Tuesday, August 3rd


by GMT


Posted on August 3, 2010 at 6:38 AM


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Peter L. Stavinoha, Ph.D., is a Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Center for Pediatric Psychiatry at Children's Medical Center of Dallas and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stavinoha completed a residency in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Stavinoha was named a University of Notre Dame Scholar and was awarded a University of Texas Fellowship. He was named Distinguished Psychologist for 2005 by the Dallas Psychological Association. Dr. Stavinoha specializes in the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury in children. He is also an expert in general parenting, and is a regular guest on WFAA-TV's Good Morning Texas where he gives parenting advice about common issues facing children and families. Dr. Stavinoha has particular expertise in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and he has presented research findings as well as practical workshops on children with ADHD at the state, national, and international level. Dr. Stavinoha has lectured extensively on topics including ADHD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, autism and pervasive developmental disorder, traumatic brain injury, the effects of childhood cancer on learning and behavior, the effects of epilepsy on learning and behavior, brain development in children, and general parenting. Dr. Stavinoha is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. 
For more information check out his website, www.dfwdrpete.com or contact Dr Pete at drpete@dfwdrpete.com.
Dr Pete is also the co-author of "Stress Free Potty Training". Find out more at www.stressfreepottytraining.com.
 Dropout Prevention
Teens who drop out from high school are at risk for a variety of negative outcomes including lower income as adults, poorer social outcomes, and higher risk for a variety of physical and mental health issues. A recent study by researchers at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine specifically examined psychiatric disorders and substance use in relation to drop out rates and found that teens with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD – a pattern of behavior characterized by difficulty with impulse control, distractibility, difficulty with attention, and sometimes hyperactive behavior) and Conduct Disorder (a pattern of behavior characterized by behaviors such as rule-breaking, truancy, vandalism, stealing, lying, etc.) are at significantly greater risk for dropping out of high school or failing to graduate on time compared to the general population of students.   The study also found that students who use tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs are also at greatly increased risk for either interrupting or not completing high school.
This is one of those many cases where research simply confirms common sense. If students have difficulty with attention or impulse control or otherwise exhibit a pattern of negative behavior that contradicts expectations for student behavior, there is likely to be a more negative attitude toward school and a greater risk for simply dropping out. This particular study highlights the importance of addressing mental health concerns as a method of reducing risk for drop out. The cost of dropping out is high – both to the student as well as society at large as drop-outs are significantly more likely to require public assistance than high school graduates. Because there are so many negative individual and societal consequences to dropping out, parents and professionals need to be aware of risk factors and move quickly when a student exhibits signs that may lead to not completing school.
While schools are often in a primary role when it comes to dropout prevention, there are a number of things parents should consider if they feel their child may be at risk for not completing school. These include:
Seek appropriate evaluation and treatment for possible disorders – whether you suspect your child may have ADHD or conduct disorder or may be using substances, it is important to have these issues checked out and treated. I always advocate starting the evaluation and treatment process with your child’s primary doctor, as this person is in the best position to help coordinate the various assessments and treatments that may be warranted. 
Similarly, if your student is struggling academically, talk to your child’s school to determine what options are available for assessment and intervention for these difficulties. A lack of academic support is frequently cited by dropouts as having contributed to their school struggles. Again, this process really needs to start earlier rather than later, as by the time a student is in high school his or her negative attitude toward school may be so ingrained that it is very resistant to change. Even if your student is not determined eligible for special services, many schools can mobilize “dropout prevention” resources in an effort to reduce the risk of student dropout.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – if your sophomore or junior in high school has a long track record of difficulty at school and has already decided to quit school, this is a much more difficult situation than the elementary or middle school child who is showing some difficulties that might raise the risk for later drop out. Recognize the warning signs early so that you and your child’s school can implement a plan to steer your child away from dropping out. If your student is an older student who has already decided to leave school, talk with the school’s guidance counselor about drop out prevention programs available at school and try to get your child involved in these immediately. There may be alternative high school options available in your district, and there also may be options in the community that you are not aware of (e.g., a charter school).
Recognize that all kids don’t love school, and some never will – but just because a student does not love school does not mean that they won’t finish. If your child has a long track record of not enjoying school, then help them re-focus on what’s in it for them – those tangible rewards and improved quality of life as an adult that might be enough enticement for the student to put up with school until they finish.
Identify an adult advocate/mentor – kids who are at risk for dropping out often feel more connected to school when they have an adult at school with whom they have an ongoing relationship. Sometimes this relationship is a formal part of a special education plan for a student, and other times this relationship is arranged when a student is recognized as a dropout risk. The mentor is in a good position to help the student process school-specific difficulties as well as some of the personal and/or family barriers that may interfere with the student’s ability to be successful at school.
Make sure that education is relevant to the student – for kids who are college bound, completing high school is a means to that end. For kids who really don’t like school at all, college may not be the logical next step. Instead, talk with the school about options to ensure that there is a direct connection between what the student does at school and their ability to secure a meaningful job when they finish. This might include participating in more vocational activities at school, or perhaps even a work-study or internship arrangement could be pursued so that the student gets academic credit for participation in activities that are directly relevant to the student’s life after school. Again, an alternative high school or possibly a charter school may be able to provide experiences that are more relevant to these students.
Encourage non-academic school involvement – for some students, participation in extracurricular activities (e.g., band, athletics, organizations) are the only positive thing about school. But having even one positive aspect to school can help a student feel connected to school, and the positive motivation created by participation in an enjoyable activity at school can help diminish the impact of the negatives associated with school for that student. At the same time, there are some students who simply want to get their credits and all the rest is like fingernails on a chalkboard – for these students an alternative high school might be a more effective way to keep them in school.
For more information on dropout prevention, talk to your school guidance counselor or visit the National Dropout Prevention Centers website at www.dropoutprevention.org.
 BarkBusters: 10 things that every Dog Owner should know
1.     Dog is a Dog
2.     Dogs think in terms of the pack.
3.     Dog’s don't understand English
4.     Dogs are neither spiteful nor deliberately naughty.
5.     Aggression is instinctual in every breed.
6.     You can teach an old dog new tricks.
7.     Bad behaviors may be natural, but they don't have to be normal.
8.     It is illogical to get angry with your dog.
9.     Correct your dog on the spot.
10. Dogs experience the world differently than humans
Bark Busters Home Dog Training was founded in 1989 and has quickly spread throughout the world. Operating in the U.S. since June 2000, Bark Busters has offices in 40 states and 10 countries with more than 400 franchise locations worldwide. Bark Busters Dog Behavioral Therapists have trained more than 500,000 dogs, making Bark Busters the global leader in dog training.

