By Norma Richman

November’s Parent Education event showcased a new format that proved to be an exciting addition to High Point’s program.  Experts from The Center for Connection in Pasadena addressed issues of stress and anxiety in our children and how to recognize and manage them. Melanie , HPA’s own Social Emotional Specialist, moderated the conversation, starting with a description of stressors and how to assess them. Tami Millard, our Director  of Learning Services, spoke about how the teachers and the student support team at High Point have been able to better identify the manifestations of stress and anxiety in students and to address this as a school.

Georgie Wisen-Vincent, who focused on the dynamic of play activity both at home and school, added insight into the value of play as an outlet and an integral part of a child’s social growth. She explained how this component runs through all ages, from young children to adolescents. Adding to the discussion, Justin Waring Crane explained the forms and implications of poor sensory integration as they apply to play and school , especially in regards to children’s increased access to screen time, and how it negatively impacts sleep. Rounding out the well-received panel discussion, Christine Triano emphasized the importance of parents managing their own stress and anxiety when supporting their children’s emotional regulation.

At the conclusion of the panel’s own talking points, High Point parents submitted questions, which were addressed to the appropriate expert by moderator Melanie Dosen . Each panelist offered practical, take-home strategies for the audience. The Center for Connection has become a valuable resource for HPA.   Stay tuned for more from these experts and for information on the next Parent Education presentation to take place in the spring. Watch for details on the school website.

The Center for Connection Panel:

 Georgie Wisen-Vincent– Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Child-Centered Play Therapist specializing in children and adolescents, Director of the Play Strong Institute, adjunct professor at Loma Linda University School of Social Work.

Christine Triano– Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist specializing in adolescents, adults, and families. Director of Mental Health at the Center for Connection. Writer, consultant, and producer for documentary film and television.

Justin Waring Crane– Pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in sensory integration, individual therapy, family consultation, educator support and group therapy.

Tami Millard– High Point Director of Learning Services. Educational Specialist at the Center for Connection specializing in educational therapy for children ages 5-15.

Melanie Dosen– HPA’s Social Emotional Development Specialist. Clinical Social Worker at the Center for Connection specializing in mental health services for children ages 5-18 and their families. Mental health from the CFC side and the social/emotional perspective of the school.

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