How to Get a Break From Your Child When You Need To Cool Down

When you’re starting to, or already have, reached your limits with your child, how can you get away without fueling the fire?

Take Some Alone Time

Very Angry Mother And ChildWhen you get angry, it is usually best to wait until you’re calm again to have a productive talk about the issue. Instead of saying things like “go to your room”, tell your child that you need to go into your own room alone to cool down. Talk to your child about “alone time” and why it is a good thing and why everyone needs it sometimes. Explain to your child that “cool down” time helps you to think better and talk better.

Pick a name for your favorite spot to cool down, and call it something like “chill spot”, “cool down corner” or “cool chair” and tell them that this is where you might go sometimes to calm down. Tell them it is very important for you to be alone at this time, and it will be only a minute or two (as long as your child is able to be left without direct supervision). Your child should choose their own spot in the house also, and perhaps they can wait in their spot while you are taking your moment alone.

Start Out Small

If your child has a particularly hard time with this and feels overly rejected, try starting out with short increments of time and gradually increasing it as they handle it successfully. You can use a kitchen timer to set a minute or two, and let them know that when the timer goes off you will be back. I suggest giving them an immediate sign of physical affection along with verbal praise to reinforce their patience!

When you do this with your child, you are modeling extremely positive behavior! You are showing your children how to cope with anger and frustration in an appropriate way.

Teach A Lesson About Anger

When you reunite, be sure to give lots of love and praise! Show them that alone time is not about rejection, it is about making good choices. Always reinforce to a child that feeling angry doesn’t mean they are “bad” (a very common perception of theirs that I hear about often). The only “bad” part about anger is the “bad choice” they can make when feeling angry and do not take time to cool off. “Good choices” need to be taught and modeled, and what better way than to let them see you use this technique yourself!

Don’t forget to use your spouse as a resource when they are around. Have a special signal between you that lets each other know when you need them to step in, so you can take a break. Remember that you will be much more effective with your child once you are calm and that self-care makes you the best parent you can be!

How Does The Illinois Law For Children With Autism Affect My Insurance Coverage?

In December of 2008, the state of Illinois passed a law that would force insurance companies to provide benefits for children with autism. That law states that all benefits such as co-insurance, co-payments, and deductibles must be applied to the annual benefit Rejected Insurance Claimfor children with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder, as defined by the law, includes autism, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

The annual benefit at the time of the law passing was $36,000. This translated to a long lasting year of coverage for children with autism who often receive multiple therapy services. Each year, the Director of the Division of Insurance revises the law and updates the yearly maximum for inflation. For the year of 2011, the annual benefit for a child with autism is $38,527.

What does this mean for my child who has an autism diagnosis?

If you have a deductible in your plan, you will need to satisfy it before benefits will be paid. Once that deductible is met, your co-insurance will take effect. Some common insurance plans have a 90/10 benefit. This means that your insurance policy will pay 90% of the allowable charges and the member will be responsible for 10% of the charges. Other plans have an 80/20 benefit which translates the same way.

Should you choose to seek services from an out of network provider, your out of pocket cost will change. In addition to being responsible for the member’s portion of the co-insurance, you will also be responsible for anything deemed over the allowable amount by your insurance carrier. Where you choose to receive services for your child is your personal choice as a parent, just be sure to verify that you have out of network benefits available for the services you seek.

Are all children with autism covered under this annual benefit?

No. There are a few exclusions to the law, formally known as Public Act 095-1005. The following types of insurance policies are exempt from following the law:

  • Self-insured, non-public employers
  • Self-insured health and welfare plans
  • Insurance policies or trusts issued in other states

PPO vs. HMO

In my honest opinion, many large insurance carriers in Illinois still do not have any idea how to manage this annual benefit for children with autism. Often with the Participating Provider Option (PPO) policies from various insurance carriers, benefits are not paid for children with autism. This causes stress on the parents while they fight with their insurance carrier to get the benefits that are required by law.

As a result of the challenges I have witnessed with PPO insurance policies, I have witnessed the immense care, compassion, and organization that the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) policies offer to families who have a child with autism. HMO policies have an excellent handle on how to manage this annual benefit. HMO policies have also been able to find providers local to a family’s area that provide the services that children with autism commonly benefit from, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, psychiatric care, and psychological care.

There are differences with HMO’s compared to PPO policies. A referral is needed for any service that is provided to an HMO patient, with the exception of those services provided by your primary care physician.

Does this new law improve insurance coverage?

This all may sound like an amazing benefit, and it is, however when I look at the benefit as a whole, only one thing changes from your traditional insurance benefits. Your yearly maximum for a therapeutic discipline may be 75 visits per year. This law changes the 75 visit limit to $38,527 for the annual 2011 benefit for services provided to a child with autism.

More Information

To read the full version of the Illinois Law For Children With Autism click here

To read an easy to understand fact sheet click here

Milestones for Kid’s Success

Active BabyHow do we identify the milestones our kids need to succeed? How fast should your child be developing mentally and physically? Does every child develop on their own schedule or should you compare your child to the “norm”?

Milestones are important to be aware of because if children are not in the general range of normal or typical development, parents need to be proactive and start asking questions.

