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January

The CCF Faculty are doing amazing things - Drs. Anthony Dick (p5), William Pelham (p7), Jonathan Comer (p17), and Lindsay Malloy (p17) are highlighted in the FIU SISH Year in Review

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A 8-week school readiness program for preschoolers with Autism who are experiencing behavioral difficulties is now available. The program will run Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm from June 20th 2016 to August 11th 2016. Interested parents should call 305-348-6679 for more information.

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Dr. Bagner receives Stephen R. Boggs Research Excellence Award

Dr. Daniel Bagner received the "Stephen R. Boggs Research Excellence Award" from PCIT International in recognition and appreciation for significant contributions to the advancement of research in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.

Dr. Fabian Soto, CCF and Department of Psychology faculty member, recently received the 2016 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of animal learning and behavior; he was also selected as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. Congratulations to Dr. Soto on your success!

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February

A new study led by our Director, William E. Pelham Jr. revealed that low doses of behavioral therapy works better as a first step treatment for children with ADHD than medication. Read more about the study on the New York Times!

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In the United States, medication is the first line of treatment for 90 percent of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, FIU researchers have determined behavioral therapy — when used first — is more effective in treating children with ADHD than medication. It is also more cost-effective.

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Behavioral therapy should be used before medication in treating children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to new research.

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Children with attention­ deficit problems improve faster when the first treatment they receive is behavioral — like instruction in basic social skills —than when they start immediately on medication, a new study has found. Beginning with behavioral therapy is also a less expensive option over time, according to a related analysis.

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Over three years, the researchers measured how those children's ADHD symptoms changed and how this was related to their parents' levels of criticism and emotional involvement.

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March

Although people learn things every single day, scientists are still not sure how the brain enables us to learn. Psychologist Fabian Soto discusses how he is studying how we learn in order to help us solve problems involving human behavior.

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The drugs that treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have become a standard feature of American education. A new study argues behavioral interventions come first.

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April

Researchers at Florida International University found that kids with ADHD fared much better in their development when their first treatment is behavioral therapy rather than starting immediately on medication.

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More than one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese. According to a health screen conducted by our center of nearly 400 children ages 4-8 in Miami—more than 40 percent of children are overweight or obese. With summer vacation around the corner, here are some tips on how you and your kids can stay healthy!

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CCF faculty member and psycholinguist in the Department of Modern Languages, Melissa Baralt, has been chosen as a winner in the Bridging the Word Gap Challenge.This challenge, sponsored by the the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, asked scholars to come up with innovative technology solutions to tackle the word gap among children from low-income families.

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May

The expansion into McCrary marks the first time FIU will work in an elementary school. To figure out the exact programming, FIU will meet with the community to understand where the needs are. But the framework will focus on families in partnership with FIU’s Center for Children and Families. The idea is to address issues beyond the schoolhouse that impact academic achievement.

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The core symptoms of ADHD, including inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, can ­significantly impair a child's academic, family, and social functioning. Recent research suggests, however, that factors relat­ed to emotion may also play an important role in understanding the impair­ments experienced by children (and adults) with ADHD.

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A new study led by William E. Pelham Jr., psychologist and director at the Center for Children and Families (CCF) at Florida International University, revealed that low doses of behavioral therapy works better as a first step treatment for children with ADHD than medication. This study is the first of its kind in the field to alter types of treatment midcourse and evaluate the effects.

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According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. suicide rates have surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years. While suicide rates increased among nearly all age groups (10-74), the study particularly found an alarming 200 percent increase of suicide among girls 10 to 14. Boys in the same age group experienced the second-largest percent increase at 37 percent.

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FIU’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) was honored with the Life Sciences & Healthcare Award at the 14th Annual Beacon Council Awards May 4, at the Hilton Miami Downtown. This award recognizes leadership and growth within local sciences and health care industry sectors.

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A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at the best way to treat young children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. The new studies provide strong evidence that not only is behavior therapy effective and it works without the side effects of medication —it's the better first step.The findings are from a recent landmark study by psychologist Dr. William E. Pelham, director for the Center of the Children and Families at FIU.

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The best treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in young kids is therapy — for the parents — federal health experts said Tuesday. A team at Florida International University reported in February that even older kids, aged 5-12, with ADHD fared much better when their first treatment was behavioral therapy rather than medication.

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June

Earlier this year, one study by Erica Musser, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida International University, looked at why some children tend to lose a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in their teenage years while it persists in others and were surprised to find that high levels of harsh, negative statements during interviews with researchers appeared to be associated with the continuance of ADHD symptoms.

