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      “My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”   Back-to-school can cause a variety of concerns for parents. Will my kid like their teacher? Will they have to deal with bullies? Will they reach their potential? But back-to-school can be particularly worrisome for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Whether your child has diabetes, asthma, seizures, heart problems, allergies, or any other condition, it can be scary to entrust your child’s health to school staff for 6+ hours a day.    So what can parents do to ensure their kid’s health is cared for at school?     1. Learn risk factors   Before considering your child’s needs, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors that chronic illness can present. Chronic illness can contribute to emotional, behavioral, and academic problems including:      Falling behind   from excessive absences      Increased   anxiety   from trying to “catch up”    Fatigue and irritability     Depression    Social isolation    Low-self esteem    Understanding these risks will help you determine the best course of action to guard against them.   2. List their needs   Start listing an inventory of needs that you believe would help your child overcome obstacles and succeed at school. Include your kid in the conversation and ask for their input. Some examples might include:    Being able to leave class without permission when symptoms arise      Accepting late work     Sitting near the door    Receiving support with making friends     Allowing rest breaks as needed    Having summer course options to reduce their school-year class load    Teacher trainings on emergency responses, such as using an EpiPen      Being allowed to complete some schoolwork at home     Regular check-ins with the school counselor     3. Request education support   Set a meeting with the school to discuss your child’s needs and to see if they qualify for   accommodations      through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be the right tool for them. If their condition greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine which educational resources will work best for your child.  Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with  Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and Special Education Consulting       4. Communicate consistently   Frequent communication with the school will increase the staff’s ability to stay informed of your child’s progress and respond to their challenges. Establish regular check-in meetings to keep the faculty and your family on the same page. Build relationships with teachers, administrators, and the school nurse, so everyone is aware of your child’s unique needs.   5. Support self-management   Prior to your child starting school, you may have done the heavy lifting in tending to their medical needs. Running for the steroid cream each time a hive pops up, grabbing their inhaler when they start to get winded, or calling friends to cancel plans when they look a little pale. Encourage your kid to start taking   responsibility     for their own care before they start school. Teach them how to recognize their symptoms before they get out of hand, administer self-care, and express their needs to teachers.   6. Calculate come-backs   Depending on your child’s condition, they may have medical supplies, such as ostomy bags or glucose meters, that other kids might be curious about. Hopefully your kid won’t be faced with   bullying  ,     but it can be helpful to have them rehearse a few comebacks in case of peers being rude or annoying.    Examples:   “Ew, look at her pricking her finger – what are you, a vampire?”  “Yes actually, but don’t worry – you’re not my type. I’m only into B+.”   “It’s not fair - why do you get to leave class all the time?”  “Because I’m Batman. The world isn’t going to save itself.”    7. Inspire motivation   Chronic pain and symptoms can make it challenging for your kid to focus on schoolwork. Frequently remind your child to think about their goals to help them stay motivated. Ask them about their passions, have them create vision boards, and tell them stories of celebrities who achieved success despite chronic illness, such as Sarah Hyland who has kidney dysplasia, Nick Jonas who has diabetes, or Selena Gomez who has lupus.    Check out our blog on    fostering passion & persistence    in your kid       8. Help them connect   Help your child think through obstacles that hold them back from extracurriculars and time with friends. If their symptoms prevent them from playing football, could they   work   in the ticket booth or concession stand? If they’re too tired to go to afternoon band practice, are there clubs that meet during lunch? If they have to miss school often, can they Facetime their besties after school hours? Helping them maintain connections with peers will reduce their risks for depression and low self-esteem.   9. Consult a Specialist   Taking a chronic illness to school can be tough on both students and their families. Fortunately, your family doesn’t have to face this alone. Our specialists are experienced in helping students overcome obstacles, achieve their potential, and ensure a supportive school environment.        
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Ball, M.F., Bayliss, D.M., Glauert, R., Harrison, A., Ohan, J.L. (2016). Chronic Illness and Developmental Vulnerability at School Entry.  Pediatrics , 137, 5. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/137/5/e20152475.full.pdf  Chronic Health Conditions (Students with): The Role of the School Nurse (n.d.).  National Association of School Nurses.  Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-chronic-health  My Child Has a Chronic Illness. What Do I Need to Tell the School? (2014).  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Chronic-Conditions-and-School.aspx  Schulman-Green, D., Jaser, S., Martin, F., Alonzo, A., Grey, M., McCorkle, R., … Whittemore, R. (2012). Processes of self-management in chronic illness.  Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing ,  44 (2), 136–144. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01444.x  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe with Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations on the SAT/ACT?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might Be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Should I Let My Teen Get a Job? 10 Things Parents Should Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-i-let-my-teen-get-a-job-10-things-parents-should-know    When a Kid Has Long-Term Illness: How to Deal with School (2010).  Education.com.  Retrieved from https://www.education.com/magazine/article/Chronic-illness-schools/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Taking Chronic Illness to School: 9 Tips to Stay Safe & Healthy.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-has-a-chronic-illness-how-do-i-prepare-them-for-school

