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Friday, December 22, 2017

Special Holiday Edition: 'Tis the Season for Self-Care

By: Jacki Reinert, Psy.D., LMHC
Pediatric Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellow

As a child, the idea of Christmas meant cookies, presents, time with family, and of course, giving up TGIF’s Full House in favor of holiday movies. Everything from Scrooged to A Miracle on 34th Street to Home Alone, and every clay animated favorite served as the framework for my formulation of what the holidays truly meant; “It's Christmas Eve. It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be." Frank Cross’s commentary on Christmas set expectations high, and year after year, we hoped to top the magic and splendor of the previous year’s festivities. 

As a parent, the holiday season conjures up warm memories of childhood, ignites aspirations to establish new traditions, and creates opportunities to share experiences with our loved ones, particularly our children. The magic of the holidays can also cultivate high expectations; to act nicer, smile easier, and to cheer more. These expectations more often than not exceed our capacity to truly encapsulate the hopes and aspirations we drum up in our heads. High expectations can pave the way for increased levels of perceived stress. 

The American Psychological Association recently released its annual review, Stress in America (November, 2017), which indicates the United States has reached its highest stress level yet. Acute arousal stress in isolation can activate and enhance mobilization, sharpening our concentration and preparing our bodies to engage in challenging tasks, such as wrapping those last two presents and baking another round of cookies. This basic human reaction known as the “flight-or-fight” response has served us well, priming our bodies to flee or combat unsafe situations; however, our bodies can also overreact to simple, non-threatening situations, such as holiday pressure, financial difficulties, and increasing family demands. 

Chronic stress has far more lasting and serious complications, particularly when it exceeds our ability to cope and leads to emotional and physical dysregulation. Stress is negatively related to our coping potential and our perception of control, which decreases use of problem-solving coping strategies and increases negative coping strategies, such as alcohol consumption and avoidance tactics (Rui Gomes, Faria, & Gonçalves, 2013). Individuals who experience elevations in stress and engage in maladaptive coping strategies such as drinking more alcohol, complaining, sleeping less, and consuming unhealthy foods which increase chances of becoming physically and mentally run down.

For parents, the added stress of the holidays and high expectations can have a significant impact on not only themselves, but those around them. Research suggests that adults are more likely to find family responsibilities stressful than they have in the past (APA, November, 2017). High expectations can make capturing the perfect holiday, particularly when parenting a child with special needs, a stressful time, leading to feelings of resentment (“I’m doing all of this and no one is helping me”), frustration (“I have no time to fit this all in”), and disappointment (“It seems like they didn’t have a good time”).

This year, I encourage you to lower your holiday expectations, increase self-care and self-compassion. While practicing self-care may be the furthest thing from your mind, the following may offer some reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. 

1. Expect that things will go wrong, and that’s okay. Someone will get sick, you might burn a dish, and yes, that’s okay. Avoid catastrophic thinking, a common cognitive distortion where we imagine and worry about the worst possible situation, either consciously or subconsciously. For example, your ability to prepare the perfect holiday dinner for twelve people is an act, not a representation of how good of a person you are. You are not the sum of how well-executed things are, how perfectly the house looks, how your children act. 

2. Practice self-regulation and utilize coping skills. The easiest way to understand the subtle difference between these two concepts is to imagine yourself in a car, driving down I-90 into Boston and someone cuts you off. To access a coping skill to manage your anger, you would first need to pull off the highway, put the car in park, and throw on your hazard lights. Conversely, if you were utilizing a self-regulation skill, you could continue driving and manage your thoughts and feelings in the moment. Self-regulation is the ability to modulate our emotions and impulses, to keep ourselves in check, whereas coping is a process or actions that help you manage difficult emotions. Examples of self-regulation skills include diaphragmatic breathing (learn more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFcQpNr_KA4&t=140s) and box breathing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP4Jxxhhzl0). Coping skills can include meditation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bs0qUB3BHQ), and progressive muscle relaxation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo). 

