For Physicians: Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders and Working with Schools

When parents are concerned about their child’s development, their child’s physician is often the first person they reach out to for help and guidance.  Because early diagnosis and programming of Autism Spectrum Disorders can provide the best outcomes for these children, it is important that physicians understand how to best help these families.  The Indiana Resource Center for Autism has provided an article on how physicians can help families find the resources they need.  Please click here to read the article.

Culture and Behavioral Healthcare

By David Parker, Ph.D.

America is widely respected for being a country that embraces diverse cultures. We are all, as the saying goes, from somewhere else.   At CRG, we endeavor to understand each client’s “whole” story, including the role of family, school or work setting, and even that person’s culture.  Culture can play a huge role in how an individual thinks about and responds to behavioral health needs.

In a publication entitled, “Culture Counts,” the Surgeon General’s office provides helpful information about this topic. A person’s culture can have a significant influence on how he or she recognizes, reports, seeks treatment for, and copes with mental health issues.  Some families, based on their culture, continue to feel such stigma about issues like depression or substance abuse that individuals in that cultural group refrain from acknowledging these problems or seeking help for them.  Read more here.

Two CRG providers are currently involved in unique, global activities that seek to better understand the intersection of culture and disability. Psychologist Dr. Sandy Burkhardt, as part of her work at St. Xavier University in Chicago, is a co-editor of the new book, “Special Education International Perspectives:  Practices Across the Globe” (Emerald Group, 2014).  This very readable textbook explains how special education practices developed and work today in 24 countries around the world, starting with the U.S.  It’s fascinating to read how cultural beliefs have shaped the way different countries think about children with disabilities and how their teachers are being trained to meet their needs.

Postsecondary Disability Specialist and ADD/Life Coach Dr. David Parker will travel to Kuwait in early February to give several talks on high school and college students with ADHD. He will also discuss research findings about ADD coaching to a group of 500 educators, administrators, and government officials.  Kuwait is currently considering revising its disability laws to include people with ADHD for the first time.

Like all providers at CRG, Dr. Burkhardt and Dr. Parker are actively involved in their professional organizations in order to teach and learn on an ongoing basis. They bring “outside” knowledge to CRG and are available to share that knowledge with schools, organizations, and groups through CRG’s Speaker’s Bureau.


Making the Most of the Holidays for Your Family and Your Child on the Autism Spectrum

Parents with children on the autism spectrum know the holiday season can be difficult for their kids due to changes in routines and schedules.  The Autism Society of America, the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Easter Seals Crossroads, the Sonya Ansari Center of Autism at LOGAN, and the Indiana Autism Leadership Network have worked together to create a list of tips for parents of children with autism, so everyone can enjoy the holiday season.  Please click here to view this helpful list.

Getting Help for Addictions

CRG psychiatrist, Dr. Joshua Lowinsky, is pleased to announce the next CME Conference sponsored by the Primary Care Psychiatry Foundation.  “Addictions Across the Lifespan” will take place on Saturday, January 10, 2015 (7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) at Marion University College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Topics include but are not limited to “Substance Abuse Disorders:  Screening and Brief Interventions,” “Case Scenarios,” and “Non-pharmacological Intervention:  Motivational Interviewing.”  For more information or to register for this important professional development opportunity, click here.

Parenting Children with ADHD

Visitors to CRG (and our website) know that working with families is central to our mission and that many of those family members have ADHD.  In most cases, ADHD is believed to be caused by genetic factors.  Therefore, we often work with children or teens with attentional disorders who have one or more parents with ADHD, too.  Sharing ADHD with your children can give you enormous empathy into their situation and a deep appreciation for their many unique talents.  It can also complicate your ability to help your kids with homework, time management, and other organization skills that lead to success in life.  A recent article at PsychCentral can help.  Click here to read, “21 Tips for Raising Kids with ADHD When You Have ADHD, Too.”

Cyber Bullying

Schools, parents, and the community at large have learned a great deal in recent years about the impact of bullying and steps we can all take to prevent it.  Dr. Ray Kinder, CRG psychologist and Nancy Lindhjem, CRG school psychologist, have partnered with community organizations such as the Children’s Museum to help educate children, teens, and adults about bullying in the schools.  More recently, schools around the world have had to learn how to help students understand the impact of cyber bullying, which can occur in many forms.  Zionsville Community High School recently demonstrated strong leadership in addressing a form of cyber bullying that was particularly offensive to female students.  Dr. Kinder was interviewed by Nicole Pence from Fox 59 News as this story unfolded.  Click here to watch the interview and gain access to online resources for more information.

