Possibilities

Going Green: ADHD and a Walk in the Park

With the advent of Earth Day 2021 it seems a great time to explore the effects of green spaces on ADHD. Here’s a scientific study you need to know about. In 2009, Andrea Faber Taylor and Frances Kuo from the University of Illinois published a paper in the Journal of Attention Disorders called Children with Attention Deficit Disorders Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park.  Before we get to the findings, here’s some background. Faber Taylor and Kuo talk about theories of ADHD. One—called Attention Restoration Theory (ART)—suggests that there are two types of attention exercised by all brains. One type is deliberate, effortful focus, the kind you use when you are deliberately learning something that can’t be grasped easily. The second type is involuntary, effortless attention, the kind we exercise when we aren’t learning something specific or hard, but just absorbing the world around us or making fast connections when learning is super easy or entertaining for our brains.  Scientists thinking about Attention Deficit Disorders have hypothesized that the second kind of attention is intact in ADHD—the kind where you can absorb what is pleasing around you without too much strain. So, individuals with ADHD can focus on activities they enjoy for hours without much fatigue....

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...

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...

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...

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,...

ACCEPT THE ASSIST IN ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: LESSONS FROM COVID-19 AND GRETZKY-99

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist Welcome back to our Possibilities Word of the Week. Admittedly, it’s been a few weeks. But during that time we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to determine how best to assist you going forward. This Word of the Work will be our last—at least in its weekly format—because we’ve listened to you and found new ways to assist.  If you haven’t caught the key word I’ve used twice already, it’s assist. Assist is our word of the week—and assistance is something we could all use right now in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 is a threat the world wasn’t prepared for. Scientists are rallying to find a vaccine. The rest of us are rallying to adapt, looking for different ways to do the same things we’ve always loved doing. When science comes through with a vaccine, our lives will hopefully return to hugs, concerts, and dinners with friends we remember so fondly. But some things may never return to their pre-COVID state—and some things may be changed forever. How we view Assistive Technology is one of those things I hope gets a reframe. At Possibilities, computers and secure video connections like Zoom...

POSSIBILITIES WORD OF THE WEEK: MATCH

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist A few weeks ago we kicked off our new Possibilities Word of the Week Project. As COVID-19 continues, so does this initiative. We hope you find a small dose of direction—and a big dose of inspiration—amidst so much uncertainty. This week’s word is match. It feels like the right word for right now, especially with so many parents telling us that school expectations for on-line learning have been a struggle. One mother described a fire-hose effect—a constant stream of worksheets and assignments coming from cyberspace with such force and frequency the family feels like they’re drowning. And often, little or no work is getting done. So what does the word match have to do with these struggles? Well, I’m a hopeless romantic. And yes, I love all those movies where lonely people meet and fall in love. The subplots vary, but all happily-ever-after stories have one thing in common: love happens when there is a match. Mismatches, on the other hand, are disastrous. They are heartbreaking, painful, and draining. When your child’s skills don’t align with work that is expected, there is a mismatch. And the tantrums, and refusals and frustrations that happen are heartbreaking, painful and draining.  At...

POSSIBILITIES WORD OF THE WEEK: INVENT

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist Another week, another word. This week’s word is invent.  If you’re a fan of ABC’s Shark Tank, you’ll know the show is filled with entrepreneurs hoping to make it big with their one-of-a-kind inventions. Whether it’s a tray for a wheelbarrow so gardening tools stay within reach, a flower with a string that catches hair before it clogs the bathtub drain, or a tiny magnet with a metal loop that holds eyeglasses on your shirt, these inventions have one thing in common. They all solve a problem.  With schools still closed, why not encourage your kids to solve some problems and create inventions of their own? In the last few weeks, parents have told me stories—quite proudly—of how inventive their children have become. One child created a bubble-blowing device with items found around the house, and I’ve heard of many other examples of budding ingenuity! Inventive people have been grouped in terms of personality traits and common characteristics. Lists vary, but here are a few basic themes. Inventors are: Curious about the worldRecognize good opportunities Identify problemsAct to solve the problems they have identifiedPersist through challengesTake pride in their workShare their knowledge with the world COVID-19 has been...

POSSIBILITIES WORD OF THE WEEK: DREAM

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist It’s week three of our new Possibilities Word of the Week Project. We hope this initiative provides a small dose of direction and a big dose of inspiration as your kids continue to stay home 24/7 during COVID-19.  Our word this week is dream.  Big dreams are important. They make life exciting, and they propel us to achieve great things. “Dream” is a big word at Possibilities. In fact, when we meet children and teens for the first time at our clinic, we ask them to complete our Possibilities Dream Profile. The first question is this: Someday I want to be the world’s greatest __________________________. Some children say “athlete”. Some say “scientist”. Some say “comedian”. Dreams belong to the dreamer; there are no right or wrong answers here. Dreams are interesting things. They are sparkly and shiny, and far more exciting than homework or chores. Dreams are powerful things, too, because they keep dreamers striving for a very long time, even when rewards aren’t immediate or guaranteed! Your child might bail quickly on a math problem but spend hours shooting a puck or throwing a basketball—over and over—trying to perfect a shot. You’d see the opposite if...

POSSIBILITIES WORD OF THE WEEK: IGNITE

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist Raising children is challenging—joyous, but challenging. COVID-19 hasn’t made parenting any easier. Of course you have concerns. Protecting your family’s health is first and foremost. If you’re also concerned about learning while schools remain closed, you’re not alone. We hope this series can help.  This is the first posting from our new Possibilities Word of the Week Project. This week’s word is IGNITE. How can you ignite learning in your child or teen when schools remain closed?  You can, because the brain is an incredible thing. But before we talk brain, you might have a more pressing question. How can a single word be helpful at a time like this? Does that sound right? It’s a good question.  Single words can inspire. Single words can motivate. Single words can ignite action.  COVID-19 is a heartbreaking time for the world. But if we must find an upside, this extended break from school presents a unique and unprecedented opportunity for the brain to come out swinging. It can learn, and it’s ready to learn. So we’ll give you one word a week. You choose how to run with it.  Please trust that one word is enough—especially if your child’s...