April 26, 2017


While social media can serve to augment peer relationships in adolescence, it can also provide a forum for negative exchanges that can be quite hurtful. Those being bullied may experience academic problems, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

Cyberbullying is more pervasive than traditional bullying, with little escape. Images and videos are often more invasive than face-to-face taunting. There is more opportunity for others to join in – either to help or hurt – than in the traditional bullying that occurred at parties or the school cafeteria. Although, the wide pool of onlookers the internet provides makes people less likely to step in, as they often assume someone else will defend the victim. Fear, frustration, hopelessness, and powerlessness are often increased when the cyberbully is anonymous. In this situation, it could be anyone – even someone the person being bullied considers to be a friend.
Many teens think their parents or teachers will make the situation worse by bringing more attention to it. As such, parents may need to monitor their children’s online activities. Emotional support from parents is very helpful in these situations.




Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social communication and behavior. Children with ASD may have difficulty talking with family and peers. For instance, they may be overly focused on a topic that is not of interest to others, and their conversation may lack a back-and-forth quality. Nonverbal language, including eye contact and gestures, may also be problematic. Children with ASD may have difficulty picking up on social cues. Additionally, their play may lack imagination. Repetitive behaviors, such as flailing of arms, may be exhibited. Children with ASD tend to enjoy routines, and may have difficulty adjusting to changes in their schedule. An additional feature often seen in children with ASD is oversensitivity to sounds (e.g., fire drills at school), touch (e.g., elastic bands in clothing), and smell (e.g., difficulty eating in the cafeteria due to the odors).

Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder will include tests specifically designed to measure areas of social communication and restrictive interests/behaviors. Both the child and parents are involved in the evaluation process. Cognitive functioning (e.g., intelligence and academic testing) is often included, as well as a language assessment. There is a wide range of functioning among individuals with ASD. Test results will highlight strengths as well as weaknesses.

Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder can be provided within the home, school, or private offices. The treatment team may include a psychologist, speech/language therapist, and occupational therapist to target the relevant areas of functioning. Early intervention can be very helpful. Even when a diagnosis is made later, most children with ASD will improve with the right combination of treatments.

Dr. Hollie Sobel is excited to launch Psychological Assessment, Consultation & Treatment (PACT), with offices in Chicago and Northbrook.

Psychological Assessment, Consultation & Treatment

Dr. Hollie Sobel conducts assessment, therapy, and consultation services with clients across all developmental levels, with specialization in working with children/adolescents. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago focused on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She also has expertise in the areas of anxiety, depression, autism, behavioral difficulties, and learning disorders. While integrative in her approach, Dr. Hollie Sobel has specialization in using researched-based cognitive-behavioral techniques.

3166 N. Lincoln Ave., #210, Chicago, IL 60657
899 Skokie Blvd., #204, Northbrook, IL 60062
(872) 588-5585


As Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month comes to a close, we wanted to bring an awareness and understanding to what developmental disabilities are, and how they are diagnosed. Hollie Sobel, PhD, shares some information during this important month.

What are Developmental Disabilities? Developmental Disabilities are a group of conditions that affect physical, cognitive, language and/or adaptive functioning. A set of norms have been established as to when a child should reach certain milestones. These milestones include crawling, walking, and talking. Watch your child to see she/he progresses.

Get assessed. If you notice that your child is not meeting the expected milestones for his or her age, consult with a pediatrician or psychologist.  These specialists can assist with the assessment process.

Assessments may include the following areas:

  • Cognitive Functioning to determine level of intelligence and academics
  • Communications Skills, which can be tested even before a child begins to speak
  • Motor Skills include gross motor (e.g., walking) and fine-motor (e.g., manipulating blocks, writing)

Early intervention is key. Early intervention promotes age-appropriate growth and development. Diagnosing early means a child can receive the resources and supports he or she needs.

Once diagnosed with a developmental disability, a child is eligible to receive extra services at school or at home to build on the weak areas. This could result in:

  • Closing the gap without the need for continued intervention.
  • Continuing to receive additional services within a general education classroom.
  • Placement in a special education classroom.

Never feel you are alone in your child’s developmental path. Help is always available.

Hollie Sobel, PhD, provides individual, family, and group psychotherapy. Hollie Sobel, PhD, has specialization in using researched-based cognitive-behavioral techniques with children and adolescents to improve mood, decrease levels of anxiety, and enhance functioning across home, school and social settings. She includes children/adolescents and parents in the treatment planning process, as family involvement is often important in reaching treatment goals.

To read Hollie Sobel, PhD’s full bio or make an appointment, visit our webpage.

The Family Institute offers affordable therapy and assessment services at our Chicagoland locations. Visit our website to learn more.