted Annie’s teacher at school and asked her to ask Annie if her tooth hurt and if she said yes, to point to which one was bothering her. Sure enough Annie told her yes and pointed to the same tooth. I called Dr. Jeff’s office and they kindly squeezed Annie in, knowing they would need extra time. I picked Annie up from school and she was quite happy, knowing that we were going in Mama’s car. I ran through the scenario again with her to prepare her for what was to come: “Annie, we are going to go see Dr. Jeff for your sore tooth like you asked Mama yesterday. He needs to look at that sore tooth. That’s the only thing he has to look at – no teeth cleaning, nothing else, but you have to let him look at the sore tooth, ok?”. Annie answered “ok”. I had my doubts.
We drove to the dentist office and there was NO crying as we pulled in. I was surprised at how quiet and content she was. We got out of the car and she held my hand and walked in with me, with no real hesitation. I kept watching her for a reaction and there was none. They expected us at the office so took us right back. Annie preferred not to sit in the dentist patient chair, so she sat on the bench that I usually sit in. No big deal. I just couldn’t believe she was so calm and at ease. Dr. Jeff came in and her eyes widened a little bit…. I said “Annie, remember, Dr. Jeff needs to check your sore tooth. Can you show him your sore tooth?” She quickly opened her mouth and pointed to it, but then immediately shut it again. Dr. Jeff and I gently coaxed her into opening it for longer so he could get a better look at it since it was all the way in the back…me modeling “Ahhhhhh” with a big wide mouth open the whole time. Sure enough, Annie was getting her 12 year old molars and there was a small infection around her gums! Dr. Jeff said “Annie….you’re right! You do have a sore tooth, because you are getting new teeth back there. Great job telling Mom, and great job letting me look at them!” He asked for a hi-five and she proceeded to give him THREE hi-fives, she was so proud of herself. The dental hygienist then offered her the reward toy basket and Annie carefully picked what to me, seemed like the oddest thing out of it. She insisted that I open it right away. I did, and she put it on immediately….and wore it the whole way out of the office. Who knew I was raising such a comedian… and such a brave little girl.
Happy Autism Awareness Month!! — Amy and Annie
April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Day. Nearly one in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that can result in major social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between a child’s first and third birthdays. Early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills; however, most children are not identified until after they reach age 4 years (1).
The CDC’s “Learn the Signs, Act Early” program has tools to help parents and early childhood-care and education providers track children’s developmental milestones and provides information about what to do if there is a concern. This program also offers resources for health-care providers, including the Autism Case Training course, which is available online for individual continuing education credit and as a classroom-based curriculum for pediatric residency programs.
1. CDC. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 sites, United States, 2008. MMWR 2012;61(No. SS-03).
At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Regional Autism Center, therapists and parents prepare for the changes in autism diagnoses with the new DSM-V. The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) is set to published in May, 2013. Paula Barson, MA-CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Regional Autism Center, and Amy Kelly, whose daughter Annie, 11, has autism, recently sat down with ADVANCE to explain how the new changes will affect their lives. Visit the “ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists” website to watch the interview.
“With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aiming to expand coverage for critical mental health services, a new study by children’s health policy experts at the George Washington University Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) shows that meaningful improvements will also require state and local governments to address the systemic impediments such as the underdeveloped state of these services across the U.S.
Source: Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (2013).
A recently published study shows that youths with Autism Spectrum Disorder need help transitioning to adult health care. Researcher Nancy Cheak-Zamora found that less than a quarter of youths with ASD receive health care transition services compared to about half of youths with other special health care needs. More needs to be done to understand barriers to care and develop policy and practice guidelines tailored for youth with ASD.
In the meantime, the New York State Institute for Health has created a website for youth and their family caregivers to help them develop skills for transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare.
HealthyTransitionsNY.org teaches skills and provides tools for care coordination, keeping a health summary, and setting priorities during the transition process. It features video vignettes that demonstrate health transition skills and interactive tools that foster self determination and collaboration. While the workshops are held in New York there are still plenty of free resources available for all.