3. Practice micro-moments of positivity. Research suggests that rather than pursue the perfect gift to demonstrate your love for a family member, seeking out opportunities to be present and make a meaningful connection have a more lasting effect (Heshmati, Oravecz, Pressman, Bathcelder, Muth, & Vandekerckhove, 2017). Crawling into bed and reading a holiday book with your children, or complete a small craft together can have a more lasting impact that securing a sloth Fingerling for them. You can read more about micro-moments here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/09/568834440/what-s-better-than-expensive-presents-the-gift-of-presence

4. Opt outside! Research suggests that spending time in nature can have significant effect on mood (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/09/568834440/what-s-better-than-expensive-presents-the-gift-of-presence) and can increase sun exposure and the benefits of Vitamin D. Locate a winter wonderland hike here: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2016/01/11/winter-hiking-massachusetts/

5. Finally, don’t forget about self-care. Self-care is a deliberate act to support and nurture your physical and mental health. Taking care of yourself not only helps you but those around you. There are several TED talks highlighting the benefit of self-care: https://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care

From the clinical team at NESCA, we wish everyone a happy holiday season!

About the Author:

Dr. Jacki Reinert is a Pediatric Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow who joined NESCA in September 2017. Dr. Reinert assists with neuropsychological and psychological (projective) assessments in the Newton office and will join the Londonderry office in March 2018. In addition to assisting with neuropsychological evaluations, Dr. Reinert co-facilitates parent child groups and provides clinical consultation. Before joining NESCA Dr. Reinert worked in a variety of clinical settings, including therapeutic schools, residential treatment programs and in community mental health. She has comprehensive training in psychological assessment, conducting testing with children, adolescents, and transitional-aged adults with complex trauma.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Increasing Reading Success: Early Identification of Reading Challenges

By: Alissa Talamo, Ph.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychologist

I recently attended the International Dyslexia Association Conference in Atlanta, GA (dyslexiaida.org). Among the conference attendees were researchers, teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and parents of children with dyslexia. One recurring key point was the importance of early identification of reading difficulties, as early provision of appropriate interventions and services leads to better outcomes.

It is important to remember that unlike seeing, hearing, and eating, reading is not something humans do naturally. Reading must be learned and it is not easy (Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid).

As a parent, your early observations are important as there are many developmental indicators that may signal a risk for reading difficulties such as:
  • Experiencing repeated early ear infections
  • History of speech delay and/or pronunciation problems
  • Slow vocabulary growth, frequent difficulty finding the right word, use of less specific words such as “the thing,” “the stuff,” or “that place.”
  • Your child struggles to recognize words that start with the same sound (e.g., cat and car) or end with the same sound (rhyming).
  • Difficulty learning letter and number symbols when in preschool
  • Family history of reading problems

During first grade, you can watch for these warning signs as you listen to your child read aloud:
  • Does not know the sounds associated with all of the letters
  • Skips words in a sentence and does not stop to self-correct
  • Cannot remember words; sounds out the same word every time it occurs on the page
  • Frequently guesses at unknown words rather than sounding them out
  • If you ask your first grader to read aloud to you and he/she is reluctant and avoidant
Early identification of reading issues is extremely important for outcome. If children who have dyslexia receive effective phonological awareness and phonics training in Kindergarten and 1st grade, they will have significantly fewer problems learning to read at grade level than children who are not identified or helped until 3rd grade.

What should I do if I suspect my child has challenges with reading?
If you suspect your child is struggling to learn to read, have your child receive an independent comprehensive evaluation so that you understand your child’s areas of cognitive and learning strengths and weaknesses. This evaluation should also include specific, tailored recommendations to address your child’s learning difficulties.

To learn more about evaluations and testing services with Dr. Talamo and other clinicians at NESCA, you may find the following links helpful:
What if I am not sure whether my child needs a neuropsychological evaluation?
When determining whether an initial neuropsychological evaluation or updated neuropsychological evaluation is needed, parents often choose to start with a consultation. A neuropsychological consultation begins with a review of the child's academic records (e.g., report card, progress reports, prior evaluation reports), followed by a parent meeting, during which concerns and questions are discussed about the child's profile and potential needs. Based on that consultation, the neuropsychologist can offer diagnostic hypotheses and suggestions for next steps, which might include a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, work with a transition specialist, or initiation of therapy or tutoring. While a more comprehensive understanding of the child would be gleaned through a full assessment, a consultation is a good place to start when parents need additional help with decision making about first steps. 