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Babies who start standing later than other infants might have more challenges with cognitive or adaptive skills by the time they’re in preschool than their peers who stand sooner, a U.S. study suggests. Most babies will start to pull themselves up to a standing position by around nine months of age and be able to stand without support by around 12 months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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While we can’t always protect children from witnessing violence and tragedy in the world, we can comfort and communicate with them in the most healing way possible. Here are some ways parents and caregivers can best help children cope when tragedy strikes.

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Dr. Jonathan Comer, associate professor of psychology and director of the Mental Health Interventions and Technology Program at CCF, talks about how families are affected by acts of terrorism.

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More than one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese. According to a health screen conducted by the Center for Children and Families of nearly 400 children ages 4-8 in Miami—more than 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, with most parents not being aware of their child’s current health status.

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July

Most parents can't tell if their children are technically overweight. You've probably heard moms and dads describe their child as chubby or plump, but that he or she will "grow out of it." Experts say that attitude is dangerous, because it could doom a child to a lifetime of weight issues. That’s why professors at FIU's Center for Children and Families created the Hip to be Fit summer camp.

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Therapy may provide lasting benefits throughout one’s life, but stimulants are only effective for the four to 12 hours that they remain in the body’s system, says William Pelham, director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. “The guidelines recommend behavioral treatments and pharmacological treatments, but, in practice, typically medication is the first and only intervention,” he says. “And that’s what pediatricians are taught to do.”

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Marijuana use has long-term effects when it comes to the brain’s reward center, according to a newly released study. The study – conducted in part by researchers at Florida International University – suggests users who smoke marijuana had less activity in the brain when it comes to feeling rewarded – something they believe could lead to harmful behaviors.

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Contrary to the belief that marijuana is a “safe drug,” a researcher at FIU’s Center for Children and Families has found that the use of this drug actually has long-term effects on the brain.

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The program at Currey Ingram Academy, now in its second year, is one of 15 in the country. The original program, developed by William Pelham Jr., started at Florida International University.

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August

African-American and Latino children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be much less likely to receive a diagnosis or treatment than their white peers, a small U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined data on almost 4,300 children whose parents participated in surveys about ADHD symptoms, diagnosis and treatment when the kids were in fifth, seventh and tenth grades.

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Part of the challenge, too, is there’s no simple lab test to diagnose ADHD, noted Joseph Raiker, a researcher at the Florida International University Center for Children and Families in Miami.Instead, doctors rely in part on subjective reports from parents and teachers to diagnose ADHD in kids, Raiker, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

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There could be other causes for increasing ADHD rates. Dr. William Pelham is a world-renowned ADHD researcher at Florida International University. He credits two major developments with boosting the number of diagnoses: One, recognition by the federal government in 1991 that children with ADHD are entitled to special education services in school. Second, the development and marketing of new pharmaceutical drugs in the 2000s.

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Dr. William Pelham is a world-renowned ADHD researcher at Florida International University. He credits two major developments with boosting the number of diagnoses: One, recognition by the federal government in 1991 that children with ADHD are entitled to special education services in school. Second, the development and marketing of new pharmaceutical drugs in the 2000s.

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“You have third-graders tell you, ‘I’m so scared. I have to do well.’ Which is unfortunate,” said Isabel Rodriguez-Duncan, a licensed clinical social worker and clinician at Florida International University’s Center for Children and Families. “Little ones are saying that, when we used to only think about that dynamic occurring with sophomores and juniors in high school.”

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Cualquiera sea la causa, Pelham se ha enfocado en tratamientos efectivos a lo largo de su carrera. Todos los veranos, Pelham, quien dirige el Centro de Niños y Familias de FIU, lleva a cabo un campamento de verano para niños con ADHD en Paul W. Bell Middle, cerca de Sweetwater.

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The Summer Treatment Program, which ends Aug. 12, helps children ages 4-12 with behavioral, emotional and learning challenges by focusing on problem-solving strategies, academics and behavioral treatments instead of medication. The program is broken down into several sub-programs: ADHD and behavioral issues program for ages 5 to 12 and pre-kindergarten; Healthy Lifestyle Intervention Program, for ages 4 to 6; and Autism in Rising Kindergartners.

