PeerGalaxy

Oregon's Peer Support Directory

PeerGalaxy Calendar

Welcome to PeerGalaxy Calendar featuring over 82,000 monthly offerings of FREE telephone- and online-accessible peer support, recovery support + wellness activities!

Over 30+ warmlines plus webinars, workshops, job postings, special events, consumer input opportunities and more.

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Training Opportunities in July 2020
List Provided Courtesy of State of Oregon, Oregon Health Authority
Click here to download PDF Format, 16 pages

How Events are Sorted:

First, at the top of the list: Disaster Hotline & Oregon Safe + Strong Helpline.

Next in the list: Bundled “All Day” Events for organizations with events happening at multiple times throughout the day and/or in many formats or locations; these are bundled into a single listing to prevent endless scrolling.  Usually these offer a lookup by zip code or other criteria. 

Lastly, Time-Specific Events listed by start time from 12:01am early morning to 11:59pm late night.  Warmlines and places east of Oregon’s time zone tend to start earlier (e.g. 4am in Oregon is 7am in New York).

May
24
Tue
02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 24 – Jul 31 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

May
25
Wed
02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 25 – Aug 1 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

May
26
Thu
02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 26 – Aug 2 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

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Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

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Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

May
27
Fri
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources in Response to the War in Ukraine
May 27 all-day

 

Resources in Response to the War on Ukraine

The recent attack on Ukraine has impacted many families in the United States, especially our military and veteran families and those who have family living in the region. The NCTSN and our partners have resources for those families who may need support during this time:
 

Military and Veteran Family Resources
 
Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
 
Understanding Child Trauma & Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
 
Honoring Our Babies and Toddlers: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent’s Deployment, Injury, or Death (Zero to Three)
 
Sesame Street for Military Families
 
Community Support for Military Children and Families Throughout the Deployment Cycle (Center for Study of Traumatic Stress, CSTS)
 
Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
 
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
 
Military Children and Families: Supporting Health and Managing Risk (webinar)
 
Impact of the Military Mission & Combat Deployment on the Service Members
 
Understanding Deployment Related Stressors & Long-term Health in Military Service Members & Veterans:

The Millennium Cohort Study (webinar)
 
An Overview of the Military Family Experience and Culture
 
Talking to Children about War
 
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
 
Psychological First Aid for Displaced Children and Families

Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers

Understanding Refugee Trauma:

For School Personnel For Mental Health Professionals  and For Primary Care Providers

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents

Youth and School Personnel

Helping Children with Traumatic Grief: Young Children

School-Age Children and Teens
 

 

Military Child Education Coalition Resources to Support Ukrainian Military Children & Their Families

As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to evolve, and military families deal with potential deployments, we are reminded of the many uncertainties military-connected children experience as a part of the military lifestyle. We are also reminded of the stress and insecurity that can accompany such unpredictable circumstances.

For 24 years, MCEC® has worked to establish programs and resources for parents, educators, and students to help them navigate unique challenges associated with the military lifestyle. Programs like our Student 2 Student® peer-to-peer support system, parent workshops, and professional development for educators all work together to more effectively respond to the unique emotional needs of military children.

MCEC® is also answering the call from our allies. Upon a request from the National Association of Ukrainian Psychologists, seeking resources for serving military families, the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences reached out to MCEC®.

We responded with the tools listed below, which, we believe, can be immediately helpful to families during these extremely trying times.

Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Fostering Resilience in Children

Helping Military-Connected Children with Daily Stress & Frustration

Raising a Confident Child in an Uncertain World

Supporting Children through Natural Disasters & Loss

Turning Stress into Strength

Anxiety in Young Children

Depression in Youth

Community Crises & Disasters

Activity Web of Support

MCEC Webinar Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources

A one-on-one English program for Ukrainian Youth

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. We work with students age 13-30 and volunteers age 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.  

Students Join Here

Volunteer Apply Here

 

Helpline Resources
 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
 
Military OneSource – call 1-800-342-9647 for eligible DOD service members and their families.
 
Veterans Crisis Line – call 1-800-273-8255, press “1” or text 838255 for all service members.
 
PTSD Consultation Program – for providers who treat Veterans. Ask a question by calling 866-948-7880<tel:866-948-7880> or emailing PTSDconsult@va.gov<mail to:PTSDconsult@va.gov>.
 

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Dr. Greg Leskin gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu> for Military and Veteran Family resource questions and

Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu> for all other questions.

 

Resources In Europe

eucap provides provides support for autistic people in crisis situations

Supporting autistic people in crisis situations

How can you deal with difficult situations if you have limited knowledge of autism? How to best support an autistic person in an acute crisis and challenging conditions? View brief basic information compiled by EUCAP and Autism Europe on this page or download as a pdf file here. More translated versions will be added as they become available.

 

Teenergizer support for Ukranian teens

 

Teenage peer-to-peer counselling service offers lifeline to youngsters in Ukraine

An online counselling service for teenagers has made the world of difference to one youngster who struggled to cope with grief.

Click Here For More Information

 

LiLi Center Logo

Ukraine Peer-to-Peer Support Group

The events happening in Ukraine have affected many in different ways. We want to support those affected directly or indirectly by offering a safe place to express their emotions in a supportive and safe environment. Our peer-to-peer networks are a way for people to support each other in a safe and secure space. If you are interested to express your feelings about the war, need guidance or resources The LiLi Centre is here for you.

For More Information Visit :  https://www.lilicentre.ch/en/home

Where: LiLi Centre
When:  
Wednesdays 09:30-11:30, and Thursdays 17:00-19:00

Who:    Anyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine seeking support and community
Cost:    Free, Sponsored by the LiLi Centre’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI)

NOTE: If you have a need to speak with a mental health professional privately about how you are coping, we are happy to put you in touch with our network of providers and/or connect you to our low-cost and no-cost counselling clinic.

02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 27 – Aug 3 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

AM – All Month – Brain Injury Awareness Month – Hydrocephalus Awareness – Support Groups, Events, Resources
May 27 all-day

 

Brain Injury Awareness Month — Hydrocephalus Awareness

Support Groups, Events, Resources, Advocacy

 

Facts about Hydrocephalus


Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood.

Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus:

  • Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth defects, each year one out of every 500 births results in hydrocephalus
  • Another 6,000 children annually develop hydrocephalus during the first 2 years of life
  • Brain injury occurs every 15 seconds in this country – and in some cases leads to the development of hydrocephalus
  • There are approximately 75,000 discharges a year from hospitals in the U.S. with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus
  • More than 50% of hydrocephalus cases are congenital
  • 70-90% of children born with spina bifida also develop hydrocephalus
  • CSF shunting procedures account for approximately $100 million in health care spending in the United States alone – half of this amount is spent on shunt revisions
  • In the past 25+ years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5%, and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus affects adults and can cause dementia, difficulty in walking and, urinary incontinence
  • No statistics are kept (by our government), for those who develop

 

HELP LINES, PEER SUPPORT, SUPPORT GROUPS

 

 

The Hydrocephalus Association wants you to know that You Are Not Alone – We Are Here For You!

The Hydrocephalus Association staff and teams of trained volunteers are ready to answer your questions and listen to your concerns,  either by phone or email. Simply click on one of the following links to get connected to a volunteer or staff member for support, information, and connection.

 

PEER SUPPORT

To get connected with an HA Peer, please use this link to connect to a request from, after you complete it  your HA Peer will reach out to you very soon!

FOR ONE-TO-ONE PEER SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

 

CALL THE HA HELPLINE

Call (888) 598-3789 or email info@hydroassoc.org for support, resources, and answers to your questions.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.

EMAIL HA CYBER VOLUNTEERS

Do you have a question about hydrocephalus? Treatment? Ongoing care?  The impact of the condition on all aspects of life? Our cyber volunteers are ready to answer your questions and share their experience via email.

You can submit them via email by clicking here!

 

Virtual Meet-ups

When: Every Saturday
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: Sierra Smith and Sara Curran-Kellogg
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, UT, NM, AZ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
1st Friday of the month
Contact: Kelly Varga
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (FL, GA, AL, SC, MS)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
4th Sunday of the month
Contact: Jessica Coffaro
Teens Hang-Out
Come meet other teens with the condition! We’ll hang out, maybe play an icebreaker game, talk, and hopefully make some new friends.

When:
1st Sunday of the month
Contact: Olivia Maccoux and Tomas Rodriguez
Young Adults in their 20s Meet-Up
Come hang out with us and meet other young adults in their 20s living with hydrocephalus. We will have fun intros, icebreakers, and conversation. Let’s get to know each other!

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: info@hydroassoc.org
Dallas NPH Meet-Up
Join us for an NPH Community Network get together! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the NPH journey do. We welcome all those living with NPH in the State of Texas and surrounding states!

When:
3rd Wednesday of the month
Contact: Gary Chaffee
Parents Supporting Parents of Adult Children with IDD
OPEN TO all parents of adults living with hydrocephalus and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our community is diverse in the many ways and degrees that hydrocephalus impacts our loved ones. For those of us supporting children who are adults with intellectual disability (ID), physical disability, and/or learning challenges (LD), the road can be challenging and lonely. Questions of managing their care, self-advocacy, independent living, and finding success in the workforce all loom large. Join other parents on a similar journey for connection and great discussion.

When:
4th Wednesday of the month
Contact: Jackie Mullock
Flourishing in Mid-Life: Group for Women Age 40- 59!

 

Local Community Networks Of Support For Hydrocephalus

We encourage you to explore the local groups and networks available in your area. Be informed and stay connected!

Facebook

Oregon

Portland (& Vancouver, WA)

Online

info@hydroassoc.org

 

WEBINARS AND EDUCATION

We are pleased to offer educational webinars to help you stay informed and current on the latest news surrounding hydrocephalus. These interactive, free webinars are designed to educate our community on a variety of topics which include normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), research, shunt technology, and more.Our webinar series features presentations from medical professionals, researchers, and others with a direct connection to hydrocephalus. Each webinar is moderated by HA’s Support and Education Staff and are archived and accessible following the event in our webinar recordings. Our Support and Education Webinar Series is made possible through the generosity of our industry partner  Medtronic


Future Webinars

Please stay tuned for our 2022 Support and Education Webinar Series and more information regarding our future webinars.


Past Webinars

Congressional Fireside Chat – June 15, 2021

College Transition for Students with Hydrocephalus – December 14, 2021

College Planning for Students Who Learn Differently – March 10, 2021

Descripcion General de la hidrocefalia – July 17, 2021

 

 

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

 

What is Hydrocephalus?