To book a consultation with Dr. Talamo or one of our many other expert neuropsychologists, click through and complete NESCA's online intake form. Indicate "Consultation" and your preferred clinician in the referral line.

Sources used for this blog:

With NESCA since its inception in 2007, Dr. Talamo had previously practiced for many years as a child and adolescent clinical psychologist before completing postdoctoral re-training in pediatric neuropsychology at the Children’s Evaluation Center. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, Dr. Talamo earned her doctorate in clinical health psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University. 

Dr. Talamo specializes in working with children and adolescents with language-based learning disabilities including dyslexia, attentional disorders and emotional issues. She is also interested in working with highly gifted children. She has also given a number of presentations, most recently on “How to Recognize a Struggling Reader,” “Supporting Students with Working Memory Limitations,” (with Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP of Architects for Learning ), and “Executive Function in Elementary and Middle School Students.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NESCA Offers Professional Training for ADOS-2 with Dr. Rhiannon Luystor

Clinical Training Workshop for Professionals 
with Dr. Rhiannon Luystor:
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Ed. (ADOS-2)

Friday, January 5 and Saturday, January 6, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For: Master's and Doctoral Level Clinicians 
Location: NESCA, 55 Chapel Street, Suite 202, Newton, MA 02458
Cost: $500.00 – 13.5 continuing education credits
Register online: https://goo.gl/forms/4SVqBv5VNbWeTaQj1


Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can be accomplished utilizing a variety of standardized diagnostic measures that typically integrate parent and teacher feedback, such as the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale. Other diagnostic measures such as the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) integrates parent feedback with clinical observations. 

While these measures are helpful, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), considered to be the gold standard of ASD diagnostic assessment, is appropriate across ages, developmental levels, and language skills. Join NESCA for a two-day training workshop with Dr. Rhiannon Luyster, developmental psychologist to learn about the ADOS-2, the latest edition of the ADOS.

This workshop provides in-depth information in both lecture format and live demonstrations. Participants will acquire the principals of administering and scoring ADOS-2 Modules 1 through 4 in addition to learning about the revised algorithms, new comparison scores for Modules 1-3, the new Toddler Module for young children, and updated protocols with administration and coding instructions. This is an essential training is necessary for professionals who intend on utilizing the ADOS-2 in either clinical or school settings and is appropriate for beginner and intermediate learners as well as advanced learners who are interested in acquiring the latest administration and scoring utilizing the ADOS-2.

Learning objectives:

At the end of this two-day workshop, participants will be able to:
  1. Identify the key features of the ADOS-2 approach, including the rationale for the approach and how it enhances autism assessment
  2. Describe use of the ADOS-2 for operationalizing diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders
  3. Explain how to select the most appropriate ADOS-2 module
  4. Identify administration procedures for the ADOS-2
  5. Demonstrate a basic understanding of how to apply ADOS-2 codes
  6. Demonstrate a basic understanding of how to score ADOS-2 algorithms
  7. Identify the psychometric support for the ADOS-2
  8. Explain issues in the clinical application of ADOS-2 results
Prior to the workshop, attendees must view the 90-minute DVD of Module 1 and 3, review the scored protocols corresponding to the video demos, and preview the ADOS-2 manual. 

