We are living at an amazing time in history. Truly. Our understanding that we are multidimensional beings is just starting to become part of the mainstream vernacular. We all perceive and process our environment in our own unique way. An awareness of our own unique “neurostyle’’ allows us to thrive throughout our lifetime. When working with children, teens and adults I value input from many disciplines for each individual behavioral plan. This week on my podcast I had the honor of interviewing my dear friend and colleague, Deborah Ely Budding, Ph.D., a board certified neuropsychologist, author and teacher. She and I have taken an integrative approach while working together since 2001 and I value her expertise, wit, compassion and “bottom line” style immensely.
What is a neuropsychologist?
“It is a psychologist plus plus. It involves receiving a Ph.D. in psychology as well as a two year neuropsychology program with board certification,” Deb described this week on my podcast. Often times when a child or teen requires an IEP (Individual Education Plan) to excel in school psychoeducation testing is needed which provides general IQ test, academic testing etc. Neuropsychology testing provides a more detailed context of measuring executive function, working memory and provides a “brain road map” by gathering data of different brain functions. Dr. Budding specializes in the sensorimotor development and subcortical contributions to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities, mood and anxiety disorders, and pervasive developmental (autism spectrum) disorders. Dr. Budding discussed the evolution of our brain and referenced her favorite Ted Talk 7/2011 with neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert: “The Real Reasons for Brains”: https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains?language=enin .
Dr. Budding is called upon to work with the most complex clinical questions in her private practice. The qualitative and integrative input that the testing and reports provide, helps guide the treatment plan and allows for a “unified understanding” for parents, educators, psychiatrists, neurologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and other members who are involved in creating a collective comprehensive treatment plan for the patient. Dr. Budding and I meet together to give feedback to the families we work with so an integrative understanding and treatment plan can be agreed upon and executed. The “light bulb” goes on for many people in understanding the way their child processes sensory information which allows an understanding of their neurology or as I like to say, “neurostyle.” We discuss many clinical examples of the benefits of a neuropsychiatric assessment on the podcast.
To listen: (Dr. Deborah Budding Podast on the Dr. Denise Show).
Here are some of the most common tips we share with the parents we see:
1.) Stop expecting your kid to be “Johnny on the spot.”
2.) Multistep reminders are helpful.
3.) Get in your child’s space, make eye contact, or tap their shoulder gently so you know they received the information.
4.) Time management awareness is crucial. Using timers throughout the day is a great tool.
5.) Giving your child a roadmap of the day is important. Verbal and written reminders provide a mental framework for the plans of the day.
6.) Sensory breaks are helpful: time in nature, a walk, a bath, reading a book, or your child’s preferred “relax routine.”
7.) Awareness of your child’s neurostyle is empowering for you and your child.
8.) Pace your activities for your child’s (or yours!) sensory style. Ex: A child might not be able to handle loud noises and need to skip fireworks.
9.) Remember to have empathy for different neurostyles.
10.) Making eye contact and processing information at the same time can be difficult for your child, prioritize what is most realistic for your child to thrive.
11.) Often times it is crucial to distinguish between tantrums (usually manipulative) vs. sensory meltdowns (not a willful choice). Gathering this data can be tricky and can require a savvy therapist or behaviorist. You can then set realistic behavioral expectations at school, home and in other environments for your child.
12.) Choosing activities that promote your child’s sensorimotor developmental needs can be a great way to provide integrative interventions. Karate, rock climbing, swimming and other activities might be recommended as part of the “thrive plan.”
Let’s work together to promote the idea for ourselves and our children:
EMBRACE YOUR NEUROSTYLE!
Thanks again Dr. Budding for all of our years of collaboration and for this week’s interview!