“My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”

From asthma to diabetes and epilepsy to cancer, 1 in 4 children go to school each year with a chronic illness. If your kid has a chronic illness, check out this week’s blog for 9 tips to ensure their health and success as they go back to school.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Graduate Student’s Guide to Test Accommodations: The LSAT, MCAT, GRE, NCLEX, CBEST, GMAT, Cosmetology Exam, Contractors Exam, & Bar Exam   If you’re facing a high stakes test at the graduate or post-graduate level, you’re no stranger to overcoming challenges. You’ve worked your tail off to get to where you are and know that no obstacle can stop you from reaching your goals. However, if you have a health condition or learning disability that impacts your testing performance, you may be concerned that you won’t be able to show your true knowledge on exam day. Luckily, there are several accommodations available to level the playing field for eligible students.    So what does a person need to do receive accommodations on graduate exams?    1. Know your rights   You may think that because you are taking exams for a high-level career, that you may not be eligible for the same accommodations afforded to high school students. The Americans with Disabilities Act, however, states that students with disabilities who graduate from professional programs are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the licensing process.    2. Stay ahead of deadlines   If you anticipate that you’ll need testing accommodations, don’t wait until the last minute to look into it. The approval process for accommodations takes a minimum of 6 weeks, and that does not include the time it will take for you to gather the documentation required to submit your request. Stay ahead of the game by preparing your request well in advance of registration deadlines. Check out these links to view upcoming deadlines of some common high stakes tests at the graduate or post graduate level:      LSAT     (Nationwide testing calendar)      MCAT     (Nationwide testing calendar)      GRE     (Nationwide testing calendar)      NCLEX   (Appointment – based)      GMAT   (Appointment – based)      California Cosmetology Exam   (Test date is assigned within 40 days of receiving admission letter after submitting this linked application)      CBEST     (California testing calendar)      California Bar Exam     (California testing calendar)      California Contractors State Licensing Exam    (Test date is assigned)     3. Learn how to register   If you are requesting accommodations, you will likely need to register for your exam prior to submitting your request. Check out these links for step-by-step registration instructions for applicants requesting accommodations on these high stakes tests:      LSAT        MCAT        GRE        NCLEX         GMAT         CBEST         California Cosmetology Exam        California Bar Exam        California Contractors State Licensing Exam       4. Learn what’s available   There are a variety of accommodations offered for eligible students. The types of accommodations available depend on the specific testing demands of each exam. Some common accommodations include, but are not limited to:    Additional time to complete exams    Extra breaks    Large print or Braille exam books    Use of computers for writing portions     Private or small group testing    Dictation to a typist or recording device    Wheelchair access    Scratch paper    Use of a scribe    Ability to pace or take walks     Use of magnification devices    Ability to bring medications and/or food and drinks    Voice recognition software     5. Learn what’s not   To approve accommodations, all exam administrators require that your impairment must clearly impact your test-taking ability in some way. Some disabilities that are not commonly accepted are impairments in walking or other physical movement unrelated to writing. Certain psychiatric conditions that do not clearly impair test-taking ability, such as a phobia of spiders, may not be eligible for accommodated testing.   6. Think back to other exams   Some exam providers, such as the LSAT, will often approve any accommodations that you were provided during other exams such as the SAT or ACT. If you received accommodations on any post-secondary exams, contact your previous test administrator and request a letter that details the specific accommodations that you were provided. Keep in mind, however, that you may need additional documentation beyond your past accommodations. Other test administrators, such as the MCAT, have much stricter documentation requirements than the SAT or ACT.   7. Find an expert   While each test administrator has varying policies on what they require, they all share common ground in this: your disability or health condition must be documented by a qualified specialist. From your academic experience, you may have a thorough grasp on your challenges and what accommodations you need to succeed, but you will still need them validated by an expert to receive approval from your test administrator.      


