Amy Santos, PhD, and Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, will discuss the importance of creating supportive and inclusive environments to promote social emotional development in young children with disabilities. Santos and Ostrosky will discus specific topics including: 1) Research studies that highlight the impact of supportive environments on children’s social emotional development 2) Evidence based strategies that parents and military family service providers can implement in their respective settings 3) Considerations when assessing children’s natural environments 4) Parent coaching strategies to assist parents and caregivers reflect on and adapt their environments to support their children’s social emotional development.
MFLN FD Early Intervention webinars offer CE Credits through the Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) at the University of Illinois. The EI team is actively pursuing more CE opportunities in states other than Illinois. Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, & Virginia participants can obtain a certificate of completion to submit to their credentialing agencies for review for CE credits. Please check back frequently to the webinar Learn Event web page to receive updates on our progress. Access to the webinar Learn Event page can be found,here.
In a special issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, the focus is on presenting relevant information to health and mental health care professionals, first responders, educators, law enforcement officers, and any other professional who might interact with military service members, veterans, or their families . The pages of this issue are teeming with information which can be useful in a variety of contexts. But overall, the research presented can help professionals of all disciplines become acquainted with the unique challenges and issues faced by military personnel, veterans, and their families and friends, as well as the various interventions and programming which is proving useful for others. The following is a synopsis of this special issue, based on an introductory article by Chan (2014).
The first section of this special issue focuses on challenges to providing care for military veterans. Topics of interest in this section are: training military service members and their families post-deployment; post-deployment difficulties and barriers to seeking help; common struggles during the transition from military to civilian culture; Moving Forward, an innovative social problem-solving program used by the VA; and veteran-specific jail diversion programs.
The focus of the second section is the concept of working with gender-sensitive issues, as well as sexual-gender minority veterans, or veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). This section contains research on barriers to LGBT veterans receiving care at the VA as well as exploring the ways mental health care professionals can engage more male veterans in counseling services for an extended period of time.
The third section explores the effects of deployment and reintegration on children and spouses. The information in this section covers: the effect of deployment separation on parenting and children’s emotional, behavioral, and health outcomes; factors which contribute to positive family adjustment during deployment; and coping with attachment stressors.
The fourth section rounds off the special issue by discussing the experiences and treatment needs of children, adolescents, and spouses of military personnel. The articles in this section discuss: ways to treat the partners of military personnel who suffer from PTSD; factors that increase resiliency in military families during all stages of the deployment cycle; strategies for building attachment in military families; and reasons why adolescents in military families do not attempt to make use of mental health services.
This special issue will be helpful to anyone who works or interacts with military service members, veterans, or their families. This research is likely to be very useful in understanding the best ways to help military families, and the best directions to move in for future research.
This post was written by Caitlin Hunter & 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, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.
VLE Session # 1: Rethinking! Creating New Strategies to Build Trust and Credibility
Join the MFLN Military Caregiving team as we reimagine our skills as helping professionals and working with military families in this three-part Virtual Learning Event (VLE) beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 28.
In Session One of the VLE entitled, Rethinking! Creating New Strategies to Build Trust and Credibility, we will examine strategies for helping professionals in promoting collaborative work with families. The focus will be on the role of the service provider in helping families manage expectations while accessing necessary services. You will learn strategies for communicating with clientele, how to connect families with services and access additional expertise to address identified family needs.
The VLE is centered on the theme of reenergizing and rejuvenating your work environment. This FREE web-based learning opportunity is open to the public and will be similar to a professional conference – no travel involved! Registration is required.
As I mentioned, this is only Session One of a three-part VLE series. To learn more about this VLE and the other sessions to follow, click on 2015 MFLN Military Caregiving VLE.
CEU Credit Available!
The MFLN has applied for 1.5 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) continuing education credit for credentialed participants. Certificates of Completion will also be available for training hours as well. For more information on CEU credits go to: NASW Continuing Education Instructions.
Interested in Joining the VLE?
