Dr. Learsy and Dr. Reiss provide a variety of modalities customized to your child's specific needs. Individual therapies may include play therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and the Early start Denver Model.
Therapy for children and adolescents with ADHD
At Child’s Best, we conduct behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies for children and adolescents with ADHD. Behavior therapy teaches children how to manage their symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention. Children with ADHD tend to have weaknesses with executive functioning skills. Executive functioning skills are important to a person’s ability to focus, resist an impulse, complete a task, plan, and organize information and material. Executive skills training attempts to reinforce the use of conscious and deliberate strategies to re-establish external structure and improve the child’s ability to exercise control over his or her behavior, thoughts, and emotions.
Goals of therapy may include finishing tasks such as school work or chores, improving behavior by reducing impulsivity, and following rules such as not interrupting and following class instruction. Therapies for ADHD involve a self-monitoring component, in which children and adolescents are given structured worksheets or materials to help them monitor their behavior and chart their progress. Over time, these strategies may fade because they will become internalized and your child will strengthen his or her “metacognitive” strategies.
While some children respond to behavioral therapy, executive skills training, and/or cognitive therapy, some children and adolescents with more severe symptoms of ADHD benefit from therapy combined with medication. At Child’s Best, the developmental-behavioral pediatrician can tailor and monitor a medication plan that optimizes the benefits your child will receive from therapy.
In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy is appropriate for young children because they do not yet possess the language skills that older children and adults have to work through their emotions and thoughts. Through play, children are given an opportunity to play out real-life roles in an intense way, reflect relationships and experiences, express their needs, and to work out problems and experiment with solutions. Playing reflects and encourages changes in attitude while supplying a safe place where children can test hypotheses, explore fears, and resolve conflicts safely (Hartley, Frank, & Goldenson, 1967). This provides the child with an opportunity to work through their emotions, develop their sense of self, and understand their emotions while developing coping strategies.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
How children interpret their experiences shapes their emotional functioning and behavior, and their emotional functioning and behavior, in turn, influence their cognitions. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, we focus on the environmental situation, the child’s interpretation of the situation, and how their interpretation influences their emotions and affects their behavior. Through guided collaboration, we help the child to identify distinct cognitions and behavioral patterns that influence thinking, acting, feelings, and bodily reactions. After sessions, children are typically given homework to practice skills discussed in the session. Homework promotes skill acquisition and application in real-world contexts.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that emphasizes and teaches coping strategies for intense emotions. Through DBT, children and adolescents recognize their strengths so they can feel better about themselves and learn how to utilize their strengths to overcome challenges. It helps children and adolescents identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder. DBT teaches children and adolescents a prescribed set of recommendations to be attempted in a specific order. Eventually, through coaching and practice, they can learn to identify emotions, thoughts, and belief that dictate their extreme emotional states and behaviors and have the tools and insight to control their internal storms. In an individual setting, DBT is based on a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the child, and in a group setting. DBT is based on a collaborative relationship between the child, therapist, and other group members. DBT encourages children and adolescents to work out their relationship problems with the therapist. Strategies may include role-playing, education, and homework. The therapist will teach the parent strategies so that the parent can coach their child at home. Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help the child develop skills that last a lifetime.
Early Start Denver Model
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is grounded in the current research about infant and toddler learning and the effects of autism symptoms on development. The purpose of ESDM is to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with autism and accelerate the child’s developmental rate in the cognitive, language, and social-emotional domains. The ESDM focuses on developing communication skills, joint attention, imitation and play skills, and social development. When starting the ESDM, Child’s Best will evaluate your child’s skills and, based on those results, we will develop learning objectives specific to your child. The child, therapist, and family work towards achieving the learning objectives in a 12-week period through play and intensive teaching. At the end of 12-weeks, we re-evaluate your child’s skills, discuss your child’s progress, and create new objectives. This is a technique that can be independently administered in the family setting with the parents as the main purveyors of the therapy. The interaction for skills training is not only enriching for the child, but it encourages a more satisfying parent - child bond. Children with symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder require more learning opportunities and an enriched environment to promote skill development. We will coach parents in the development and ongoing use of the interaction techniques used in the therapy sessions. We will also help you determine how to adapt these strategies to fit your style, values, preferences, and goals at home as well as how to easily integrate the techniques into your daily routine.