   
     
      
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      8. Get documentation   It’s important to review the specific documentation requirements of your test administrator, as incomplete documentation packets will either be denied or returned as incomplete. A   Specialist in Educational Psychology   can help you prepare your documentation packet. Most test administrators will require certified documentation explaining the following:    Your diagnosis and specific impairments    A description of the evaluative measures used to determine your diagnosis    An explanation of how your impairments limit your functioning during tests    Recommended accommodations with a rationale for each recommendation      Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Marta M. Shinn for evaluation and documentation support     9. Apply early   Once you’ve compiled all of your necessary documentation, apply well in advance of your exam’s deadlines. This will not only give ample time for the application to be reviewed, but will also allow you some time to appeal the decision if your request is denied or returned for having incomplete documentation.    10. Get support   Being faced with a high stakes exam is stressful enough, and worrying about securing your accommodations can prevent you from focusing on mastering your material. Our specialists at Variations Psychology can guide you through the accommodations process, provide you with necessary documentation required for your exam, and help you secure your accommodation needs.     Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can evaluate for impairments or learning disabilities that impact your test taking ability and provide you with necessary documentation and support to secure exam accommodations.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Association of American Medical Colleges (2018). Applying for Accommodations. Retrieved online: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/applying-accommodations/  Association of American Medical Colleges (2018). Understanding the Review Process. Retrieved online: https://aamc-orange.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/18/90/189077ca-f0d0-4c26-ac41-1bf72c1e8248/understanding_the_review_process.pdf  Association of American Medical Colleges (2018). U.S. MCAT Calendar, Scheduling Deadlines, and Score Release Dates. Retrieved online:  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/mcat-testing-calendar-score-release-dates/  California Educator Credentialing Assessments (2018) CBEST PBT Registration Deadlines. Retrieved online: https://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/Content/HTML_FRAG/CAPBTRB_RegistrationDates_CBEST.html  Contractors State License Board (2018). Step 2: Applying for the Examination. http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Contractors/Applicants/Contractors_License/Exam_Application/Applying_For_License.aspx  Cosmetology-License.com (2018). How to Become a Cosmetologist in California. https://www.cosmetology-license.com/california/#complete-examination-application  Department of Consumer Affairs: Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (2018). Cosmetologist Application for Examination and Initial License Fee. Retrieved online:   https://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/forms_pubs/forms/cosmetologist_app.pdf  Educational Testing Service (2018). Accommodations for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs. Retrieved online: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/register/disabilities/  Educational Testing Service (2018). How to Request Accommodations. Retrieved online: https://www.ets.org/disabilities/test_takers/request_accommodations/  Educational Testing Service (2018). Test Centers and Dates. Retrieved online: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/register/centers_dates/  Graduate Management Admission Council (2018). Four Steps to Schedule Your GMAT Exam. Retrieved online:https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat/before-the-exam/register-for-the-gmat-exam/schedule-your-exam  Graduate Management Admission Council (2018). Register as a Test Taker with Disabilities. Retrieved online: https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat/before-the-exam/register-for-the-gmat-exam/register-as-a-test-taker-with-disabilities  Law School Administration Council (2018). LSAC Policy on Accommodations for Test Takers with Disabilities. Retrieved online: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/lsac-policy-accommodations-test-takers-disabilities  Law School Administration Council (2018). LSAC Deadlines and Score Release Dates. Retrieved online: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/lsat-dates-deadlines-score-release-dates  National Council of State Boards of Nursing (2018). Application and Registration. Retrieved online: https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex-application-and-registration.htm  National Council of State Boards of Nursing (2018). Scheduling. Retrieved online: https://www.ncsbn.org/1217.htm  Study.com (2018) NCLEX Test Accommodations. Retrieved online: https://study.com/academy/popular/nclex-test-accommodations.html  Study.com (2018) CBEST Test Accommodations. Retrieved online: https://study.com/academy/popular/cbest-test-accommodations.html  The State Bar of California (2018). General Instructions for Requesting Test Accommodations. Retrieved online: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/forms/admissions/TAInstructions.0416_R.pdf  U.S. Department of Justice (2018). ADA Requirements – Testing Accommodations. Retrieved online: https://www.ada.gov/regs2014/testing_accommodations.html   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Graduate Student’s Guide to Test Accommodations: The LSAT, MCAT, GRE, NCLEX,   CBEST, GMAT, Cosmetology Exam, Contractors Exam, & Bar Exam.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/graduate-students-guide-to-test-accommodations

