The Family Center: Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

Serving our community through programs and resources vital to today’s families.

Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?

Ask the Experts by Eric McCutcheon 

Q: I have two kids, aged three and five, that are getting ready for school. I try my best to keep their teeth clean and look for problems, but I don't know when they should start going to the dentist since mine doesn't see children. When is the best time to take my kids for their first dental checkup?

A:  As a family dentist, I get this question often from parents concerned about their children's dental health but worried their kids will be scared ...

Read more: Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?


What would you say if your family member was sucidal?

Watch this compelling TED Talk video by Kevin Briggs - "The Bridge Between Suicide and Life"

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with ...


Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen

Q: "I have a friend who has disclosed to me that he had been sexually abused. How can I help diffuse the stigma and offer support so he can talk about it more easily?" 

A: Let it be okay for him to admit and discuss this horrific topic. Statistics are, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men, in their lifetime, will admit being sexually abused. So imagine what isn't reported. 

Survivors often don't even tell their closest family and friends due to the great stigma ...

Read more: Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article


Dad is Becoming Very Forgetful - What Should I Do?

Ask The Experts By Michael Kelly

Q:  My father is becoming very forgetful about things he would normally remember. I'm worried he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. What should I do?

A: Your first step is to have Dad examined by a qualified physician. The doctor determines what, if anything is actually wrong and recommends treatment. If the diagnosis is dementia further legal steps to provide Dad with adequate protections are necessary.

Once the diagnosis ...

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Make Reading A Year Round Commitment

Ask the Experts by Nick Smith

Q: My child worked so hard during the school year to become a stronger reader. How do I keep his reading skills sharp during the summer months, especially when he does not enjoy reading?

A: A common concern among parents, especially those who have children that struggle with reading, is what to do over the summer so that the skills attained during the school year do not regress. According to a report released by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning ...

Read more: Make Reading A Year Round Commitment


What's So Special About a Special Needs Trust?

Ask the Experts by Michelle C. Harrell

Q: I am the parent of a 17 year old special needs child. I've been hearing the term "special needs trust" frequently lately. What is it and does my child need it? 

A: As parents of special needs children, we hear the term "special" so frequently that the meaning is sometimes lost.

I personally began to check into the aspects of a special needs trust for my youngest son, Adam, who suffered a brain injury. I needed answers to the question of what was ...

Read more: What's So Special About a Special Needs Trust?


Share the Caregiving Responsibilities

Ask the Experts by Jill Gafner

Q:  As a full-time working mother of busy teenagers and caregiver to my aging parents, I am often exhausted and overwhelmed. I would like to make some changes for the summer and enlist my kids to take on some of the responsibilities with my parents, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Please help!

A: I completely understand and empathize with your situation. You don't want the tasks to be a burden on your teens, rather you'd prefer they would willingly offer ...

Read more: Share the Caregiving Responsibilities


Fractured Elbow?

Ask the Experts by Ahmed Bazzi, D.O.

My child fell and hurt his elbow falling from a monkey bar. How can I tell if it's fractured? 

The warm weather is upon us. This is great news for kids that have been cooped up inside. But as kids hit the playscapes, trampolines and other activities requiring jumping and climbing, parents should be forewarned these activities have the potential to cause elbow injuries.

It is one of the more common injuries we see in the Orthopedics Department. According ...

Read more: Fractured Elbow?


Group Therapy Works Well With Teens that Are Abusing Drugs

Ask the Experts by Catherine Zatkoff

Q: My son is a tenth grade honor's student. I found a pipe and marijuana in his bedroom over the weekend. How concerned should I be - it's only pot, right?

A: You should be concerned. A staggering amount of today's teens are abusing substances. Parents need to understand that the issue is epidemic, and that the old adage of "not my kid" has to stop.

Honors and AP kids are telling us that they are abusing substances on a regular basis. Some kids have admitted ...

Read more: Group Therapy Works Well With Teens that Are Abusing Drugs


Being Fully Present

Ask the Experts by Marla Ruhana

Q. Is it just me or do other people feel stress from technology? I feel like I can't get anyone's undivided attention in my home.

A. You are not alone. Although we see tremendous benefits from technology, we also see drawbacks. Folks complain that they are isolated in their homes with family members present. "They're home but no one is interacting with one another."

Q. Exactly. I am guilty too! Seems when I attempt to be with my child, I have 6 unread texts. I ...

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Professionals Connecting with Professionals

Ask the Experts by The Family Center

Q. I am a physician and recently relocated my practice to the east side. I often get requests from patients for various referrals, therapists, dentists, counselors, etc. Without enough time to do the research, but really wanting to help, and needing to be confident in whom I send them to, where can I turn?

A. Patients who trust their doctors often turn to them for advice on many aspects of their lives. And for the doctors, you want to feel comfortable with ...

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Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Kindergarten Essentials

Ask the Experts by Dona Johnson-Beach, Pam Cronovich and Melissa Sharp 

Q: We are looking at enrolling our child in kindergarten this fall. How do I know if my child is ready? I know there have been some changes from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) about the age of enrollment, please explain.

A: Children entering kindergarten would benefit in having some readiness skills in place to help them meet the excitement and challenge of kindergarten. Students entering kindergarten can ...

Read more: Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Kindergarten Essentials


Over Diagnosing ADHD

Ask the Experts by Nicole Runyon

Q. I recently read that children with ADHD symptoms have parents who are overwhelmed and anxious.  How does an overwhelmed, anxious parent create symptoms of ADHD in their child?

A. One thing to keep in mind is that ADHD is often over diagnosed, and in this case, I am talking about children who may exhibit some ADHD symptoms but should not be considered ADHD.  It is important to understand the core issue with these children and once we do, we can work ...

Read more: Over Diagnosing ADHD


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