About the Presenter:

Rhiannon Luyster, PhD, is a developmental psychologist who studies social communication and language in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is interested in identifying early features of ASD using standardized behavioral measures as well as exploratory methods like infra-red eye tracking and electrophysiology. Her research, which has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and the Organization for Autism Research, focuses on diagnostic assessment, language and nonverbal communication in toddlers with ASD, and patterns of early development. Dr. Luyster has published her work in several peer-reviewed journals, including Developmental Psychology, Journal of Child Language, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, and Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Sponsored by: Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA)

NESCA is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. NESCA maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Emerging Psychosis: When to worry about your teen’s thinking

By: Stephanie Monaghan-Blout, Psy.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Emerging Psychosis: When to Worry about Your Teen’s Thinking
Teenagers are famous for incidents of bad judgment and poorly considered decisions; it is one of the rites of passage for parents and children to have had at least one “What were you thinking?” discussion before the teen leaves the family nest for college or employment. These events are often memorable, however, because they tend to be outliers, occurring simultaneously with instances of relatively accurate appraisals of situations and relatively adequate problem-solving as they navigate the expectations of school, family, friends, and community.

Some parents must confront a separate set of ongoing concerns about their child’s thinking that effect their assessment of the world and themselves. In this article, I will talk about the nature of psychosis, describe the changes leading up to an episode of psychosis and outline emerging models of treatment which aim to prevent the first acute episode or at least delay onset of the episode as much as possible. These findings emphasize the critical importance of early identification and treatment of symptoms to prevent or reduce future impairment.

The Nature of Psychosis
Psychosis refers to a condition in which a person has lost contact with reality and is unable to distinguish what is real and what is not. Psychotic symptoms include what are called “positive” (what is present) and “negative” (what is absent) symptoms.
  • Positive symptoms include: abnormalities of thinking in both content as well as form; the former refers to distortions of reality such as hallucinations or delusions, and the latter refers to disorganization of thinking and bizarre behavior. 
  • Negative symptoms refer to the reduction of emotional response (“blunted” or incongruous affect), apathy and loss of motivation, social withdrawal, impaired attention, reduced speech and movement, loss of enjoyment in life (“anhedonia”). 
Researchers have also identified subtle cognitive impairments that include:
  • Deficits in processing speed 
  • Executive function 
  • Sustained attention/vigilance 
  • Working memory 
  • Verbal learning and memory 
  • Reasoning and problem solving 
  • Verbal comprehension 
  • Social cognition 
The impact of these issues can result in severe functional deficits across a range of domains such as work, school, and relationships.

Psychosis is now thought to be a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning that it is thought to be related to abnormalities in brain development that become apparent as the brain matures in adolescence. Psychosis is thus a condition that emerges gradually as the underlying dysfunction comes to the fore. It is also thought to be a neurodegenerative disorder, meaning that the disease causes physical changes to the brain that results in impaired functioning. These changes include, on average, slightly larger lateral ventricle and slightly less cerebral gray matter for people at the first psychotic break compared to controls. From a behavioral perspective, researchers have found that the longer people live with an untreated psychosis, the more likely they are to experience functional impairments, have a poor response to psychiatric medications, and experience a poor quality of life. These alarming findings have prompted researchers and clinicians to research the period of time before the first psychotic break, referred to as the prodromal period, where symptoms start to emerge, in an effort to discover a way to divert or slow this process.

The Prodromal Period
The prodromal period is a time when “subclinical”, or milder symptoms of psychosis begin to appear. This period can vary in length from a few weeks to a few years. During this period, the adolescent or young adult may experience mild disturbances in perception, cognition, language, motor function, willpower, initiative, level of energy, and stress tolerance. These are differentiated from frank psychosis by lower levels of intensity, frequency or duration. The teen may complain of nonspecific clinical symptoms such as depression, anxiety, social isolation, and/or difficulties with school. They then may start to occasionally experience positive symptoms that are brief in duration and moderate in intensity. These events may become more serious over time, although they don’t happen often, last for only a few minutes to hours, and the person still retains some insight as to the unusual nature of the phenomena. However, this situation changes as the person comes closer to the initial psychotic break, signaled by the emergence of unusual thoughts, perceptual abnormalities, and disordered speech.

Risk and Resource
Who is most likely to move from the prodromal period to frank psychosis? Factors most predictive of this transition include people with a family history of psychosis and a recent deterioration of functioning, a history of substance abuse, and higher levels of unusual thoughts and social impairments. Other mediating factors include poor functioning, lengthy time period of symptoms, elevated levels of depression or other comorbid conditions, and reduced attention.

