Preparing Your Child for State Testing

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Every year in the spring kids all over the country take state testing. Regardless of your stance, on testing, it is a reality of our school system. With that in mind, this post is a collection of articles on how to best prepare your child for these tests.

“Cry in training, laugh on the battlefield.” — Samurai maxim

General resources

STANDARDIZED TESTING TIPS FOR PARENTS

The Night Before the Test
1. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the test.
2. Plan ahead to avoid problems before the test so he/she doesn’t go to bed upset.
3. Tell your child you know tests can be hard, but that taking them gives him/her a
chance to show how well he/she can do.
4. Be encouraging — let your child know you think he/she will do well on the test.
5. Consider playing an educational game like Scrabble™ to help your child get into the testing spirit.
The Morning of the Test
1. Have your child get up early enough to avoid hurrying.
2. Make sure your child has a good breakfast on the morning of the test.
3. Have your child dress in something comfortable and familiar.
4. Be positive when you send your child to school.
5. Make sure he/she goes to school on the day of the test (make-ups are difficult to
arrange).
After the Test
1. Reward your child for trying hard on the test.
2. Talk with your child about what was learned from the test.
3. Talk with your child about what can be done between now and the next time a test is given to improve their performance.

When you receive your child’s test results:
1. Don’t compare his/her performance to a sibling or a friend’s child.
2. Point out your child’s strong areas and how proud you are.
3. Talk about the areas of need and how the family can work together to improve those areas.
4. Discuss with your child’s counselor any questions you or your child have about thetest or the results.

Source

What to do when you get the test results:

Food for thought

Test Anxiety

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Yerkes-Dodson law suggests that elevated arousal levels can improve performance up to a certain point. Learn more about how this works and why sometimes a little bit of stress can actually help you perform your best. Source

Test Anxiety Reducers

Adopt positive thoughts. Negative thoughts about performance can affect test taking. Sian Beilock’s research at the University of Chicago found teaching kids to reframe negative feelings about test taking can impact test scores. So teach your child one of these techniques (and do teach in advance…not the morning of the test!)

Challenge each negative idea by finding evidence that it’s not always true.

Child: “I always do badly on tests.” You: “Practicing your flash cards boosted your spelling grade on Friday.”

Child: “I won’t remember anything.” You: “Eating a good breakfast seemed to sure helped improve your memory for your last math test.”

Reframe negative thoughts. Teach your child to erase “bad thoughts” with positive ones about test-taking. Instead of: “I hate taking tests.” Say: “I’m really psyched up for this test.

Shift stress views. Your child may get sweaty palms or a pounding heart before taking a test but remind him that he can get those same signs from enjoyable experiences like riding a tilt-a-whirl or watching a close baseball game.

Use anxiety-reducers

Research shows that using a relaxation strategy can reduce test anxiety. Here are possibilities to teach your child a few weeks before the big test then do on the morning of the test:

Self-talk: Repeat a relaxing phrase silently such as: “It’s only a test.” “I don’t have to be perfect.” Or “I’ll worry later, but I’m going to focus on the test now.

Deep breathing: Take a three by three: Breathe in slowly to a count of three then exhale slowly to a count of three. Repeat the deep breathing strategy at least three times.

Visualize a calm scene: Close your eyes and imagine a calm peaceful place (a park, beach, tree house) that the child has experienced and brings a smile to his face.

Write your anxiety away. The morning of the test, encourage your child to take 5-10 minutes to write all his concerns about the test (“I’ll forget the answers…I’ll flunk….I won’t have enough time”) on paper.

A study published by Dr. Beilock and  co-author, Gerardo Ramirez, found the writing technique  used by a group of ninth graders prior to a biology final, worked both in the lab and in classrooms to reduce test anxiety. Encourage your child to use that strategy during another stressful situation such as at a sleepover or a family reunion. Model it yourself around your kids such as when your soufflé isn’t rising or the computer won’t boot.

Or make it a family affair: “Let’s practice those deep breaths at bedtime.” Practicing in real life will improve the chance the test-taking strategy will succeed. Besides, the more your child “sees” that strategy, the more likely he will use it.

Source

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Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling )

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Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), also called hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning. People with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise the loss of hair.

