Comprehensive Care for Children

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Categories: Health & Fitness

School has been in session for a couple months now, and many parents have already received the dreaded phone call (or calls) from their child’s teacher saying, “Johnny has been loud and disruptive in class,” or “Susie is easily distracted and has difficulty paying attention.” For most children, a certain level of problematic behavior is normal and to be expected. Some children, however, experience difficulties on a regular and repeated basis – they are not one-time occurrences, but a daily struggle.
According to Angela McConnell, pediatric nurse practitioner at Strength of Mind Behavioral Health, “Oftentimes behavioral problems go unnoticed or are put on the backburner by parents and guardians, and it is the teacher calling every day that causes it to become evident a child is experiencing a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.”  
Strength of Mind Behavioral offers comprehensive programs for children and adolescents ages 5 to 18 to treat a large array of disorders, including anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism and others. Treatment options include counseling and medication.
“Mood swings are common in adolescents, so it can be difficult for family members to see the gravity of a problem. It is often easier for teachers to see there is something more serious going on when they have 30 other children to compare to,” says Angela. “A child may suffer from anxiety, for example, if he or she is regularly tearful, irritable, experiences panic attacks, refuses to do things, and has stomach pains and nausea in the mornings before school. Children with ADD/ADHD typically exhibit hyperactivity, difficulty with change, or inability to focus. Symptoms for disorders often overlap, so all of the pieces of the puzzle are valuable to determining the course of action to take.”
If you are a parent or guardian seeking help, call the office of Strength of Mind Behavioral. The first appointment takes about 45 minutes and involves a meeting to discuss what is going on, the child’s medical history, and taking their vitals including height and weight. When counseling and/or medication is the next step, the family also works with Tracy Loper, M.D., and Ashlee Graham, physician assistant. If it is determined that bipolar disorder or autism is a possibility, the following appointment requires a four-hour testing process. “To illustrate the range, there are 131 different types of autism, including high and low functioning and everything in between. At Strength of Mind Behavioral, we do everything possible to determine exactly what the issue is to help your child improve their quality of life.”
The staff of Strength of Mind Behavioral genuinely cares about children and their well-being, striving to always make them feel at ease in the office. Angela McConnell has always known she wanted to work with children. She believes that children are our most precious assets and considers it a great honor to be involved in their care. Angela completed her master of science in nursing from the University of Oklahoma in 2011.
Physician Assistant Ashlee Graham sees patients of all ages, but it gives her great joy to work with children. As a P.A.-C, her emphasis is on evaluating and meeting the medication needs of her patients. Ashlee graduated from Northeastern State University with a bachelor of organismic biology. She then completed a master of health science from the University of Oklahoma. In 2009, Ashlee began working for Strength of Behavioral. Positive affirmation from the patient’s treatment gives Ashlee’s work a deeper purpose, and her own life experiences allow her to have a genuine empathetic connection with her patients.
Dr. Tracy Loper went to medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Waterford, Ireland and then attended the University of Oklahoma for his dual residency training in family practice and psychiatry. Dr. Loper worked as the medical director for Family and Children’s Services before entering into private practice. In 2006, Dr. Loper joined Strength of Mind Behavioral Health. He sees patients varying from children to geriatrics for the purpose of evaluation for treatment options. Dr. Loper finds fulfillment when patients and their families say, “This really is working. I feel so much better; my life is so much better.”

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