Developmental and Behavioral Services, Mat-Su Valley, Alaska
Psychiatric Medication Management
Our Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner helps children and their families by providing mental health education as well as diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. This includes complementary and alternative options, community resources, brief solution-focused therapy, validation and encouragement. In diagnosing, she spends an hour with the patient and their family to give time for elaboration. She is able to order lab work to assess other causes of disease, and ask what path the family wants to take towards healing. In treatment, she can prescribe medications, discuss supplements, herbs and other natural aids. She has experience and enjoys working with clients of all ages and stages of development.
Speech, Language, and Feeding Therapy
Our Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) specializes in working with infants, toddlers, and adolescents to evaluate and treat speech and language difficulties, as well as feeding difficulties. Speech and language therapy can help connect families and care givers to communication strategies to grow with each child. It is often recommended for children who experience disorders such as Autism, Down’s syndrome, Cleft Lip and Palate, or other genetic disorders.
Speech Sound Disorders
• Articulation – the way your child says speech sounds is not what you’d be expecting (Says “poptorn” for “popcorn”
• Phonology – the patterns in speech
• Apraxia – difficulty planning and coordinating movements for speech sounds
• Fluency – stuttering
• Voice – difficulty with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarseness or quietness
• Receptive Language - difficulty understanding language, trouble following directions
• Expressive Language - grammar errors, limited verbal language, non-verbal communication
• Pragmatic Language - social communication; the way we speak to each other
For most children, eating is a fun and routine part of each day. One in four children, however, will experience some type of feeding problem in their life. Feeding issues can prevent children from eating enough to grow and develop. Our speech-language pathologist can provide feeding therapy to address difficulty swallowing and food aversions.
Feeding therapy is appropriate for families with infants (12 months and older), toddlers, or school age children who:
• Are at risk for not meeting nutritional needs and /or requiring supplemental tube feedings
• Have oral motor or swallowing difficulties that interfere with appropriate food intake
• Have food aversions or behaviors that interfere with mealtime and adequate food intake
• Are resisting the transition to age appropriate food textures or utensils
Behavioral Health Counseling for Pre-teens, Adolescents, and Parents
We have a licensed professional counselor who specializes in working with middle and high school age clients. Our counselor is invested in helping individuals and families find adaptive ways of coping with issues associated with normal adolescent development and changing family structures, as well as diagnoses of anxiety, depression, PTSD, autism and ADHD. Using individual, family and group therapy, we focus on increasing a client’s ability to choose pathways that lead to improved functioning in their world.
Play Therapy for Ages 3 and Up
Our Registered Play Therapist specializes in working with toddlers and elementary age children. Play is a child’s language, and in therapy the toys can be words. Play is how children express themselves, practice and learn new tasks, and regulate emotions. Many children can benefit from play therapy:
• Children with emotional or social skills deficits can grow and develop their adaptive skills
• Families can benefit from strengthening attachments
• Children who have not yet developed the language to process their experienced distress
We also offer Filial therapy as an option to families who are ready to be active participants in the therapy process. Caregivers are actively coached to develop and strengthen their relationships with their children through the principles of the Child-Centered Play Therapy. Through Filial, parents learn the skills to become agents of therapeutic change for their children. This evidenced based methodology can be used to reduce a child’s symptoms, enhance the parent-child relationship, improve child competence and self-esteem, and improve parenting skills.
We currently provide two groups for middle-school aged (approximately ages 11-14) clients. Our Self-Regulation group for boys focuses on boosting attention and executive functioning, in order to improve the ability to control emotions, resist impulses, get organized, work independently and resolve conflict. Our Expressive Arts group for girls uses art to help improve communication, resist peer pressure, improve mood, express feelings and build resilience.