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Vineyard Gazette
Edgartown, Massachusetts
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February 3, 2012     Vineyard Gazette
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February 3, 2012
 

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Section A FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2012 VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. ONE-A Techniques to Make Sure That the Kids Are All Right By REMY TUMIN s A LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL SPECIALIZING IN children, Jeanine Fitzgerald has seen her fair share of acting out in her 34 years of child behavior studies, everything from the "duck lips" stubborn pout to the "duck and cover" because that's what's required to avoid injury. But one thing has remained true throughout her tenure, eight years of which she's spent with Island families -- her goal is to empower people. Developmental behaviors in children are a symptom, not the problem, Ms. Fitzgerald says, and over the past three years she has turned her attention to studying the effects of nutrition on child development. Ms. Fitzgerald shared her personal struggles with changing eating habits and the findings of her research Tues- day night at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School as part of the Martha's Vineyard Community Ser- vices ongoing lecture series. The author of The Dance of Interac- tion: A Guide to Managing Children's Challenging Behaviors, Ms. Fitzger- ald is contracted through Community Services and visits the Island once a month for one to three-day periods. When here, she meets with parents, visit schools or child care programs to do assessments on individual students or teachers and conduct trainings for parents and teachers, such as Tuesday night's session. And she does it all free of charge. Through Community Services, Ms. Fitzgerald works with families of pre- school and early school-aged children on parenting strategies, understanding a child's temperament and develop- mental stage. Ms. Fitzgerald does that through workshops, private parenting and group consultations, sometimes work- ing with the parent and teacher to determine which strategy would make the child most successful. On Tuesday night she spoke about the effects of nutrition. On Wednesday morning she led a workshop on teaching children self-regulation, followed by exploring positive guidance for children who speak Portuguese. On the Vineyard she works with mostly younger families where she sees a range of developmental behaviors, she said. "We'll see anything from children struggling with executive functions [such as planning, problem solving and attention] to families that are multi- stressed trying to figure out how to raise healthy children.., to parents and teachers who are trying to understand the temperaments of children and what to do with the strong-willed or highly sensitive child," she said. Prevention and support are key to keeping emotions at bay, and to maxi- mize the potential of a child's brain there are two options, Ms. Fitzgerald said -- either through alternative ap- proaches or prescription drugs. Ms. Fitzgerald prefers the alternative ap- proach, and that includes eating well. "Before we move to medication maybe there are some things we can do that can help people function more optimally and we should pursue those things first," she said. The alternative approaches are cat- egorized into seven so-called golden maximizers: proper nutrition, physical activity, relaxation, support networks and relationships, novelty and exposure to new things, meaningful and relevant learning, and complexity or the right amount of challenge. Nutrition, physical activity and re- laxation are the three most important maximizers, Ms. Fitzgerald said, but if you had asked her three years, ago nutri- tion would not have made the top cut. 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Ivy Ashe FOOD FOR THOUGH'E CHILD BEHAVIOR SPECIALIST JEANINE FITZGERALD STRESSES PROPER NUTRITION TO HELP ASSURE HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG. I , , L,,, HarborsideRealty Celebrating our 50th Anniversary SALES & RENTALS All Vineyard Properties online at www.harborsiderealtymv.com 256 Edgartown Road Edgartown, MA 02539 m We KNOW the FREE Weekly. Market Analysis View Peter's Picks & BEST YS onlinel VINEYARD GAZETTE (US 659-940) Published weekly on Friday, from October through May; published semi- weekly on Tuesday and Friday from June through August. Office at 34 South Summer Street, Edgartown, MA 02539 (Tel. 508-627-4311; Fax 508-627-7444). Periodicals postage paid at Edgartown, MA 02539. E-mail: manager@mvgazettcom. postmaster: Send address changes to Vineyard Gazette, P.O. Box 66, Edgartown, MA 02539. This newspaper does not assume respon- sibility for errors in advertisements printed herein. r& ', -,tz" x,%/, b . P.O. 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