May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and May 1-7 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Not only is good mental health important for emotional wellness, but it’s also critical for healthy social and cognitive development. Check out the information below (also accessible here) for information about this important topic. Wear green on Thursday, May 4 to show your support!
And check out the Community Cares Fair at Marbles Museum on May 18 from 6:00-7:30. There will be arts and crafts for the kids and lots of information about local programs that work with children and families to support mental health. And, the event is FREE! Here’s the brochure.
Did you know that March is Brain Injury Awareness month? In recognition of this, I'd like to share some info about traumatic brain injuries, or TBI. Let's start with the definition. A TBI:
Causes of TBI include but are not limited to open or closed head injuries, cerebrovascular accidents (e.g., stroke, aneurysm), infection, kidney or heart failure, electric shock, anoxia, tumors, metabolic disorders, toxic substances, and medical or surgical treatments. TBI does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, but it can include injuries induced by birth trauma.
Something you may not have realized is just how far-reaching the impact of a TBI can be. A traumatic brain injury can result in impairment in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, speech, and/or sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of a TBI, check out this helpful site.
Remember a while back when I was talking about having a growth mindset? Well to piggy back on that, I wanted to point you to a set of super short but inspiring (and adorable) videos you can share with your children. The videos follow a character named Mojo. One day, Mojo has a tough time in math, "realizes" he isn't smart, and decides he may as well just give up...but then a friend helps him learn about the growth mindset. The videos' messages are simple but impactful, and while geared toward younger kids, older children would certainly benefit from taking a look.
And while we're talking about the growth mindset again, I figured now's a good opportunity to share some info on self-esteem. As we know, self-esteem is critical for students' success -- not just academically, but also socially and emotionally -- and it's also a big part of developing a growth mindset. This handout provides some great tips and strategies for helping ensure children develop and maintain healthy self-esteem. (And you might be surprised: building self-esteem isn't all about praise and stroking egos -- kids need to experience setbacks, too!)
This time of year can be a really busy time for many, but once the hustle and bustle slows down, the upcoming winter break is a great opportunity for families to reconnect. Which is a great thing, because much research has shown that quality time spent with family has a significant positive impact on children’s academic success and emotional well-being. And “quality time” doesn’t have to be special meals at restaurants, vacations, or spending money – the things we do every day can serve as quality time, things like reading together, eating meals together, or simply talking with each other. Click here for some great tips on ways to incorporate more quality time into your family’s daily routine.
I hope everyone has an opportunity to unwind and spend some quality time with family over the winter break. See you next year!
November 14-18 is School Psychology Awareness Week and this year's theme is Small Steps Change Lives. As we know, long-term goals and achievements are not realized overnight. Success is usually the result of hard work, practice, persistence, and trial-and-error. This often takes time and requires many small steps along the way to the larger goal. The resulting path can be filled with obstacles that may hinder progress but, with persistence, don’t stop it completely. In supporting children's own positive paths, we can reinforce persistence by recognizing and celebrating their small steps towards achieving their goals. (Also check out my last post on growth mindset, which shares a similar philosophy.)
There are many ways families can help children make positive changes in small increments. As parents and caregivers, you can:
Did you know that in 2003-2004, NC served close to 194,000 students with disabilities? And did you know that on top of academic challenges, children with disabilities often experience more difficulty making friends and becoming involved with school/community activities compared to their nondisabled peers? October is Disability History and Awareness Month (DHAM), and the theme behind DHAM is that children are uniquely capable. The purpose of DHAM is to educate everyone about the many abilities people with disabilities have. You can read more about DHAM here.
In light of DHAM, I wanted to share research by Carol Dweck, which is captured in her book, Mindset. Dr. Dweck emphasizes the benefits of maintaining a “growth mindset,” in which people believe they can develop their skills through practice and dedication, as opposed to a “fixed mindset” wherein people believe intelligence and talent are fixed traits that cannot be changed. Her website describes the concept in more detail.
Every child – every person, really – experiences their own set of challenges. But, every individual also has their own set of wonderful strengths that should be recognized, celebrated, and built upon to foster greater confidence and happiness. With this in mind, consider incorporating a growth mindset in your family. For example, rather than saying, “Wow, great job getting a 3 on your test!” you could say, “Wow, your hard work reviewing your vocabulary words really paid off!” Check out the graphic below for more examples, and take a look at this article to find more ways to incorporate a growth mindset with your children.
Give the growth mindset a try -- I bet you’ll see it can lead to some really powerful, positive changes!
As we are all too well aware, divorce is not uncommon among today’s families. For children of divorce, this change in family dynamic can feel confusing, emotional, stressful, and sometimes uncertain. Fortunately, the kinds of support children need during this time of transition tend to be things parents provide automatically: unconditional love, open lines of communication, and reassurance that things are not their fault. And fortunately, children are extremely resilient. In fact, this article points to research showing that most children recover fine after a divorce.
If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, the following handouts may be helpful.
Divorce: A Parents' Guide for Supporting Children
Children and Divorce
Also, a couple of websites to check out. First, Sesame Street offers "toolkits" on a variety of topics, including divorce. The site provides short videos for children, activities parents can do with their children, and other helpful tips and resources.
Helpguide.org is another great resource that provides excellent information on a variety of topics.
If you're looking for books to read with your children, below are some titles to consider (click on the image to open a new page):
Has another year really gone by? Indeed it has. Welcome to 2016-2017! I've rounded up a few handouts with strategies to support your family in transitioning to a new year.
Back-to-school tips for a smooth transition. General strategies and suggestions to help kick off a healthy, happy, and organized year.
At the start of the year, some children get uber excited over brand new school supplies in anticipation of homework time. Other children, not so much. This handout provides some nice strategies to help create an organized, stress-free homework environment.
School refusal. It's not uncommon for a child to feel a little nervous at the beginning of a new year. Sometimes, however, significant anxiety can take hold of a child and lead to extreme challenges with attending school. This handout provides information regarding why it can happen and how to support a child experiencing school refusal.
Hi there! My name is Kim Getty and I'm the school psychologist for Brassfield Elementary and Cary Elementary. Here you'll find a variety of information to support children's social and emotional well-being, as well as strategies to strengthen academic performance and improve any behavioral challenges.
You may be wondering what a school psychologist actually does. The National Association of School Psychologists describes these professionals as "uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community."
This handout goes into a bit more detail.
So, I do a lot of different things. I help teachers identify ways to support kids who might be struggling with academics or behavior, and I consult with parents to discuss any concerns they might have about their child (mental health, academics, behavior, anything). I provide brief counseling to children who may be going through a difficult time, and I can provide academic or behavior interventions to children either individually or in small groups. When a child struggles to achieve grade level benchmarks, despite multiple interventions, I may evaluate the child to assist in determining whether he/she needs special education.
When I'm not at one of my schools, I'm likely participating in some of my other job roles within Wake County, including serving as a consultant for the Autism team as well as the Low Incidence team (which specializes in working with children who have complex and/or severe disabilities). I'm also a member of the WCPSS Crisis Team, which involves providing training to staff on psychological crisis response, as well as providing counseling support for schools experiencing crisis. I also serve as a mentor on the Mentor Team, which provides support to newly hired psychologists.
A little about me...I double majored in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Richmond, and I earned my MS and PhD in School Psychology from NC State. In my free time, I love to bake, read, run, hit the beach, and spend time traveling and enjoying new restaurants with my boyfriend of seven years.
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to call or email me anytime, or stop by my office at Brassfield or Cary.