Your interactive family guide to Spain as recommended by local mums | Last updated 9 months ago

Interviews with Experts

Helping Children

  • Speech Therapist Juliet Chubbock

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    "A child normally speaks one language less proficiently because that language has become the minority language for that child. That is to say that if one language is not spoken as much at home, with friends or at school, the child will stop learning it as efficiently.
    In special cases where a child has significant learning disabilities, he or she may tend to use one language more than another because that language is easier. For example a child may “choose” Spanish over English because Spanish is more rule-based and easier to read and write. But this is unusual."
    (JC, Jan 2008)

    Click here to read full interview with Juliet

  • Paediatrician Mª Dolores Terradas

    "I think that both ante-natal and post-natal care in Catalunya is excellent and we have very good professionals too. The main problem is a lack of incentivation of the professionals and an insufficient health education of the population that leads to an overuse of the system and burn-out of professionals." (DT, Nov 2009)

    Click here to read the full interview with Mª Dolores Terradas

  • Child Psychologists based in Madrid

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    "Spanish teachers are probably not as alert to the behavioral problems that are a result of a physical or mental disorder as teachers in the USA or the UK. Instead the tendency is for bad behavior to be attributed to naughtiness, a bad upbringing or problems at home. On the other hand, Spanish teachers tend to be more prudent when it comes to labeling a child with an unconfirmed diagnosis or to medicate any behavior that is "different". However, teachers are becoming more and more aware that there are certain disorders, especially ADHD, that can influence poor performance in school. Other problems like dyslexia or similar learning disorders that do not usually manifest obvious behavioral disturbances go unnoticed."

    Please click here to read the full interview

  • Allergy Expert Nina Onsrud

    "Symptoms of food allergy can start as early as in the womb. If women have had a difficult pregnancy and the baby shows vigorous kicking, tossing and hiccups this can be a sign of a allergic/ intolerant child. Food intolerances are rarely harmful but may cause unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, bloating, wind, abdominal pain (colic in babies) diarrhoea and or constipation and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms such as behavioural problems can also be linked to food intolerance. The onset of allergic disease occurs mostly before the age of 4–5 years; after that, incidence decreases rapidly. In addition, the spectrum of symptoms changes with age. " (NO, May 09)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Nina

  • Eating Disorders Specialist Gemma Wood

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    "Prevention could seem an expectation on parents, but as eating disorders can become a very secretive illness, they can be hard to detect. An eating disorder, as with any addiction, is the symptom and not the cause. As with many other mental health illnesses or addictions, detecting early symptoms can be very difficult. It is important parents are aware of their child’s personality make-up, interests, friendships / relationships, internal and external life influences and finally the relationship their child may have with food. If a parent has concerns with any of these things, the first step would be to talk with their child." (GW, April 2013) 

    Click here to read the full interview with Gemma

  • Paediatrician Dr Thorsten Faust

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    "For a healthy child, going to school is fulfilling an important social need. The school provides them contact with other children in a stable social context. And also stimulates their creative mind. But we have to remember that the preschool age until six years old is the only time in the lifespan when the children mainly should just play. It is important to make sure that the school provides the time for spontaneous play." (TF, July 2009)

    Click here to read the full interview with Dr Faust

  • Psychologist Dr Jill Jenkins

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    "If your child is a bully, I would suggest that parents seek professional help for their child as soon as possible. Bullies have a much higher incidence of juvenile crime, violence, drug and alcohol use. Any child that is gaining power in the social setting by chronically hurting or humiliating another child is clearly stating that they have emotional challenges that must be tackled before they further escalate. May I also say that there is a third party in this equation – beyond the bully and the victim, is the bystander. Bystanders are the children who stand by and watch as other children are bullied. They hold a much more powerful position then they realize; research shows that 60% of the times that bystanders intervene, bullying stops. Bullying is a social behavior with social rewards. If bystanders are brave enough to stand up for victims, they could make a major different in the school climate. Bystanders also suffer long term consequences, by the way, when chronically exposed to bullying. Many will feel guilt long into their adulthood for never having had “stood up for” a child that they saw victimized." (JJ, Feb 2010)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Dr Jenkins

  • Hynotherapist Tracy Saunders

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    "One of the most perplexing questions that a psychologist (or anyone else) can put to someone who is suffering say, a phobia, anxiety attacks, depressive states etc. is “Why do you think you feel like this?” An adult might take a stab at explaining emotions and reactions, but a child cannot do this. The beauty of hypnosis is that once the “effect” is known (“He hates school.”) the cause can be reached through hypnosis: sometimes through regression –though I use this very sparingly- but more often through positive visualisation. Kids are really good at this and they respond very well to hypnosis. I also use a lot of story telling, role play in my therapy sessions with children." (TS, April  2010)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Tracy

  • Occupational Therapist Kirsty Moore

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    "Parents and teachers need to keep in mind that trying to rush children’s development can do more harm than good. Learning to write is a complex skill and just as children go through developmental milestones for gross motor skills, a similar process occurs for preparing to write." (KM, April 10)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Occupational Therapist Kirsty Moore

  • Child behaviour specialist Dr Machi Mannu

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    "So many factors have been implicated as root causes of ADHD (genetic, environmental and social) as you point out. I was involved in a research project with Imperial College London, on users and providers perceptions of the concept of ADHD in some towns in England. The project involved interviewing parents, especially mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD, and so many of the mums made a link between increased hyperactivity and sugary drinks. It is very possible that poor nutrition has a huge role to play as a cause of ADHD." (MM, June 2011)

    Click here to read the full interview wtih Machi

  • Logopedist Elianne Rumahloine

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    "Recent research indicates that bilingual children indeed link between language learning and performance beyond language. Bilingual children are not only very good at judging whether a sentence is correctly or incorrectly formed, but they can often also outperform monolingual children in non-language related tasks." (ER, Jan 2014)

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  • Marte Meo Therapist Anna-Karin Steinholtz

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    Encouraged by the difficulties she experienced as a parent abroad in a mixed culture family, Anna-Karin created her own company De Fuerza Propia (By Your Own Strength). Certified in the Parental Educational Program “Active Parenting Today™” (Swedish version) she offers parental education that teaches parents and educators how to help children grow from the inside, strengthening and developing self-esteem, self-confidence, courage, responsibility and collaboration capacities. As a Certified Marte Meo Therapist she also offers an interactional psycho pedagogical treatment for parents with children with special needs (ADHD, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, social, emotional and/or linguistic difficulties). 

    Click here to read the full inerview with Anna-Karin

  • Psychologist Marianna Legaki

    Marianna is a licensed psychologist specializing in children and adolescents facing disorders or emotional difficulties at an individual or family level.

    Click here to read more