Taming Your Child’s Tantrums: Why Tantrums Happen and How You Can Help

When it comes to most things, knowledge is power. This applies to handling challenging situations with our children, such as tantrums and big emotions. We want to empower parents and caregivers to be better equipped to respond to their children’s tantrums. Learning about why tantrums occur and what practical skills can help us as parents as well as our children has so many advantages including an improvement in parent-child relationship, improved self-regulation and problem-solving skills in our children, and even a reduction in parent stress! Two of our child and adolescent psychologists, Dr. Jill Shuster and Dr. McKenzie Vanderloon (Supervised Practice) are hosting a two-evening workshop in May. Please keep reading to learn all about the workshop and how you can join! Two Night WorkshopFor Parents of kids ages 3 -12 years When: Tuesday, May 11 and 18, 2021, 7:30 - 8:00 pmWhere: Virtually through ZoomCost: $150 per parent(s)Register at workshop@possibilitiesclinic.comSpace is limited to 25 participants to allow for questions and discussion Dr. Jill Shuster and Dr. McKenzie Vanderloon will explain why kids have tantrums, how you can become a better predictor of tantrum triggers, how to navigate the Tantrum Cycle, and ways you and your child can achieve...

Language Development Pro-Tips From our Speech-Language Pathologist

There is a world of possibilities, with books and toys, to stimulate your child’s imagination and language during their early years.  Reading is perhaps the one singular most important activity to help stimulate language development for children.  Reading to your children long after they can read to themselves helps to continue their development of ideas and thoughts beyond their reading level.  A close second to reading to your child, is talking while playing with your child. This is why toys are often considered children’s ‘work’ and learning to play with toys is an important foundation skill.  Ages 0-2 Books for this age group include board books and illustrated books.  Board books allow infants to touch, feel, bend, mouth and throw the books without damaging the pages!  Many board books have stories (such as Good Night Moon), some have few to no words at all (Good Night Gorilla) and some help children learn specific vocabulary (such as colour and shape books).  Illustrated books for this age group include stories that can be read to your child even though they are not speaking or do not understand the vocabulary.  These books often have beautiful illustrations to help capture a child’s attention (The Moment you were Born, You are my Happy). Toys are...

The Amazingly Fantastic and Wonderfully Inspiring Power of Words!

by Michelle Pearce, MD, Jill Shuster, PhD, CPsych and Sandy Lane, MA, SLP  At Possibilities we think a lot about neuroscience. We think about how the brain develops and how that development influences thoughts, feelings and actions. If we asked child development experts what Top Five Factors support healthy brain development, we’re certain they would say 1) necessities of life like food and shelter, 2) love  3) health, and 4) education. What’s number 5? We would say...

Exploring Emotions With Children: How Are You Feeling Today?

Our children have complex feelings and thoughts but often cannot express themselves because they do not have the words to match what they feel inside.  We can help our children learn some of those words by naming them when they are younger and talking about feelings daily or after a specific event has occurred.  This is a good strategy for basic emotions that you can interpret by the expressions and body language of a child (mad, sad, scared, happy).  Here are two ideas to help guide your children to explore their emotions. Use emotion word lines to explore feelingsHere are some emotion word lines to explore with your child - is it important to recognize that one word doesn't always capture the magnitude of a feeling. The more words children have to express their feelings, the more likely they are able to identify, communicate and manage their feelings. Mad -> annoyed -> angry -> furious -> fuming -> enragedSad -> unhappy -> disappointed -> downcast -> miserable Happy -> cheerful -> delighted -> excited -> joyful Scared -> nervous -> afraid -> frightened -> terrified Use storytelling to identify and talk about complex feelingsIt can be a little more difficult to be able to capture adequately how your...

New Location. New Look. New Services. New Outreach.

There are new developments at the Possibilities Clinic, and we’re excited to tell you about them! NEW LOCATION  We’ve moved to 1920 Yonge Street, Suite 200. That’s just south of our previous location. Our new office building has convenient, indoor access to the Davisville subway.  Patients have appreciated attending appointments through secure video sessions over the past year. We’ll offer Telemedicine sessions into the future, even after COVID-19. These sessions are convenient for our clients, and allow our clinicians to assess and treat with accuracy. Video sessions have also made it possible for patients across Ontario to seek our specialized services without needing to travel to Toronto.  If a visit requires an in-person appointment for a specific reason, it will happen at our new office. In-person visits will occur only if it is deemed safe to do so by our clinicians offering the appointment. At the current time, all appointments will remain virtual over Telemedicine.  NEW LOOK Our logo has changed, too! Do you see ripples radiating from the letter o? Throw a small stone in a still lake and you’ll achieve the same effect. Possibilities—for you or your child—are like ripples. They expand, multiply and radiate with one single action. Every day, our Multidisciplinary Team...

