Category Archives: network literacy

Early Intervention Matters: A Parent’s Perspective

By Robyn DiPietro-Wells

When I became pregnant with my first child I was full of hopes and dreams. I dreamt of all she would do, become, and accomplish. I envisioned her entire future and wondered which parent she might take after.  Would she love cheerleading and dance like me? Or would she take after her dad and play sports all her life? Maybe she’d play an instrument or be an artist. I dreamt dreams of all kinds. The future looked bright and I was excited. And isn’t that how a lot of moms feel during pregnancy?

Photo Credit: Robyn DiPietro-Wells, August 7, 2005
Photo Credit: Robyn DiPietro-Wells, August 7, 2005

Lily was born full term and was presented to me as a picture of health. However, when she was about five months old I noticed she was a bit behind on several of her motor milestones.   She wasn’t rolling over yet. She favored her left hand and never really used her right hand. She wasn’t sitting up…not even when I helped support her. I used some of my background as an elementary school teacher to informally assess her. I knew developmentally what she should be doing…and in some areas she was behind.

I initially went to our medical providers for help. I sought out a referral to a pediatric occupational (OT) and physical therapists (PT). At our very first assessment of Lily the PT and OT told me that Lily presented with symptoms typically found in infants who have had a stroke. It was as if all the air went out of the room. Never in all my life did I expect that! This was not a part of my dreams!

An MRI and a visit to a pediatric neurologist resulted in an official diagnosis of cerebral palsy due to a stroke in utero.  At that time, the best piece of advice I received was from our pediatric neurologists. They stressed the importance of starting therapy early due to the neuroplasticity of the infant brain. They never said what she wouldn’t be able to do. They simply pointed me in the direction of therapies and information! They gave me back my hope and dreams for Lily’s future by stressing the importance of early treatment and intervention.

In the first three years of Lily’s life we utilized both private therapists through our medical insurance, but also Part C Early Interventionists with the state of Virginia. Once Lily aged out of the Part C portion, at 3 years of age, we had her evaluated for Part B Special Education with our local school district. While she did not qualify for Part B, she continued to receive therapies through our medical insurance. She also participated in numerous special projects and programs at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in their STEP Clinic.

Photo Credit: Robyn DiPietro-Wells April 24, 2015
Photo Credit: Robyn DiPietro-Wells April 24, 2015

Today Lily is almost 10 years old.  This spring she ran her first 5K and she loves to climb the rock wall at our local YMCA! She is a top-notch student at school and participates in nearly all of the same activities as her typically developing peers. I attribute all that Lily has accomplished to two things: One, her intense hard work and perseverance and, two, early intervention, both formal Part C Early Intervention, but also starting therapies of all kinds at an early age.

It wasn’t easy. My husband was active duty Army until November 2012 and worked 125-140 hours a week. We have three children younger than Lily, one who also has special needs. I know the challenges of being both a military spouse and the mother of children with special needs. I know how hard it is to persevere with Tricare (military medical insurance) and to advocate for your child’s needs. I want MFLN readers to know that there are answers for parents, there are ways to help the children with which you work, there are ways to support the parents, and that ANYTHING is possible. Great things can happen. Great things happen when children with developmental delays receive help, therapy, and treatment early through both Part C Early Intervention and private medical insurance.

The entire MFLN Family Development Early Intervention team is here to enable service providers to help military families with children with special needs reach their highest potential.   We are dedicated to, not only your success as a provider, but also the success of the families with which you work. Please feel free to reach out to us (MFLNFDEarlyIntervention@gmail.com) and utilize the resources found within the MFLN Family Development webpage.

This post was written by Robyn DiPietro-Wells, the Social Media Specialist for the MFLN FD Early Intervention (EI) team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTubeand on LinkedIn.

PTSD and Attachment Styles in Romantic Relationships

By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Creative Commons [Flickr, Argument, January 1, 2009]
Creative Commons [Flickr, Argument, January 1, 2009]
Military deployment can lead to challenges in maintaining healthy relationships with spouses or partners.  In this preliminary study [1], researchers examined the relationship between a military member’s symptoms of PTSD and the couple’s attachment styles.

A total of 20 heterosexual couples (18 of whom were married) were recruited from the Army and National Guard as part of pilot study of stressful couple interactions.  To be included in the study, the military member had to have experienced at least one deployment and the partner had to be in a committed relationship with the military member at the time of deployment.  Participants (both the military member and their partner) completed surveys to measure PTSD symptoms of the military member and the Multi-Item Measure of Adult Romantic Attachment (MIMARA).