What factors appear to ameliorate risk of descending into psychosis? Risk/protective factors include higher premorbid cognitive skills and social skills and lack of a history of substance abuse. 

How and When to Intervene
The information provided here about emerging psychosis underlines the critical importance of early intervention to address the serious and pervasive impact on functioning. Professionals who treat people at risk of psychosis are now beginning to use a clinical staging of treatment, meaning treatments should be tailored to the client’s needs, starting with safer and simpler interventions for the prodromal stages and increasingly intensive and aggressive treatment for people who are already contending with psychosis. This requires starting with what appears to be most problematic at the time for the person. For some people, this means treating the comorbid psychiatric conditions. For those who are experiencing difficulties with attention/executive function or reporting elevated levels of unusual symptoms, it may mean starting the person on an atypical antipsychotic. The use of targeted psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, social skills training, and family therapy have all been found to be associated with reduced or delayed transition to first episode psychosis.

Where to Go for Help
Living in the Boston area, we are fortunate to have a wealth of resources in our hospitals and training sites that are engaged in cutting edge research and intervention to address the needs of young people who are contending with emerging psychosis. These include Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital’s Center for Early Detection and Response to Risk (CEDAR) and the Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis (PREP) jointly run by the Beth Israel-Deaconess and Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Also, Cambridge Health Alliance offers the Recovery in Shared Experiences (RISE) program for the treatment of first episodes of psychosis.

Neuropsychological testing, augmented by psychological testing can be a useful tool to learn more about cognitive and emotional functioning. However, this is best undertaken as part of a comprehensive program of intervention. 

Articles used for this blog:
  • Larson, M, Walker, E, and Compton, M (2010) Early Signs, diagnosis, and therapeutics of the prodromal phase of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, Expert Review of Neurotherapy. Aug. 10 (8), 1347-1359. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/raise/what-is-psychosis.shtml 
  • NPR Your Health Podcast (2014) Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts 
  • Miller, Brian Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia; The Importance of Identification and Treatment, Psychiatric Times, March 2017 
About the Author:

Formerly an adolescent and family therapist, Dr. Stephanie Monaghan-Blout is a senior clinician who joined NESCA at its inception in 2007. Dr. Monaghan-Blout specializes in the assessment of clients with complex learning and emotional issues. She is proficient in the administration of psychological (projective) tests, as well as in neuropsychological testing. Her responsibilities at NESCA also include acting as Clinical Coordinator, overseeing psycho-educational and therapeutic services. She has a particular interest in working with adopted children and their families, as well as those impacted by traumatic experiences.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

4 Sports, 5 Months, Lots of Fun! A Research Opportunity from UMass Boston

Exciting Research Opportunity for Children 6-12 to Begin Building Healthy Habits

Physical Activity Research: A Sport Sampling Program for Kids with an Intellectual Disability

UMass Boston is seeking children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) ages 6-12 years to participate in a new sport sampling program as part of a research study. Sport sampling involves engaging children with IDD in multiple sports and activities (e.g. soccer, basketball) to promote skill development, confidence, and a love of sport/physical activity.  

The program will take place at the Waltham YMCA starting in mid-January and will run for 5 months.  The study is being conducted by Dr. Heidi Stanish from University of Massachusetts Boston.  

To build physical literacy in kids with an intellectual disability. Physical literacy involves developing movement skills, confidence and motivation to help kids be successful at physical activity. Sport sampling gives kids the opportunity to try different sports to find what they like.

  • Kids with an intellectual disability ages 6-12 years
  • Speak and understand English
  • Able to walk
  • Participate in a fun, non-competitive sport sampling program with other kids
  • Trained instructors will lead games and activities
  • Motor skill assessment and short survey(s) two times
  • Brief phone screen and meeting to confirm child’s eligibility
  • Mondays 3:30-4:30 pm (ages 6-8), 4:30-5:30 pm (ages 9-12)
  • 5 months, mid-January thru June 2018
  • Waltham YMCA – 725 Lexington St., Waltham 
There is no cost to participate

For more information, contact Caitlin at sportsampling@gmail.com or call 617-287-7465