Go to Rethinking! Creating New Strategies to Build Trust and Credibility,the day of the event to join. The event is hosted by the Department of Defense Collaboration System (DCS), but is open to the public. It is strongly suggested that when using the DCS system that you open the webinar on Google Chrome for both PC and MAC connections. If this is not an option, Internet Explorer may be used if connecting via PC. Safari and Firefox are not compatible with this DCS platform.
For those of you who cannot connect to the DCS site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on Ustream.
The two concentration areas are joining forces to best present the common problems that arise when military families leaving the military. Dr. O’Neill will focus on the financial issues while Ms. Rea will concentrate on the familial problems that are common during these times of transition.
The interactive nature of this webinar will offer many opportunities for webinar participants to offer their experience, via the webinar chat pod, working with clients who are transitioning and share the resource they have used. Please join us to share with your colleagues!
This webinar will offer 1.5 CEUs for AFC-credentialed and CPFC-credentialed participants. Others who join the webinar that are uninterested in the financial continuing education units can earn a Certificate of Completion.
We will keep the conversation going on this topic when we meet for a Twitter Chat on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET. Are you new to Twitter and interested in getting started? Follow along in the Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Started on Twitter to create a user name and bio line. If you’re interested in testing the waters before our chat on Oct. 21, you can join one of the many ongoing Personal Finance Twitter Chats that happen each week. These provide a good opportunity for Twitter newbies to “watch” and listen to what happens during a Twitter chat, and of course, chime in with your expertise!
Bob Smith, MS, LMFT, CCSOTS, & Kacy Mixon, Ph.D., LMFT, will offer trauma-informed interventions when working with abusers. Presenters will explore the impact abusers have on family functioning, inclusive of undermining victim-caregivers and using children as weapons. Presenters will also discuss typologies of abusers and share assessment tools that can assist in determining appropriate treatment options.
MFLN Family Development’s Virtual Learning Event (VLE) will host a professional development training session on October 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. For more information about upcoming VLE sessions, click here.
We offer 1.5 National Association of Social Worker (NASW) and Georgia Marriage and Family Therapy CE credits for each of our professional development training sessions, click hereto learn more.
Blog post written by Mary Brintnall-Peterson, Ph.D., MBP Consulting, LLC, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Extension
Caregiving is only one part of my life and at times the other parts of my life need attention or should I say demand my time. As a caregiver, I just don’t seem to have enough time to get everything done. It’s like being on a treadmill or going round and round on a hamster wheel in a cage. So what can I do? The reality is that there are only 24 hours in a day and I do need to take some time for myself or I’m not good for anything or anyone. That means I need to get sleep every night, spend time exercising and do enjoyable things.
I’m more energized when I do things I like such as read a book for a few minutes, watch my favorite TV show or take a bubble bath. Being energized enables me to get a lot more done in a shorter period of time. When I take care of myself I’m more positive which helps me deal with the unexpected or difficult things that the day may bring. In reading lots of different time management articles and books, the following strategies are the ones most helpful to me.
Keep a log for a few days to see exactly where your time is spent. You may be surprised to find out how efficient you are but you might also discover some time wasters. You’ll also note how often you are multi-tasking. I found preparing dinner includes much more than fixing the meal—it includes unloading the dishwasher, reading the mail or Facebook, and talking with my spouse or children.
Use a “to do” list. I love to mark off completed tasks on my “to do” list. Sometimes I put things on it that I know I can mark off right away. It makes me feel better and gives me a sense of accomplishment to see all those marked off items. Another trick I use with my “to do” list is to identify which items are most critical to do versus those that would be nice to do. This way I can focus on the most important items first. Sometimes I find an item on my list that is large and has multiple steps. I play games with myself and list each step as a “to do” task. This helps me see that I’m making progress on completing the larger task.
Putting objectives in their place was a suggestion from another caregiver. She has special places for things like her purse, keys, medicines, medical folder, phone numbers, pass words for websites, etc. This way she spends less time searching for items. I discovered that I was wasting time looking for things so I am attempting to declutter, organize and to put things away where they belong. I realize this isn’t easy but taking the time to do it now will save me time in the long run. I guess I’ll have to add this to my “to do” list.