In this study, attachment style is considered “the attachment bond that exists within a relationship”.  Of 3 attachment styles (secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent), the researchers examined avoidant and anxious/ambivalent styles. Analyses suggest the following:

  1. The spouse’s report of the service member’s PTSD symptoms was related to the military member’s avoidant attachment style.
  2. The spouse’s report of PTSD symptoms was related to their own avoidant attachment style.

While this was a small and preliminary study, it might be helpful for clinicians treating military service members with PTSD to keep in mind the role of attachment behaviors in the relationship, and how this might intersect with both symptoms and treatment.

Reference:

[1] Frey, L.M., Blackburn, K.M., Werner-Wilson, R.J., Parker, T., & Wood, N.D. (2011). Posttraumatic stress disorder, attachment, and intimate partner violence in a military sample: A preliminary analysis. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 23(3/4), 218-230. doi:10.1080/08952833.2011.604530

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN FamilyDevelopment (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

 

Resource Discovery: PTSD Monthly Update

By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Are you a practitioner who serves active duty military members, veterans and/or their families? Then it would be great to learn about recent developments in research, particularly on the topic of PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs now provides their PTSD Monthly Update in an email format.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD Monthly Update]
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD Monthly Update]
The newsletter provides updates from the National Center for PTSD on topics related to the military and PTSD, including helpful information and tools for service providers.  When signing up for the newsletter, you will also be offered an opportunity to sign up for a wide range of email news. Some of the other topics that might be of interest include Health and Wellness, VA resources, Research and Development, and Military Families.

 

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN FamilyDevelopment (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

Twitter Cohort Lite

By Molly C. Herndon , Social Media Specialist

The Personal Finance and Network Literacy teams will again be joining forces to create a learning opportunity for folks interested in Twitter. The 2-week event will begin May 18.

This year’s event will focus on asynchronous activities that participants can complete at their own pace. The event’s guides have assembled resources and homework for participants that will teach new skills and broaden existing networks. Watch videos and view last year’s syllabus here.

The Twitter Cohort Lite promises to be an easy way to get your feet wet and start tweeting with a supportive and encouraging network of professionals. By participating in this year’s event, you will:

  • Twitter-CohortBuild your Twitter personal learning network centered around your interests.
  • Engage in conversations with a Twitter community that starts with your fellow cohort members and reaches across the world.
  • Start online relationships that will last into the future.
  • Begin to see how Twitter can be used for teaching, learning, and connecting.

So if the Twitterverse seems intimidating or if you’re just learning to enhance your own personal learning network, register today for this immersive learning opportunity.

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on May 5, 2015.

The Connections between PTSD and Relationship Problems

By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Creative Commons [Flickr, The Break-up, February 15, 2014]
Creative Commons [Flickr, The Break-up, February 15, 2014]
Is there a clear link between PTSD and relationship problems?  Dr. Casey Taft, Principal Investigator at the National Center for PTSD, and colleagues reviewed the research findings related to PTSD and relationship problems [1].

A total of 31 articles published between 1984 and 2009 were analyzed using meta-analysis. The primary research objective was to document the association between PTSD and 3 relationship factors including:

  1. Intimate relationship discord,
  2. Intimate partner physical aggression perpetration, and
  3. Intimate partner psychological aggression perpetration.

Dr. Taft and his colleagues found that PTSD was related to all three of the above listed relationship factors. Some additional findings included:

  • The military sample showed a stronger relationship between PTSD and relationship discord or physical aggression than the civilian sample.
  • In cases of severe violence, there were greater associations between PTSD and relationship problems.

The linkage between PTSD and relationship problems suggests that clinicians should consider relationship-based approaches to treatment for those military members that exhibit symptoms of PTSD.  Not only can PTSD lead to relationship problems, the presence of relationship discord and aggression can lead to worsening of PTSD symptoms.

For more information on PTSD and intimate partner relationship problems, consider attending the MFLN webinar seriesDr. Taft, Principal Investigator at the National Center for PTSD, will be presenting a webinar on the links between PTSD and Domestic Violence in Military Couples on May 28.

Reference:

[1] Taft, C.T., Watkins, L.E., Stafford, J., Street, A.E., & Monson, C. M. (2011). Posttraumatic stress disorder and intimate relationship problems: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(1), 22-33.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0022196

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

A Guide to Mobile Payments – Security and Fraud Prevention

By HLundgaard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By HLundgaard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
With the recent news of credit card fraud, the mobile phone industry has made a big push to get behind mobile payment. Mobile payment has been touted as a way to reduce credit card fraud because the cashier doesn’t have access to a physical card that would contain an individual’s name, credit card number or security code.

