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Theraplay: Using Attachment-Based Play to Improve Child Well-Being

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

Fathers and Children

“When a mother and father interact with a baby that is the food for right brain growth.”

This statement is made by Dafna Lender, MSW, LCSW, Training Director of the Theraplay Institute, in “Theraplay,” a youtube video that discusses the benefits of playing with kids paricularly through the method of Theraplay.

The techniques used in Theraplay are modeled on the way in which parents, particularly mothers, playfully engage with their infants. This type of interaction is then modified to suit the needs of a an older child, such as a child who is three or four years old all the way through the young teen years.

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Super Fun Brain-Break Video for Kids (Parents & Therapists, You Can Try It, Too)

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

You have probably heard that you should exercise and that your kids need to be physically active….

And I agree, physical activity is an important part of healthy child development. If you have a child or are working with a child with practically any personality with a diagnosis or not, taking breaks from the tasks at hand to give the brain a boost will greatly increase productivity, focus, problem-solving, and mood.

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4 Play Therapy Videos for Kids with Attention Issues (ADHD/ADD); Improve Your Child’s Focus

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

As a play therapist working with kids with ADHD/ADD or various attention issues (or as a parent with a kid who gets easily distracted), you may find it challenging to get the child to focus on any given task. Following are some ideas and techniques you can use to help the child improve their attention issues.

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10 Tips for Helping Your Child Overcome Anger

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

bambino arrabbiato

Anger can be an emotion that is difficult for even some adults to manage in healthy ways. Therefore, it is reasonable that many children have a hard time knowing how to handle their anger, as well.

As children grow and mature, they learn about how to manage their feelings, how to act when they feel certain emotions, and what emotions are “acceptable” and which ones are not.

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3 Benefits of Emotional Support Animals for People with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders)

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


Emotional support animals are somewhat similar to service animals. One of the differences is that instead of helping someone with a physical disability, they help someone with an emotional or mental disability. They can also be helpful for people without an official diagnosed disability. Emotional support animals are not seen or talked about nearly as often as they should be. One reason for that may be because people are not aware of how beneficial they can be.

Emotional support animals can be beneficial for people who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (including autism and asperger’s from editions of the DSM prior to the current DSM-V) and other related disorders.

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5 Sensory Boxes for Your Anxious Child; How to Ease Your Child’s Anxiety Symptoms

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

Scared girl biting her nails

Raising a child who has a diagnosis of anxiety or even symptoms of anxiety can be quite the challenge. Many times these children are experiencing feelings they do not understand and that are hard for them to process. It is important to understand that the sooner your child learns to overcome their anxiety, the better they will be able to manage their anxiety as they grow up as well.

There are many ways you can help your anxious child. One of the best ways a parent can help their child in managing their anxiety is to provide the child with sensory boxes. There are many different types of sensory boxes that you can make or purchase and you may need to have more than one box available for your child with different sensory items in it.

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5 Tips for Raising Your Distracted Child: How to Parent a Child With Focus Issues

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

Distracted Driver Word Red License Plate Texting Driving Dangero

Parenting can be a very enjoyable process. Parenting can provide you with so much joy as you watch your children grow up. However, as any parent knows, there are challenges that come with raising kids, as well. For instance, there are many children who have focus issues to some extent. If you have a child with focus issues, you should know that there are many things you can do to help them.

Following are 5 important tips for parenting a child with focus issues.

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Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

Day 252 - Sibling Rivals

(image by: Ken Wilcox)

Sibling rivalry is one of the most challenging, frustrating, and overwhelming aspects of parenting. Kids are so often getting frustrated and annoyed of their siblings for one reason or another. Sibling rivalry can take a toll on everyone in the family.

Why does this occur and how can you, as a parent, deal with it?

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The Truth About ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences): Infographic by RWJF

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


[Adverse Childhood Experiences Infographic credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, childhood experiences can have a tremendous effect in various ways throughout a person’s life.

Three Types of ACEs

RWJF reports that there are three types of ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences. These are

  1. abuse
  2. neglect
  3. household dysfunction

Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual . Neglect can have physical or emotional components. According to the ACEs infographic above, household dysfunction can consist of mental illness, a  mother being treated violently, divorce, having an incarcerated relative and substance abuse in the home.

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Play Therapy Tips for Children with Autism

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

Stacked blocks spelling autism on white background

Children with an autism spectrum disorder can benefit from a number of different treatment modalities. Applied Behavior Analysis is an evidence-based approach to helping children with Autism grow and develop. Additionally, many play-based methods can also benefit children with Autism.

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