Signs-of Hydrocephalus and Shunt Malfunctions

The most common signs are the following: Congenital Signs normally found in infants and children EARLY Enlargement of the head Irritability Lethargic Feeds poorly/Decrease in appetite Recurrent vomiting Prefers to be alone LATER Distended scalp veins High-pitched cry Increased muscle tone Enlarged and bulging fontanel “Sunset Eyes” (downward gaze) Acquired Signs normally found in older …

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a disorder, which usually strikes middle age to older adults. In NPH, the ventricles are enlarged, but there is no increase of pressure within the ventricles. The problem is thought to be due to the CSF not being fully reabsorbed by the body (through the arachnoid villi). NPH can be …

Hydrocephalus is diagnosed by a neurological exam and imaging techniques such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, Fetal MRI (also referred to as Fast MRI, and is used on a pregnant woman who is carrying a child diagnosed with hydrocephalus) – and on occasion, a pressure-monitoring system. A doctor will order the appropriate tests according to …

Hydrocephalus Defined

Hydrocephalus is commonly referred to as “water on the brain.” The so-called “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that looks like water and is produced in the 4 ventricles (cavities) of the brain, connected by narrow pathways.  CSF is in constant production and absorption;  it has a defined pathway from the lateral …

Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood. Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth …

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

Shunts What is a Shunt? A shunt is a mechanical device designed to transport the excess CSF from or near the point of obstruction to a re-absorption site and it is implanted under the skin. There are many different types of shunts, but there is no perfect shunt. The quest continues for one, the shunt …

 

Youth Webinar Series

Hydrocephalus Canada and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital are excited to share some helpful information and resources with you! Our Youth Webinar Series  focuses on topics that young people with hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida often have questions about.

Webinar #1 


Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“If You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa Thorne will share her insights as the Youth Facilitator at Holland Bloorview in the Spina Bifida and Spinal Cord Injury Clinic and Youth Engagement department, as well as a person with sbh. Having lived at Holland Bloorview as an inpatient for a year after having multiple orthopedic surgeries in grade 10, Melissa will share her story, her background and explain how she helps kids address challenges like ‘growing up ready’. We will also have a guest speaker! Melissa will follow her presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #2

               
Steph Di Martino     Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Social Skills and Friendship”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. Steph and Melissa will explore strategies to build conversation skills, talk about where to meet people your age, how to build connections, what to look for in a friend and help you become aware of what you bring to the table of friendship. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #3

       
Kristen English    Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

 “Community Interaction and Recreation”

Watch on YouTube

November 3 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 12-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Kristen English will share her insights as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. Kristen provides adapted sport and recreation opportunities to children and youth with disabilities including wheelchair basketball, All Abilities Soccer and the Access Boom Sailing program. She is also a Master of Health Evaluation candidate at the University of Waterloo. You can expect Kristen and Melissa to address how to find meaning in recreation and leisure participation, explore sports and recreation in your community as well as look at equipment that can be adapted to your needs. Kristen and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #4

               
Steph Di Martino      Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Life Skills and Independence – Transition to Adulthood”

Watch on YouTube

November 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach at Holland Bloorview. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. You can expect Steph and Melissa to talk about tips and tricks for navigating the adult world, how to grow up ready and get involved in your own health care, learning responsibilities in the home (cooking, laundry, making plans, cleaning) as well as time management and organization. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #5


Melissa Thorne

Steph Di Martino 

Kristen English

Presentation by all speakers from our Youth Webinar Series, including: Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator, Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

“Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!”

Watch on YouTube

November 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa, Steph and Kristen from Holland Bloorview will provide participants with a recap and overview of the key points of each webinar in our Youth Webinar Series. Participants will also be given the opportunity to participate in a breakout room with a clinician. Melissa, Steph and Kristen will follow their presentation with a general question and answer session.

Have questions you want to ask any of our presenters? Need more information?
Send your questions in advance of any or all webinars. Please submit your questions to awalters@hydrocephalus.ca or info@hydrocephalus.ca

 

HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Children and Adolescents

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of parents and siblings of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

 

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Adults and NPH

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of caregivers of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

The Healthiest You: Finding Balance Through Nutrition and Lifestyle Techniques

(You Tube)

Join Bethany Holmes, CHHC, in discussing how to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle techniques. This session will focus on self-care and whole-body wellness for healing. Bethany will share her personal story of going through brain surgery and her recovery and healing process. You will learn the importance of eating real foods to fuel your brain and body, giving you the nutrients and energy you need to feel your best. In this session, you will also learn several lifestyle techniques that will help cultivate self-love and appreciation and how to better cope with anxiety and stress. We will also discuss balancing health with social life, work and everyday responsibilities.

Watch Now >

 

 

AM – All Month – NCPM – National Cancer Prevention Month – FFLCSN – Friend for Life Cancer Support Network – Peer Support
May 27 all-day

 

 

National Cancer Prevention Month

February 2022

 

Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer, and to their loved ones. At your request, Friend for Life will match you with a trained volunteer who has experienced a form of cancer and course of treatment similar to yours. To help persons diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery by pairing them with a trained survivor of a similar experience, so they can face cancer with someone who’s been there.

Be Matched With A Volunteer

I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it was and is to have someone a phone call away.

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and would like to receive the support of a Friend for Life volunteer, use  the link below and please complete and submit our matching form. We ask that you describe your situation in as much detail as possible (type of cancer, stage, chemo drugs, alternative therapies, etc.) so that we can make an appropriate match. You may even include hobbies and interests. Please include what is most important to you from the match (particular diagnosis, chemo type, life situation, etc.).  If you are a family member, friend or co-worker who would like to receive the support of one of our volunteers, please provide what you know about the patient’s diagnosis, your relationship to that person, and what is concerning you at this time.

Use This Link

https://www.friend4life.org/get-matched/

Contact Us

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network
Phone: 502.893.0643
Toll-free: 866.374.3634
Fax: 502.896.3010
Email: staff@friend4life.org

May
28
Sat
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources in Response to the War in Ukraine
May 28 all-day

 

Resources in Response to the War on Ukraine

The recent attack on Ukraine has impacted many families in the United States, especially our military and veteran families and those who have family living in the region. The NCTSN and our partners have resources for those families who may need support during this time:
 

Military and Veteran Family Resources
 
Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
 
Understanding Child Trauma & Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
 
Honoring Our Babies and Toddlers: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent’s Deployment, Injury, or Death (Zero to Three)
 
Sesame Street for Military Families
 
Community Support for Military Children and Families Throughout the Deployment Cycle (Center for Study of Traumatic Stress, CSTS)
 
Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
 
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
 
Military Children and Families: Supporting Health and Managing Risk (webinar)
 
Impact of the Military Mission & Combat Deployment on the Service Members
 
Understanding Deployment Related Stressors & Long-term Health in Military Service Members & Veterans:

The Millennium Cohort Study (webinar)
 
An Overview of the Military Family Experience and Culture
 
Talking to Children about War
 
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
 
Psychological First Aid for Displaced Children and Families

Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers

Understanding Refugee Trauma:

For School Personnel For Mental Health Professionals  and For Primary Care Providers

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents

Youth and School Personnel

Helping Children with Traumatic Grief: Young Children

School-Age Children and Teens
 

 

Military Child Education Coalition Resources to Support Ukrainian Military Children & Their Families

As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to evolve, and military families deal with potential deployments, we are reminded of the many uncertainties military-connected children experience as a part of the military lifestyle. We are also reminded of the stress and insecurity that can accompany such unpredictable circumstances.

For 24 years, MCEC® has worked to establish programs and resources for parents, educators, and students to help them navigate unique challenges associated with the military lifestyle. Programs like our Student 2 Student® peer-to-peer support system, parent workshops, and professional development for educators all work together to more effectively respond to the unique emotional needs of military children.

MCEC® is also answering the call from our allies. Upon a request from the National Association of Ukrainian Psychologists, seeking resources for serving military families, the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences reached out to MCEC®.

We responded with the tools listed below, which, we believe, can be immediately helpful to families during these extremely trying times.

Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Fostering Resilience in Children

Helping Military-Connected Children with Daily Stress & Frustration

Raising a Confident Child in an Uncertain World

Supporting Children through Natural Disasters & Loss

Turning Stress into Strength

Anxiety in Young Children

Depression in Youth

Community Crises & Disasters

Activity Web of Support

MCEC Webinar Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources

A one-on-one English program for Ukrainian Youth

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. We work with students age 13-30 and volunteers age 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.  

Students Join Here

Volunteer Apply Here

 

Helpline Resources
 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
 
Military OneSource – call 1-800-342-9647 for eligible DOD service members and their families.
 
Veterans Crisis Line – call 1-800-273-8255, press “1” or text 838255 for all service members.
 
PTSD Consultation Program – for providers who treat Veterans. Ask a question by calling 866-948-7880<tel:866-948-7880> or emailing PTSDconsult@va.gov<mail to:PTSDconsult@va.gov>.
 

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Dr. Greg Leskin gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu> for Military and Veteran Family resource questions and

Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu> for all other questions.

 

Resources In Europe

eucap provides provides support for autistic people in crisis situations

Supporting autistic people in crisis situations

How can you deal with difficult situations if you have limited knowledge of autism? How to best support an autistic person in an acute crisis and challenging conditions? View brief basic information compiled by EUCAP and Autism Europe on this page or download as a pdf file here. More translated versions will be added as they become available.

 

Teenergizer support for Ukranian teens

 

Teenage peer-to-peer counselling service offers lifeline to youngsters in Ukraine

An online counselling service for teenagers has made the world of difference to one youngster who struggled to cope with grief.

Click Here For More Information

 

LiLi Center Logo

Ukraine Peer-to-Peer Support Group

The events happening in Ukraine have affected many in different ways. We want to support those affected directly or indirectly by offering a safe place to express their emotions in a supportive and safe environment. Our peer-to-peer networks are a way for people to support each other in a safe and secure space. If you are interested to express your feelings about the war, need guidance or resources The LiLi Centre is here for you.

For More Information Visit :  https://www.lilicentre.ch/en/home

Where: LiLi Centre
When:  
Wednesdays 09:30-11:30, and Thursdays 17:00-19:00

Who:    Anyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine seeking support and community
Cost:    Free, Sponsored by the LiLi Centre’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI)

NOTE: If you have a need to speak with a mental health professional privately about how you are coping, we are happy to put you in touch with our network of providers and/or connect you to our low-cost and no-cost counselling clinic.

02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 28 – Aug 4 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

AM – All Month – Brain Injury Awareness Month – Hydrocephalus Awareness – Support Groups, Events, Resources
May 28 all-day

 

Brain Injury Awareness Month — Hydrocephalus Awareness

Support Groups, Events, Resources, Advocacy

 

Facts about Hydrocephalus


Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood.

Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus:

  • Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth defects, each year one out of every 500 births results in hydrocephalus
  • Another 6,000 children annually develop hydrocephalus during the first 2 years of life
  • Brain injury occurs every 15 seconds in this country – and in some cases leads to the development of hydrocephalus
  • There are approximately 75,000 discharges a year from hospitals in the U.S. with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus
  • More than 50% of hydrocephalus cases are congenital
  • 70-90% of children born with spina bifida also develop hydrocephalus
  • CSF shunting procedures account for approximately $100 million in health care spending in the United States alone – half of this amount is spent on shunt revisions
  • In the past 25+ years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5%, and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus affects adults and can cause dementia, difficulty in walking and, urinary incontinence
  • No statistics are kept (by our government), for those who develop

 

HELP LINES, PEER SUPPORT, SUPPORT GROUPS

 

 

The Hydrocephalus Association wants you to know that You Are Not Alone – We Are Here For You!

The Hydrocephalus Association staff and teams of trained volunteers are ready to answer your questions and listen to your concerns,  either by phone or email. Simply click on one of the following links to get connected to a volunteer or staff member for support, information, and connection.

 

PEER SUPPORT

To get connected with an HA Peer, please use this link to connect to a request from, after you complete it  your HA Peer will reach out to you very soon!

FOR ONE-TO-ONE PEER SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

 

CALL THE HA HELPLINE

Call (888) 598-3789 or email info@hydroassoc.org for support, resources, and answers to your questions.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.

EMAIL HA CYBER VOLUNTEERS

Do you have a question about hydrocephalus? Treatment? Ongoing care?  The impact of the condition on all aspects of life? Our cyber volunteers are ready to answer your questions and share their experience via email.

You can submit them via email by clicking here!

 

Virtual Meet-ups

When: Every Saturday
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: Sierra Smith and Sara Curran-Kellogg
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, UT, NM, AZ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
1st Friday of the month
Contact: Kelly Varga
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (FL, GA, AL, SC, MS)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
4th Sunday of the month
Contact: Jessica Coffaro
Teens Hang-Out
Come meet other teens with the condition! We’ll hang out, maybe play an icebreaker game, talk, and hopefully make some new friends.

When:
1st Sunday of the month
Contact: Olivia Maccoux and Tomas Rodriguez
Young Adults in their 20s Meet-Up
Come hang out with us and meet other young adults in their 20s living with hydrocephalus. We will have fun intros, icebreakers, and conversation. Let’s get to know each other!

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: info@hydroassoc.org
Dallas NPH Meet-Up
Join us for an NPH Community Network get together! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the NPH journey do. We welcome all those living with NPH in the State of Texas and surrounding states!

When:
3rd Wednesday of the month
Contact: Gary Chaffee
Parents Supporting Parents of Adult Children with IDD
OPEN TO all parents of adults living with hydrocephalus and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our community is diverse in the many ways and degrees that hydrocephalus impacts our loved ones. For those of us supporting children who are adults with intellectual disability (ID), physical disability, and/or learning challenges (LD), the road can be challenging and lonely. Questions of managing their care, self-advocacy, independent living, and finding success in the workforce all loom large. Join other parents on a similar journey for connection and great discussion.

When:
4th Wednesday of the month
Contact: Jackie Mullock
Flourishing in Mid-Life: Group for Women Age 40- 59!

 

Local Community Networks Of Support For Hydrocephalus

We encourage you to explore the local groups and networks available in your area. Be informed and stay connected!

Facebook

Oregon

Portland (& Vancouver, WA)

Online

info@hydroassoc.org

 

WEBINARS AND EDUCATION

We are pleased to offer educational webinars to help you stay informed and current on the latest news surrounding hydrocephalus. These interactive, free webinars are designed to educate our community on a variety of topics which include normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), research, shunt technology, and more.Our webinar series features presentations from medical professionals, researchers, and others with a direct connection to hydrocephalus. Each webinar is moderated by HA’s Support and Education Staff and are archived and accessible following the event in our webinar recordings. Our Support and Education Webinar Series is made possible through the generosity of our industry partner  Medtronic


Future Webinars

Please stay tuned for our 2022 Support and Education Webinar Series and more information regarding our future webinars.


Past Webinars

Congressional Fireside Chat – June 15, 2021

College Transition for Students with Hydrocephalus – December 14, 2021

College Planning for Students Who Learn Differently – March 10, 2021

Descripcion General de la hidrocefalia – July 17, 2021

 

 

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

 

What is Hydrocephalus?

Signs-of Hydrocephalus and Shunt Malfunctions

The most common signs are the following: Congenital Signs normally found in infants and children EARLY Enlargement of the head Irritability Lethargic Feeds poorly/Decrease in appetite Recurrent vomiting Prefers to be alone LATER Distended scalp veins High-pitched cry Increased muscle tone Enlarged and bulging fontanel “Sunset Eyes” (downward gaze) Acquired Signs normally found in older …

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a disorder, which usually strikes middle age to older adults. In NPH, the ventricles are enlarged, but there is no increase of pressure within the ventricles. The problem is thought to be due to the CSF not being fully reabsorbed by the body (through the arachnoid villi). NPH can be …

Hydrocephalus is diagnosed by a neurological exam and imaging techniques such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, Fetal MRI (also referred to as Fast MRI, and is used on a pregnant woman who is carrying a child diagnosed with hydrocephalus) – and on occasion, a pressure-monitoring system. A doctor will order the appropriate tests according to …

Hydrocephalus Defined

Hydrocephalus is commonly referred to as “water on the brain.” The so-called “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that looks like water and is produced in the 4 ventricles (cavities) of the brain, connected by narrow pathways.  CSF is in constant production and absorption;  it has a defined pathway from the lateral …

Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood. Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth …

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

Shunts What is a Shunt? A shunt is a mechanical device designed to transport the excess CSF from or near the point of obstruction to a re-absorption site and it is implanted under the skin. There are many different types of shunts, but there is no perfect shunt. The quest continues for one, the shunt …

 

Youth Webinar Series

Hydrocephalus Canada and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital are excited to share some helpful information and resources with you! Our Youth Webinar Series  focuses on topics that young people with hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida often have questions about.

Webinar #1 


Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“If You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa Thorne will share her insights as the Youth Facilitator at Holland Bloorview in the Spina Bifida and Spinal Cord Injury Clinic and Youth Engagement department, as well as a person with sbh. Having lived at Holland Bloorview as an inpatient for a year after having multiple orthopedic surgeries in grade 10, Melissa will share her story, her background and explain how she helps kids address challenges like ‘growing up ready’. We will also have a guest speaker! Melissa will follow her presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #2

               
Steph Di Martino     Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Social Skills and Friendship”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. Steph and Melissa will explore strategies to build conversation skills, talk about where to meet people your age, how to build connections, what to look for in a friend and help you become aware of what you bring to the table of friendship. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #3

       
Kristen English    Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

 “Community Interaction and Recreation”

Watch on YouTube

November 3 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 12-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Kristen English will share her insights as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. Kristen provides adapted sport and recreation opportunities to children and youth with disabilities including wheelchair basketball, All Abilities Soccer and the Access Boom Sailing program. She is also a Master of Health Evaluation candidate at the University of Waterloo. You can expect Kristen and Melissa to address how to find meaning in recreation and leisure participation, explore sports and recreation in your community as well as look at equipment that can be adapted to your needs. Kristen and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #4

               
Steph Di Martino      Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Life Skills and Independence – Transition to Adulthood”

Watch on YouTube

November 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach at Holland Bloorview. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. You can expect Steph and Melissa to talk about tips and tricks for navigating the adult world, how to grow up ready and get involved in your own health care, learning responsibilities in the home (cooking, laundry, making plans, cleaning) as well as time management and organization. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #5


Melissa Thorne

Steph Di Martino 

Kristen English

Presentation by all speakers from our Youth Webinar Series, including: Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator, Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

“Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!”

Watch on YouTube

November 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa, Steph and Kristen from Holland Bloorview will provide participants with a recap and overview of the key points of each webinar in our Youth Webinar Series. Participants will also be given the opportunity to participate in a breakout room with a clinician. Melissa, Steph and Kristen will follow their presentation with a general question and answer session.

Have questions you want to ask any of our presenters? Need more information?
Send your questions in advance of any or all webinars. Please submit your questions to awalters@hydrocephalus.ca or info@hydrocephalus.ca

 

HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Children and Adolescents

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of parents and siblings of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

 

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Adults and NPH

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of caregivers of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

The Healthiest You: Finding Balance Through Nutrition and Lifestyle Techniques

(You Tube)

Join Bethany Holmes, CHHC, in discussing how to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle techniques. This session will focus on self-care and whole-body wellness for healing. Bethany will share her personal story of going through brain surgery and her recovery and healing process. You will learn the importance of eating real foods to fuel your brain and body, giving you the nutrients and energy you need to feel your best. In this session, you will also learn several lifestyle techniques that will help cultivate self-love and appreciation and how to better cope with anxiety and stress. We will also discuss balancing health with social life, work and everyday responsibilities.

Watch Now >

 

 

AM – All Month – NCPM – National Cancer Prevention Month – FFLCSN – Friend for Life Cancer Support Network – Peer Support
May 28 all-day

 

 

National Cancer Prevention Month

February 2022

 

Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer, and to their loved ones. At your request, Friend for Life will match you with a trained volunteer who has experienced a form of cancer and course of treatment similar to yours. To help persons diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery by pairing them with a trained survivor of a similar experience, so they can face cancer with someone who’s been there.

Be Matched With A Volunteer

I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it was and is to have someone a phone call away.

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and would like to receive the support of a Friend for Life volunteer, use  the link below and please complete and submit our matching form. We ask that you describe your situation in as much detail as possible (type of cancer, stage, chemo drugs, alternative therapies, etc.) so that we can make an appropriate match. You may even include hobbies and interests. Please include what is most important to you from the match (particular diagnosis, chemo type, life situation, etc.).  If you are a family member, friend or co-worker who would like to receive the support of one of our volunteers, please provide what you know about the patient’s diagnosis, your relationship to that person, and what is concerning you at this time.

Use This Link

https://www.friend4life.org/get-matched/

Contact Us

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network
Phone: 502.893.0643
Toll-free: 866.374.3634
Fax: 502.896.3010
Email: staff@friend4life.org

May
29
Sun
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources in Response to the War in Ukraine
May 29 all-day

 

Resources in Response to the War on Ukraine

The recent attack on Ukraine has impacted many families in the United States, especially our military and veteran families and those who have family living in the region. The NCTSN and our partners have resources for those families who may need support during this time:
 

Military and Veteran Family Resources
 
Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
 
Understanding Child Trauma & Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
 
Honoring Our Babies and Toddlers: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent’s Deployment, Injury, or Death (Zero to Three)
 
Sesame Street for Military Families
 
Community Support for Military Children and Families Throughout the Deployment Cycle (Center for Study of Traumatic Stress, CSTS)
 
Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
 
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
 
Military Children and Families: Supporting Health and Managing Risk (webinar)
 
Impact of the Military Mission & Combat Deployment on the Service Members
 
Understanding Deployment Related Stressors & Long-term Health in Military Service Members & Veterans:

The Millennium Cohort Study (webinar)
 
An Overview of the Military Family Experience and Culture
 
Talking to Children about War
 
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
 
Psychological First Aid for Displaced Children and Families

Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers

Understanding Refugee Trauma:

For School Personnel For Mental Health Professionals  and For Primary Care Providers

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents

Youth and School Personnel

Helping Children with Traumatic Grief: Young Children

School-Age Children and Teens
 

 

Military Child Education Coalition Resources to Support Ukrainian Military Children & Their Families

As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to evolve, and military families deal with potential deployments, we are reminded of the many uncertainties military-connected children experience as a part of the military lifestyle. We are also reminded of the stress and insecurity that can accompany such unpredictable circumstances.

