2011年11月30日 星期三

Can Your Child, With Sensory Issues, Learn to Tolerate Holiday Gatherings and Parties?

Does your child with sensory integration disorder avoid or become distressed at parties and gatherings? Whether it is a party, family gathering, or school social event, the stimulation that these situations provide can be much too unsettling for children with sensory issues. A child may actually go into what's called a panic response of "fight or flight," where his nervous system reacts as if he is in actual danger when what's really happening is that the noise, lights, and movement are so intense for him that they are triggering this primitive survival response. The sound of a group of several children singing in unison may make him feel to him as if someone is attacking his ears. He may perceive all the visual stimulation of colored lights, party decorations, and people milling about as an all-out assault on his nervous system. So how can you help a child with sensory issues to have fun without removing him from the situation completely? Accommodations and a plan for helping the child cope with the stress of special events are necessary.

First, help the child to understand exactly what will happen at the party or gathering and in what order. You might write a social story, that is, a simple story of what the child will experience from the beginning of the party to the end, with photographs or illustrations, to help her feel a sense of control over what will happen. You might simply talk to your child about the order of events and what she might do in stressful situations, such as if the music seems too loud or she is frightened by the large number of children moving about in the room.

When planning events, remember that children with sensory issues need a quiet, safe, low-stimulation environment to retreat to when they begin to feel their anxiety rising. If the child is becoming stressed out, accompany him to a quiet, dimly lit room nearby-a cloakroom, a bedroom, or even an unoccupied bathroom. Offer opportunities for comforting and focusing stimulation. Your child might need to sit and rock, listen to calming music on a personal music player, lie on a couch or sit in a chair as you gently press pillows against him, or lie on the floor as you roll an exercise ball over him or press pillows against him gently. Oral comforts such as a lollipop, chewing gum, or other chewable item may help the child regroup and, in time, return to the event. Earplugs can help reduce some of the noise, and activities that allow him to hyperfocus may make the "hoopla" less distressing to his nervous system. Calming activities can be done before, during, and afterwards, as needed. Then too, ask your child to help you identify what would make him feel more comfortable.

You might give your sensory child a pile of Legos or blocks, or allow her to play with a toy on her own off to the side of the main activity area, if that's what she needs in order to be a part of the group. Don't assume she doesn't like the other guests just because avoids participating in the activities the other kids are enjoying. She may be better off socializing in a more low-key atmosphere with a minimal number of children and a focused activity such as a craft project, a baking project, or a card game or board game. Frankly, she may not be ready yet to attend a party with all the cousins, or the kids at the day care center without frequent breaks. As she develops ways to accommodate her sensory issues and you and others work with her to develop her ability to tolerate stimulating environments, she'll be better able to handle a variety of sensory situations.

It may be that your child with sensory issues can't handle the activity at all and, for safety reasons, needs to be escorted home. Be prepared to "rescue" your sensory child at preschool, late at night at a slumber party, or during a family gathering. You might want to ask a close friend or a relative to be available to take her in or watch your other children should you realize your sensory child cannot handle the situation. If you talk to your sensory child beforehand and let her know what her coping strategies and options are, however, you may be able to ease her anxiety enough that she will push herself to tolerate the unusually high amount of stressful stimulation. Encourage her to let you know her limits and be as flexible as you can-or let it go this time and simply plan an alternative celebration she can handle.

Nancy Peske is an author and editor and the parent of a child who at age 2 was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and multiple developmental delays. Coauthor of the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, available from Penguin Books, Nancy offers information and support on her blog and website at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com and sends out a newsletter of practical tips available at http:www.sensorysmartnews.com Nancy has been active in the sensory processing disorder community since 2002.

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Advice For Parents of Children With Sensory Integration Disorder

Some children can overreact when exposed to too much environmental stimuli. This disorder involving the senses is called sensory integration disorder. If your child has difficulty in high stimulation situations and has a high level of anxiety or stress he may be suffering from this disorder. Sensory integration disorder can effect your child's learning development and behavior. It also causes difficulties with processing information from the five classic senses, the sense of movement , and/or the positional sense (proprioception).

This condition is usually diagnosed by an occupational therapist. There is no known cure but many treatments are available. One common sensitivity is to the sense of touch. If your child shows signs of sensitivity to his sense of touch here are some things you can do to make life a little easier for both of you.

1. Choose the fabric for your child's clothing carefully.

Children with SID will find fabrics like wool too scratchy and irritating. Purchase 100% cotton fabrics instead.