Graduate Student’s Guide to Test Accommodations: The LSAT, MCAT, GRE, NCLEX, CBEST, GMAT, Cosmetology Exam, Contractors Exam, & Bar Exam

The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that adults with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations on professional licensing exams. However, the application and approval process can be confusing and time consuming. If you are facing a high stakes exam, check out this week’s blog to learn tips on successfully securing accommodations.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Take the Stress Out of Tests!  11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety     Society places a huge emphasis on the importance of tests in school. “You better pass your reading test or you’ll fall behind in 2nd grade.” “You better ace your SATs or you’ll never get into college.” “You better pass The Bar or else you’ll never have a career and will probably end up living under a bridge - but no pressure!” It’s no wonder that millions of students deal with at least some anxiety revolving around tests; but for some students, test anxiety is debilitating, preventing them from being able to show their true knowledge and capabilities.    How does test anxiety impact a student?    Anxiety is our body’s natural response to things we view as threats. Students with test anxiety have an extreme fear of performing poorly on tests, causing them to view exams as threatening. This fear impacts them physically, mentally, and emotionally. As symptoms increase in one of those areas, they tend to get worse in the other two. One thought of, “I know I’m going to fail,” can turn into feeling panicked, nauseous, faint, and short of breath – making test-taking unbearable. If students don’t learn ways to successfully manage test anxiety early on, it can damper their performance during tests throughout their teen and adult lives.   If you are a parent or teacher, here are some ways to help students get a hold on test anxiety:    1. Put tests in perspective    If you suspect your student has anxiety, ask them what they’re afraid of. You will likely find that their fears revolve around a dread of failure or feelings of inadequacy. As an adult, you have a more realistic understanding of the level of influence that tests do and don’t have on your life. Sure, there are high stakes exams out there, but you know that in a few years their test scores won’t be impacting their long-term life success. Share your insight and remind them that a test does not have the power to define their worth, potential, or future.      2. Amp up affirmations   Positive affirmations are encouraging thoughts people say to themselves that help them believe in their ability to succeed. Have your student come up with positive affirmations to replace their negative thoughts about testing. In time, repeating these affirmations will help them reverse negative thought patterns that fuel their anxiety.    Example :   Replace , “I’m scared that I won’t remember how to multiply,”  with , “I know how to multiply and I’m going to do great.”   Replace , “I know I’m going to fail AP History,”  with , “I’ll study and try my best.”   Replace , “I’ll never pass the MCAT – my career is doomed,”  with , “I’ve studied just as hard as everyone else and I can do this. Watch out med school, here I come!”   3. Teach muscle relaxation   When we get anxious, our muscles naturally clench up. Teaching relaxation techniques can help students calm their body’s response to anxiety, in turn reducing their emotional distress. One exercise is to clench your fists for 5 seconds, then release them while picturing every muscle in your body letting go of any tension.      4. Make breathing an art form   Another effective tool in reducing anxiety is breathing exercises. Anxiety tends to shorten our breath, fueling the sense of panic that tests can bring on. Have students practice their breathing, focusing on deep inhales and slow exhales.     5. Visualize success   There are two types of visualization that you can teach your students to help them manage test anxiety. First, they can close their eyes and envision a safe, calming place every time they start feeling tense. Second, they can think back on a time they did well on a test and then picture themselves doing great on the upcoming test.      6. Seat strategically   Educators, seat your highly anxious students with low anxiety students. When they see their classmates modeling healthy study habits and a relaxed attitude around test prep, it can gradually help them view tests as less threatening. This also goes for parents; if you’re having kids over for study group, don’t only invite the over-achievers. Make sure to invite peers who are less prone to stress or who have overcome test anxiety themselves to influence the tone of the group.      7. Create a culture of calm   “Be positive” – it’s more than just a blood type, it’s a way of life. Anxiety is infectious, so be careful not to show lots of anxiety around your students’ test performance. If you’re a parent of a child who is excelling and exceeding the performance of others, express pride but try not to suggest any expectation for them to outperform anyone else. Any anxieties or pressures that you convey will likely rub off on them, so do your best to create a positive, supportive, and optimistic environment around testing. Smile and show your sense of humor. Your demeanor during testing will signal to your students that this is not a threatening situation.       For more advice on managing your own anxiety, view our blog on how to STOP Anxiety in its Tracks       8. Prioritize prep work   Students feel much better about test taking if they feel prepared and knowledgeable on the material. Whether you are a teacher or parent, help your students feel prepared by:      Teaching test taking strategies such as skipping difficult questions and coming back to them at the end    Explaining different test formats    Helping them create a study plan to make them feel prepared    Allowing plenty of review time to give students opportunities to ask questions and refresh their memory     9. Assign fun   Although test preparation plays a critical role in alleviating test anxiety, students with test anxiety often burn themselves out with studying before testing even begins.  Emphasize to your students that while studying and homework are important for their success, time for fun, relaxation, and recreation are also vital for them to perform at their best.     10. Praise properly    Students with anxiety often grasp the material but draw a blank when the test is in front of them. This is often a result of their fear of incompetency toward testing. You can reduce the likelihood of them freezing up by boosting their confidence leading up to the test. Make sure to praise them for more than just mastery of a subject – encourage students’ progress and efforts before they’ve got a lesson down.     Examples :   “See! You’re doing great with the first two steps of long division. You’ll have the rest down in no time.”  “You’re really making progress on your review worksheets. You’re on the right track to be well-prepared for the mid-term.”    For more tips on improving your child’s attitude toward learning, check out our blog on Fostering a Growth Mindset        11. Visit a specialists   Every parent wants school to be an enriching experience for their child. If anxiety is holding your child back from getting the most out of their education, they may qualify for accommodations including additional breaks or extended testing times. Our specialists at Variations Psychology can determine the correct diagnosis for your child, assist you in securing accommodations at for school tests and high stakes exams, and give your child strategies to cope with anxiety symptoms.       
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.     More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   TEST ANXIETY: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS https://www.education.udel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TestAnxiety.pdf  Blank, H. Cascardi, M. (2016). Overcoming Test Anxiety: A High School Student’s Perspective And Solutions. Retrieved online: https://www.anxiety.org/high-school-students-can-overcome-test-anxiety  How Teachers Can Help Students Cope with Test Anxiety (2017)  blog.edmentum.com/how-teachers-can-help-students-cope-test-anxiety    How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.    Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety

Take the Stress Out of Tests!
11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety

Though no obituary has ever read, “Cause of Death: Flunking the SAT,” the stress of high-stakes testing can feel make a student feel like they are in a life or death situation. Without effective coping skills, test anxiety can negatively  impact students’ physical, emotional, and mental health. For tips on helping students manage test anxiety, check out this week’s blog.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Should I Get My Kid Tested?   All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.  But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?   What Psychologists are testing for   There are a variety of issues that psychologists can identify and recommend accommodations for. Now is an ideal time to get your child tested, as it allows you to make any necessary arrangements for accommodations. Consider visiting a specialist if you think your child may be struggling with any of the following challenges:   1. Learning Disabilities   Throughout your child’s school day, they are asked to process information in a variety of ways. They see numbers, hear directions, and write down answers. Many children have difficulty processing information in one or more ways which can delay their learning and reduce their confidence. Common learning disabilities can impair a child’s ability to focus, read, write, spell, process sounds, interpret language, or understand math symbols. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, getting them tested can qualify them for accommodations and/or modifications to help them work around their areas of difficulty.    Check out our blog on securing accommodations and modifications for your child on the SAT/ACT    Click below to listen to Dr. Marta Shinn’s podcast on understanding accommodations and modifications for SAT and ACT tests     

 
 
