#TipstoBloom

Intellectual and developmental disabilities are more common than you may realize.  Folks with intellectual disabilities might experience differences in strengths and support needs that affect daily functioning in two areas: intellectual functioning such as learning, problem solving, judgment; and adaptive functioning, such as communication and independent living. These differences are often noticed in early childhood, but may not be identified until later in life. Developmental disabilities refer to differences in physical, learning, language, sensory-motor or behavior. Both intellectual and developmental...

When you are choosing a therapist for your child or teen, it can feel overwhelming. You may also be given the option of a student intern from the organization you connect with. Many families may shy away from this option, for the reason that they are unsure if a student has the skills and abilities to best support their child. However, there are many benefits of working with a student intern as your therapist!  What exactly is a student intern therapist?  Student...

Let's talk about brain development!  Brain development is such an important part of understanding and making sense of behaviours, thoughts and feelings.  When thinking about how a brain develops, it can be helpful to think about it the same way a house is built.  Like any strong house, it is important that we start off with a secure foundation. Our sensory development is the base of our brain architecture and this is where we develop senses such as hearing and vision. Next, we...

Attachment is a big topic and spans across a lifetime! Attachment refers to the relationships and bonds between people. These bonds start to form at birth, and help develop a child’s sense of security in their world. It is important for children to have secure attachments to their caregivers because this supports trust and paves the way for children to develop healthy relationships in other areas of their lives. The attachment between a caregiver and child is also a key component...

What are Body Breaks? For children with ADHD, or simply with a lot of energy, it can be difficult to maintain focus on a task for long periods of time. Body breaks can help release feelings of frustration and stress, increase focus and stay on task, and they can help a child learn how to self regulate.  A body break is a 2-5 minute break from whatever task a child is focusing on that involves movement. The goal of a body break...

Anxiety is a term that is often used in everyday conversation to describe our children, ourselves, or others around us. Anxiety is an emotion coupled with feelings of uneasiness, worry, and intrusive thoughts which may occur as a response to a present or perceived threat. When individuals feel anxious, they may experience physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, sweating, increase in temperature, uneasy stomach, or restlessness. When anxious, thoughts may race through your mind that are difficult to...

Masking (sometimes referred to as camouflaging) is the tendency to suppress certain behaviors that might be related to neurodivergence. The term is most often used in the context of ADHD or Autistic individuals. If you are interested in learning more about neurodivergence, feel free to check out my other blog post: What is Neurodiversity #TipsToBloom. In summary: a neurodivergent individual diverges from the dominant social standards of typical neurocognitive functioning (they might have ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, or Down Syndrome). The...

Happy Pride Month! Pride month is the perfect time to reflect on our use of inclusive language in all aspects of our lives including parenting. Whether you know if your child identifies as 2SLGBTQIA+ or not, there are a few things you can do to make them feel more comfortable with sharing their identity, and supporting their peers as well. This includes language that includes various gender identities, diverse families, and romantic partners. Spectrum: Waterloo Regions Rainbow Community Space has recently...

The term neurodiversity describes the natural cognitive differences between individuals, including brain function and behavioral traits. Just like racial, gender, and cultural diversity, variations in neurotypes are natural and valuable forms of human diversity!  Someone who is neurodivergent diverges from the dominant social standards of typical neurocognitive functioning. These differences might include:  -ADHD -Autism -Dyslexia -Dyspraxia -Down Syndrome Contrary to the term neurodivergent, the term neurotypical refers to an individual whose neurocognitive functioning falls within the societal standards of typical. If your family includes individuals who are...

As of 2020, there were 8 million kids in Canada. Can you guess what these youth all had in common? The answer is: their rights! November 20th is National Child Day in Canada, and it is on this day that we honour the rights of these children and carry on our faithfulness to supporting these rights. According to Children First Canada, there are 12 main areas of child rights that everyone should know. I will not go through all of them,...

Guest Post By: Alyssa Sinicropi November 20th is National Child Day in Canada and World Children’s Day across the globe. This date commemorates when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and when they adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. While the United Nations set a universal standard for human rights in 1948 with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, children’s legal rights were recognized...

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), also known as Orange Shirt Day, honours the children who never returned and Survivors of the residential school system. It recognizes the ongoing impacts of the residential school system on Survivors, their families and communities.  The colour orange was chosen because of Phyllis Webstad’s experiences. She wore a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, BC in 1973....

Self Care 101 Self-care isn’t selfish. “Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you”  - Katie Reed.  Self-care… What does it really mean? Self-care is a term that has been thrown around a lot lately, especially during the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers, teachers, professionals, family, and other parents have all been pushing this idea of taking care of yourself because it’s becoming more known of how important mental health is, and how some...

Play therapy is an innovative and effective form of therapy for individuals of all ages, particularly for children whose natural form of expression comes through play. Play therapy dates back to the 1940s. It is usually done in a non-directive, child-centered format. Self-directed, child-centered play therapy means that the child is the center of attention. They are the most important person in this setting and are completely in charge of the situation and themselves. There are no suggestions, mandates, restraints, criticisms,...

Covid-19 has brought astronomical levels of disruption and uncertainty. It’s like we are all wearing a 20lb weight vest. Although we are all in the same storm, we are not in the same boat so that vest may be heavier for some than others. Nonetheless we’re all impacted.  One group that has faced significant disruption is athletes. When this group is discussed we may automatically think of professional sports organizations who had altered seasons, or elite athletes having to wait another...

March marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is safe to say that everyone has been impacted in one way or another, including children. Children have experienced changes in their routine, missed significant life events, loss of security and safety, along with many more challenges based on the family’s unique situation. Ask yourself: Are you physically and socially distancing from a grandparent or other loved one? Has your child had a disruption in their school or learning...

Guest Blogger: Sarah Nyland, Certified Child Life Specialist WHAT IS A CHILD LIFE SPECIALIST? HOW CAN A CHILD LIFE SPECIALIST HELP MY FAMILY? Children process stress and trauma in many different ways, depending on their age and development, that is very different than adults. Child life specialist understand the developmental impact of trauma and assist children and their families when dealing with an illness, trauma, or loss (death, divorce, or relocation). Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in...

Puppets are powerful tools used in Play Therapy clinics across the country. Puppets can use verbal and nonverbal communication and allow expression to be explored through art or dramatic exploration. Below is a list of three ways to use puppet play at home to work on a child's awareness of feelings, behavioural rehearsal, and normalizing emotions (Bernier, 2005).  Awareness of Feelings: Puppets can be role models for children as they can label and express the child's and the puppet's feelings. The...