Be realistic about what I can and can’t do. This includes saying no to requests from others for things I know I can’t do or don’t want to do (including requests from other family members). I have a tendency to underestimate how much time it takes to get things done and then become stressed. So I am trying to be more realistic about how much time it takes to do things and to only do the things that are high priorities.
Be aware of distractions—this is a hard one. If I hear my phone ping I’m off to see who texted me and then end up spending time looking at messages or postings on Facebook. This can be a time waster. Take a few minutes and think about what distraction might be your time waster and how you can take control of it. One way I take control of my phone is to turn off the sound and then look at it only a couple of times a day. Spend some time thinking about your time wasters.
I’ve shared a couple strategies to manage your time and I hope they are helpful to you. I’m hoping many of you will share your time wasters and how you have taken control of them. Also please share tricks or tips you have for saving time. I know I’d like to learn other ways to use my time better.
One of the common financial concerns of military families is making ends meet. Each year, I conduct seminars about household cash flow and how to develop a successful spending plan (budget). A spending plan is a plan for spending and saving money and includes two components: income and expenses. Good spending plans use realistic expense figures that are obtained by tracking expenses for a month or two to make sure that every dollar spent is accounted for.
Cash flow is the relationship between household income and expenses. Earn more than you spend and you’ve got positive cash flow. Do the exact opposite and your cash flow will be negative. To succeed financially, positive cash flow is required. At any income level, if you spend more than you earn, you will go broke.
Developing a spending plan (budget) is a lot like practicing weight control by watching what you eat (diet). In each case, there are three things that someone can do to improve. In the case of dieting, one can eat less, exercise more, or do a little of both. In the case of budgeting, one can increase income, reduce debt, or do a little of both. Rutgers Cooperative Extension has a helpful Spending Plan Worksheet.
There are a variety of ways to increase income including: working overtime, working a second job, requesting money loaned to others, charging adult children room and board, having a garage sale, and adjusting tax withholding. Another way to increase income is to take advantage of free or low-cost services provided by government agencies, non-profit human service providers, and local service organizations. Benefits and services received are considered “in kind” income because you would otherwise have to pay for them out of pocket.
Some public benefits have age and/or income restrictions while others are not restricted. Below is a list of some common public benefits that military families can take advantage of:
Rabies clinics sponsored by municipalities that provide free pet shots that might otherwise cost $50 or more
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) offered at various locations in partnership with community sponsors and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), if qualified by income and family size
DVDs, magazines, free educational programs, and Internet terminals are available at public libraries
Free or low cost mammograms, PSA tests, and other diagnostic screening tests are available at no or low cost through organizations such as county health departments, walk-in clinics, and other community organizations
Service clubs, such as Soroptimist and Rotary, that provide scholarships to eligible students
Free outdoor concerts and movies sponsored by municipalities, businesses, colleges, and other entities
Discounts for service members and veterans at restaurants, county fairs, theme parks, retailers, and more; a military ID may be required to take advantage of these discounts
Children living in homes where there was recently a major life event are thought to be more at risk for being victims of fatal child maltreatment. What exactly are the factors which contribute to fatal child maltreatment, and what can be done to stop it from happening?
The purpose of the study by Douglas and Mohn (2014)was to examine the differences between cases of fatal and non-fatal child maltreatment on a national scale. The focus was specifically on victim/family characteristics of fatal maltreatment and how those differed from non-fatal maltreatment victims. The researchers were also interested in the social services victims received prior to death, and how those services were different than victims of non-fatal maltreatment.
This study found that younger children were more likely to suffer fatal child maltreatment rather than non-fatal, and that the likelihood of fatal maltreatment was higher for males than females, and for those children who identified as African American. Children who had been victims of child maltreatment in the past, or who were in homes where there was other domestic violence, were actually less likely to be victims of fatal child maltreatment. Children who were emotionally disturbed, had a learning disability, or had behavior problems were also less likely to suffer a fatality. These findings are interesting because they are inconsistent with prior research on the subject.