      2. Emotional Intelligence Issues   While intellectual intelligence is important, many studies suggest that emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important to a person’s success than their IQ. If your child has a hard time understanding or managing emotions, it can impact their grades, self-esteem, resiliency, and coping skills. Having your child’s emotional development evaluated can help you learn ways to increase their EQ and improve their academic and social experiences.    Check out our blog on 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children     3. Academic Giftedness   Like every child, intellectually gifted children need love, support, structure, and challenge to reach their potential. Unfortunately, the needs of gifted children can often get a bit neglected, especially when teachers are preoccupied with assisting struggling students. Testing for academic giftedness can help you become an informed advocate for your child. By learning about their abilities and development, you can work with the school to ensure they provide a stimulating environment for your child.   4. Autism Spectrum Disorder   Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that can impact your child’s motor skills, sensory perception, language development, emotional health, and social life. Each of these areas have a significant impact on their academic performance and mental well-being. As its name suggests, autism displays itself in a variety of ways across a wide spectrum; if you suspect that your child may be showing signs, it’s  important that they be evaluated. Once a child is diagnosed with autism, there are many effective methods teachers can use to support their learning.   5. Anxiety Disorders   Anxiety can present itself in different ways – your child may have an irrational fear of hurricanes, worry excessively over tests, or avoid social situations at all costs. Whatever the cause of their worry, anxiety can impact their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. Getting your child tested for anxiety can help you in working with your child’s school to understand their challenges and provide them with the emotional support they need to manage their symptoms in the classroom.      Check out our blog on how to STOP anxiety in its tracks     6. Trauma   While most parents try their best to protect their children from troubling experiences, it’s inevitable that children are sometimes exposed to traumatizing situations. If your child has gone through something traumatic, whether it be surviving a car accident, witnessing your recent divorce, or losing a loved one, they may need support in learning healthy ways to cope. Consulting with a specialist can help your child learn effective and healthy ways to overcome trauma and get back to focusing on school, friends, and fun.   Visit Variations    If you think your child might benefit from educational consulting or psychological evaluation, Variations can help. From testing, walking you through the IEP or 504, or advocating for your child on campus, Variations can support your family every step of the way.     Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.      
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life:         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143, DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891  National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml  Types of Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Association of America Retrieved online https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/  https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested

Should I Get My Kid Tested?

All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.

