This report describes the public health burden of TBI in children and adolescents, including the range of outcomes that may be experienced following a TBI. In addition, the report lays out the current systems involved in the management of children with TBI, identifies gaps that exist, and outlines some practices that hold promise in addressing those gaps. Finally, opportunities for action are offered that suggest ways to improve TBI care in children, and how we might advance our understanding of TBI care in the future.
According to research by the psychologist Jean Twenge and others, depressive symptoms in teen girls increased by 50 percent between 2012 and 2015, and 21 percent in boys. The number of college students experiencing “overwhelming anxiety” increased to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011.
Enter self-compassion. First measured by Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin, the trait has been shown by researchers to ease symptoms of psychopathology in adults, while bolstering motivation and high performance standards. In other words, you can be nice to yourself and succeed, absent the Netflix and pajamas.
Late last year, Imogen Marsh, Stella Chan and Angus Macbeth at the University of Edinburgh published a meta-analysis of research on self-compassion in young people in the journal Mindfulness. They synthesized studies on more than 7,000 adolescents from six countries, ranging in age from 10 to 19. They found that teens with high levels of the trait were most likely to report lower levels of distress caused by anxiety and depression — especially when facing chronic academic stress.
Adolescence is a developmental moment of peak stress, and a teen’s heightened self-consciousness (“Do I look weird? Did I just sound stupid in class?”) cranks up the volume of the inner critic. Self-compassion encourages mindfulness, or noticing your feelings without judgment; self-kindness, or talking to yourself in a soothing way; and common humanity, or thinking about how others might be suffering similarly.
This last step is particularly salubrious for adolescents: Many believe that “I’m the only one going through this,” which exacerbates feelings of isolation and shame.
The teens I work with are prone to catastrophizing when facing a problem (“I’ll never get into college,” “I’ll never get a good job”). For them, the mindfulness step of self-compassion — which asks them to zero in on a feeling instead of an imagined, exaggerated outcome — is especially grounding. My students find self-kindness most challenging, so I ask them to imagine how they would comfort a close friend struggling with the same challenge. “There’s almost no one whom we treat as badly as ourselves,” Dr. Neff told me.
It’s not a headache. It’s not “getting your bell rung.” You don’t have a bell. It’s a traumatic brain injury. Every single concussion is a new traumatic brain injury. In addition to the torn ACLs and MCLs, in addition to all of the horrible broken bones, the NFL diagnosed at least 281 traumatic brain injuries this season.
New research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude). Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. Dr. Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.
People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.
When your teenage daughter cannot stop talking about the program and driving experience - it must be GREAT!
FOLLOWING A NATURAL DISASTER: INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
Remain calm and reassuring. Children take their cues from adults, especially young children. Acknowledge the loss or destruction, but emphasize the community’s efforts to clean up and rebuild. To the extent it is possible to do so, assure them that family and friends will take care of them and that life will return to normal.
Acknowledge and normalize their feelings.
Allow children to discuss their feelings and concerns, and address any questions they may have regarding the event. Listen, empathize, and let their questions be the guide. An empathetic listener is very important. Let them know that their reactions are normal and expected.
Encourage children to talk about disaster-related events. Children need an opportunity to discuss their experiences in a safe, accepting environment. Provide activities that enable children to process their experiences. This may include a range of methods (both verbal and nonverbal) and incorporate varying projects (e.g., drawing, stories, music, drama, audio and video recording). Seek the help of the school psychologist, counselor, or social worker if you need help with ideas to open the dialogue.
Promote positive coping and problem-solving skills. Activities should teach children how to apply problem-solving skills to disaster-related stressors. Encourage children to develop realistic and positive methods of coping that increase their ability to manage their anxiety and to identify which strategies fit with each situation.
Emphasize children’s resiliency. Focus on their competencies. Help children identify what they have done in the past that helped them cope when they were frightened or upset. Bring their attention to other communities that have experienced natural disasters and recovered (e.g., New Orleans, LA, or Joplin, MO).
Strengthen children’s friendship and peer support. Children with strong emotional support from others are better able to cope with adversity. Children’s relationships with peers can provide suggestions for how to cope and can help decrease isolation. In many disaster situations, friendships may be disrupted because of family relocations. In some cases, parents may be less available to provide support to their children because of their own distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Activities such as asking children to work cooperatively in small groups can help children strengthen supportive relationships with their peers.
Take care of your own needs. Take time for yourself and try to deal with your own reactions to the situation as fully as possible. You will be better able to help your children if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, your children are more likely to feel the same way. Talk to other adults such as family, friends, faith leaders, or counselors. It is important not to dwell on your fears or anxiety by yourself. Sharing feelings with others often makes people feel more connected and secure. Take care of your physical health. Make time, however small, to do things you enjoy. Avoid using drugs or alcohol to feel better.
As students graduate into adulthood, each generation carries with it a primary lens which informs how they vote, what they buy, and why they believe and act the way they do. What are the implications?:
The Mature Generation (1929-1945) These folks endured the Great Depression and World War II. In general, they’re frugal and know how to save money and resources. They tend to value holding on to what is right and good.
The Baby Boomers (1946-1964) These people represent the population “boom” after the war. As the largest generation to date, they felt large and in charge and expected life to be better for them than it was for their parents.