For 24 years, MCEC® has worked to establish programs and resources for parents, educators, and students to help them navigate unique challenges associated with the military lifestyle. Programs like our Student 2 Student® peer-to-peer support system, parent workshops, and professional development for educators all work together to more effectively respond to the unique emotional needs of military children.

MCEC® is also answering the call from our allies. Upon a request from the National Association of Ukrainian Psychologists, seeking resources for serving military families, the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences reached out to MCEC®.

We responded with the tools listed below, which, we believe, can be immediately helpful to families during these extremely trying times.

Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Fostering Resilience in Children

Helping Military-Connected Children with Daily Stress & Frustration

Raising a Confident Child in an Uncertain World

Supporting Children through Natural Disasters & Loss

Turning Stress into Strength

Anxiety in Young Children

Depression in Youth

Community Crises & Disasters

Activity Web of Support

MCEC Webinar Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources

A one-on-one English program for Ukrainian Youth

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. We work with students age 13-30 and volunteers age 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.  

Students Join Here

Volunteer Apply Here

 

Helpline Resources
 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
 
Military OneSource – call 1-800-342-9647 for eligible DOD service members and their families.
 
Veterans Crisis Line – call 1-800-273-8255, press “1” or text 838255 for all service members.
 
PTSD Consultation Program – for providers who treat Veterans. Ask a question by calling 866-948-7880<tel:866-948-7880> or emailing PTSDconsult@va.gov<mail to:PTSDconsult@va.gov>.
 

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Dr. Greg Leskin gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu> for Military and Veteran Family resource questions and

Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu> for all other questions.

 

Resources In Europe

eucap provides provides support for autistic people in crisis situations

Supporting autistic people in crisis situations

How can you deal with difficult situations if you have limited knowledge of autism? How to best support an autistic person in an acute crisis and challenging conditions? View brief basic information compiled by EUCAP and Autism Europe on this page or download as a pdf file here. More translated versions will be added as they become available.

 

Teenergizer support for Ukranian teens

 

Teenage peer-to-peer counselling service offers lifeline to youngsters in Ukraine

An online counselling service for teenagers has made the world of difference to one youngster who struggled to cope with grief.

Click Here For More Information

 

LiLi Center Logo

Ukraine Peer-to-Peer Support Group

The events happening in Ukraine have affected many in different ways. We want to support those affected directly or indirectly by offering a safe place to express their emotions in a supportive and safe environment. Our peer-to-peer networks are a way for people to support each other in a safe and secure space. If you are interested to express your feelings about the war, need guidance or resources The LiLi Centre is here for you.

For More Information Visit :  https://www.lilicentre.ch/en/home

Where: LiLi Centre
When:  
Wednesdays 09:30-11:30, and Thursdays 17:00-19:00

Who:    Anyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine seeking support and community
Cost:    Free, Sponsored by the LiLi Centre’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI)

NOTE: If you have a need to speak with a mental health professional privately about how you are coping, we are happy to put you in touch with our network of providers and/or connect you to our low-cost and no-cost counselling clinic.

02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 29 – Aug 5 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

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Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

AM – All Month – Brain Injury Awareness Month – Hydrocephalus Awareness – Support Groups, Events, Resources
May 29 all-day

 

Brain Injury Awareness Month — Hydrocephalus Awareness

Support Groups, Events, Resources, Advocacy

 

Facts about Hydrocephalus


Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood.

Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus:

  • Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth defects, each year one out of every 500 births results in hydrocephalus
  • Another 6,000 children annually develop hydrocephalus during the first 2 years of life
  • Brain injury occurs every 15 seconds in this country – and in some cases leads to the development of hydrocephalus
  • There are approximately 75,000 discharges a year from hospitals in the U.S. with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus
  • More than 50% of hydrocephalus cases are congenital
  • 70-90% of children born with spina bifida also develop hydrocephalus
  • CSF shunting procedures account for approximately $100 million in health care spending in the United States alone – half of this amount is spent on shunt revisions
  • In the past 25+ years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5%, and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus affects adults and can cause dementia, difficulty in walking and, urinary incontinence
  • No statistics are kept (by our government), for those who develop

 

HELP LINES, PEER SUPPORT, SUPPORT GROUPS

 

 

The Hydrocephalus Association wants you to know that You Are Not Alone – We Are Here For You!

The Hydrocephalus Association staff and teams of trained volunteers are ready to answer your questions and listen to your concerns,  either by phone or email. Simply click on one of the following links to get connected to a volunteer or staff member for support, information, and connection.

 

PEER SUPPORT

To get connected with an HA Peer, please use this link to connect to a request from, after you complete it  your HA Peer will reach out to you very soon!

FOR ONE-TO-ONE PEER SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

 

CALL THE HA HELPLINE

Call (888) 598-3789 or email info@hydroassoc.org for support, resources, and answers to your questions.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.

EMAIL HA CYBER VOLUNTEERS

Do you have a question about hydrocephalus? Treatment? Ongoing care?  The impact of the condition on all aspects of life? Our cyber volunteers are ready to answer your questions and share their experience via email.

You can submit them via email by clicking here!

 

Virtual Meet-ups

When: Every Saturday
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: Sierra Smith and Sara Curran-Kellogg
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, UT, NM, AZ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
1st Friday of the month
Contact: Kelly Varga
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (FL, GA, AL, SC, MS)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
4th Sunday of the month
Contact: Jessica Coffaro
Teens Hang-Out
Come meet other teens with the condition! We’ll hang out, maybe play an icebreaker game, talk, and hopefully make some new friends.

When:
1st Sunday of the month
Contact: Olivia Maccoux and Tomas Rodriguez
Young Adults in their 20s Meet-Up
Come hang out with us and meet other young adults in their 20s living with hydrocephalus. We will have fun intros, icebreakers, and conversation. Let’s get to know each other!

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: info@hydroassoc.org
Dallas NPH Meet-Up
Join us for an NPH Community Network get together! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the NPH journey do. We welcome all those living with NPH in the State of Texas and surrounding states!

When:
3rd Wednesday of the month
Contact: Gary Chaffee
Parents Supporting Parents of Adult Children with IDD
OPEN TO all parents of adults living with hydrocephalus and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our community is diverse in the many ways and degrees that hydrocephalus impacts our loved ones. For those of us supporting children who are adults with intellectual disability (ID), physical disability, and/or learning challenges (LD), the road can be challenging and lonely. Questions of managing their care, self-advocacy, independent living, and finding success in the workforce all loom large. Join other parents on a similar journey for connection and great discussion.

When:
4th Wednesday of the month
Contact: Jackie Mullock
Flourishing in Mid-Life: Group for Women Age 40- 59!

 

Local Community Networks Of Support For Hydrocephalus

We encourage you to explore the local groups and networks available in your area. Be informed and stay connected!

Facebook

Oregon

Portland (& Vancouver, WA)

Online

info@hydroassoc.org

 

WEBINARS AND EDUCATION

We are pleased to offer educational webinars to help you stay informed and current on the latest news surrounding hydrocephalus. These interactive, free webinars are designed to educate our community on a variety of topics which include normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), research, shunt technology, and more.Our webinar series features presentations from medical professionals, researchers, and others with a direct connection to hydrocephalus. Each webinar is moderated by HA’s Support and Education Staff and are archived and accessible following the event in our webinar recordings. Our Support and Education Webinar Series is made possible through the generosity of our industry partner  Medtronic


Future Webinars

Please stay tuned for our 2022 Support and Education Webinar Series and more information regarding our future webinars.


Past Webinars

Congressional Fireside Chat – June 15, 2021

College Transition for Students with Hydrocephalus – December 14, 2021

College Planning for Students Who Learn Differently – March 10, 2021

Descripcion General de la hidrocefalia – July 17, 2021

 

 

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

 

What is Hydrocephalus?

Signs-of Hydrocephalus and Shunt Malfunctions

The most common signs are the following: Congenital Signs normally found in infants and children EARLY Enlargement of the head Irritability Lethargic Feeds poorly/Decrease in appetite Recurrent vomiting Prefers to be alone LATER Distended scalp veins High-pitched cry Increased muscle tone Enlarged and bulging fontanel “Sunset Eyes” (downward gaze) Acquired Signs normally found in older …

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a disorder, which usually strikes middle age to older adults. In NPH, the ventricles are enlarged, but there is no increase of pressure within the ventricles. The problem is thought to be due to the CSF not being fully reabsorbed by the body (through the arachnoid villi). NPH can be …

Hydrocephalus is diagnosed by a neurological exam and imaging techniques such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, Fetal MRI (also referred to as Fast MRI, and is used on a pregnant woman who is carrying a child diagnosed with hydrocephalus) – and on occasion, a pressure-monitoring system. A doctor will order the appropriate tests according to …

Hydrocephalus Defined

Hydrocephalus is commonly referred to as “water on the brain.” The so-called “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that looks like water and is produced in the 4 ventricles (cavities) of the brain, connected by narrow pathways.  CSF is in constant production and absorption;  it has a defined pathway from the lateral …

Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood. Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth …

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

Shunts What is a Shunt? A shunt is a mechanical device designed to transport the excess CSF from or near the point of obstruction to a re-absorption site and it is implanted under the skin. There are many different types of shunts, but there is no perfect shunt. The quest continues for one, the shunt …

 

Youth Webinar Series

Hydrocephalus Canada and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital are excited to share some helpful information and resources with you! Our Youth Webinar Series  focuses on topics that young people with hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida often have questions about.