But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      How to STOP Anxiety in its Tracks    Excuse me sir, your amygdala’s going haywire   Our brains are naturally wired to respond to threats with worry. When we encounter something troubling, a part of our brain called the amygdala sends out red flags to our bodies to be on high alert. Whether you are facing a dangerous situation like confronting a robber or something positive but nerve-wracking like taking your SAT’s, your amygdala will trigger your body to have symptoms of anxiety. Some people have more sensitive circuitry than others, causing them to experience anxiety symptoms more often.   Symptoms can include:     Increased heart rate    Shortness of breath    Feeling like your chest is caving in    Muscle tension    Intense, debilitating fear     But son, California doesn’t get tornadoes!   The threat response circuitry for a person with anxiety disorders is highly sensitive and may become triggered for reasons that seem completely irrational to others. Reasonable or not, just about anything can become a trigger for someone with anxiety issues, and their brain responds to that trigger the same way it would if they were standing face to face with a known serial killer. Without learning how to cope with their symptoms, this pervasive worrying can impact a person’s relationships, school or work performance, and mental health.     The equal opportunity offender   Anxiety impacts people through all walks of life and affects children, teens, and adults alike. Anxiety can take many forms. Some common forms of anxiety disorders include:    Social anxiety – Feeling anxious when having to interact in social situations    Panic disorder – Experiencing sudden attacks of fear, often with no obvious trigger    Generalized anxiety disorder – Excessive worry about several aspects of life    Agoraphobia – Intense fear of places where an escape route isn’t obvious    Specific phobias – Intense irrational fear of a specific trigger such as elevators, spiders, earthquakes, cars, etc.     When it’s a Problem    We all experience anxiety at one time or another. Whether it’s starting a new job, going on a blind date, or trying out a new rollercoaster, there are many life experiences that induce anxiety. Most people can move past it as it comes and carry on with their lives, but if you feel that your symptoms are a frequent problem that holds you back in any area of life, give these tips a try:   Get your amygdala out of the gutter   Anyone with anxiety knows how annoying it is for well-meaning friends and family to suggest that they “just cheer up,” or, “stop thinking that way,” as they know it is simply not that easy. However, by practicing a set of habits called STOP skills, you can learn to put the brakes on your brain’s reactions. STOP skills were developed by   Dr. Marta M. Shinn  , one of Variations Psychology’s specialists, and can benefit both adults and children. Stop stands for:     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      1. Surprise your brain   Anxiety makes us feel like we have no control over our minds, but we can influence our thoughts with practice. When you have a worrisome thought, identify it as a destructive idea that needs to be removed. Of course, it’s impossible to immediately remove a thought from your brain; if someone tells you not to think about hippos you’ll have hippos dancing through your head all day!   But you can identify the thought as a nuisance and work on replacing it.    One technique is to wear a rubber band on your wrist. Whenever a troublesome thought pops in your brain, snap it on your wrist, tell the thought to “stop!” and then picture yourself throwing the thought away to make room for a better one!   2. Talk to your brain    Positive self-talk is important to replacing your worrisome thoughts. Keep your problems in perspective – in the big picture, is your situation as threatening as it feels? Repeat positive affirmations to yourself, even if you don’t believe them at first.   What if it’s not my brain that’s the problem?   The same goes for parenting a child with anxiety as well – be the confidence that they don’t have. If they keep asking, “What if a tornado comes - you can’t know for sure that one won’t happen here.” Just say, “You’re right, it could happen, but I think we’ll be ok.” This is a great time to model how to manage worrisome thoughts.   3. Open your breathing   Next time you’re overcome with anxiety, pay attention to what your body is doing. Your muscles clench up, your chest tightens, and your breathing gets shorter. Focus on regaining control over your body, loosening your muscles and taking slow, controlled breaths. Once your breathing is under control, your other “high alert” symptoms will start to subside.   4. Practice a new behavior    Find your time out spot. We’re not referring to the corner your mom used to banish you to when you’d smack your brother. We mean to find a hobby, place, mental vision that allows you to take a break from whatever is triggering your anxiety. It could be listening to calming music, going for a drive, or watching cheesy movies with your best friend. Think about things that make you feel relaxed and calm; whatever that looks like for you, make it a priority when you feel anxious.   Other Helpful Tips:    Lay off the vodka red bulls    While you may have a few friends who strongly believe in the notion that “wine is cheaper than therapy,” an anxious person should limit their alcohol and caffeine consumption. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety is dangerous because it can lead to dependence on alcohol to cope with your symptoms. Alcohol also changes your serotonin levels, which can increase anxiety symptoms once your buzz wears off. Caffeine can also worsen your symptoms because it is a stimulant that can give you the same jittery effects that trigger your “fight or flight” response during anxiety attacks.   Try a yoga class   …Or just YouTube yoga videos at home if your anxiety revolves around bending your body in unnatural positions in a room full of strangers. Whether you’re into high impact workouts like CrossFit or are more into the slow and controlled movements of Pilates, regular exercise of any kind will help your brain release endorphins and reduce your stress.   Namaste in bed   Yes, we want you to exercise regularly, but it’s equally important that you get adequate rest. Anxiety can be exacerbated by lack of sleep. For adults, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Doctor’s orders! Children require much more sleep depending on their age, with teens requiring 8-10 hours of sleep, 6-12 year old’s requiring 9-12 hours, 3-5 year old’s requiring 10-13 hours, 1-2 year old’s requiring 11-14 hours, and infants requiring 12-16 hours.   Power up with protein    Remember that anxiety is an issue with your brain’s health – you can address it with your thoughts and coping skills, but you can also support your brain health by feeding your body with proper nutrition. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and make sure to keep high protein snacks on hand to keep your energy up throughout the day.   Talk to a specialist   Variations Psychology has experts with a wide range of specializations to help you overcome problems with anxiety and help you get back to living your best life.      
	 Click here to find the specialist that’s right for you 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life:      

 
   
     
      
        
     

     

       

        
          

            

          

            
               

                 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.      More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress  National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). How to STOP Anxiety in its Tracks.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-stop-anxiety-in-its-tracks

How to STOP Anxiety in its Tracks

Excuse me sir, your amygdala’s going haywire

Our brains are naturally wired to respond to threats with worry. When we encounter something troubling, a part of our brain called the amygdala sends out red flags to our bodies to be on high alert. Whether you are facing a dangerous situation like confronting a robber or something positive but nerve-wracking like taking your SAT’s, your amygdala will trigger your body to have symptoms of anxiety. Some people have more sensitive circuitry than others, causing them to experience anxiety symptoms more often.