Heat-wave

Met a neighbor downstairs yesterday. She was sitting on the stoop with her dog by her feet. My neighbor is usually quite peppy. She looked wilted and a little green around the gills. Sweaty. Bleary eyed.

I asked it she was okay, and she shook her head.

“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” she said. “Got dizzy. Maybe it’s the heat.”

I gave her a cold water bottle. Asked the café next door for a towel moistened with ice-water and wrapped that around her neck. I’d have helped her to my air-conditioned apartment but I didn’t think she should climb several flights of stairs.

She didn’t want me to call 911. Said she’d just sit on the shady (but steamy) stoop and rest. I offered to help her into the café next door instead. Had her sit down in the air-conditioned space. The dog could not enter but the waiter understood and let us sneak the leash out through a crack in the door so she can still keep hold of the pooch.

I asked again if to call 911. Didn’t want to scare her, and indeed it could be heat-exhaustion, but heart-attack in women rarely displays the classic ‘clasp your chest’ as in men. It could be something else …

She shook her head. “I don’t need 911. I’m taking this new medication and maybe it made me more sensitive to the heat. I think there was something about it on the label. I’ll be okay.”

She said the cool air already had her feeling better. So we sat. I watched her, ready to call 911 if she got worse. She didn’t. She took small sips of her water. The waiter brought another cool rag to replace the one that already warmed. She took deep breaths.

Her coloring improved. The dog, who’d been standing vigil by the door and anxiously observing her, finally lapped the water we’d placed for him, then lay down with head calmly on front paws. His reaction reassured me. It reassured my neighbor, too. She smiled and took a deeper breath. The dog lifted eyes to her and his tail slapped the ground in return greeting. Both relieved.

We sat a little longer. When my neighbor felt like herself again, we thanked the café workers and I walked her home. She was going to take it easy the rest of the day. Hydrate. Stay indoors.

Summer is lovely, but it can be tricky for many. Medications are often not taken into account, yet should.

I can be a certifiable momma hen … so, bear with me. … It’s been hot yesterday and it is hotter still today. A heat index of 109F or so. Life doesn’t need to stop, but know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Don’t ignore them. Take precautions, check your medications for heat-sensitivity warnings, and take good care of you, of young and old or people who are in any way infirm or vulnerable to heat. Be mindful of pets, check on neighbors. Keep hydrated. Keep cool. Keep well.

SacramentoReady.org heatstroke

Stressful Situations Simulation: A resource

Below is a good resource and simulation of stressful situations that can be immensely helpful to parents and caregivers. I especially recommend the ones involving “Family Support”: “Calm Parents, Healthy Kids” and “Building Family Bonds.” These scenario simulations inform, teach, and actively guide parents and caregivers through various scenarios of interactions with toddlers in commonly challenging situations.

The resource can be invaluable information for parents and caregivers who are inexperienced and/or may have had less than good enough parenting themselves, and who may not know how to facilitate clear, supportive interaction with their own children, especially under stress. The simulation is presented in a non-shaming, educational way, and provides the participant with an active role in choosing different ways of responding … and being able to see the possible reactions to them … It also allows the participant to ‘re-do’ situations so they can experience how better choices can bring better results …

Practicing is important for any skill, let alone for skills one needs to apply in stressful situations. The very way our brain processes information is affected when we’re stressed, so it helps to already know what to do beforehand. Also, our own stress and how we manage it gets communicated and passed onto children in our care. This makes it doubly important to learn and practice (and then be able to model) new skills when one is calm and in neutral situations–as this simulation allows one to do.

Calm, informed caregivers help raise calm, healthy, competent kids. This can help!

I highly recommend you take a look and see:

https://conversationsforhealth.org/#conversations

bubble happy

 

Pictures on Pavement

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

 

Find time for drawing

Pictures

On the pavement of your mind.

Remember

The dry feel of chalk on fingers

The odd satisfaction in

Colors

Merging in the rain.

Put aside the rush of feet

The soles of to-do lists

The pressures of perfection.

Pavement pictures do not require

Standards

Other than imagination and

A bit of emptiness,

A soft rock,

A hand.

Make room for pavement pictures

On the pace-space

Of your mind.

Let the squiggles free

So the sketch

You never knew was there

Could stretch

A doodle

To the sun.

Mothering

tender care

Thankful

For mothering

In all its forms:

The immediate, the early, the continuous, the delayed;

The biological, the fostered, the adopted, the periodical, the incremental and the unusual;

To mothering by women, by men, by friends and neighbors, co-workers and teachers, siblings and relatives, by the kind smile of a stranger and moments of shared understanding;

To mothering by nature, by pets, by ocean waves, by breath and life’s constant flow and ebb;

To Mother Earth and Mother Moon;

To mothering of self, by self, by growth, by age and lessons learned and known …

To all of this, and more;

Thankful for mothering.

In all its forms.

tenderness

love2tree

Note: all photos are taken from Pintrest. If you know their original provenance I’ll be happy to add specific credits!

Communication and Collaboration

Upcoming Webinar!

Communication and Collaboration: Multidisciplinary treatment of traumatized/dissociative children

Friday, May 20, 2016
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern Time

Registration now open! (please see disclaimer in bottom of post)

spacornerJuly12no5

Photo Credit: A.A.

Abstract
Treatment of traumatized and dissociative children is most often discussed in the context of psychotherapy. However, traumatized and/or dissociated children often come into contact with additional professionals. Like all youngsters, traumatized children need to manage everyday interactions with caregivers, educators, and routine childhood medical and dental care. Yet many also face clinical interactions with speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, medical professionals, and more. This is because trauma places children at a high risk for developmental issues, and because children who already have developmental and/or health issues are highly vulnerable to trauma. In addition to clinical care, many traumatized children encounter legal personnel, forensic evaluators, child protective services, foster care staff, etc.

