Here we are at the beginning of a new year. It’s a time of reflection as we look ahead to new goals but also important to reflect on what we accomplished in 2022 as a team at Optimal Edu Options. We love being able to positively impact families’ lives and give their kids the educational support they need.

We also shared many articles and resources throughout the year to help parents set their kids up for success in education and life. The topics we covered are still relevant, and we keep all our resources up to date for continuing reference. 

Last January, we wrote about limiting screen time for your child. We noted the difference in types of screen time and how some can be more harmful to children than others.  

We also emphasized the need for parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing online and educate them on potential online dangers. In addition, parents should keep electronics out of the bedroom as a way to make sure their children are getting adequate sleep. You can check out these and more of our tips about screentime in the January 2022 blog.  

Our February article focused on informing parents about the many educational options available for their children. We looked at the characteristics of charter schools, private day schools, boarding schools, therapeutic schools, young adult programs, and residential treatment facilities. Some parents may have heard these terms before but don’t know what they mean. Check out the February blog to demystify the terminology. 

As we moved into spring, we focused on a preview of what attendees at the 2022 ATTACh conference could expect from our Educational Consultant, Gail Curran’s involvement in our March and July blogs. The conference brings together professionals caring for and teaching children with parents, foster families, and the youth to exchange ideas on healthy emotional attachments.  

Gail, a board member of ATTACh, participated in the conference, which took place in October in Anaheim, Calif., with her former client Jess Larsen and Jess’s mother, Carolyn. They presented Jess’s story of how with Gail’s help, she learned to form healthy attachments with other people and healed relationships in her life. As a result, Jess is one of Optimal Edu Options’ success stories as a college student studying childhood development trauma. 

We also like to spotlight organizations working to better the lives of the children we serve at Optimal Edu Options. For example, our April blog focused on Choose Mental Health, which aims to raise money and awareness for mental health issues affecting children in the United States. 

Choose Mental Health provides resources for struggling teens and their families to connect them with therapists, mental health advice to put into practice at home, and more. Children who suffer from mental health issues can’t learn as effectively in school, making organizations like Choose Mental Health all the more important. 

We dove into the worrying trend of increasing youth suicides for our May blog. Kids today face higher pressures from social media, academics, and worries about climate change and school shootings. On top of all of these facets of modern life affecting youth, the coronavirus pandemic forced many students home and isolated them socially, further contributing to declines in students’ mental health. 

We discussed the importance of adequately treating children for mental health issues and ensuring your child has the best school setting possible. This can keep emotions in check, potentially reducing suicidal ideations.  

Our August blog took a more in-depth look at ATTACh, the organization behind the conference, and what they offer children and those involved in caring for them. Gail is on the board of directors for ATTACh because she believes in ensuring children grow up knowing how to form healthy attachments. 

ATTACh, which began in the 1980s, provides resources and services for those involved with adopted and foster children. With separation from biological parents and other potentially traumatic experiences, it’s imperative that foster and adopted children learn to form healthy attachments with the people in their lives.  

This can be difficult due to the lack of a biological family structure through which youth often learn attachment. That’s why Gail believes strongly in the mission of ATTACh to help kids learn healthy attachment. 

September’s blog looked at how the pandemic has affected learning among schoolchildren. The switch from regular schooling damaged students’ retention of subjects learned in school. 

The loss of learning was even more pronounced in those who switched to online schooling. Unfortunately, public schools typically only provide programming to compensate for this loss of knowledge, which can leave some students behind while the system moves them along. 

Optimal Edu Options is here to help these students who feel left behind find the perfect educational fit. The pandemic may leave students behind, but we’re here to catch them back up. 

Our November blog looked at Arizona’s Children’s Services Network. The Children’s Services Network is a nonprofit membership group for professionals who work with children, such as psychologists, therapists, family attorneys, and more. 

The organization provides members opportunities to connect and learn the best ways to care for children’s mental health. They also offer listings of resources for families to search for professionals providing needed services for their children and more. 

Our December blog highlighted our Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consultant, Life Coach & Advocate DeAnna Granado. We looked at how she came to Optimal Edu Options and what she does in her role here. We also talked with her about how the job suits her goals to help children and what her hopes for the future are with us. 

We look forward to 2023 being another year where we help families find the educational placements they need. 

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