This important research is being overseen by Dr. Heidi Stanish, an Associate Professor in UMass Boston's Department of Exercise and Health Sciences. Dr. Stanish’ s research interests include examining physical activity participation among children and adults with disabilities (specifically intellectual disabilities) and developing strategies to promote physical activity in this segment of the population. Dr. Stanish is particularly focused on testing sustainable, community-based physical activity interventions designed to meet the needs of individuals with physical, intellectual, and sensory impairments.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Director's Update

By: Ann Helmus, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
Clinical Neuropsychologist

NESCA was founded on the idea that a thorough evaluation reflecting careful analysis of information gathered from history, observations, and testing data is crucial in formulating a comprehensive, individualized plan for supporting a child to realize their potential. Increasingly, NESCA is expanding its intervention services, which allows for a higher level of integration between the evaluator and treater. Clearly recognizing the benefit of psychopharmacological intervention for many children and adolescents, at NESCA, we focus on the powerful benefits of many non-medication approaches. 

Our experience, supported by research, is that significant improvements in functioning result from psychoeducation, direct teaching of strategies to parents and students, and intervention at the physical level. Psychoeducation refers to the process of educating clients and their parents about the nature of challenges such as anxiety or ADHD.  Beyond gaining a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by a client, parents, teachers, and students need strategies for managing problematic symptoms and behaviors. Teaching and helping parents and students practice these strategies often yields huge changes in functioning.  Finally, the mind and body are interconnected and intervening at the physical level is often more straight-forward for many of our clients, leading to impressive changes in cognitive and emotional functioning. 

NESCA offers the following therapeutic interventions:

CBT is an evidence-based therapy that focuses on identifying and changing thoughts patterns and behaviors that are interfering with functioning.  Of note, we have a therapist who is highly experienced in psychotherapeutic intervention with children and adolescents who are on the autism spectrum, including the use of the Sidekicks app developed by the Affinity Project. 

ACT uses approaches such as mindfulness and behavioral change strategies to help clients increase flexibility and reach goals. 

Many children require more frequent meetings in order to master the strategies that are being taught for behavioral/emotional regulation or social functioning. NESCA’s intensive out-patient therapy programs generally involve three weekly sessions of direct service for the child followed by brief parent guidance meetings. 

NESCA offers a group for school age children with ADHD and their parents. Children meet in one group while their parents meet concurrently in another group, both led by experienced psychologists.  Starting in 2018, NESCA will be offering drama-based therapy groups based on the Spotlight model developed at the Northeast Arc and researched by the Social Competence and Treatment Lab at Stony Brook University. 

This intensive program was developed to address school refusal through both home-based and center-based psychotherapy, parent guidance and school consultation.    

Many clients struggle to generalize strategies that they have learned in therapy to daily living. NESCA has highly skilled coaches that work with adolescents and young adults in the community to practice skills and strategies.

Adolescents with developmental challenges, learning disabilities, and psychiatric issues often need support in planning for “life after high school”. Our veteran transition specialists work with adolescents and their parents to identify strengths, formulate realistic goals and a plan for reaching goals over their high school years. 

Individual or small group interventions in our yoga studio to build self-awareness and the ability to use breath and movement to address symptoms of anxiety and enhance attention. 

These ancient treatments can be highly effective for treating anxiety, ADHD, and other childhood conditions. 

Further information about all of these interventions are available on our website. If you are wondering whether one of these approaches may be helpful for your child, please contact me at:  ahelmus@nesca-newton.com

About the Author:
NESCA Founder/Director Ann Helmus, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist who has been practicing for almost 20 years. In 1996, she jointly founded the Children's Evaluation Center (CEC) in Newton, Massachusetts, serving as co-director there for almost ten years. During that time, CEC emerged as a leading regional center for the diagnosis and remediation of both learning disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Helmus specializes in the evaluation of children with learning disabilities, attention and executive function deficits and primary neurological disorders. In addition to assessing children, she also provides consultation and training to both public and private school systems. She frequently makes presentations to groups of parents, particularly on the topics of non-verbal learning disability and executive functioning.