7 Steps to Measuring Milestones and Making Sure Your Child Is On The Right Track:

1) Use a check list and log your child’s new skills.

2) Make a separate checklist of areas you may feel your child is behind on.

3) Read well-respected parenting blogs and articles by licensed professionals to stay on top of what your child should be doing

4) Read E-Books and Popular Publications that include Milestone Checklists and Guides For Parents and Doctors

5) If your child is delayed in a developmental area, move on it quickly. Better safe than sorry.

6) Make a visit to your MD and tell him/her your concerns.

7) Visit the necessary specialists and find someone you can trust and do what you need to do.

Always trust your instincts as the parent and remain proactive!

Bullying: How To Know It’s Happening And What To Do About It

Bully Pointing And Laughing At BoyName Calling Just As Harmful as Physical Abuse

We all can probably name the “school bully” (or bullies) from our childhood. Bullying is not a new challenge for children, but it should not be dismissed as simply a part of growing up. Bullying is a serious issue of abuse that can be emotional, verbal, physical, or some combination of the three. All three forms of bullying can be devastating to children. The old adage of “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me,” is simply not true. The March/April issue of the Journal of Child Development features a study conducted at UCLA that determined verbal abuse happens twice as often as physical abuse and “the students who were beat up and those who were called names were equally bothered.” Today, we have an additional form of bullying: cyber bullying, which, takes bullying to a whole new level. Read more

Quick Tips For A Smoother Transition Into A Summer Schedule

Fun Family SummerMany children perform best when they follow a schedule and have a consistent routine. School is coming to an end and summer is approaching, which also translates to a less structured schedule and, potentially, a less productive day. Here are a few suggestions to make the most out of your summer routine:

Visual Schedules:

• At school, many children follow a picture schedule that lets them know what activities they will be participating in that day. Summer is a great time to let kids be kids and allow them to learn through play and gain independence while choosing what toys and activities they want to do on a daily basis. If your child craves predictability and struggles with transitions, try making a summer picture book. Take pictures of your child’s toys, games, books, and places they enjoy playing (backyard, park, pool, etc.) and allow them to create their own plan for the day.

Play Dates:

• Play dates with peers are a great summertime activity. Be sure to swap information with the parents of your child’s friends at school before the end of the year. Children learn a lot through playing together, including skills such as negotiating, compromise, taking turns, communication and imaginative play. Read more

Swim Your Way To A Stronger Body

Summer is quickly approaching, and swimming pools can be used for much more than tanning and floating! Get those muscles and joints working with these simple games that you can play with common pool toys.

The following activities target strength, endurance, body awareness, trunk control, breath control and motor planning. As always, make sure safety is your first priority:

1. Noodle Races: sit on foam noodles, using your arms to pull yourself across the length of the pool .

**Try a variety of movements with your arms such as front crawls, breast strokes, and doggy paddling to incorporate different reaching and pulling methods. You can also sit on a tube or raft rather than a noodle to play this game!

2. Noodle Volleyball/Basketball: sit on foam noodles, passing a beach ball back and forth or aiming for a hoop.

**Try to keep the ball in the air without hitting the water for as long as possible. This is a great challenge that incorporates hand-eye coordination. Read more

Strategies to Decrease Nail Biting and Other Anxious Habits

Many things can cause stress for children, including academics, social problems at school, or even sports. Some children may be less resilient than others, and these stressful events can lead to anxiety problems. Unfortunately, many children may be unable to express their worries and emotions verbally, or they may not be aware of what it is that causes them stress. Therefore, often times children will express their anxiety through behaviors or anxious habits. Stress and anxiety can lead to poor and inconsistent sleeping patterns, depression, fears, difficulties with social interaction and isolation, among other problems. Follow the tips below to help ease the stress in your child’s life.

Tips To Identify Decrease Stress In Your Child’s Life:

• Children don’t often express anxiety with words, as they tend to not understand these feelings, not be fully conscious of them, or do not know how to express them.

• Habits/symptoms that may be signs of anxiety or stress include: nail biting, chewing on fingers, picking on clothing, inconsistent sleep routine, stomach aches, head aches, fear, worry, distress or isolation.

• Anxiety and stress affects concentration, decision-making, ability to make friends, and mood. Depression is closely linked with anxiety.

• How To Help:

Make sure your child has good sleeping habits and can recharge her batteries for the next day. Sleep improves concentration, boosts the immune system and aids in Read more

10 Tips to Getting Your Family on the Right Fitness Track!!

Spring break is here, flowers are blooming and summer is just around the corner! Kids are itching to get out of the house and spring is a great season to increase their activity levels. Obesity is an increasing epidemic in America and children are quickly becoming a part of this crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese—a number that has tripled since 1980. A great way to get your children in shape in time for summer is to have the whole family involved (and even your pets!).Family Fitness

Below are some fun ideas to help your family spring into fitness:

1) Get some fun party music going in the house and have a “dancing hour” dancing with your kids to their favorite tunes.

2) If you have a dog, include your children in the daily dog-walking. Challenge them to see if they can out-run their canine in a backyard race. Read more