Fatality victims were more likely to have a younger perpetrator, and were also more likely to live in a household where housing is a problem, or in which there were financial difficulties. It was less likely for fatality victims to have received social services in the past. These services include: family support, foster care, court-appointed representatives, and case management. The author of this study stressed the importance of this last finding, stating that the use of services could be a very important protective factor against fatal child maltreatment incidents. Ensuring the use of services are not only useful in their own ways, but they also keep the child visible in the community, lessening the risk that maltreatment will go unnoticed.
This post was written by Caitlin Hunter & 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 ourwebsite, onFacebook, onTwitter,YouTube, and onLinkedIn.
Blog post written by Mary Brintnall-Peterson, Ph.D., MBP Consulting, LLC, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Extension
Yes, indeed I have experienced conflict between being a wife and a caregiver! First off, I had to accept the fact that I am not only a wife but also a caregiver. Both of these roles make up who I am and my identity. My role as a wife and my role as a caregiver have rules dictating how I behave. The caregiver role is different than the wife role and sometimes my rules for each are in conflict. Here’s an example—my husband was put on a specific diet which he doesn’t follow. He complains about the new diet because he can’t eat some of his favorite foods. As a caregiver I know he should follow the diet because if he doesn’t he could be ill again, but as his wife I want to give him his favorite foods.
So, which role do I pick? Do I function as a caregiver and monitor his eating, making sure his favorite foods aren’t in the house, etc. or do I let him eat what he wants especially since his favorite foods are important to him. I’m sure you have your own examples of when your wife and caregiver role are in conflict with each other. So what causes this conflict between being a wife and a caregiver? The answer is—the rules we have for each role guides our decisions and actions.
I have different rules for being a wife and for my caregiver role. When my rules are in conflict I experience stress. When I am stressed, I try to figure out what rules are guiding my thoughts and actions. To understand my rules a nurse (who recognized how stressed out I was) drew a circle, with three circles inside of it, and explained where my rules come from.
The outside circle represents rules from society. For example, you wear clothing when you are in public, you drive on the right side of the road, and stealing is against the law. These rules are usually understood and followed by everyone. The next circle is all the communities you are a part of. These include but are not limited to your faith community, fraternal organizations, ethnic communities and your heritage.
The military is a community many of you are in or have been in. As you know the military has its own ways, rules or expectations for enlisted individuals, officers, and family members. One military rule I often hear is the wife or significant other takes care of the “home front” when the service member is away. Another military rule is the military community takes care of its own people, especially in time of crisis. I’m sure you can identify other “rules” within the military community which can be helpful or not.
The next circle is our family. Within every family there are rules such as we don’t talk about money, sex or share what happens in our family with others. In many families women are the nurturers and show emotion while the men are responsible for manly things and don’t show or share their emotions. The last circle is your current situation such as your health, finances, help/assistance, medical condition of your husband, living arrangement, etc. As you can imagine when your situation changes it influences your rules as a wife and caregiver. These four circles provide insights into where your rules come from and why we react the way we do in certain situations. It also explains why everyone reacts to situations differently.
Whenever I have a conflict between being a caregiver and a wife I attempt to do the following:
Figure out what rules are guiding my thoughts and feelings.
Determine if the rules are from my caregiver role or wife role.
Decide if the rules are helpful or not.
If the rule is not helpful, throw it out or change it.
If the rule is helpful, keep it or tweak it.
It is not necessarily easy or natural to do this, but I try. By figuring out which rules are creating conflict between being a wife or a caregiver, I gain an understanding of why I experience stress.
We are still discussing the epidemic of chronic diseases; hypertension, type 2 diabetes and now obesity. Particularly we will look at childhood obesity. The increasing prevalence of obesity in all ages is a common thread which runs through all of these conditions.
Septemberis Childhood Obesity Awareness Month! That we even need such a month is shocking and alarming to me. When I was growing up I don’t remember any obese children. Now as a sometimes substitute public school teacher, I am amazed at how many children and teens are overweight or obese. How did we get to this point? What are the causes of childhood obesity? What can we do as dietitians and parents to prevent childhood obesity?
The prevalence of obesity in children has more than tripled from 1971 to 2011. Recent information from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates the childhood obesity rate may finally be reaching a plateau. However, the prevalence is still high among children and adolescents. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), one in three children and teenagers are obese or overweight.
