If you could protect your child against a cancer-causing virus with three doses of a safe and effective vaccine, why wouldn’t you? While most parents are committed to vaccinating their child against all vaccine preventable diseases, some parents are still reluctant to have their child receive the HPV vaccine. In response to these concerns, Willows Pediatrics wants to remind families about the benefits of the vaccine and why we recommend it.
Whether it’s the CMTs, the SATs or a middle school math final, the doctors at Willows Pediatrics know that test-taking can cause anxiety in students. In fact, children who are anxious might even perform below their true abilities when taking a test.
According to Sian Beilock, a cognitive scientist at the University of Chicago and the aother of Choke: What The Secrets Of The Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To, “when students are anxious, their worries use up some of their working memory, leaving fewer cognitive resources to devote to the test.”
The good news is that test anxiety can be easily relieved. A recent article in Time magazine said that having students spend about 10 minutes prior to taking a test writing about their thoughts and feelings—a practice called expressive writing—proved helpful. Students’ test scores significantly improved after engaging in expressive writing.
Another writing exercise asked students to write briefly about something they valued and to describe why it matters to them. This values-affirmation exercise also improved test performance.
In addition, it’s important for students to learn how to prepare for a test. Instead of just reading over notes, they should practice answering questions in the same way they will be posed on a test. As one psychologist in the Time magazine article said, “You would never just read over your lines and show up on the opening night of the school play, right?” It’s the same thing with test-taking.
Finally, never underestimate the power of deep breathing. Relaxing before a test by focusing on breathing and on tensing then relaxing muscle groups can have a huge effect in reducing test anxiety!
If your student has severe test-taking anxiety, please feel free to talk make an appointment for a behavioral consultation. We can also refer our patients to mental-health professionals when necessary.
With the end of the school year just around the corner, many families are planning vacations and trips. Whether it’s a road trip to Vermont or a vacation to an exotic locale, Willows Pediatrics thinks there are some safety and health issues you should consider before you depart.
We’ve talked before on the blog about car seats and the importance of making sure your child is safely restrained in the car. But what about flying in an airplane? Are young passengers safe in a parent’s lap?
The Federal Aviation Administration just came out with some guidance. According to the FAA “not all safety seats are suitable for use in an aircraft,” so the website offers information about FAA-approved seats and safety devices like harnesses for traveling with kids. The FAA does not require, but strongly encourages the use of safety seats in children under 40 pounds. And we agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently wrote about its support of the FAA’s safety education efforts as well.
Another issue that comes up in our practice is infection and “travelers’ diarrhea,” particularly when families travel overseas. According to Infectious Diseases in Children, an estimated 2 million children travel overseas annually, and “when people travel from more industrialized regions of the world to less developed ones, the rates of infection from bacterial-related diarrhea average 40% [whereas the risk is about 4% at home].” The most common source of traveler’s diarrhea is ingestion of fecally contaminated food or water. Willows Pediatrics wants to make sure you know that if your children develop this condition, replacing bodily fluids is one of the main goals. You might want to consider packing oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte because it helps replace electrolytes lost during bouts of diarrhea. If you are traveling overseas and would like to discuss prevention and treatment of traveler’s diarrhea, please let us know.
Finally, we want to draw your attention to the fact that car seat safety information and guidelines are constantly changing. The 2012 recommendations from the AAP were published this month, and we hope all of our patients with young children will take the time to review them.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact us or schedule an appointment. Have a wonderful summer … and safe travels!
IMAGE via Fotopedia.com
Willows Pediatrics offers non-invasive computerized vision testing for children starting between six and nine months of age and up to the age of four. The test, Enfant Computerized Vision Testing, can diagnose eye and vision problems in pre-verbal children and allows for early treatment of issues ranging from “lazy eye” (amblyopia) to more serious eye diseases.
Recently, Dr. Jeffrey Owens performed the test on a six-month baby girl. The results indicated a possible problem, so she was referred to a specialist and eventually to an ophthalmic oncologist at Yale University. She was diagnosed bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare and serious form of cancer. The good news is that the disease has a high survival rate if treated early.
A video about this case is available for you to view at this link: http://youtu.be/Rx-n2CkGo1g. We hope you will take a few moments to watch it. As you can see, the patient, her parents and all the physicians at Willows Pediatrics are thrilled with the outcome.
Willows Pediatrics Reminds You To Prepare For Emergencies
Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? With Fairfield County experiencing both a minor earthquake and a major tropical storm in August, it’s definitely a good time to take stock of our lives and make sure we’re prepared when the next weather event or other emergency situation occurs!
Like many people in the area, we at Willows Pediatrics lost power and dealt with issues ranging from flooding to downed tree limbs during Irene last month. That’s why we wanted to share with you some advice on preparing for emergencies. The three steps we recommend for emergency preparedness are (1) get a kit; (2) make a plan; and (3) be informed! Read More
Welcome to our first Willows Pediatric Group blog! As part of our new website, we have decided to start publishing a weekly blog for our patients and their families.
Why a blog for a medical practice? First of all, it’s a quick and easy way for us to pass on new information to the families in our practice. So, if we see a new recommendation on the AAP website or read an interesting journal article, we’ll be able to share it with you—quickly—in a clear and concise manner. Read More