If you are thinking about beginning to get in to the mobile payment system, but still concerned about security and fraud, here’s what you need to know.

The two major smartphone platforms, Apple (Apple Pay) and Google (Google Wallet) have implemented their solutions in order to address credit card fraud. Apples system launched in 2014 while Google’s launched in 2011. Following are the details of how each addresses security and fraud.

Apple Pay implementation of mobile payment security is to combine near-field communications (NFC) technology for payment processing and the iPhone Touch ID fingerprint reader or passcode for security. Your bank payment network creates a unique device account number specifically tied to the phone and to the credit card added. In the event of theft or a lost phone, you can place your phone in lost mode to suspend Apple Pay transaction. Apple Pay is reactivated once you unlock your phone with your pin code.

Google Wallet implementation of mobile payments also uses NFC technology for payment processing but instead of a fingerprint reader like the Apple Pay’s implementation, you use a PIN that only you know. Google stores your credit card information on its server and transmit the encrypted data using secure socket layer technology. Google Wallet Fraud Protection covers 100 percent of all transactions. In the event of theft or a lost phone, you can go to the Google Wallet website and remotely disable your phone.

Both Apple and Google offer similarities in how they address credit card fraud. They both use NFC which means that the phone and the receiver have to be very close to each other in order to begin the financial process transaction. They also implement security on the phone through the use of either fingerprint reader and/or passcodes. Both companies utilize tokenization which allows the credit card number to be unique and transaction specific. With the mobile payment industry expected to account for up to 50 percent of all U. S. digital commerce by 2017, these companies are aggressively promoting their platform as a way to provide consumer confidence in mobile payments as a measure in increasing security and preventing fraud.

Author: Terrence Wolfork (+Terrence Wolfork,@trwolfork )

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on April 30, 2015.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Understanding the Role of the Family

Kimberly Hile, Ed.M. & Michaelene Ostrosky, Ph.D.

Creative Commons [Flickr, Roots of Empathy Baby Celebration, June 12, 2012]
Creative Commons [Flickr, Roots of Empathy Baby Celebration, June 12, 2012]
We are sure you have heard the saying, “a parent is his child’s first and best teacher.” For those of us working in the field of early intervention, it is a belief we take very seriously. Early intervention aims to strengthen a family’s ability to support their child’s growth and development. Therefore, parent participation during early intervention sessions is essential. We cannot stress enough the role that parents play on the child’s intervention team. (see more about the importance of parent participation in Bruder (2010)[1]).

The Office of Special Education Programs of the US Department of Education (OSEP) outlines seven key principles for early intervention services [2][3] with the first two principles highlighting the role of the parent. These principles state:

  1. Infants and toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts, and
  2. All families, with the necessary supports and resources, can enhance their children’s learning and development.

The first principle addresses the need for all services to be implemented within the family’s daily routines. Young children benefit from repetition when learning new skills. Parents are in the position to ensure that their child has ample opportunities to practice new skills by embedding them throughout their typical day. The second principle supports the idea that parents are more than capable of supporting their child’s development. The primary role of the early intervention service provider is to work directly with the parent to ensure that they feel confident and competent at implementing strategies that will address the child’s individual needs.

For families in the military, early intervention service providers need to be aware of the unique needs of each family in order to find creative ways to include deployed parents into assessment, planning, and intervention; being flexible when scheduling visits; and preparing familys for transitions.

We’d love to hear how you support and encourage parent participation. Please go to our Facebook and Twitter pages to share your ideas.

Reference

[1] Bruder, M.B. (2010). Early childhood intervention: A promise to children and families for their future. Exceptional Children, 76(3), 339-355.

[2] Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments, OSEP TA Community of Practice: Part C Settings. (2008, March). Agreed upon mission and key principles for providing early intervention services in natural environments. Retrieved from http://ectacenter.org/~pdfs/topics/families/Finalmissionandprinciples3_11_08.pdf

[3] Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments, OSEP TA Community of Practice: Part C Settings. (2008, March). Seven key principles: Looks like / doesn’t look like. Retrieved from http://www.ectacenter.org/~pdfs/topics/families/Principles_LooksLike_DoesntLookLike3_11_08.pdf

This post was written by Kimberly Hile Ed.M. and Michaelene Ostrosky, Ph.D., members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

Resource Discovery: Therapeutic Children’s Book for Understanding PTSD

By Christina Herron & Kacy Mixon, PhD

Kastle Books [Why Is Dad So Mad?, March 2015]
Kastle Books [Why Is Dad So Mad?, March 2015]
We’ve discussed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) prevalence and effects on couples in regards to Military Families. This week’s featured resource is one that parents and professionals working the military families can use with younger children struggling with understanding their parents PTSD.

