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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Back-to-School Preparation for Middle School and High School Students

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland

School starts up again in less than a month for students in Montgomery County Public Schools, and within about a month for most other students as well. Over the summer it is very easy to put off addressing issues that may have arisen during the previous school year, and perhaps hoping that things will resolve themselves with the new school year. Obviously it depends on what the specific issues are, but many issues, such as time management/organization, issues with bullying, and difficulties with low self-esteem don’t resolve themselves without intervention of some kind. Thus, here are a few tips to help your teen prepare for the new school year.

1)      Make sure they have a clear plan for good time management/organization skills: This means getting ready to write down assignments, make spreadsheets or other items as needed to keep track of long-term assignments, and plan ahead to get such assignments completed. This also entails setting up binders and folders for each class, and figuring out the best way for your teen to use these and other tools to stay organized. If your teen needs professional assistance, therapists specializing in ADHD/executive functioning issues, ADHD/executive functioning coaches, and organizational tutors can help your teen.

2)      If your teen struggled with bullying or low self-esteem during the previous academic year, consider whether individual therapy, involvement with structured after-school activities, and/or other methods would help your teen address these issues. Sometimes bullying is situational, but many times teens get bullied in multiple settings and having some basic coping strategies can greatly help them deal with it effectively and prevent long-term negative consequences.

3)      If your teen struggled academically last year in specific subjects, consider getting a tutor lined up to help them keep up and reinforce material. In addition, if issues with academic performance are significant, consider having them formally evaluated by a psychologist to determine if a learning disability, ADHD, anxiety, or other issue is contributing to their academic struggles. Knowing what is causing the difficulty is essential to putting in place appropriate supports to help your teen.

4)      Sleep is essential to overall functioning. Make sure your teen has good sleep habits, and if he or she does not, help them to develop them before the school year begins.

I hope that these suggestions are helpful.

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is the author of the blog Practical Parenting Strategies. He is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Heller specializes in the evaluation and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), executive function challenges, learning disabilities, and co-occurring issues such as anxiety. With treatment, he often blends traditional psychotherapy with practical coaching to help individuals improve time management, organizational, and related study skills as relevant.


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