Playing Classical Music to your Child Can Improve their Listening Skills Later on in Life

Playing classical music to young children boosts their concentration and self-discipline as well as their social skills Continue reading

Summer Camp for Kids with ADHD

Camp STAR, the Chicago area’s only summer camp offering evidence-based therapy for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other behavioral, emotional and social difficulties, begins its fourth season in June.

The camp, whose name stands for Summer Treatment for ADHD and Related Issues, is a partnership of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Jewish Council for Youth Services.

The director of Camp STAR, Dr. Mark Stein, professor of psychiatry at UIC’s Institute for Juvenile Research, says that the program is not only effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, but in teaching skills to children and their parents that can improve social functioning. Children with ADHD and associated problems often struggle Continue reading

Therapy Helpful in Addressing Loneliness

Cognitive-behavioral therapy was effective in addressing negative thoughts linked to loneliness — a risk factor for heart disease — U.S. researchers say.

John Cacioppo, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, says researchers recently characterized the negative influence of loneliness upon blood pressure, sleep quality, dementia and other health measures. The findings suggest loneliness is a health risk factor, similar to obesity or smoking.

The study, published online in Personality and Social Psychology Review, says changing how a person perceives and thinks about others was the most effective intervention for loneliness.

“People are becoming more isolated, and this health problem is likely to grow,” Cacioppo says in a statement. “If we know that loneliness is involved in health problems, the next question is what we can do to mitigate it.”

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis on loneliness interventions that involved four categories — improving social skills, increasing social support, creating opportunities for social interaction and addressing social cognition.

“Effective interventions are not so much about providing others with whom people can interact, providing social support, or teaching social skills as they are about changing how people who feel lonely perceive, think about, and act toward other people,” Cacioppo says.

Study: Being Only Child, No Social Handicap

Growing up as an only child doesn’t put teenagers at a disadvantage when it comes to social skills, U.S. researchers say.

An Ohio State University study found that schoolmates selected “only children” as friends just as frequently as they did peers who grew up with siblings, a university release said Monday.

A study of more than 13,000 middle and high school students across the country examined the concern that a lack of siblings might hurt children’s social skills.

 “As family sizes get smaller in industrialized countries, there is concern about what it might mean for society as more children grow up without brothers and sisters,” said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

 “The fear is that they may be losing something by not learning social skills through interacting with siblings.”

 The study suggests that is not the case, she said.

 “I don’t think anyone has to be concerned that if you don’t have siblings you won’t learn the social skills you need to get along with other students in high school,” Bobbitt-Zeher said.

 “Kids interact in school, they’re participating in extracurricular activities, and they’re socializing in and out of school,” she said.

 “Anyone who didn’t have that peer interaction at home with siblings gets a lot of opportunities to develop social skills as they go through school.”