Obesity in children is causing health problems that used to be reserved for only adults. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and elevated cholesterol are all on the rise in children and teens. Obese children are more likely to have low self-esteem, depression, become victims of bullies and a possess a negative self-image leading to psychological and social issues.
How do we determine overweight or obese in children?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure used to determine childhood overweight and obesity. Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. For children and teens, BMI is age- and sex-specific and is often referred to as BMI-for-age. A child’s weight status is determined using an age- and sex-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults. Children’s body composition varies as they age and varies between boys and girls; therefore, using adult BMI based on height and weight is not accurate. BMI levels need to be expressed relative to other children of the same age and sex. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has an online BMI calculator for children which is easy to use.
What are the causes of this increased prevalence of childhood obesity? The cause is not totally clear, but the following are factors associated with this increase:
Sedentary lifestyle: Studies have shown that children who watch television for longer than one hour per day tend to have a higher BMI as well as higher blood pressure. Watching television frequently leads to snacking and poor food choices.
Decline in physical education and overall activity: Budgetary pressures on schools and increased focus on academic scores have pushed out physical education and recess. Children are spending more time in the car, being driven to school and other activities rather than walking. Working parents are not comfortable with their children going outside when they are not home.
High-calorie foods and sweetened beverages: Making poor nutrition choices with calorie-dense foods and the intake of sweetened beverages. Studies have shown an association between sugared beverage intake and obesity, in both children and adults. This includes both soft drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks.
Large portion sizes:An increase in portion sizes, for instance, has been linked to increased obesity in children, particularly among adolescents. Portion sizes have increased since the 1970’s.
Eating away from home:There is evidence that eating away from home, usually “fast food” is associated with increased risk for overweight and obesity.
Parental obesity: A genetic component to obesity cannot be ignored, as obesity has been found to be inherited in certain families. Genetics plays a big role in obesity. Some studies suggest up to 25% to 40 % of BMI is inherited.
Excess weight gain during pregnancy. In Boston,Project Viva, found that children of women who gained an excessive amount of weight had more than four times the risk of being overweight at age 3 compared to children of women who gained less weight. Many women are also heavier when they become pregnant.
Gestational Diabetes:This may subject the fetus to periods of high blood glucose and elevated insulin leading to increased body fat and larger size at birth.
Low birth weight: < 2500 gm is a risk factor for overweight or obesity in children and teens.
Infant weight gain: Rapid weight gain in the first weeks or months of life has been associated with a higher BMI and obesity later in life.
How long an infant is breast fed: Breast feeding has been associated with a 13 percent and 22 percent reduced risk of obesity later in life. It is not clear if breast feeding actually prevents obesity, but breast feeding has been associated with higher socioeconomic status and other cultural factors. Another factor is that breast feeding provides an infant with greater self-regulation than bottle feeding.
Infant sleep: Infants who slept less than 12 hours per day doubled the odds of becoming overweight at age 3 compared to infants who slept more than 12 hours per day. Shorter infant sleep duration can be influenced by maternal depression during pregnancy, solid foods introduced prior to 4 months and infant TV viewing.
Parental eating and physical activity habits: Parents influence a child’s eating behavior and activity levels.
Demographics: Low-income, African American, and Hispanic children are more likely to be overweight.
Parenting style: Some researchers believe that excess parental control over children’s eating may lead to poor self-regulation.
Although progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity it is still a complex problem which requires a multilevel multi-systems approach. The parents, schools, food manufacturers, infrastructure, physicians, dietitians, all health care and child care providers must be involved. While there are many programs trying to combat childhood obesity, 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that has been implemented successfully around the country. The goal is to increase physical activity and healthy eating from birth to age 18. Learn more about this program and register for the free webinar 5-2-1-0 Healthy Messaging Campaign at the learn event page https://learn.extension.org/events/2145.
D.M. Hoelscher, S. Kirk, L. Ritchie, L. Cunningham-Sabo, Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity. Jn of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics vol. 113:10 (Oct 3, 2013)
This post was written by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellnessconcentration on our website, on Facebook, onTwitterand on LinkedIn.