Webinar #1 


Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“If You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa Thorne will share her insights as the Youth Facilitator at Holland Bloorview in the Spina Bifida and Spinal Cord Injury Clinic and Youth Engagement department, as well as a person with sbh. Having lived at Holland Bloorview as an inpatient for a year after having multiple orthopedic surgeries in grade 10, Melissa will share her story, her background and explain how she helps kids address challenges like ‘growing up ready’. We will also have a guest speaker! Melissa will follow her presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #2

               
Steph Di Martino     Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Social Skills and Friendship”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. Steph and Melissa will explore strategies to build conversation skills, talk about where to meet people your age, how to build connections, what to look for in a friend and help you become aware of what you bring to the table of friendship. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #3

       
Kristen English    Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

 “Community Interaction and Recreation”

Watch on YouTube

November 3 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 12-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Kristen English will share her insights as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. Kristen provides adapted sport and recreation opportunities to children and youth with disabilities including wheelchair basketball, All Abilities Soccer and the Access Boom Sailing program. She is also a Master of Health Evaluation candidate at the University of Waterloo. You can expect Kristen and Melissa to address how to find meaning in recreation and leisure participation, explore sports and recreation in your community as well as look at equipment that can be adapted to your needs. Kristen and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #4

               
Steph Di Martino      Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Life Skills and Independence – Transition to Adulthood”

Watch on YouTube

November 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach at Holland Bloorview. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. You can expect Steph and Melissa to talk about tips and tricks for navigating the adult world, how to grow up ready and get involved in your own health care, learning responsibilities in the home (cooking, laundry, making plans, cleaning) as well as time management and organization. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #5


Melissa Thorne

Steph Di Martino 

Kristen English

Presentation by all speakers from our Youth Webinar Series, including: Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator, Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

“Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!”

Watch on YouTube

November 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa, Steph and Kristen from Holland Bloorview will provide participants with a recap and overview of the key points of each webinar in our Youth Webinar Series. Participants will also be given the opportunity to participate in a breakout room with a clinician. Melissa, Steph and Kristen will follow their presentation with a general question and answer session.

Have questions you want to ask any of our presenters? Need more information?
Send your questions in advance of any or all webinars. Please submit your questions to awalters@hydrocephalus.ca or info@hydrocephalus.ca

 

HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Children and Adolescents

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of parents and siblings of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

 

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Adults and NPH

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of caregivers of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

The Healthiest You: Finding Balance Through Nutrition and Lifestyle Techniques

(You Tube)

Join Bethany Holmes, CHHC, in discussing how to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle techniques. This session will focus on self-care and whole-body wellness for healing. Bethany will share her personal story of going through brain surgery and her recovery and healing process. You will learn the importance of eating real foods to fuel your brain and body, giving you the nutrients and energy you need to feel your best. In this session, you will also learn several lifestyle techniques that will help cultivate self-love and appreciation and how to better cope with anxiety and stress. We will also discuss balancing health with social life, work and everyday responsibilities.

Watch Now >

 

 

AM – All Month – NCPM – National Cancer Prevention Month – FFLCSN – Friend for Life Cancer Support Network – Peer Support
May 29 all-day

 

 

National Cancer Prevention Month

February 2022

 

Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer, and to their loved ones. At your request, Friend for Life will match you with a trained volunteer who has experienced a form of cancer and course of treatment similar to yours. To help persons diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery by pairing them with a trained survivor of a similar experience, so they can face cancer with someone who’s been there.

Be Matched With A Volunteer

I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it was and is to have someone a phone call away.

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and would like to receive the support of a Friend for Life volunteer, use  the link below and please complete and submit our matching form. We ask that you describe your situation in as much detail as possible (type of cancer, stage, chemo drugs, alternative therapies, etc.) so that we can make an appropriate match. You may even include hobbies and interests. Please include what is most important to you from the match (particular diagnosis, chemo type, life situation, etc.).  If you are a family member, friend or co-worker who would like to receive the support of one of our volunteers, please provide what you know about the patient’s diagnosis, your relationship to that person, and what is concerning you at this time.

Use This Link

https://www.friend4life.org/get-matched/

Contact Us

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network
Phone: 502.893.0643
Toll-free: 866.374.3634
Fax: 502.896.3010
Email: staff@friend4life.org

May
30
Mon
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources in Response to the War in Ukraine
May 30 all-day

 

Resources in Response to the War on Ukraine

The recent attack on Ukraine has impacted many families in the United States, especially our military and veteran families and those who have family living in the region. The NCTSN and our partners have resources for those families who may need support during this time:
 

Military and Veteran Family Resources
 
Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
 
Understanding Child Trauma & Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
 
Honoring Our Babies and Toddlers: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent’s Deployment, Injury, or Death (Zero to Three)
 
Sesame Street for Military Families
 
Community Support for Military Children and Families Throughout the Deployment Cycle (Center for Study of Traumatic Stress, CSTS)
 
Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
 
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
 
Military Children and Families: Supporting Health and Managing Risk (webinar)
 
Impact of the Military Mission & Combat Deployment on the Service Members
 
Understanding Deployment Related Stressors & Long-term Health in Military Service Members & Veterans:

The Millennium Cohort Study (webinar)
 
An Overview of the Military Family Experience and Culture
 
Talking to Children about War
 
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
 
Psychological First Aid for Displaced Children and Families

Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers

Understanding Refugee Trauma:

For School Personnel For Mental Health Professionals  and For Primary Care Providers

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents

Youth and School Personnel

Helping Children with Traumatic Grief: Young Children

School-Age Children and Teens
 

 

Military Child Education Coalition Resources to Support Ukrainian Military Children & Their Families

As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to evolve, and military families deal with potential deployments, we are reminded of the many uncertainties military-connected children experience as a part of the military lifestyle. We are also reminded of the stress and insecurity that can accompany such unpredictable circumstances.

For 24 years, MCEC® has worked to establish programs and resources for parents, educators, and students to help them navigate unique challenges associated with the military lifestyle. Programs like our Student 2 Student® peer-to-peer support system, parent workshops, and professional development for educators all work together to more effectively respond to the unique emotional needs of military children.

MCEC® is also answering the call from our allies. Upon a request from the National Association of Ukrainian Psychologists, seeking resources for serving military families, the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences reached out to MCEC®.

We responded with the tools listed below, which, we believe, can be immediately helpful to families during these extremely trying times.

Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Fostering Resilience in Children

Helping Military-Connected Children with Daily Stress & Frustration

Raising a Confident Child in an Uncertain World

Supporting Children through Natural Disasters & Loss

Turning Stress into Strength

Anxiety in Young Children

Depression in Youth

Community Crises & Disasters

Activity Web of Support

MCEC Webinar Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources

A one-on-one English program for Ukrainian Youth

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. We work with students age 13-30 and volunteers age 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.  

Students Join Here

Volunteer Apply Here

 

Helpline Resources
 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
 
Military OneSource – call 1-800-342-9647 for eligible DOD service members and their families.
 
Veterans Crisis Line – call 1-800-273-8255, press “1” or text 838255 for all service members.
 
PTSD Consultation Program – for providers who treat Veterans. Ask a question by calling 866-948-7880<tel:866-948-7880> or emailing PTSDconsult@va.gov<mail to:PTSDconsult@va.gov>.
 

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Dr. Greg Leskin gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu> for Military and Veteran Family resource questions and

Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu> for all other questions.

 

Resources In Europe

eucap provides provides support for autistic people in crisis situations

Supporting autistic people in crisis situations

How can you deal with difficult situations if you have limited knowledge of autism? How to best support an autistic person in an acute crisis and challenging conditions? View brief basic information compiled by EUCAP and Autism Europe on this page or download as a pdf file here. More translated versions will be added as they become available.

 

Teenergizer support for Ukranian teens

 

Teenage peer-to-peer counselling service offers lifeline to youngsters in Ukraine

An online counselling service for teenagers has made the world of difference to one youngster who struggled to cope with grief.

Click Here For More Information

 

LiLi Center Logo

Ukraine Peer-to-Peer Support Group

The events happening in Ukraine have affected many in different ways. We want to support those affected directly or indirectly by offering a safe place to express their emotions in a supportive and safe environment. Our peer-to-peer networks are a way for people to support each other in a safe and secure space. If you are interested to express your feelings about the war, need guidance or resources The LiLi Centre is here for you.

For More Information Visit :  https://www.lilicentre.ch/en/home

Where: LiLi Centre
When:  
Wednesdays 09:30-11:30, and Thursdays 17:00-19:00

Who:    Anyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine seeking support and community
Cost:    Free, Sponsored by the LiLi Centre’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI)

NOTE: If you have a need to speak with a mental health professional privately about how you are coping, we are happy to put you in touch with our network of providers and/or connect you to our low-cost and no-cost counselling clinic.

02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 30 – Aug 6 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

AM – All Month – Brain Injury Awareness Month – Hydrocephalus Awareness – Support Groups, Events, Resources
May 30 all-day

 

Brain Injury Awareness Month — Hydrocephalus Awareness

Support Groups, Events, Resources, Advocacy

 

Facts about Hydrocephalus


Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood.

Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus:

  • Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth defects, each year one out of every 500 births results in hydrocephalus
  • Another 6,000 children annually develop hydrocephalus during the first 2 years of life
  • Brain injury occurs every 15 seconds in this country – and in some cases leads to the development of hydrocephalus
  • There are approximately 75,000 discharges a year from hospitals in the U.S. with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus
  • More than 50% of hydrocephalus cases are congenital
  • 70-90% of children born with spina bifida also develop hydrocephalus
  • CSF shunting procedures account for approximately $100 million in health care spending in the United States alone – half of this amount is spent on shunt revisions
  • In the past 25+ years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5%, and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus affects adults and can cause dementia, difficulty in walking and, urinary incontinence
  • No statistics are kept (by our government), for those who develop

 

HELP LINES, PEER SUPPORT, SUPPORT GROUPS

 

 

The Hydrocephalus Association wants you to know that You Are Not Alone – We Are Here For You!

The Hydrocephalus Association staff and teams of trained volunteers are ready to answer your questions and listen to your concerns,  either by phone or email. Simply click on one of the following links to get connected to a volunteer or staff member for support, information, and connection.

 

PEER SUPPORT

To get connected with an HA Peer, please use this link to connect to a request from, after you complete it  your HA Peer will reach out to you very soon!

FOR ONE-TO-ONE PEER SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

 

CALL THE HA HELPLINE

Call (888) 598-3789 or email info@hydroassoc.org for support, resources, and answers to your questions.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.

EMAIL HA CYBER VOLUNTEERS

Do you have a question about hydrocephalus? Treatment? Ongoing care?  The impact of the condition on all aspects of life? Our cyber volunteers are ready to answer your questions and share their experience via email.

You can submit them via email by clicking here!

 

Virtual Meet-ups

When: Every Saturday
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: Sierra Smith and Sara Curran-Kellogg
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, UT, NM, AZ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
1st Friday of the month
Contact: Kelly Varga
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (FL, GA, AL, SC, MS)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
4th Sunday of the month
Contact: Jessica Coffaro
Teens Hang-Out
Come meet other teens with the condition! We’ll hang out, maybe play an icebreaker game, talk, and hopefully make some new friends.

When:
1st Sunday of the month
Contact: Olivia Maccoux and Tomas Rodriguez
Young Adults in their 20s Meet-Up
Come hang out with us and meet other young adults in their 20s living with hydrocephalus. We will have fun intros, icebreakers, and conversation. Let’s get to know each other!