Understanding Language Intervention Models for Children on the Spectrum

If you have a young child on the autism spectrum, early intervention to help your child develop communication skills is a concern.  There are many different intervention models available, but finding what would work best for your child can be challenging.  The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community has an interesting article that discusses this topic. Click here to read the article.



Addressing Ebola Fears

Addressing Fears following Second U.S. Confirmed Case of Ebola

Indianapolis, IN, October 16, 2014  — The tragic death of Thomas Duncan from Ebola and, now, second US Ebola case confirmed can increase the worry and fears for everyday Americans of their health risk. It is important to recognize that media coverage has provided relevant facts from medical experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about how Ebola spreads and relative risk. However, anxiety can often preclude hearing the facts of the message especially as it escalates. It is vital that we provide the American public health communications that address and normalize that unease and allow them to psychologically prepare themselves in times of uncertainty.

The American Psychological Association (APA) provides the following resources for consumers and media during this time:

The Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) is available to answer any questions media personnel may have regarding risk reduction messages and addressing fear of Ebola. Please contact Dr. Julie Steck at, Dr. Carrie Cadwell at or 574-485-4583, or Dr. Rich Kennel at or 812-232-2144.

Tips for a Sensory-Friendly Halloween and Fall

Fall is here! As Halloween approaches, families are beginning to look for costumes for their children to wear while trick-or-treating and during other fall activities.  When a family member has sensory issues, it may be a struggle to find a costume that doesn’t irritate or overwhelm the child.   Indiana Resource Center for Autism has created some strategies to help families find costumes that are sensory-friendly.    Click here to read this helpful article.

School Plans and Response to Suicide: Responding, Preventing, and Caring for Those Involved

By Chelsey Brophy, Ph.D.

When a student commits suicide, it significantly affects the student’s family and friends, but also the school community where the student attended school.    The peers of the students are grief-stricken and unsure of what to do and how to respond.  The school staff are usually shocked and feel at a loss to console each other and students.  Students and teachers alike question why the suicide happened, what they could have done to recognize the warning signs and intervene.  School communities can find it very difficult to know how to respond given the range and intensity of emotions that both students and faculty need to work through. The good news is, however, that a school’s response can have a major impact on the student body and surrounding community. Although many schools have a general crisis plan in place, it is recommended that these educational communities also have a specific plan for responding to a student suicide.   If your school does not have such a plan, there are a number of resources suggested by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) that may be helpful.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has created a useful resource that includes practical resources and recommendations for schools. The toolkit includes templates and sample materials and covers topics such as crisis response, assisting students with the coping process, memorializing the student, social media, contagion effects, and mobilizing outside resources. Additionally, the University of South Florida has created a similar guide, which includes research-based information and statistics as well as checklists to help school personnel cover essential elements. Topics covered in this manual include: school climate; risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs of suicide; suicide prevention guidelines; intervention strategies; family partnerships; community response; working with media; suicide prevention programs; and national suicide-related statistics.

While knowing how to respond to suicide is crucial for families, schools, and communities, prevention efforts are also essential. Research suggests teachers serve as effective observers of students’ mental health.  Helping faculty, in addition to parents and others working with youth, know how to recognize and refer a student in need of services is crucial. Schools around the country have recognized the importance of training teachers and students alike in suicide prevention efforts. In Massachusetts, teachers are being trained to identify students who may be potentially suicidal; one school in Wyoming has implemented a program to train students.

Lastly, self-care of those involved in helping students cope following a suicide is important. Teachers and administrators need to ensure that they also receive support and the necessary time to cope and care for themselves during these emotional instances. The American Federation for Suicide Prevention has 10 suggestions to care for oneself following difficult times.

While we all hope, of course, for an end to teen suicides, being prepared and knowing how to respond is critical. CRG has several resources that may be of value to your school including providers available to discuss depression, suicide, and mental health needs of youth and how to recognize warning signs. We also are available to work with any students in need of professional services and are accepting new patients daily.   It is our goal to provide the highest quality of care for adolescents and their families and to collaborate with schools in addressing students’ mental health needs.