Author: The Possibilities Clinic

Spring Into Speech

As we approach May (which happens to be Speech and Hearing Month), the weather is finally starting to feel like spring! When I look at the weather report for the upcoming weeks, I start to smile thinking about all of the fun things I can do outside. The options are endless.  I can explore the city, work on my garden, visit outdoor attractions, etc… All these exciting, outdoor activities provide new, naturalistic opportunities to facilitate language development. And the best part is, they are fun for the both you and your child! But before we dive into some fun activity suggestions, let’s talk about some strategies we can use to promote your child’s language development. You can facilitate language development with your child by using the following strategies during play, conversations, activities etc… When speaking to your child, you should be face-to-face with him/her. This gives your child a visual model of how to articulate speech sounds and teaches your child the social communication skill of using eye contact. During play follow your child’s lead. Use his/her interests to spark conversations and play. This will give you the most opportunities to facilitate language. Use self-talk to describe what you are doing....

Hair-Pulling, Skin-Picking, and Other Repetitive Behaviours: Can the cycle be broken?

Max is 14 years old. Max has been picking at the skin around his fingernails for two years, particularly when he is stressed, anxious and bored. His repetitive picking has caused bleeding and scarring, despite Max being routinely told to stop by parents and his family doctor and despite his many attempts to stop (e.g., putting Band-Aids on all fingers to prevent picking). Max feels alone, ashamed, frightened, and confused about his picking. After some googling, Max thinks he might have a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior disorder. What are Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs)? BFRBs is a term used to describe a number of ongoing repetitive behaviours (including hair-pulling, skin-picking, nail-biting, teeth-grinding) that result in physical damage (e.g., bleeding, noticeable hair loss, skin lesions) to the body despite considerable efforts by the sufferer to try and stop these behaviours. BFRBS cause lots of distress (e.g., shame, isolation) and impairment (e.g., avoidance of social situations, missed school) despite efforts to try and stop these behaviours. BFRBs are not simple habits that are easy to just stop if one tries hard enough (or else all youth I see with BFRBs would have definitely stopped!). Instead, BRFBs have underlying brain mechanisms and factors that cause urges (e.g., itching, tingling,...

FREE LECTURE! Making Memories Stick: Study Skills for School Success in ADHD

A Free Lecture for parents and professionals who work with children and teens with ADHD and Learning Disabilities, or who may struggle in school. Based on their observations that students with ADHD who study hard for tests and exams still struggle to remember the information at test time, Drs. Almagor and Miles will discuss effective memory strategies that are fun and creative, and that will make information more memorable for students with ADHD and Learning Disabilities. In the Q&A session, the experts will answer your questions about memory, ADHD and Learning Disabilities strategies inside and outside the classroom. Speakers: Doron Almagor, MD, FRCPC and Brenda Miles, Ph.D., C.Psych. When: Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 7pm Where: University of Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre 15 Devonshire Place, near Bloor & Bedford Avenues Registration is FREE (sponsored by Camp Kennebec), but you must register in advance at https://www.campkennebec.com/adhd-experts-talk/  ...

The Practice of Mindfulness

In the most basic terms, mindfulness can be seen as the practice of paying attention to the people, places and things around you. This includes personal behaviours, emotions, and their related triggers and responses. Jon Kabat Zinn, creator of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program, defines mindfulness as: “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” This definition adds flesh to act of paying attention and differentiates being mindful as being present and attending to every moment while not holding any judgment or opinions about what is happening. How many adults can find moments in their week where they are truly mindful? The intent behind this state of present-focused awareness makes it harder than it sounds and practicing being mindful can help us self-regulate throughout our day. Self-regulation is our ability to maintain an optimal state in the given context by adjusting our level of alertness and engaging in behaviours that are socially adaptive. How does mindfulness come into play?  The “moment to moment” awareness from being mindful requires the ability to focus and also recognize the many thoughts, feelings and sensations that happen to and around us. This skill...

Signs Your Child May Have Autism

Are you worried that your toddler or preschooler may have Autism? Has your child’s preschool/kindergarten teacher expressed concerns about behaviour or social skills? Has your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist suggested an assessment? Below are some warning signs of a possible risk for autism. Red flags in toddlers: By 6 months: • No regular big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions By 9 months: • No regular back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions By 12 months: • Lack of responding to name consistently when called • No regular back-and-forth gestures such as pointing (with index finger), showing, waving or reaching By 16 months: •  No spoken words beyond “mama” or “dada” By 24 months: • No meaningful 2 word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating Red flags in pre-schoolsers: • Delays in language or speech skills •  Intense temper tantrum • Any odd repetitive movement patterns such as flapping arms/hand, pacing, walking on tip toes, jumping on the spot, rocking, twirling • Avoids eye contact • Difficulty adapting to changes in schedule or environment • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest - often involving numbers or symbols (e.g. memorizing or reciting information about shapes, letters, maps, train schedules, sports statistics) • Obsessively lines up toys or small objects • Spends long periods watching moving objects such as a...

