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Dr. Lauren Smith

Dr. Lauren Smith

I am an Irish Clinical Psychologist trained in the UK with over ten years’ experience working with children, teenagers and families experiencing a range of social, emotional and mental health difficulties. I draw on a number of different psychological models and treatment modalities to support with mental health difficulties such as low mood, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, OCD and emotional dysregulation.

Prior to joining Sage Clinics, I worked in two specialist children’s hospitals providing psychological therapy to children and teenagers with cancer, heart conditions and those in intensive care. I have also worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams, including a specialist team for children with learning disabilities and neurodiversity who were experiencing mental health or behavioral difficulties.

I specialize in working with young people with long-term physical health conditions who may be experiencing psychological issues related to their condition, injury or illness. This includes support around adjusting to their condition, social and family relationships, managing anxieties around medical treatment and procedures and concerns for the future.

I also specialize in working with young people with learning disabilities, ADHD and ASD. I carry out specialist assessment, formulation and individualized treatment interventions and provide tools and strategies centered around improving quality of life. I carry out neurocognitive assessments and provide consultations on how to adapt settings and ways of working to meet the needs of the young person whilst being aware of the impact of physical and mental health conditions at different developmental stages.

I enjoy teaching and training and I deliver a wide range of training to schools and health professionals on topics such as developmental trauma, neurodiversity and sleep hygiene. I was a guest lecturer on the Newcastle University Clinical Doctorate programme and delivered teaching on paediatric health psychology and adapting psychological interventions for children with learning disabilities.

Fizzy feelings and confident parenting: The benefits and challenges of providing online parenting interventions in the digital era.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly difficult for many children with intellectual disabilities and their families as they faced an increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis, morbidity and mortality, and limited access to mental health and community support. Many families saw an increase in their child(ren)’s challenging behaviours and mental health difficulties due to issues such as disrupted routines, restricted pleasurable activities and social isolation. The Newcastle and Gateshead Children’s Intellectual Disability and Positive Behaviour Support Team harnessed technology to deliver bespoke behavioural interventions that could reach a wide range of families in the North East of England. These online interventions helped empower parents by equipping them with tools and strategies to support their child(ren)’s mental health and manage any challenging behaviours that arose, and improved the quality of life of the family unit as a whole. It also provided ease of access and support to even the most isolated and rural families who ordinarily could not have travelled to group interventions. In this presentation I will discuss what these specific interventions entailed and discuss more broadly online parenting interventions for developmental disabilities, made possible due to the increased prevalence and availability of online technologies. I will also discuss how digital solutions in healthcare have been able to provide a new service delivery model and the benefits and challenges of this.

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