Generation X (1965-1982) This generation started with the birth control pill and Roe vs. Wade. This smaller population grew up in a broken, jaded world of Vietnam and Watergate. As realists, they know life can be hard and want to keep it real.
Millennials (Y) (1983-2000) Currently, the largest U.S. generation, they grew up in a time of helicopter parents, participation trophies, college degrees and options. They often see life as a cafeteria from which they pick and choose what they want.
Generation Z (2001-2018) This young population is still forming, but they have grown up in a time of terrorism, recession, under-employment and racial unrest. They tend to be hackers, navigating a tougher world full of social media and angst.
Personal Values as They Came of AgeThe Builders – Think long term. We must plan ahead and conserve what we have.
Boomers – Anti-establishment. Don’t trust institutions; make your own way.
Generation X – Unplug and get real. Life is not full of sunshine and rainbows.
Millennials – Change the world, starting with the environment. We can do it.
Generation Z – We are aware, savvy and evolving. We value human equality.
Personal Message as They Came of AgeBuilders – I’m Humble.
Boomers – I’m in charge.
Generation X – I’m scrappy.
Millennials – I’m awesome.
Generation Z – I’m fluid.
Personal Style as They Came of AgeBuilders – Create the system.
Boomers – Take over the system.
Generation X – Avoid the system.
Millennials – Work within the system.
Generation Z – Work around the system.
We are delighted to share with you The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. Building on NCLD’s 40-year history as the leading authority on learning disabilities, this report uses recently released data for the 2015–2016 school year and other field-leading research to shine a light on the current challenges and opportunities facing the 1 in 5 children who have learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and ADHD.
As with previous editions of The State of Learning Disabilities, this report provides key insight into the progress that has been made—and the work yet to be done—to raise expectations and improve outcomes for the 1 in 5. The report also highlights the need for targeted policy reforms and additional research into evidence-based solutions that will help create a more inclusive society that recognizes the potential of all individuals.
This report reveals that children with learning and attention issues are as smart as their peers and can achieve at high levels but too often are misunderstood as lazy or unintelligent. Without the right academic or emotional support, they are much more likely than their peers to repeat a grade, get suspended and drop out. Individuals with learning and attention issues also struggle in the workplace and have high rates of involvement with the criminal justice system. But this downward spiral can be prevented.
We thank NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board and the dozens of other national experts for their contributions to this report, and we hope that after reading The State of Learning Disabilities, you will share our sense of urgency and optimism. Identifying struggling students early can make a huge difference, but we also believe it is never too late to help the 1 in 5 thrive in school, in the workplace and in life.
These findings highlight some differences in the challenges that youth with an IEP faced in the decade after IDEA 2004, depending on their disability. Although the characteristics and experiences described capture only a subset of those discussed in this volume, prior research suggests that they could be important indicators of students’ later outcomes (see, for example, Mazzotti et al. ; Zablocki & Krezmien ). Youth in disability groups that are less likely to perform typical daily living tasks; engage with friends and in school activities; or prepare for college, careers, and independent living might be at higher risk for not making the kinds of postsecondary transitions that IDEA 2004 promotes.
What is surprising is the discovery a number of years ago that mentally dexterous people with greater working memory capacity seem to be particularly susceptible to “brain freeze” or choking under pressure.
For a new study in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, researchers at the University of Chicago and Michigan State University attempted to find out more about why this happens. Their results suggest that actually it’s only a subgroup of high working memory people who have this problem and it’s because of their high distractibility. These high ability chokers or brain freeze victims are “typically reliant on their higher working memory resources for advanced problem solving” but their poor attentional control renders them easily distracted by anxiety, causing their usual mental deftness to break down when the pressure is on.
Jason Sattizahn and his colleagues recruited 83 participants aged 18-35, including 35 men, from areas near universities. First they tested the participants’ attention control abilities using the well-established Flanker Task: participants had to identify as quickly as possible the direction of central arrows that were either surrounded by congruent flankers (<<<<<) or incongruent flankers (<<><<). It’s a test of attention control because it takes mental concentration to ignore the flankers, especially on incongruent trials.
Next, the researchers tested the participants’ on some tricky mental arithmetic questions, both without any pressure and then under high pressure conditions in which there was a monetary incentive, peer pressure (poor performance would adversely affect another participant) and risk of public shaming (they were told their performance would be shared with professors and others).
Finally, the participants completed two tests of their working memory capacity: they had to solve a sequence of basic mathematical operations or sentence comprehension questions, with each one interspersed with presentation of a single letter on screen. At the end of each run of between three and seven trials, the participants had to try to recall the letters in the correct order.
The results were clear: high stakes pressure adversely affected the math performance of participants with high working memory capacity, but did not affect the performance of participants with lower working memory capacity (replicating a phenomenon first identified in a paper published in 2005**). What’s new here is the additional measure of attentional control. This showed that only high working memory participants with poor attentional control showed evidence of this mental performance choking under pressure.
Dr. Dan Pezzulo
Disclaimer: Any and all blog content represents a synthesis of empirical information found on the internet, of my own personal opinions, and my professional experiences. Nothing posted reflects or should be considered professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional or therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a licensed mental healthcare professional.
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