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The Summer Treatment Program, which ends Aug. 12, helps children ages 4-12 with behavioral, emotional and learning challenges by focusing on problem-solving strategies, academics and behavioral treatments instead of medication. The program is broken down into several sub-programs: ADHD and behavioral issues program for ages 5 to 12 and pre-kindergarten; Healthy Lifestyle Intervention Program, for ages 4 to 6; and Autism in Rising Kindergartners.

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September

Giving stimulants to kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may not help them complete homework or get better grades, a small study suggests. Researchers tested the effectiveness of medication against behavioral interventions in 75 children that attended a summer school program with classes each weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for eight weeks.

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Giving stimulants to kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may not help them complete homework or get better grades, a small study suggests. Researchers tested the effectiveness of medication against behavioral interventions in 75 children that attended a summer school program with classes each weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for eight weeks.

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New research suggests that some 60 percent of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continue to have symptoms into their mid-20s. Moreover, 41 percent had both symptoms and impairment as young adults. “There has been a lot of recent controversy over whether children with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood,” said Dr. Margaret Sibley, lead author of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry study.

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Although stimulant medication does not seem to improve homework performance among children with ADHD, teaching parents techniques for working on their children’s homework problems is clearly effective—to the tune of an average difference between passing and failing--according to a new study.Helping parents and children with ADHD to address homework problems is an important issue, given academic underachievement is one of the most impairing aspects of childhood ADHD.

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The largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the U.S. is underway and FIU researchers are at the forefront. FIU is one of the 19 research sites for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) landmark study dubbed the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, or ABCD. The study will follow the biological and behavioral development of more than 10,000 children beginning at ages 9-10 through adolescence into early adulthood.

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More prevalent in girls than boys, selective mutism is two to three times more likely to affect bilingual children. The disorder can hinder academic achievement and socialization. It can cause a child to become isolated and withdrawn leading to missed birthday parties and less time in the playground.

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A family shares their story on how CCF transformed their lives.

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October

A preeminent program at FIU is defined as a collaborative endeavor that demonstrates extraordinary success in providing unique learning opportunities, pioneering research and engagement while expanding FIU’s financial base. Designation as a preeminent Program is recognition for outstanding contributions to advancing our BeyondPossible2020 strategic plan and enhancing the university’s reputation at the national and international level.

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Parents, hear this: Learning to use behavioral parent training skills is your best shot at improving your children's behaviors.

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As a parent, you did not cause your child’s ADHD, but you hold a key to helping your child get better. New research is revealing that you can help treat your child’s ADHD, improve your relationship with him or her, and boost your child’s social skills by taking behavioral parent training (BPT). You can learn skills that last a lifetime, and, maybe, change the path your child is on.

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A recent study published in September in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology about children with ADHD found that using stimulant drugs - typically the first line of treatment for the cognitive disorder - doesn't, for the most part, significantly help children finish their homework. Though some parents may never have had that experience, I couldn't help but firmly agree. After all, that was what happened with my child.

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Cosmopolitan: Drugs Didn't Help My Child With His ADHD

A recent study published in September in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology about children with ADHD found that using stimulant drugs — typically the first line of treatment for the cognitive disorder — doesn’t, for the most part, significantly help children finish their homework. Though some parents may never have had that experience, I couldn’t help but firmly agree. After all, that was what happened with my child.

November

This is the “Classic Model” of the neurological basis of language function – a revolution in our understanding at the time, and hugely influential to this day. But according to a compelling new paper in Brain and Language by one of our faculty, Dr. Anthony Steven Dick and Dr. Pascale Tremblay, from the Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale in Québec, the Classic Model is obsolete and no longer fit for purpose.

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For Kayla and Tim Riera-Gomez, the troubling phone calls from their son’s preschool started when he was only 3. Christopher was misbehaving. He yelled at teachers. He threw things. He had temper tantrums. His crying fits lasted as long as an hour. By the time he was 4, the school was threatening suspensions. “At first, we thought it was willfulness, this kind of strength-of-personality that if we can get through it, he was going to do amazing things for the world,” Kayla said.

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December

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” warble the lyrics heard everywhere through the holiday season. But for kids with special health needs, the flashing lights, blaring music, crowded malls, social events and schedule changes can be overwhelming. Children with mental health issues or developmental and physical challenges such as autism, ADHD, sensory issues, depression and anxiety may need extra help managing the festivities of the season.

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Who the shooter is matters less than who the victims are and where they died, says Jonathan S. Comer, professor of psychology and director of the Mental Health Interventions and Technology Program at Florida International University in Miami, who studied the psychological impact of the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing.

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