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: info@hydroassoc.org
Dallas NPH Meet-Up
Join us for an NPH Community Network get together! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the NPH journey do. We welcome all those living with NPH in the State of Texas and surrounding states!

When:
3rd Wednesday of the month
Contact: Gary Chaffee
Parents Supporting Parents of Adult Children with IDD
OPEN TO all parents of adults living with hydrocephalus and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our community is diverse in the many ways and degrees that hydrocephalus impacts our loved ones. For those of us supporting children who are adults with intellectual disability (ID), physical disability, and/or learning challenges (LD), the road can be challenging and lonely. Questions of managing their care, self-advocacy, independent living, and finding success in the workforce all loom large. Join other parents on a similar journey for connection and great discussion.

When:
4th Wednesday of the month
Contact: Jackie Mullock
Flourishing in Mid-Life: Group for Women Age 40- 59!

 

Local Community Networks Of Support For Hydrocephalus

We encourage you to explore the local groups and networks available in your area. Be informed and stay connected!

Facebook

Oregon

Portland (& Vancouver, WA)

Online

info@hydroassoc.org

 

WEBINARS AND EDUCATION

We are pleased to offer educational webinars to help you stay informed and current on the latest news surrounding hydrocephalus. These interactive, free webinars are designed to educate our community on a variety of topics which include normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), research, shunt technology, and more.Our webinar series features presentations from medical professionals, researchers, and others with a direct connection to hydrocephalus. Each webinar is moderated by HA’s Support and Education Staff and are archived and accessible following the event in our webinar recordings. Our Support and Education Webinar Series is made possible through the generosity of our industry partner  Medtronic


Future Webinars

Please stay tuned for our 2022 Support and Education Webinar Series and more information regarding our future webinars.


Past Webinars

Congressional Fireside Chat – June 15, 2021

College Transition for Students with Hydrocephalus – December 14, 2021

College Planning for Students Who Learn Differently – March 10, 2021

Descripcion General de la hidrocefalia – July 17, 2021

 

 

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

 

What is Hydrocephalus?

Signs-of Hydrocephalus and Shunt Malfunctions

The most common signs are the following: Congenital Signs normally found in infants and children EARLY Enlargement of the head Irritability Lethargic Feeds poorly/Decrease in appetite Recurrent vomiting Prefers to be alone LATER Distended scalp veins High-pitched cry Increased muscle tone Enlarged and bulging fontanel “Sunset Eyes” (downward gaze) Acquired Signs normally found in older …

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a disorder, which usually strikes middle age to older adults. In NPH, the ventricles are enlarged, but there is no increase of pressure within the ventricles. The problem is thought to be due to the CSF not being fully reabsorbed by the body (through the arachnoid villi). NPH can be …

Hydrocephalus is diagnosed by a neurological exam and imaging techniques such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, Fetal MRI (also referred to as Fast MRI, and is used on a pregnant woman who is carrying a child diagnosed with hydrocephalus) – and on occasion, a pressure-monitoring system. A doctor will order the appropriate tests according to …

Hydrocephalus Defined

Hydrocephalus is commonly referred to as “water on the brain.” The so-called “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that looks like water and is produced in the 4 ventricles (cavities) of the brain, connected by narrow pathways.  CSF is in constant production and absorption;  it has a defined pathway from the lateral …

Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood. Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth …

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

Shunts What is a Shunt? A shunt is a mechanical device designed to transport the excess CSF from or near the point of obstruction to a re-absorption site and it is implanted under the skin. There are many different types of shunts, but there is no perfect shunt. The quest continues for one, the shunt …

 

Youth Webinar Series

Hydrocephalus Canada and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital are excited to share some helpful information and resources with you! Our Youth Webinar Series  focuses on topics that young people with hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida often have questions about.

Webinar #1 


Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“If You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa Thorne will share her insights as the Youth Facilitator at Holland Bloorview in the Spina Bifida and Spinal Cord Injury Clinic and Youth Engagement department, as well as a person with sbh. Having lived at Holland Bloorview as an inpatient for a year after having multiple orthopedic surgeries in grade 10, Melissa will share her story, her background and explain how she helps kids address challenges like ‘growing up ready’. We will also have a guest speaker! Melissa will follow her presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #2

               
Steph Di Martino     Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Social Skills and Friendship”

Watch on YouTube

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. Steph and Melissa will explore strategies to build conversation skills, talk about where to meet people your age, how to build connections, what to look for in a friend and help you become aware of what you bring to the table of friendship. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #3

       
Kristen English    Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

 “Community Interaction and Recreation”

Watch on YouTube

November 3 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 12-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Kristen English will share her insights as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in the Transitions, Recreation and Like Skills Team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab. Kristen provides adapted sport and recreation opportunities to children and youth with disabilities including wheelchair basketball, All Abilities Soccer and the Access Boom Sailing program. She is also a Master of Health Evaluation candidate at the University of Waterloo. You can expect Kristen and Melissa to address how to find meaning in recreation and leisure participation, explore sports and recreation in your community as well as look at equipment that can be adapted to your needs. Kristen and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #4

               
Steph Di Martino      Melissa Thorne

Presentation by Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator

“Life Skills and Independence – Transition to Adulthood”

Watch on YouTube

November 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Steph Di Martino will share her insights as a Life Skills Coach at Holland Bloorview. As a Life Skills Coach, Steph helps to provide experience-based activities to support learning using discussion, role play, problem-solving and peer mentoring with an experiential/immersive approach. You can expect Steph and Melissa to talk about tips and tricks for navigating the adult world, how to grow up ready and get involved in your own health care, learning responsibilities in the home (cooking, laundry, making plans, cleaning) as well as time management and organization. Steph and Melissa will follow their presentation with a question and answer session.

 

Webinar #5


Melissa Thorne

Steph Di Martino 

Kristen English

Presentation by all speakers from our Youth Webinar Series, including: Melissa Thorne, Co-Moderator, HB Alumni Network & Youth Facilitator, Steph Di Martino, Life Skills Coach and Kristen English, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

“Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!”

Watch on YouTube

November 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Who should attend
Youth from the hydrocephalus and spina bifida communities, ages 14-21. Parents are welcome to attend this webinar in support of their minor children.

What to expect
In this webinar, Melissa, Steph and Kristen from Holland Bloorview will provide participants with a recap and overview of the key points of each webinar in our Youth Webinar Series. Participants will also be given the opportunity to participate in a breakout room with a clinician. Melissa, Steph and Kristen will follow their presentation with a general question and answer session.

Have questions you want to ask any of our presenters? Need more information?
Send your questions in advance of any or all webinars. Please submit your questions to awalters@hydrocephalus.ca or info@hydrocephalus.ca

 

HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Children and Adolescents

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of parents and siblings of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

 

Anxiety, Depression, and Hydrocephalus in Adults and NPH

(You Tube)

This presentation will provide attendees with information and research regarding mood disorders that frequently occur in individuals with hydrocephalus. The discussion will include an emphasis upon incidence, prevention, and individual positive coping/adjustment. Discussions will also include family experiences of hydrocephalus and adjustment/coping experiences of caregivers of individuals with hydrocephalus.

Watch Now >

The Healthiest You: Finding Balance Through Nutrition and Lifestyle Techniques

(You Tube)

Join Bethany Holmes, CHHC, in discussing how to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle techniques. This session will focus on self-care and whole-body wellness for healing. Bethany will share her personal story of going through brain surgery and her recovery and healing process. You will learn the importance of eating real foods to fuel your brain and body, giving you the nutrients and energy you need to feel your best. In this session, you will also learn several lifestyle techniques that will help cultivate self-love and appreciation and how to better cope with anxiety and stress. We will also discuss balancing health with social life, work and everyday responsibilities.

Watch Now >

 

 

AM – All Month – NCPM – National Cancer Prevention Month – FFLCSN – Friend for Life Cancer Support Network – Peer Support
May 30 all-day

 

 

National Cancer Prevention Month

February 2022

 

Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer, and to their loved ones. At your request, Friend for Life will match you with a trained volunteer who has experienced a form of cancer and course of treatment similar to yours. To help persons diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery by pairing them with a trained survivor of a similar experience, so they can face cancer with someone who’s been there.

Be Matched With A Volunteer

I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it was and is to have someone a phone call away.

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and would like to receive the support of a Friend for Life volunteer, use  the link below and please complete and submit our matching form. We ask that you describe your situation in as much detail as possible (type of cancer, stage, chemo drugs, alternative therapies, etc.) so that we can make an appropriate match. You may even include hobbies and interests. Please include what is most important to you from the match (particular diagnosis, chemo type, life situation, etc.).  If you are a family member, friend or co-worker who would like to receive the support of one of our volunteers, please provide what you know about the patient’s diagnosis, your relationship to that person, and what is concerning you at this time.

Use This Link

https://www.friend4life.org/get-matched/

Contact Us

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network
Phone: 502.893.0643
Toll-free: 866.374.3634
Fax: 502.896.3010
Email: staff@friend4life.org

Warmline – ROO – Reach Out Oregon w OFSN – Oregon Family Support Network – (833) REACH-OR / (833) 732-2467 – Weekdays – 12-7pm (PST) @ phone
May 30 @ 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

 

roologo

Reach Out Oregon / Oregon Family Support Network

Toll-Free Parent Warmline: 1-833-REACH-OR / 1-833-732-2467

Weekdays 12pm-7pm PST except holidays

Welcome to Reach Out Oregon!

Parents know how it can be lonely, frightening and isolating to care for a young person experiencing emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges. It can be hard to figure out where and how to reach out for help and information. Most of us feel disoriented when trying to find needed support for what our family is facing.  Shame and stigma surrounding these issues can make it even more challenging.

