Molding a Child’s Mind—To Censor or Not

by  Rachael Reeder, Therapist

It makes sense, given the range in popular opinion about children and media (music, video games, social media, television and movies), that there would be differences of opinion about these in the psychiatric residential treatment (PRT) setting.

Grafton’s PRT in Berryville tends to take a fairly restrictive approach that is directed by therapeutic professionals.

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Change: It Begins with Our Thoughts

by  Bethany Deitz, Director, Adult Services

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

The fears are paper tigers.

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Resilience–The Art of Bouncing Back

by  Gretchen Ward, Occupational Therapist

I was lucky to have been raised by two of the most resilient people I have ever met.

My dad was injured in a body surfing accident when I was 21 months old, but somehow my parents rebounded stronger than ever and showed me a life I could never have imagined without my dad being in a wheelchair.

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The Yes Practice

by  Shamsi Sadeghzadeh, Director of Behavioral Consultation

N-o.  Those two letters trigger an emotional response in all of us.  Being told "no" changes the course of our thought processes.  Some people respond by accepting rejection and moving on.  Others will hear "no" as an opportunity for negotiation or reframing their request.  Some take it personally, as a repudiation of their ideas, their desires, or even their worth, and can react by lashing out or retreating inward.

Many people avoid saying "no" because of the unpredictable responses and give in to demands when they shouldn’t.  But while we often can’t foresee what an individual’s response to "no" will be, we know how people handle "yes."  "Yes" is affirmation.  "Yes" is the moving things forward.  "Yes" brings about predictable results.

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Ten Things Parents of a Child with Autism Wish Teachers Knew

by  Bonnie Zampino, Engagement Specialist, Ukeru Systems

1) I’m sorry.

I will be saying this to many of you many, many times over the next 10 years.

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The Autism Puzzle: A Lifelong Journey for a Brighter Future

by  Bethany Deitz, Director, Adult Services

I have a family member diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and to say that his life has been challenging would be an understatement.

 Unfortunately, he was not diagnosed until the age of 16 and prior to his diagnosis, he was lumped under the large umbrella of “Learning Disabled”.  It was a never-ending pursuit of the best services for him and his parents endured unspeakable frustration and grief.  However, although the small window of early diagnosis was missed with him, he has made significant gains over the course of his life with the right services.

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A Different World—A Mother’s Perspective on Autism

by  Julie Arnold, Parent

The following blog was submitted by Julie Arnold whose son Jack is served at Grafton’s Winchester campus.

 The post was previously published in April 2015.

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Community Involvement, Engagement and Enjoyment in Adult Services

by  Bethany Deitz, Director, Adult Services

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” Mahatma GandhiBeginning in July of 2016, Grafton’s Winchester Adult Services department started utilizing a DBHDS Community Engagement grant program to enhance the services we provide to our clients through increased community integration.  This state funding has provided operational support with expenses such as transportation, activities and materials.  But a large portion of the grant has paid for the services of a Community Engagement Program Manager and Board Certified Behavior Analyst; and this combination has been the secret to our ongoing success!   Together, Jessica Judd and Katrina Ganoe have collaborated on programmatic design, individualized client assessments, practical skill building and preference-driven community engagement with groups no larger than a 1 to 3 staff to client ratio.  Clients go into the community with staff each day and participate in clubs, activities and vocational exploratory settings of their preference.  The community has embraced our groups and not only have clients developed new friendships and relationships but they have gained a sense of increased belonging and accomplishment.  To date, we have 25 clients in community engagement cohorts and plan to continue this opportunity to more clients over time.

Progress on Community Engagement groups:Katrina Ganoe, BCBA, has used the Assessment of Functional Living Skills system to conduct assessments and measure skill acquisition.  Since August 1st start date of community engagement groups, we have had 1 group of 3 clients that have had a 3 month and a 6 month assessment and 5 groups that have reached a 3 month assessment.  Of those groups, for 3 month assessment, they have an average of 29 skills they have gained per person.  Our group that has had community engagement for 6 months has had an average of 76 skills gained per person.  The graph depicts the increased skills at 3 month and 6 month intervals.

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Mental Health Matters

by  Shweta Adyanthaya, Director, Communications

In recent years, we have begun to speak openly about the incidence and treatment of breast cancer, AIDS, autism yet remain reticent to talk with candor about mental illness.

NAMI provides some staggering statistics about the prevalence and impact of mental illness.

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Moving Towards Independence

by  Bryan Teeter, Teacher

When I think back over my childhood, its ups and even its downs, I am struck by how much I took for granted.

I took for granted that I had people who loved me and wanted me to succeed.

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