Posttraumatic and dissociative reactions are not limited to the therapist’s office. Just as communication issues aren’t segregated to speech-language pathologist’s office, asthma to the doctor’s, or sensory integration issues to occupational therapy. Various issues can complicate children’s presentation and behavior, and traumatized youngsters are often judged as difficult, aggressive, manipulative, immature, unpredictable, and inattentive. This can result in painful consequences (e.g. loss of placement, shaming, treatment failure), which further increase stress and reinforce the need for dissociative coping. In addition, caregivers routinely face challenges that can affect course of treatment, and professionals do not always ‘speak the same language’ when it comes to describing, assessing, and treating the child (and/or family). Even when professionals are trauma-aware, coordinated care is not always easy to achieve … and yet is essential for effective stabilization, minimizing compartmentalization, and carryover.

This webinar will look into the often complex realities of caring for traumatized/dissociative children and adolescents, the tapestries of clinical encounters many face, and how these may shift throughout infancy, childhood, and teen years. The challenges (and potential) of coordinated care and communication will be discussed, as would logistical and ethical limitations and suggestions for managing them. Clinical vignettes will serve as a window into ways for improving communication among child/family professionals, and will provide examples for practical solutions for increasing regulation and decreasing posttraumatic activation in all involved. The role of caregivers and the child as part of the team will also be examined.

Objectives
Upon completion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the connection between trauma and care utilization in children and adolescents.
  • Describe three challenges to coordinated care
  • List five strategies therapists can apply to improve communication and coordination in the multi-disciplinary treatment of traumatized/dissociative children

For more information and to register

Disclaimer: I volunteer my time and expertise for this webinar, and do not receive any financial gain from it. Registration fees are collected by ISSTD, which hosts the webinar, is responsible for all fees and/or refunds, and provides an option for CEs for attendance.

Find Freedom

freedomdoor
Photo: http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-tours/

 

Find freedom in whatever small measures of peace you can.

It is yours for the freeing, yours for the making, your for the taking:

Freedom from stress, from strain, from hand-wringing worry;

Freedom from old tapes and older boxes;

Freedom from stale words and staler habits;

Freedom from harsh realities;

Freedom from histories repeated;

Freedom from bloated egos, punctured dreams, blame, sorrow;

Freedom from more-to-do-than-possible; unrealistic expectations;

Freedom from judgment–inside and out and in between;

Freedom from hate–it is not of you, never was.

Find freedom

In each breath. Each perfect petal of a flower, each song of bird;

In every new life born; all promise, all potential;

In everything you are, and everything you always had been,

but maybe forgot.

Find freedom in whatever small measures of peace around you.

It will grow.

For freedom expands like light in a mirror; multiplied.

You know.

spacornerapril12no1

Photo Credit: A.Asif

 

“Communicating Trauma” on the Virtual Book Club!

I am so very excited to have my award winning book offered on the ISSTD Virtual Book Club for eight weeks, starting April 25 (what a pretty flyer, too!! Thank you Mary Pat!)

Working with children?

Working with adults who used to be children? …

Come and join us!

Yehuda Spring 2016 Vitual Book Club

Find peace

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/333055334913490394/

Find peace in quiet nature

Find peace in small things born

Find peace in flowers after winter

Find peace in green shoots grown

Find peace in human kindness

Find peace in life galore

Find peace in colors blooming

Find peace in blue-green shores

Find peace in sunshine streaming

Find peace in mornings’ glow

Find peace in smiles unexpected

Find peace in rivers’ flow

Find peace in children’s laughter

And hope in hearts who know.

oldfriends

Spring Balance

spring equinox balance

The vernal equinox greencolander

Balance … that point of perfect stillness …the place of pause between the inhalation and the exhalation … the being in (yep, it would flicker) peace …

We seek balance. We crave and hope and workshop and self-help and click on links for it … We want balance yet all too often forget it is only a passing blip on life’s experiential radar screen. Rather than suspended animation, balance is a state of never ending mini-bobbles, of constant readjusting, of rolling with the punches, of going with the flow.

How paradoxical that balance is unsteady. It calls on every sense to be alert for small corrections, on perceptions to be both relaxed and sharpened.

Yet it is not a paradox. Not really. Complete stillness isn’t balance–it is frozen. It immobilizes. Holds down, prevents change.

Life flows, and we’re at our best when we are most aware and without anxiousness. We are most balanced when we’re in the moment, in the wobble, readjusting; undeterred.

Nature is as always, a most persistent teacher. It demonstrates balance twice a year. Points of pause from which to slow or quicken; momentary balance to remind us of how all stillness shifts; how balance IS the shifting.

Nature pauses in perfect timing … For as we move from winter sluggishness to the rapid march of spring; balance can seem suddenly untenable: how does one possibly do all there is to do, attend to all that’s going on–with ourselves, our families, our job, our countries, our world ….? How does one catch up with the riotous and springy energies?

The very point of stillness into seasons’ change, reminds us that like everything, we are also called to flow … adjust, keep boundaries, recalibrate yet not stop; swim the current but not be carried over and bashed by white waters; harness new potential and use it for growth, rather than destruction. We are reminded to let go not into helplessness but to a gentle bobble-wobble.

Nature also reminds us that we need to breathe. To play. To laugh. To live in the moment. To watch children and babies–so much new life opens in rebirth–and learn from their unrelenting exuberance even as we also learn from the unwavering subtle protection of good mothers who allow young minds to be both curious and safe.

It is in the small beats of life–the pause between the whoosh-whoosh of your heart, the stillness in the pendulum before it resumes movement, the perfect balance of the light and darkness–that all potential lives.

May you spring in balance. May balance bring more spring into your step.

hello spring