No matter what country they live in, all Bark Busters therapists share the same passion and mission: to help families enjoy their pet dogs by providing dog behavioral therapy and training using natural, holistic and humane techniques in the family's home.

We invite you to discover why dog owners around the world have come to understand and value Bark Busters’ successful methods of “training dogs the Aussie way”!
What makes us different? Developed in Australia, our simple, natural and dog-friendly training techniques use the same communication methods—body language and voice control—that dogs follow in their instinctive pack mentality.

With training taking place in your home, you’ll see amazing results with your dog in as little as two hours (not weeks or months offered by other methods). Plus, you’ll see continued improvements in your dog’s behavior with practice and time.

A Bark Busters Dog Behavioral Therapist will come to your home where your dog is more open to learning and where he exhibits most of his problem behaviors. We teach you how to train your dog through effective use of your voice tones and body language. Our technique puts you in control using non-physical, quick and easy methods that dogs and puppies need to feel comfortable and secure.

Your Bark Busters trainer will help you to better understand and manage your dog’s behavior, yielding an enhanced relationship that is more relaxed and enjoyable for you, your family and your dog.

The Department of Code Compliance Animal Services Division Animal Shelter is only a few years old and the facility includes a large adoption center where approximately 150 dogs and 40 cats are housed ready for a new home. The adoption center is bright and clean with 100% fresh air and features real life rooms and large outside play areas for the dogs and condos for the cats.
Adoption fees are the best in town-$85 for a dog and $55 for a cat. This includes vaccinations, sterilization, microchip/with national registration/health insurance for $5 for the first month, physical, starter bag of food and a leash.
Animals are available for adoption Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm.
For more information visit our website at www.dallasanimalservices.org or call our adoption center at 214-671-0249.
(972) 566-7111
Dr. Thomas Heffernan
North Texas Gynecologic Oncology