Dr. Doron Almagor discusses living with ADHD on CTV’s Canadian Health & Family hosted by Dr. Marla Shapiro

Are you an adult living with ADHD? If so, you know about the challenges ADHD can bring to your life. You have goals and dreams, just like everyone else. But ADHD can make it difficult to achieve everything that is meaningful to you. You’re not alone. An estimated 4 to 6% of Canadian adults are living with ADHD. Statistics also show that most adults with ADHD are not receiving appropriate treatments to help them reach their full potential.  Be informed. Understand what we know from science. Consider your options, based on facts and not assumptions. And hear directly from adults who are living their best lives with the support of current, scientifically supported treatments.  Here’s your chance to learn more. Canadian Health & Family, a program hosted by Dr. Marla Shapiro, will present an episode devoted to ADHD called, ADHD: Living A Full Life. Canadian Health & Family episodes focus on disease awareness and prevention, with discussions from Canada’s most recognized medical experts. The upcoming show will feature the Possibilities Clinic’s Dr. Doron Almagor. Dr. Almagor is a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, and in disorders that often go along with ADHD like...

Possibilities Clinic presents at 16th Annual CADDRA Conference!

Our Team will be speaking at this year’s 16th Annual CADDRA Conference! CADDRA, the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to sharing the latest science on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD with medical, healthcare, and research professionals. Dr. Doron Almagor, a Child and Adult Psychiatrist and Director of Possibilities, along with Dr. Joan Flood, a Family Physician focused on ADHD treatment  and advocacy, and Dr. Brenda Miles, a Clinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist focused on Learning Disabilities that occur with attention challenges, will discuss how ADHD can be evaluated, diagnosed and treated virtually. In “Lights, Camera, Action! Leveraging Telehealth for Successful ADHD Outcomes,” the team will discuss evidence supporting the use of Telemedicine in ADHD diagnosis and treatment. They will also share their lessons learned from COVID-19—when pivoting quickly to Telemedicine was essential—and strategies for improving screen presence to support trusted and effective collaborations with patients. This symposium is designed to inform Family Physicians, Nurses / Nurse Practitioners, Pediatricians, Pharmacists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Residents / Students, Social Workers, Therapists, Researchers about virtual practice in ADHD diagnosis and treatment.  When: Saturday, October 24, 2020 Time: 12:15 PM - 1:45 PMFor more information to to CADDRA 2020 16th Annual ADHD Conference ...

Introducing the Possibilities Clinic Assessment Award

By Edward Donnell Ivy, MD MPHDirector of Community Outreach and EducationPossibilities Clinic It is my pleasure, as Director of Community Outreach and Education at Possibilities, to introduce the new Possibilities Clinic Assessment Award. Each year, three students will receive the clinic’s most comprehensive psychoeducational assessment, called a Signature Assessment, at no cost to their families, to help support learning. Students with learning challenges who are unable to access an assessment privately due to financial need while on a waitlist for a publicly-funded assessment can be nominated jointly by a school principal and social worker. Principals and social workers from public schools across Ontario are eligible to nominate up to two students per school with family permission. I am proud to be part of this initiative—and to be a part of the Possibilities Clinic where science, support and synergy are the guiding principles. These principles have helped me tremendously in my own life, and I hope they can help students eligible for this assessment award, too. I grew up in rural North Carolina. My family was very poor—our lives shaped by poverty more than possibilities—and my parents warned me that the world could be very cruel to those who looked like us. My school picture,...

MY CHILD NEEDS TO WEAR A MASK TO SCHOOL? Are you kidding?!

By Kim Edwards, PhD, C PsychClinical and Health Psychologist You’ve just heard that your child needs to wear a mask in order to return to school. Your child is freaking out. You are stressed and wondering, “how am I ever going to prepare my child, within the next 2 weeks, for wearing a mask to school for 8 hours a day?!” To all the parents and caregivers navigating this challenging situation, these tips and tricks are for you. Remember: Masks are only recommended for children over two years of age. 1. Explain why it is important to wear a masks Use language children can understand to explain the concept of germ such as:  “Germs are special to our body…some are good and some are bad. The bad ones can make us sick. Since we do not always know which germs are good or bad, wearing a mask can help make sure we keep any bad germs away from our body.” “Wearing masks will help keep others and us safe. “Discuss how mask wearing is a current rule (similar to other rules – e.g., wearing shoes when we go outside)Show your child pictures of other children wearing masks.Validate frustrations with mask wearing 2. Be a Mask Role Model Show your...

Dear Possibilities, My child is struggling to read.

Dear Possibilities,My son is going into Grade 4 and struggles to read. I’ve worked hard to get him extra help, and his teachers have been really understanding. Right now he has some accommodations, like extra time to do his work. Sometimes he uses a computer for homework which helps. At the end of Grade 2 he was having a hard time sounding out words. So I got him a tutor and we haven’t stopped. He’s been seeing his tutor every week for over a year now. But my son’s reading hasn’t improved much and he’s getting more and more frustrated. The school wants to add modifications to the accommodations. Is this the next best step? What more I can do to help my son read? Signed,Searching for Solutions Dear Searching, These are great questions—and worth spending some time on! Of course we could start with a general definition of accommodations and modifications, but that sounds rather dull for us and for you. And if we start and end with definitions, we’ll probably fail to address the most important information—like the real implications of accommodations and modifications for your child’s learning in the long-run. So let’s start with a story, then swing back and...