IN-PERSON-Confident and Curious: How to Help Neurodiverse ChildrenĀ and Teens Thrive in an Age of Anxiety

IN-PERSON-Friday, October 28, 2022
, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM-$219 including CEUs

Confident and Curious: How to Help Neurodiverse Children and Teens Thrive in an Age of Anxiety
Sharon Saline, Psy.D.

In the wake of two years of uncertainty wrought by the COVID pandemic, the mental health needs of neurodivergent children and adolescents have intensified in ways that we have not previously seen. Young people are now living with increased rates of anxiety that are interfering with their social, educational and emotional development. Previous strategies for emotional control and self-soothing seem to have stopped working effectively in this new landscape of extended uncertainty and persistent loneliness. Worry and fear have increased the natural biological agitation, distractedness and impulsivity that so often accompanies living with ADHD, ASD, LD and twice exceptionality. Daily apprehension, social anxiety, and unrealistic performance expectations along with the rates of self-harm and suicidality have escalated. Craving a sense of security that is often unattainable, these outside-the-box thinkers require additional support from clinicians, educators and parents to reduce the powerful influence anxiety exerts on their lives, how it can easily morph into depression and the ways it holds them back. They not only need assistance in learning key executive functioning skills (self-regulation, metacognition, initiation and working memory) but also in applying practical and mindful techniques to reduce stress and improve the quality of their daily lives.

In this day-long training, Dr. Saline, author of What your ADHD child wishes you knew: Working together to empower kids in school and life and The ADHD Solution Deck, discusses how anxiety works and what professionals and caring adults can do to assist neurodivergent children and teens in reducing their worries and improving their resiliency. After discussing the characteristics of neurodivergency and the issues of stress, identity and pressure on kids today, she will examine the physiology and psychology of anxiety while also discussing the effect of personal and educational trauma. She will show you how to change an individual’s relationship to worry, reduce negative thinking, address stress reactions and uncover the core limited beliefs that fuel persistent social anxiety, perfectionism and procrastination. Participants will learn how to help young people evaluate their strengths, try new behaviors, reduce harmful comparisons and develop self-soothing techniques in both familiar and novel situations. Using cognitive behavioral, insight-oriented and mindfulness interventions as well as case discussions and small group discussions, Dr. Saline will share practical, research-based strategies for enhancing self-regulation, social confidence and self-compassion in anxious children and adolescents with ADHD, ASD, LD and twice exceptionality. Armed with a variety of useful tools, you will leave better equipped to help these young people develop the confidence and coping skills they need to move forward bravely in today’s unpredictable world.

Following this training the participants will understand:

  • Understand and recognize how neurodivergence affects development and learning
  • Describe how anxiety works in the brain and body and how trauma affects the development of neurodivergent children and teens
  • Explain the role of executive functioning skills in managing anxiety
  • Create interventions that address the core limiting beliefs that perpetuate anxiety and collaborate on strategies to reduce daily stress
  • Develop practical tools to address general anxiety, social concerns, perfectionism, and procrastination through insight-oriented, cognitive and mindful interventions
  • Identify strength-based approaches to nurturing resilience and building self-esteem

Sharon Saline, Psy.D. has focused her work on ADHD, anxiety, learning differences and mental health challenges and their impact on school and family dynamics for over 30 years. Her unique perspective, a sibling of a child who wrestled with untreated ADHD, combined with decades of academic excellence and clinical experience, assists her in guiding families as they navigate from the confusing maze of diagnoses and conflict to successful interventions and connections. Dr. Saline funnels this expertise into her book, What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life. Heralded as an invaluable resource, her book is the recipient of two awards: Best Book Awards winner by American Book Fest and the Gold Medal from Moms' Choice Awards. She recently published The ADHD Solution Deck.

As an international lecturer and workshop facilitator, Dr. Saline combines psychology with her love of theatre to animatedly present on a variety of topics from understanding ADHD, executive functioning and anxiety in children and teens to working with different kinds of learners and raising digital citizens.  Dr. Saline is a regular contributor to and, a featured expert on MASS Appeal on WWLP-TV and a part-time lecturer at the Smith School for Social Work.

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