As caregivers ourselves, we have direct lived experience navigating challenges on behalf of our children and families. And as a community, we have much to offer one another. This is what Reach Out Oregon is all about, a supportive community where you will find:

  • Inspiration
  • Connection
  • Compassion
  • Support

  Family Self-Care during COVID-19

  • Have a special friendly online conversation about Family Self-Care during COVID-19.
  • More events coming, stay tuned.
  • Learn about fun activities to bring back to your family.
  • If you’d like to continue the Family Self-Care discussion or have ideas you’d like to share, please join our discussion forum: https://www.reachoutoregon.org/forums/forum/self-care/

Discussion Forum

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/discussions/

Family Self Care Discussion:

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/forums/forum/self-care/

Reach Out Oregon Website

https://www.reachoutoregon.org

Crisis Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/crisis-support/

Listening Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/listening-support/

Resource Support

https://www.reachoutoregon.org/resources/

Email

info@reachoutoregon.org

May
31
Tue
02 – Urgent Info – Services and Resources in Response to the War in Ukraine
May 31 all-day

 

Resources in Response to the War on Ukraine

The recent attack on Ukraine has impacted many families in the United States, especially our military and veteran families and those who have family living in the region. The NCTSN and our partners have resources for those families who may need support during this time:
 

Military and Veteran Family Resources
 
Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
 
Understanding Child Trauma & Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
 
Honoring Our Babies and Toddlers: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent’s Deployment, Injury, or Death (Zero to Three)
 
Sesame Street for Military Families
 
Community Support for Military Children and Families Throughout the Deployment Cycle (Center for Study of Traumatic Stress, CSTS)
 
Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
 
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
 
Military Children and Families: Supporting Health and Managing Risk (webinar)
 
Impact of the Military Mission & Combat Deployment on the Service Members
 
Understanding Deployment Related Stressors & Long-term Health in Military Service Members & Veterans:

The Millennium Cohort Study (webinar)
 
An Overview of the Military Family Experience and Culture
 
Talking to Children about War
 
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
 
Psychological First Aid for Displaced Children and Families

Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers

Understanding Refugee Trauma:

For School Personnel For Mental Health Professionals  and For Primary Care Providers

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents

Youth and School Personnel

Helping Children with Traumatic Grief: Young Children

School-Age Children and Teens
 

 

Military Child Education Coalition Resources to Support Ukrainian Military Children & Their Families

As the situation on the ground in Ukraine continues to evolve, and military families deal with potential deployments, we are reminded of the many uncertainties military-connected children experience as a part of the military lifestyle. We are also reminded of the stress and insecurity that can accompany such unpredictable circumstances.

For 24 years, MCEC® has worked to establish programs and resources for parents, educators, and students to help them navigate unique challenges associated with the military lifestyle. Programs like our Student 2 Student® peer-to-peer support system, parent workshops, and professional development for educators all work together to more effectively respond to the unique emotional needs of military children.

MCEC® is also answering the call from our allies. Upon a request from the National Association of Ukrainian Psychologists, seeking resources for serving military families, the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences reached out to MCEC®.

We responded with the tools listed below, which, we believe, can be immediately helpful to families during these extremely trying times.

Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Fostering Resilience in Children

Helping Military-Connected Children with Daily Stress & Frustration

Raising a Confident Child in an Uncertain World

Supporting Children through Natural Disasters & Loss

Turning Stress into Strength

Anxiety in Young Children

Depression in Youth

Community Crises & Disasters

Activity Web of Support

MCEC Webinar Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources

A one-on-one English program for Ukrainian Youth

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. We work with students age 13-30 and volunteers age 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.  

Students Join Here

Volunteer Apply Here

 

Helpline Resources
 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
 
Military OneSource – call 1-800-342-9647 for eligible DOD service members and their families.
 
Veterans Crisis Line – call 1-800-273-8255, press “1” or text 838255 for all service members.
 
PTSD Consultation Program – for providers who treat Veterans. Ask a question by calling 866-948-7880<tel:866-948-7880> or emailing PTSDconsult@va.gov<mail to:PTSDconsult@va.gov>.
 

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Dr. Greg Leskin gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:gleskin@mednet.ucla.edu> for Military and Veteran Family resource questions and

Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu<mailto:mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu> for all other questions.

 

Resources In Europe

eucap provides provides support for autistic people in crisis situations

Supporting autistic people in crisis situations

How can you deal with difficult situations if you have limited knowledge of autism? How to best support an autistic person in an acute crisis and challenging conditions? View brief basic information compiled by EUCAP and Autism Europe on this page or download as a pdf file here. More translated versions will be added as they become available.

 

Teenergizer support for Ukranian teens

 

Teenage peer-to-peer counselling service offers lifeline to youngsters in Ukraine

An online counselling service for teenagers has made the world of difference to one youngster who struggled to cope with grief.

Click Here For More Information

 

LiLi Center Logo

Ukraine Peer-to-Peer Support Group

The events happening in Ukraine have affected many in different ways. We want to support those affected directly or indirectly by offering a safe place to express their emotions in a supportive and safe environment. Our peer-to-peer networks are a way for people to support each other in a safe and secure space. If you are interested to express your feelings about the war, need guidance or resources The LiLi Centre is here for you.

For More Information Visit :  https://www.lilicentre.ch/en/home

Where: LiLi Centre
When:  
Wednesdays 09:30-11:30, and Thursdays 17:00-19:00

Who:    Anyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine seeking support and community
Cost:    Free, Sponsored by the LiLi Centre’s Mental Health Initiative (MHI)

NOTE: If you have a need to speak with a mental health professional privately about how you are coping, we are happy to put you in touch with our network of providers and/or connect you to our low-cost and no-cost counselling clinic.

02 – Urgent Info – Some resources for families and communities: Due to recent tragic events across the country
May 31 – Aug 7 all-day

 

Some Resources for Families and Communities:

Due to recent tragic events across the country

 

Agency Logo

Racial Stress and Self-care:

Parent Tip Tool

How race-related stress affects you and your relationship with your child

What effect does racism have on your health and well-being?

Not only does racism impact you as a parent, it can also impact how you interact with your children. Experiences of racism build on each other and can chip away at your emotional, physical and spiritual resources as a parent, contributing to race-related stress. Race-related stress can make it hard to have the space needed to take care of yourself as a parent, which reduces the emotional space you need to adequately take care of your children.

Racism can impact parents emotionally, physically and spiritually

Physical effects

Physical Effects

Physical Effects can include increased hypertension, illness and risky behaviors such as substance use.

Emotional effects

Emotional Effects

Emotional effects can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and aggression.

Spiritual effects

Spiritual Effects

Spiritual effects can include a decreased sense of purpose, lack of connection with the larger community, isolation from larger social groups and reduced involvement in communal activities that you enjoy.

Potential reactions to racial stress or trauma

Insecure feelings

Insecure Feelings

Feelings of shame and lack of confidence due to feeling that a situation cannot be changed.

Lack of trust

Lack of Trust

Feeling detached or a lack of trust for others due to experiencing multiple losses or letdowns. This can make it very difficult to seek out help and to identify potential safe sources of support.

Triggers

Triggers

Reminders of the event, such as particular people or situations, can also trigger strong emotional or physical responses (e.g., crying or rapid heartbeat).

Emotions

Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Difficulty controlling emotional responses (going from “zero to one hundred”) can occur as the body helps you adapt to potentially unsafe situations, making you feel constantly on “alert.”

The body’s response to the experience of racism can make accessing resources to cope with the situation difficult. Race-related stress is unique in that it threatens psychological resources that are needed to cope and fulfill basic needs such as financial support, housing, access to jobs, etc.

When your body is in stress mode, it is geared up to help you and your child survive, which sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. If you live in a chronic state of stress related to racism, you can start to engage in survival coping. Survival coping can help you to deal with very hard or potentially life-threatening situations. However, if you continue to exist in this mode long-term, it can make it difficult to enjoy being in the moment with your child and can reduce your ability to feel safe and in control.

What impact can racial stress have on your parenting?

Experiencing race-related stress can also impact the quality of parenting relationships in the following ways:

Impostor syndrome

When you are exposed to racism repeatedly, you often start doubting yourself and can feel like you are an imposter in dominant culture settings or in settings where you feel as though you do not belong. Your inner thoughts might sound something like: “Am I being judged?” “Am I worthy?” “I got lucky.” “I only got this because I am Black.”

Being overly alert (hypervigilance)

Experiencing racial stress can make you more aware of potential dangers and negative experiences that can occur. This, in turn, can make the experience of parenting even more stressful. When you interact with your children, you can sometimes be reminded of negative race-related experiences that you had when you were a child. This reminder can amp up emotional responses, or hyperarousal, making it hard for you to “keep your cool” and be open to flexible problem solving.

“Helicopter parenting” (monitoring in fear)

These experiences of racism and unwarranted blame or lack of acceptance can make you want to protect your children so much, that you don’t allow them to explore in the way that they need to. You may shelter them from failures, which everyone needs to experience in order to learn how to manage everyday life. You may tend to be overly cautious or suspicious. Examples can include not allowing your children to have sleepovers or go to the park, even with your supervision.

Difficulty regulating emotions

  • When your past influences your emotional state, it can affect your emotional responses to both big and minor stressors with children, such as when they misbehave. This, in turn, can lead to being overprotective or overuse of physical discipline, as a means of survival.
  • For children, having parents who can keep perspective (stay cool) when children are upset, or misbehaving is very important. Likewise, it is important to stay calm when disciplining a child, otherwise discipline may go overboard. Both of these things can be hard if you are having difficulty controlling your emotions.

Avoidance

  • Avoiding situations that are related to racism can be a needed strategy to survive; such as instances that may involve violence or threat to yourself or your family. Sometimes you may avoid reminders of past experiences due to the pain or discomfort they cause.
  • If you find yourself avoiding strong feelings or situations with your child that bring up painful memories, it may make it hard to show affection and support for your child. It may even make it difficult to know how to provide emotional support for your child during times of stress. For instance, if your child brings up their own experience of oppression or an event in their life reminds you of something from your own childhood.

Mistrusting others

  • Racism can lead to distrust or mistrust of other communities. Internalized racism is when you begin to accept negative messages about your own abilities and inherent worth by the dominant group in society.
  • When you use society’s norms to judge yourself, you can feel depressed, unworthy and just not good enough. You are taught in many ways to take these feelings and paint them onto another group.
  • Intra and interracial violence, contention among disenfranchised communities or color, and the way the media conveys information about people of color, contribute to this.
  • This kind of coping can make you more vulnerable to racism, because on some level you may believe in racial hierarchy and difference when you belittle other groups. And when you show your children that it is right to discriminate against certain other groups, you make them more vulnerable to discrimination that they face.

Minimizing racism

  • Racism is overwhelming, as is the history of violence. You are sometimes taught that accepting this and minimizing racism is the only thing you can do. But when you ignore racism, and accept powerlessness, you encourage your kids to internalize racism. This can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (e.g., engaging in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance use).
  • When you believe that you should be able to handle and manage it all without a break or without asking for help, you are at increased risk for health problems and can miss important cues about your well-being and safety.

Self-blame

Experiencing chronically unfair and dangerous discriminatory practices due to race can lead to feelings of low worth. For parents, this can also lead to a questioning of your parenting choices and abilities.

Unbalanced Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES)

Unbalanced messaging or communication about race and ethnicity occurs when you only promote messages of mistrust, preparation for bias, or only give racial pride messages to your children.

So, what can you do to mitigate racial stress?

As parents, it is important to develop positive identities and share your cultural identities with your children. Positive cultural identity and advocacy are protective factors against racism, which can help to reduce and prevent racial stress.

There are many other ways to cope with stress and everyone has different preferences. Reducing stress can also allow you to model healthy coping strategies for your child. Here are some suggestions with links you can try.

