95th St. library hosts workshop for parents raising children with anxiety

Uju Kim, Staff Writer

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Dr. Michelle Dougherty held a workshop concerning anxiety, focus and sensory on Sep. 24 at the 95th Street Library in Naperville, teaching parents how to raise children with chronic conditions. 

The workshop, sponsored by Lifetime Health and Wellness and The National Wellness Foundation, discussed on parenting children with disorders such as anxiety and sensory processing disorder, as well as the “Perfect Storm”, which can be defined as a disruptive environment that may happen to invoke these disorders within children. Regarding sensory processing disorder, the “Perfect Storm” is something physical. 

Kids who suffer from SPD have an inability to properly perceive their environment, whether that be from vision, hearing and sounds, balance and coordination, touch and tactile sense, or others,” stated Dr. Tony Ebel in an article, a chiropractor of The National Wellness Foundation. “This can be caused by a variety of different things. In our office the most common causes we encounter are traumatic birth injuries to the upper neck and brainstem regions, childhood falls, and improper development through excessive use of infant car carriers, walkers, and jumpers.”

The idea of the “Perfect Storm” could also be applied to anxiety, although the cause is different as it pertains to the environment that children are put through, and in particular, the way they are parented.

 

“Studies exploring the effects of parenting styles on child behavior have shown that children benefit from sensitive caregiving while negative parental feedback are associated with adverse consequences,” stated Dr. Jared Palmer and Dr. Mike Bullock in a 2017 article published by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs. “Children exposed to parenting styles marked by high control have shown low personal control and increased evidence of anxiety disorder in late childhood and adolescence”. 

To compare what Palmer and Bullock explained with a student, Ravi Paul, a sophomore at Naperville Central High School, discussed how he personally felt regarding how parenting plays a part in dealing with anxiety and disorders.

“Parenting is very key. I feel like the parent should always be there to listen to you, if they need to talk to you about something, they help talk to you about relieving stress,” said Paul. “They just need to be there [because] it’s a huge role.”

The best solution that Ebel believes for parents to aid the children affected by the disorders is to help them adapt to the environment instead of merely improving it.

 

“To best help these kids, yes we want to help improve their environment wherever possible, but the main thing they need is a better ability to process and adapt to it,” he said.

 

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