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.

IRCA Free Parent Group Meeting




October Workshops & Events
Presented by IRCA


Free Parent Group Meetings

October 7, 2014 @ 6:30 PM; Ellettsville, IN – Dr. Cathy Pratt; Topic: Addressing Challenging Behaviors in the Home Setting.
October 7, 2014 @ 6:00 PM; Fairland, IN – Barb Fogarty, MS; Topic:  Behavior Challenges and ASD
October 8, 2014 @ 5:30-7:00 PM; Marion, IN – Melissa Dubie, MS; Topic:  Puberty, Hygiene and Sexual Health:  Preparing Adolescents with ASD
October 13, 2014 @ 6:30 PM; St. John, IN – Dr. Cathy Pratt; Topic  Addressing Challenging Behaviors in the Home Setting
October 15, 2014 @ 6:00-8:00 PM; Kokomo, IN – Catherine Davies, MEd, MSc, LMHC; Topic:  Puberty & Sexual Health in Individuals with ASD
October 16, 2014 @ 6:30 PM; Evansville, IN – Dr. Cathy Pratt; Topic:  ABA in the Home:  Practical Ideas
October 23, 2014 @ 6:00 PM; Indianapolis, IN – Dr. Cathy Pratt; Topic:  Addressing Challenging Behaviors in the Home Setting
October 29, 2014 @ 6:00-7:00 PM; New Albany, IN – Kristi Jordan, OTR; Topic: Sensory Differences.

For more information and schedule of parent group meetings held in November   Click Here


Expanding Expression Tool Workshop

October 9, 2014; Registration Check-In @ 8:00AM; Workshop starts @ 8:30 AM
Location:  Lawrence Education Community Center, 6501 Sunnyside Road, Indianapolis, IN 46236.  More Information >>>


Primarily for Paraprofessionals:  Handling Problematic Behaviors and Using Applied Behavior Analysis

October 9, 2014 – New Haven, IN
October 16, 2014 – Jasper, IN
October 17, 2014 – Evansville, IN

Presented by Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D.  Registration Check-In @ 8:30AM; Workshop starts @ 9:00 AM.  For More Information and Dates/Locations for November — Click Here


Structured TEACCH®-ing Strategies
Two Day Workshop

October 28 & 29, 2014; Registration Check-In @ 8:00 AM; Workshop starts @ 8:30 AM.  Location:  Southside Special Services at RISE Learning Center, 5391 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, IN 46227.  More Information>>>


Depression in Children and Teens: What To Look For

By David R. Parker, Ph.D.

In talking with numerous students of late who knew local high school students who took their own lives, my colleagues and I have been struck by a common reaction the teens have reported:  “I had no idea he/she was struggling like that!”  This expression of shock is one of the many important emotions teens and others need to talk about to work through their grief.  Stigma complicates the ability to seek help when depression or other forms of mental illness arise.  We hope the community will continue to “normalize” mental health needs so that those who experience them feel more comfortable getting the help they deserve.  The Mayo Clinic offers powerful insights into how to make good health – and not societal pressures – your focus.  In addition to stigma, however, another barrier to effective treatment can be a lack of knowledge.  Some people still believe, for example, that children and teens don’t experience depression; that it is only an adult issue.  Others are not sure what to watch out for in their children or students, since signs of depression can look different in youth compared to adults.  A recent Washington Post article provides a wealth of information about this important topic.  Finally, plan to watch “The Race to Nowhere” on Thursday, September 25th (9:00 p.m. on WTIU).  This program explores how today’s teens and families grapple with relentless pressures to succeed that can become overwhelming.