For some people, trichotillomania may be mild and generally manageable. For others, the compulsive urge to pull hair is overwhelming. Some treatment options have helped many people reduce their hair pulling or stop entirely. Source

 

Resources

Step by step guide for parents and teachers: Trichotillomania Basics

Q&A from the Berkeley Parents Network

About Trichotillomania or Hair Pulling Disorder- Easy read

Treatment Guidelines-Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Hair Pulling, Skin Picking, and Related Disorders

Parent Support Resources from The TLC Foundation: For Parents

Teen Guide: What Is Trichotillomania?

School Based article: Trichotillomania: Dealing With Hair-Pulling Disorder

Article- Child Trichsters And School

50 Ways to Stop Pulling Your Hair

Comprehensive PPT

Selective Mutism

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What is Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school. These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed.

 

For Teachers

Understanding Selective Mutism A Guide to Helping Our Teachers Understand

SELECTIVE MUTISM: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS

Tips for Helping Kids With Selective Mutism Go Back to School

For School Psychologists

Selective Mutism DSM-5 312.23 (F94.0)

Silent Suffering: Children with Selective Mutism

Tool Kit- Supporting Children with Selective Mutism Practice Guidelines

CASP Article-Selective Mutism: A Three-Tiered Approach to Prevention and Intervention

PREZI- Selective Mutism

School Evaluation Form

For Speech Pathologists

Selective Mutism – Speech-LanguagePathologist

A Socio-Communication Intervention Model for Selective Mutism

Speech-Language Therapy and Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism: Assessment and Intervention

Good PPT

School Speech Questionnaire and other supportive tools

Great Blog Post on Treatment of Selective Mutism with Tools!!!

Resources for Selective Mutism:

source

Book- The Silence Within: A Teacher/Parent Guide to Working with Selectively Mute and Shy Children. by, Gail Goetze Karvatt

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615121519?tag=pediastaff0d-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0615121519&adid=0V5WF1JFZHYN95DPRADE

Wikipedia – Selective Mutism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_mutism

The organizations which have information on selective mutism:

K12 Academics

NYU Child Study Center

Selective Mutism Foundation

Selective Mutism and Childhood AnxietyDisorders Group

Child Mind Institute

http://www.childmind.org/en/clinics/programs/selective-mutism-program

http://www.childmind.org/en/nightline-selective-mutism/ 

Selective Mutism on Line http://selectivemutismonline.com
 

 

 

Separation Anxiety and School Refusal

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Recently, my little girl started in a home daycare. Initially, she struggled with separation anxiety.  She has since settled down (whew!). This post has some good pointers on Separation Anxiety.

Daycare/ Preschool

Easing the Separation Process for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Helping Your Toddler with Separation Anxiety

Positive Goodbyes

Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Understanding school refusal

-A child may exhibit each behavior on this spectrum at different times

Common symptoms that could signal school refusal behavior

INTERNALIZING/COVERT SYMPTOM EXTERNALIZING/OVERT SYMPTOM
Depression Aggression
Fatigue/tiredness Clinging to an adult
Fear and panic Excessive reassurance-seeking behavior
General and social anxiety Noncompliance and defiance
Self-consciousness Refusal to move in the morning
Somatization Running away from school or home
Worry Temper tantrums and crying

Source

School Refusal: Information for Educators (NASP)

School Refusal Behavior: From Terminology to Treatment

Working Through School Refusal

what can I do when my child refuses to go to school

Anxiety and School Refusal PPT

Dealing With Separation Anxiety In Teens

Criteria for Differential Diagnosis of School Refusal and Truancy

SCHOOL REFUSAL TRUANCY

Severe emotional distress about attending school; may include anxiety, temper tantrums, depression, or somatic symptoms.

Lack of excessive anxiety or fear about attending school.

Parents are aware of absence; child often tries to persuade parents to allow him or her to stay home.

Child often attempts to conceal absence from parents.

Absence of significant antisocial behaviors such as juvenile delinquency.

Frequent antisocial behavior, including delinquent and disruptive acts (e.g., lying, stealing), often in the company of antisocial peers.

During school hours, child usually stays home because it is considered a safe and secure environment.

During school hours, child frequently does not stay home.

Child expresses willingness to do schoolwork and complies with completing work at home.

Lack of interest in schoolwork and unwillingness to conform to academic and behavior expectations.