Word of the Week

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: OFF-SEASON

by Brenda S Miles, PhD, C PsychClinical Paediatric Neuropsychologist Last week we kicked off our new Possibilities Word of the Week Project. We’ll provide one word each week. You choose how to run with it. The goal is to inspire you; not to frustrate or overwhelm you. During this difficult time of COVID-19, we’re not asking—or even suggesting—that you structure every hour of every day to recreate your child’s school day or keep your children amused. If you’re trying your best to keep your family safe, then you are doing a tremendously good job. Think of our word of the week not as a mandate, but as a small dose of direction to help you navigate this challenging time. Our new word is off-season.  COVID-19 has stopped visits to the gym. It has stopped professional athletes from entering stadiums and arenas. It has stopped your children from playing sports with teammates. Physical distancing makes team sports impossible—and games with groups of neighborhood friends are not advised, either. For children and teens who thrive on physical activity—and that’s most of them!—these restrictions might feel unbearable. But here’s something to keep in mind. No professional athlete ever plays a team sport throughout the year. Professional athletes...

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...