2. Be careful when choosing the style of your child's clothing.

Remove any irritating tags on the collar and look for loose fitting clothes.

3. Choose grooming products wisely.

Don't purchase soaps or shampoos with extra additives or dyes. These may be irritating and harsh to your child.

Disorders that may be related to SID

Autism spectrum disorders

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Temper Tantrums

Don't worry this disorder is more common than you might think. It's okay. With the right treatment and attention your child will be able to manage herself with this disorder and life can be more peaceful at home.

Ms. Talbert is a mother of three and editor of Healthy Moms - Parenting, Pregnancy, Health and Women's Issues.

She lives in Sacramento, CA with her family.

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2011年11月29日 星期二

Parenting Tips On Sensory Diet For Sensory Integration Disorder

Does your child with autism become sensitive to sounds, smells and is a picky eater? Does your child with another disability become hyperactive, when asked to sit for a long period of time? These are all signs of sensory integration disorder (SID). This article will discuss the sensory diet that is used for children with SID.

Sensory Integration Disorder is the inability of the brain to correctly process information brought in by the senses. SID can show itself in many different ways. A child with SID may be over or under sensitive to sounds, smells, may be a picky eater (does not like the way certain foods feel in their mouth), may not like the way certain clothes feel on their skin. Many children with autism and learning disabilities have sensory integration issues.

Children with SID may also have motor skill issues such as; difficulty with fine and gross motor skills, difficulty imitating movements, or has trouble with balance.

Treatment is usually carried out by a occupational therapist, with experience in treating children with sensory integration disorder. A sensory diet can also be put together, specifically for your child. The diet can be used at home as well as at school.

A sensory diet means that you are including sensory activities, within your child's day; at home and at school. Each child's sensory diet is different, depending on your child's specific SI needs. Ask your child's occupational therapist to help you set up a sensory diet, to meet your child's unique needs.

For Example: If your child becomes hyperactive on a regular basis, or perhaps prone to hitting or pinching, or being silly, or laughs for no reason a sensory diet may help. Giving your child sensory activities on a frequent regular basis, will help him to remain focused and in control more often.

A sample sensory diet is listed below:

At critical points during your child's day:

1. Swinging in a special swing or on a playground

2. Chase games such as tag, or running races

3. Jumping jacks, stretching, sit ups, balance beam

4. Trampoline, tire swing, exercise ball

5. Squeezables such as nerf balls, silly putty etc.

Every half hour if possible; to include the above:

6. Smelling scents game

7. Rubbing/or brushing with a specific type brush (Ask occupational therapist for type of brush to use, and how to do this technique), not to include the stomach.

8. Jump rope

Calming activities that you can use at home:

a. Morning: Bath, brushing, deep pressure.

b. After school: Child's choice (biking, running, skating).

c. Evening: Supper, bath, deep pressure.

Using a sensory diet on a child who has SID, can cause a dramatic improvement in their behavior and ability to focus. The items listed are easy to do at home and school. You may have to advocate for sensory breaks for your child, but remind special education personnel about how much it could benefit your child.

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com

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Sensory Integration Therapy

Over the years, many studies have demonstrated a link between sensory integration therapy and improving the quality of life for autistic people.

Sensory integration therapy is a valuable tool to teach autistic children how to interact with their environment. One of the main difficulties autistic children face is how they perceive the environment. Oftentimes, their sensory impulses are contradictory to what is expected by society.

Autistic children often have severe difficulty managing their sensory perceptions and a host of seemingly self-destructive behaviors or actions that are perceived to be senseless is the result. Autistic people sometimes cannot perceive their own physicality and must resort to these behaviors to "feel" something. For instance, some autistic children may bang their head against a wall or spin around in circles. Others have been known to self harm or crash into objects. These behaviors are the direct result of sensory integration impairment.

The process of sensory integration therapy seeks to mitigate these behaviors by teaching how to incorporate information gathered through the senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision, and combine these stimuli with what is already know to produce proper responses.

As with levels of severity of autism, there are also different levels in which autistic children experience sensory integration dysfunction (SID). These levels range from mild to severe and can either manifest in a lack of sensitivity to the environment or a constant state of over-sensitivity.

Sensory integration therapy seeks to teach the nervous system how to process stimuli in a normalized fashion. A. Jean Ayers, Ph.D., was the first to research the process known as sensory integration therapy. She built the foundation of the therapy that has been instrumental in helping autistic children all over the world. Using a variety of sensory and motor exercises for the central nervous system it is actually possible to teach the brain how to accomplish this.