Why is Dad So Mad? uses the point of view of a mother and child, with the mother helping her child wrap their mind around his military father’s struggle with PTSD. It illustrates the father’s PTSD symptoms of flashbacks, yelling/anger, lack of sleep and forgetfulness. The book helps explain PTSD to the child and reassures the child that his dad still loves him very much no matter how different he acts.

“Just know that both Mom and Dad LOVE YOU and EACH OTHER more than anything. Sometimes life isn’t perfect, but we are a family and we will stick together and LOVE each other forever.”

Seth Kastle is a retired Military Veteran with 16 years of service. He wrote the book, Why is Dad So Mad?, to help explain his PTSD to his children. Kastle was motivated to write the book after discovering a lack of resources for servicemen to utilize when explaining their PSTD symptoms to children. He is in the process of writing his second book, Why is Mom So Mad? to help mothers explain service related medical disorders to their children. Kastle lives in Kansas with his wife and children. He is currently a Professor of Leadership at Fort Hays State University.

This post was written by Christina Herron & Kacy Mixon, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

 

FD Webinar: Links between PTSD & Domestic Violence in Military Couples

Links between PTSD & Domestic Violence in Military Couples

Date: March 28, 2015

Time: 11am-1pm Eastern

Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/1880#.VKw25yvF9uJ

Flickr, Jaybird-October 29, 2012

Casey Taft, PhD, National Center for PTSD, Boston VA Medical Center, will explore links between Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Domestic Violence in Military Couples. Dr. Taft will provide background information regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) in military populations, discuss the development and treatment elements of the interventions, present treatment outcome data obtained from treatment development grants funded through the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs, and discuss current efforts to implement the programs. He will also provide specific tips and skills for working with this challenging population.

We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits and CE credits for licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the state of Georgia for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook Twitter)

Body-based Therapeutic Approach to Healing Trauma

By Christina Herron and Kacy Mixon, PhD

Creative Commons [Flickr, Yoga, November 6, 2014]
Creative Commons [Flickr, Yoga, November 6, 2014]
Trauma is an occurrence that threatens a person’s life and/or sense of safety.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network identifies trauma as a result of many factors, including: domestic violence, neglect, physical/sexual abuse, traumatic grief, community & school violence, natural disasters, medical trauma, refugee/war zone trauma, terrorism, early childhood trauma and complex trauma [1]. Payne, Levine, & Crane-Godreau (2015), relay…

“Trauma is in the nervous system and body, and not in the event; an event that is very traumatic to one person may not be traumatic to another, as people differ very widely in their ability to handle various kinds of challenging situations due to different genetic makeup, early environmental challenges, and specific trauma and attachment histories [2].”

Peter Levine is the founder of Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE is considered to be a body-based therapy approach. Body-based therapies help client’s access traumatic experiences that are not yet available for verbal narration and cognitive reflection. These are stored in non-verbal parts of the brain such as the amygdala and in sensory organs [2].

SE Body-Based Therapies help individuals alleviate feelings of fear, disconnection, helplessness, and fear that can arise because of trauma. Some of these include Restorative Yoga, Sensory Motor Therapy, Hakomi Method, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems, etc.

“SE therapists have to learn to watch, not just listen; to know when to slow down, when to point out and explore a physical response” [3].

Adrienne Baggs, PhD, one of MFLN Family Development’s presenters for our April 23, 2015 webinar on Wellness Strategies, Burnout Prevention, and Mindfulness Part 2, has done extensive research on the benefits of Restorative Yoga when working with victims of trauma, especially PTSD.

More insight into Baggs’s experience with restorative yoga can be found in the article, “3 Restorative Yoga Poses To Help Heal Trauma.”

Below are additional resources that may provide more insight into Body-Based Therapies:


 Reference

[1] National Child Traumatic Stress Network (n.d.). Types of Traumatic Stress. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types

[2] Payne P., Levine P.A., & Crane-Godreau, M.A. (2015). Somatic experiencing: Using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers in Psychology,  6(93). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093

[3] Giarretto, Ariel (2010). Healing trauma through the body: The way in is the way out. Psychotherapy.net

 

This post was written by Christina Herron & Kacy Mixon, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.