Archive for February 2013

Monthly Archive

Teens and Sexual Assault, Part 5: Developmentally Delayed Teens


Developmentally delayed teens are at a much higher risk of sexual assault than their non-delayed peers; the numbers are both depressing and well-validated. Despite the high rates of sexual assault in the teenage population, developmentally delayed teens are at even greater risk. The reason is simple: they are seen as an easy target, and there are predators out there looking to take advantage of them.

“Developmental delay” is a vague term (and is starting to become replaced by the phrase “intellectually disability”), encompassing Down Syndrome, autism, and other conditions that may be genetic or acquired. The range of developmental delay spans from teens who cannot communicate in any fashion with their caregivers, to articulate teens who plan to graduate high school and seek higher education or employment. Obviously, discussion and education for a delayed teen is not a one-size-fits-all task.

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Teen Immunizations

Flu or allergy shot. This image is available exclusively on Istock.I have a 6 month old and it feels like she is getting immunizations every time we go see our pediatrician. I sent pictures of the band-aids on her thighs to her grandparents and labeled them ‘badges of courage.’ I know this routine of vaccinations at every visit will slow down as she gets older, but will our pediatrician still recommend immunizations as she reaches the teen years?  The answer is yes.

There are 4 vaccines that are recommended during the teen years for children who are up to date on other immunizations. These include Tdap, MCV, HPV, and influenza. In this post I’ll focus on these vaccines and not the full schedule that is recommended for children. While immunizations are recommended, the choice to immunize is one that each family has to make on its own because there are risks and benefits to every decision.  In this post I’ll talk about what the vaccines are and which diseases they protect against. Read full post »

Tips for Relieving Stress in Teens

GreenlakeOne of the most common things I hear from my teen patients is that they are busy. Most teens are going to school full time, participating in extracurricular activities (sports, theater, orchestra, youth groups), being older or younger siblings, and trying to fit in a social life. Add a job, volunteer activities, and spending time with family and most teens have more to do each day than I do as the working mom of an infant!

Though they can’t (or may not want) to take a break from all of these activities, having a few tips for relieving stress can be extremely helpful when life starts to become overwhelming. Read full post »

Teens and Sexual Assault, Part 4: Trusting Your Gut


When I was a freshman in college, a friend told me about something a professor had said to the class at one point. “She said that if you’re at a party and you’re the only girl left, and things are starting to feel weird, throw a lamp out the window! Then run while everyone’s wondering why you threw a lamp out the window.”

While I can’t give a broad recommendation to throw lamps out windows (you never know who is standing below), the message of this stayed with me: If your gut tells you something is wrong, go with it, even if it means looking foolish or crazy. By then, I’d had enough friends who had been sexually assaulted- one at a party where she was left as the only woman, no less- that it made perfect sense to me.

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Overweight teens and bullying

I know I’ve taken a break from my series because new studies in adolescent medicine keep come across my inbox that are interesting and sometimes scary. For example, a recent study found that teens ages 14-18 are a high risk for being bullied. This study looked at teens that were enrolled in weight loss camps. They found some very surprising findings. Read full post »

Teens and Sexual Assault, Part 3: The Age of Consent

Couple EmbracingAt some point, most teens end up dating someone who is a little older or younger than them. But when that age gap widens, teens can be putting themselves or their partner in danger of legal (and emotional) consequences if the relationship involves sexual contact. This week we’re going to take a look at the legal implications of the age of consent and statutory rape.

In the United States, the most common age of consent is 16, although in some states, it is 17 or 18. This means that someone under the age of 16 cannot legally give consent to sexual contact with an adult, while once a teen turns 16 they can consent to sex with anyone they choose (with a few exceptions, such as teachers, foster parents, and supervisors.) Read full post »

Alcohol Ads and teen drinking

family watching tvSuper Bowl Sunday is this weekend. I’ll admit I’m not a huge football fan, but I always enjoy watching the half time show and the commercials. The commercials are entertaining, but they can also be an opportunity for us to talk with our kids about what we’re seeing on TV. In fact, a recent study came out that re-enforces the need to have conversations about advertisements. It found that teens who watch alcohol ads and like them as young teens are more likely to abuse alcohol as older teens. Read full post »