Typically, an occupational therapist or physical therapist is the professional that practices sensory integration therapy. Using various techniques it is possible to improve concentration, listening skills, physical balance, motor functioning, and impulse control in autistic children.

While it is not successful in 100% of cases, sensory integration therapy has been shown to be a valuable tool for helping those with autism cope with their environment and lead a better, more adjusted life. Each autistic child has different symptoms and it is necessary to devise a plan for each individual when initiating sensory integration therapy.

If you wish to find a sensory integration specialist for your child, there are a number of ways you can go about it.

First, you can ask the guidance department at your local public or private school. If you know someone else who has an autistic child in sensory integration therapy, it is always recommended to get a word of mouth referral.

In addition, there is contact information for leading organizations that deal with sensory integration therapy and autism.

Sensory Integration International, located at 1602 Cabrillo Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501, is an excellent place to begin. Their phone number is (310) 533-8338. If you are looking for an actual practitioner, try the American Occupational Therapy Association, located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD, 20824. You can contact them by phone at this number: (301) 652-2682.

It is important to keep a positive frame of mind when dealing with autism. There is constant research and valuable studies that are shedding light onto this disorder and finding new and innovative ways to treat it.

Sensory integration therapy should not be used as a standalone treatment. Diet, nutrition, and fun methods of learning can all help autistic children interact with the social world in a more productive fashion.

Sign up for Rachel Evans' free Autism Newsletter - dedicated to uncovering autism facts and discover more about the various autism treatments available, all of which are covered in Rachel's comprehensive E-book available at http://www.essential-guide-to-autism.com

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2011年11月28日 星期一

How to Treat Sensory Processing Disorder

The body is designed in a way wherein the different sense organs work with the brain for the interpretation of the different senses so that we can exhibit the appropriate responses, both behavioral and motor. However, there are instances when the responses are not proper because of misinterpretation of the senses. This condition is called sensory processing disorder.

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) was formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction was first described by A. Jean Ayres, a neuroscientist who said that this disorder is similar to a 'traffic jam' that occurs in the neurons, wherein some parts of the brain are prevented from receiving the correct information so that sensory information are interpreted correctly. For someone who has SPD, what happens is that sensory information is perceived differently from that which is normal to other people. This will then result in behavior or responses that are unusual, which makes it hard to accomplish some tasks.

The exact causes of sensory processing disorder are not yet known, and are still subject to research studies. There have been results however saying that this is an inherited disorder, but there can also be environmental factors that can contribute to it. When this is not properly managed while a child is still young, it can result to several problems involving the child's emotional, education and social state. Because of the problems with the child's motor skills, he can become isolated from his peers, suffering from low self-esteem. There can also be poor self-concept and failure with academics. Those who are unaware of this disorder will be labeling the child as clumsy, disruptive or even uncooperative. When this gets worse, it will lead to depression, anger problems, anxiety and aggression.

The treatment of sensory processing disorder will warrant the services of an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will provide sensory integration therapy for the child, wherein sensory stimuli and experiences will be taught to the child. There will also be sensory diet, a therapy where the therapist will plan and schedule activities for the child to address the different needs of the nervous system. There will be different techniques that will be included in the therapy such as calming, alerting and organizing. The treatment for SPD can also include alternative therapies depending on what the doctor says. One of the common therapies is therapeutic body brushing which is ideal for children who are oversensitive to sensory experiences. This will help the SPD patient to learn how to adjust to certain sensory stimulations.

There is no definite cure for sensory processing disorder for the treatments that were mentioned will only help the affected person learn how to adapt and react properly to stimulations. If you are taking care of a child who is suffering from SPD, you have to be patient when dealing with him, since it is not just frustrating for you but it is more difficult to the child. It will take some time before the child can learn the appropriate responses so you will have to assist him and make sure that he learns properly. And of course, you will need to assist him with developing his mental, emotional and social skills.

For more information on Different Types of Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnoses, Please visit: Sensory Processing Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder.

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Educating Your Child's Teachers When He Has Sensory Integration Disorder

My 5 year old child Jeremy was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder this year. Learning to deal with a child with SID has been a challenge. Even more challenging has been teaching his teachers how to work with Jeremy and getting us both to the point where we were bound and determined to help this child who was clearly different. It has been somewhat of a struggle at times, but over the months we've developed into a team. One who works with Jeremy during the day, and me, the mom who parents him in the afternoons, evenings and on the weekends. Now, we share our discoveries with each other. But it wasn't always that way.