Agency Logo
Talking with Children About Tragic Events

What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

At The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, we’ve provided grief support groups for children, teens, young adults and their parents or adult caregivers since 1982.

Based on our experience, here are some things for adults to keep in mind as you struggle with how to talk with children following tragic events, such as natural disasters, plane crashes, or school shootings.

1. Don’t project your fears onto your children. They take their cues from the adults around them.
You can’t hear the news about children being murdered or communities devastated by natural disasters without thinking about how you’d feel if it happened to your family, friends, or hometown. The outpouring of care and empathy for the families who lost loved ones will be powerful, and…we all know it could have been our friends, our child, our family and community members who died or were injured.

Identifying with the senselessness and randomness makes us all feel more vulnerable. But we should remember that children don’t always see things the same way that adults do, and it won’t be helpful to them for us to fall apart. They need to see that we care, that we feel terrible about this tragedy, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. They will take their cues from our behavior.

It’s okay to show emotion. We can model for children that feeling sad, scared, and upset is normal after tragedies. But we don’t want to overwhelm them with our emotions, or put them in the position of having to ‘parent,’ or take care of, the adults around them. Make sure you also model taking care of yourself, by sharing with trusted and supportive adult friends, eating (and drinking) healthfully.

2. Try to limit their access to the recurring news and exposure to the tragedy over and over.
Over-exposure to the graphic and emotional news can be overwhelming for children and can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear. Some children who repeatedly watched the footage of planes crashing into the towers on 9/11 thought it was happening again and again. Some children (and some adults) may have difficulty getting graphic scenes and images out of their minds. Too much exposure can fuel their fear, so don’t let them sit and watch the news over and over. Better yet, set the example of not doing so yourself as well.

3. Understand that you can’t completely shield them from what happened.
It would be next to impossible to hide these events from children, as much as we wish we could. You might be able to shield your own child in your home, for example, by not turning on (or owning) a television, but you can’t protect your children from hearing about it from other kids. The fact is, they will hear about it, so although they don’t “need” to know about it, pretending we can shield them is magical thinking.

That said, you don’t need to give them more information than they can handle, or more than they’re asking for. A simple, “Did they talk about what happened in _____ today at school?” would be a good starter. They need to know that you’re not trying to hide the truth from them, that you’re open to talking about it, but that you’re also not forcing them to do so.

4. Model truth-telling and build trust with your children by letting them hear things, even hard things, from you directly.
Eight days after the 9/11 attacks, I was meeting in small groups with pre-school workers in New York City, talking about how to respond to the young children in their care about the events. A man asked to speak to me privately after one of the trainings, and asked for my advice around his 7-year-old daughter. For the last week, since September 12th, she had been having stomach aches and difficulty sleeping. He said it was not tied to the events of 9/11 because, “We don’t have a television.” As his story unfolded it was evident that he did not want to have to explain to his child why people would do such horrible things, a normal dilemma that we face as parents and adults. This child was experiencing physical reactions, as it turned out, not primarily because of her reaction to the events of 9/11, but because she was unable to share her fears and concerns and questions in her own home, faced with her parents’ denial.

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you talk with children:

1. There is no one typical reaction one can or should expect from children.
Their responses will vary all over the ‘emotional’ map, from seeming disinterest to nightmares, eating issues, and anxiety. How any specific child will respond will depend on their age, previous experience with death and loss, and their personality style. Fearful children will tend to worry; quiet children may keep their feelings to themselves; those who want to appear unfazed may exhibit a sense of bravado or lack of caring. Of course, children directly affected – those who had a family member die; those who witnessed the tragedy; those who had friends die – will tend to have longer-term reactions and needs. Watch for changes in behavior, or concerning trends. While it would be normal to have heightened anxiety and sleeplessness, any concerning behavior or troubling symptoms should be taken seriously, and if warranted, professional help sought.

2. Many children will have an increased sense of fear about their safety.
Understandably. So will many adults. After a shooting at an Oregon mall in December 2012, the news outlets were filled with people who said they’d never take their children there again. Others said they’d return as soon as it opened in order to support the stores and employees who had experienced the traumatic events, and whose livelihoods were going to suffer as a result of the several day closure. Some runners in the Boston Marathon vowed to return; others said they would never do so again.

While we can’t guarantee to our children that nothing bad will ever happen to them, we can provide assurance that these events are relatively rare, and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe. Children may have many questions about the events, particularly about natural disasters. Answer their questions with language that fits their developmental stage. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to a question. If it’s a question that might have an answer, offer to look up more information. You can also ask children what they think the answer is as they often have thoughts and ideas they want to share with you. In the case of natural disasters, if your child is fearful of something like that happening in your community, talk with them about the safety plan that you have in place for your family and home. You can also look into what community safety measures are in place and whatever elements are relevant with your children. Many children will be reassured knowing that there are specific, tangible things they and your family can do if something occurs. Some examples include, picking a meeting place, keeping flashlights in every bedroom, talking about where you will keep emergency water and food.

3. Children want, need, and deserve the truth.
In over 30 years of providing grief support to thousands of children and teens at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have never heard a child say, “I’m glad I was lied to.” Many, however, struggle with anger and lack of trust toward parents or other adults who lied to them. When we don’t tell the truth, they learn that we cannot be trusted. As difficult as it can be at times, and as horrendous as the truth may be, children want, need, and deserve the truth. Being able to talk openly and honestly with your children about tragic events and other losses, creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.

 

 

Daniel Tiger

Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images

The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child. The same video segment may be shown over and over again through the day, as if each showing was a different event. Someone who has died turns up alive and then dies again and again. Children often become very anxious since they don’t understand much about videotape replays, closeups, and camera angles. Any televised danger seems close to home to them because the tragic scenes are taking place on the TV set in their own living room. Children can’t tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away, what’s real and what’s pretend, or what’s new and what’s re-run.

The younger the children are, the more likely they are to be interested in scenes of close-up faces, particularly if the people are expressing some strong feelings. When there’s tragic news, the images on TV are most often much too graphic and disturbing for young children.

“Who will take care of me?”

In times of crisis, children want to know, “Who will take care of me?” They’re dependent on adults for their survival and security. They’re naturally self-centered. They need to hear very clearly that their parents are doing all they can to take care of them and to keep them safe. They also need to hear that people in the government and other grown-ups they don’t even know are working hard to keep them safe, too.

Helping Children Feel More Secure

Play is one of the important ways young children have of dealing with their concerns. Of course, playing about violent news can be scary and sometimes unsafe, so adults need to be nearby to help redirect that kind of play into nurturing themes, such as a hospital for the wounded or a pretend meal for emergency workers.

When children are scared and anxious, they might become more dependent, clingy, and afraid to go to bed at night. Whining, aggressive behavior, or toilet “accidents” may be their way of asking for more comfort from the important adults in their lives. Little by little, as the adults around them become more confident, hopeful and secure, our children probably will, too.

Turn Off the TV

When there’s something tragic in the news, many parents get concerned about what and how to tell their children. It’s even harder than usual if we’re struggling with our own powerful feelings about what has happened. Adults are sometimes surprised that their own reactions to a televised crisis are so strong, but great loss and devastation in the news often reawaken our own earlier losses and fears – even some we think we might have “forgotten”

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get drawn into watching televised news of a crisis for hours and hours; however, exposing ourselves to so many tragedies can make us feel hopeless, insecure, and even depressed. We help our children and ourselves if we’re able to limit our own television viewing. Our children need us to spend time with them – away from the frightening images on the screen.

Talking and Listening

Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, “What do you think happened?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then the simplest reply might be something like, “I’m sad about the news, and I’m worried. But I love you, and I’m here to care for you.”

If we don’t let children know it’s okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don’t need to hear all the details of what’s making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, “It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt ourselves or others.” Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we’ll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds’ future peacemakers — the world’s future “helpers.”

Helpful Hints

  • Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
  • Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
  • Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
  • Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on their familiar pattern of everyday life.
  • Plan something that you and your child enjoy doing together, like taking a walk, going on a picnic, having some quiet time, or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, in good times and in bad.
  • Even if children don’t mention what they’ve seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don’t bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
  • Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.
  • Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of worldwide crisis.

 

AM – All Month – Brain Injury Awareness Month – Hydrocephalus Awareness – Support Groups, Events, Resources
May 31 all-day

 

Brain Injury Awareness Month — Hydrocephalus Awareness

Support Groups, Events, Resources, Advocacy

 

Facts about Hydrocephalus


Although you may have not heard the word hydrocephalus (hi-dro-seff-a-lus), it is not an uncommon condition. Hydrocephalus has no ethnic or gender preferences – and it can develop at any time during gestation all the way through to senior adulthood.

Here are a few facts about Hydrocephalus:

  • Hydrocephalus is one of the most common birth defects, each year one out of every 500 births results in hydrocephalus
  • Another 6,000 children annually develop hydrocephalus during the first 2 years of life
  • Brain injury occurs every 15 seconds in this country – and in some cases leads to the development of hydrocephalus
  • There are approximately 75,000 discharges a year from hospitals in the U.S. with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus
  • More than 50% of hydrocephalus cases are congenital
  • 70-90% of children born with spina bifida also develop hydrocephalus
  • CSF shunting procedures account for approximately $100 million in health care spending in the United States alone – half of this amount is spent on shunt revisions
  • In the past 25+ years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5%, and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus affects adults and can cause dementia, difficulty in walking and, urinary incontinence
  • No statistics are kept (by our government), for those who develop

 

HELP LINES, PEER SUPPORT, SUPPORT GROUPS

 

 

The Hydrocephalus Association wants you to know that You Are Not Alone – We Are Here For You!

The Hydrocephalus Association staff and teams of trained volunteers are ready to answer your questions and listen to your concerns,  either by phone or email. Simply click on one of the following links to get connected to a volunteer or staff member for support, information, and connection.

 

PEER SUPPORT

To get connected with an HA Peer, please use this link to connect to a request from, after you complete it  your HA Peer will reach out to you very soon!

FOR ONE-TO-ONE PEER SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

 

CALL THE HA HELPLINE

Call (888) 598-3789 or email info@hydroassoc.org for support, resources, and answers to your questions.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.

EMAIL HA CYBER VOLUNTEERS

Do you have a question about hydrocephalus? Treatment? Ongoing care?  The impact of the condition on all aspects of life? Our cyber volunteers are ready to answer your questions and share their experience via email.

You can submit them via email by clicking here!

 

Virtual Meet-ups

When: Every Saturday
Adults with Hydrocephalus Meet-Up (DC, MD, VA, PA, DE, NJ)
Lively and engaging conversation! We all need to see old friends, new faces, and have some fun with a community that knows us in a way that only those living the hydrocephalus journey do.

When:
Every Saturday
Contact: Sierra Smith and Sara Curran-Kellogg