How Occupational Therapy can help your child with ADHD/ADD

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are trained in task analysis so they can work with children, families and their family health and school teams to identify their strengths and challenges in an activity, the factors in the activity and the environment that affect their participation in the activity. OTs not only help the child learn the skill, they may also modify the activity or adapt the environment so the child can participate fully and perform the task. Simple changes, like an adapted pencil grip, carrying around a fidget toy or adjusting the classroom and/or desk & chair set-up, can help a child be more successful. Here are some strategies you can try at home to help your child: Use a visual timer during tasks where your child has difficulties focusing: Analog clocks show the passage of time more visually than digital clocks, which allows us to anticipate events. To provide further visual cueing and reduce anxiety of not knowing when time is up/being told to end an activity “all of a sudden”, try a sand timer or a Time Timer so your child can see how much time is left! Try a visual schedule for daily routines: A visual representation of the various...

A FREE LECTURE FOR ADULTS WITH ADHD
A FREE Lecture for Adults with ADHD

Improv for Adults with ADHD: How Improv Can Help You Find Answers Within Yourself This talk will discuss how Improv techniques can help you improve communication skills, learn to self-regulate and boost social skills. The evening will also include a free Improv session that will introduce you to our upcoming Improv workshop, I-Zone For Adults with ADHD. Speaker: Deborah Levine, Ph.D. RSW Featuring: David Boyce, Actor, Improv Instructor When: Monday, January 30, 2017, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Where: The Possibilities Clinic, 55 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 305 Registration is FREE, but you must call to reserve your seat. Space is Limited. Register by phone: 416.482.5558 or email...

8-WEEK MINDFULNESS & EMOTION REGULATION WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN
8-Week Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Workshop for Children

8-Week Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Workshop for Children 8-11 years old Starts Thursday, Feb. 16th for 8 Weeks from 6-7:30 PM Ends April 13th with no session March 16th due to March Break 8 x 90-minute sessions. Cost: $375 Reserve your spot today by calling us at 416-482-5558 or email This eight-week program will engage children in mindfulness-based activities and introduce them to emotion regulation coping skills. Through mindfulness exercises, children will learn strategies to help cope with attention difficulties, anxiety and hyperactivity. The interactive group format will engage children in a fun and relaxing way to boost confidence, reinforce positive behaviour and promote positive social behaviours and well-being. What to expect from this workshop: Improve Focus By learning how their brain responds to stress & by practicing strategies to calm their mind, your child can become better at self-regulating. Taking Action Mindfully Learning to express gratitude and compassion, your child can build the awareness and understanding of others' feelings. Sharpening Your Senses By mindfully observing their senses, your child will become adept at sharpening their attention and enhance memory and creativity. Understanding Emotions: As your child learns new ways to cultivate a positive mindset, they prime their brain for learning and for building healthy relationships. Reserve your spot today by calling us at 416-482-5558 or email    ...

FREE ADHD WORKSHOP NOV. 29TH WITH GILLIAN CHOW
Free ADHD Workshop Nov. 29th with Gillian Chow

Registration is FREE, but you must call to reserve your seat. Space is Limited. Register by phone: 416.482.5558 On Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm we'll be hosting a free workshop for parents who have a child/children with attention and emotion regulation difficulties. This talk will discuss practical and everyday techniques to help your child with focus and self-regulation. The workshop will be by Gillian Chow, MScOT About Gillian Chow: Gillian Chow is a registered Occupational Therapist with an interest in children’s mental health and a passion for working with children and families. Through her work with Autism Ontario Kids Camp and Giant Steps Toronto, she has gained diverse experience working with school-aged children with ASD, Learning Disabilities, ADHD and sensory issues. At Possibilities, Gillian works with families to enable their child to achieve their everyday goals and academic success. Registration is FREE, but you must call to reserve your seat. Space is Limited. Register by phone: 416.482.5558...

PASS!

PASS! is a Performing Arts & Social Skills group that engages children and parents in creative ways to give your child the skills and confidence in social settings. The program uses different theatre techniques, including improvisation, creative movement and breath & emotional awareness, to help children become more socially aware. The next session begins Wednesday, October 19, 2016 and will run for six consecutive nights, 6 – 7:30pm. If you are interested in participating or for more information, please contact The Possibilities Clinic at 416-482-5558....