We discovered that he might have this disorder one night last summer while going out with some friends to dinner. The lady we dined with is a children's occupational therapist and listened to me and my husband discuss our child and how challenging he is.

She listened intently and didn't make a diagnosis but encouraged us to buy the book "The Out of Sync Child". Even though my husband was clearly skeptical, he went home that night and bought the book on line.

Our lives have been different ever since.

We started reading about SID and realized that we weren't alone. There are literally thousands of other parents who were also suffering without the knowledge or the support like we were. We knew we had a child who was challenging. We just didn't know that it wasn't a personality problem. What we learned, was that it was a difference in the way his brain operated.

There was about a 6 week gap in between the time where we self diagnosed Jeremy because of the book and getting the real evaluation. I would have had him diagnosed the next day but there are so few resources and we had to wait until an opening occurred and we could get into see the Occupational Therapists. During that time, Jeremy was getting in trouble at school every day and I was receiving bad notes home regarding Jeremy.

The notes mostly were about his lack of attention, focus and his constant talking. He was punished daily because he couldn't finish his work on time and was forced to sit out for 10 minutes during the 15-20 minute recess. Many days he was taken out of recess for the whole time and forced to sit on the sidelines while the other kids played or had to sit at a table to finish his work.

Other punishments have been that they took away his crayons for months on end because he broke 2 crayons. He's been sent to the principal's office several times for acting up and many days Jeremy was physically restrained when he had complete melt downs when either Mommy or Daddy left him behind.

Over the past several months we've gotten the diagnosis and have entered occupational therapy once a week. We've noticed remarkable changes in our son, but still know we have a long way to go. One of the hardest things is to know whether the problems are because of discipline, or SID. After reading, speaking with other parents and trying different therapies, I've gotten better at solving the problems.

When dealing with the teachers, I have never taken a "me versus you" approach. I have written notes to the teacher several times a week explaining what I do at home to correct a problem. I threw a complete and nasty fit I must admit when I discovered quite by accident that Jeremy was taken out of recess every day for bad behavior. Activity, running and jumping is the ONE thing that should NEVER be taken away from a kid with SIDS. It's a complete set up for failure. I marched right to the principals office and got a meeting.

Since then, we've scheduled regular meetings to discuss Jeremy and his progress. Our principal saw how completely frustrated, fried and upset I was over the whole thing. She had great wisdom when she told me, "Mary, don't do anything rash. It's going to take some time but lets keep working on it.". Somehow, I got off my personal high horse and listened to her encouraging words. I also opened up and started telling everyone who would listen that my kid had SID. The mothers were sympathetic and started introducing me to OTHER moms who had kids with the same problem.

The frustrating thing is that the other mom's kids didn't have the exact same issues as my kid, yet they were all diagnosed with the same problem. That is when educating yourself is so important. There are so many different characteristics of SID and it's helpful to know that your child's brain is different. And it's helpful for you to help remind the teacher of that as well.

Because I've been open about our struggles, our teacher has been so willing to learn about it too. She is now working with the counselor to arrange some different things in the classroom that will help all of the kids, not just Jeremy. Our counselor has grabbed the bull by the horns and is pushing the teachers to embrace these differences and she's becoming a resource for other counselors at other schools. She's recommending on line resources to parents and has just been a God send to so many of the parents who suffer daily with this issue.

I'd love to say that our issues with the teachers are completely resolved. But, as issues arise, we have to look patiently for a solution to the problem. As recently as 2 weeks ago I went to the principal and showed her Jeremy's journal that they work on every day. He used to be clearly one of the most gifted artists in the class and now is only allowed to work with pencils and is scribbling in frustration. One look at those journals by the counselor and she had him using crayons the next week. I had mentioned this to the teacher in writing a few times via my notes and still she didn't change her mind. It did take me going to the counselor to get a change. Yet, we maintained our solidly good relationship. I know she understands that I'm trying to do the best for my child.

The relationship between the teacher and the parent can absolutely make it or break it for the child. If the teacher hates the parent, then how effective will he really be in dealing with the kid if the child is a complete challenge to everyone? I wish there was a program in every school to help the parents know how to deal with the counselors. It does take patience and wisdom and the knowledge that it's going to be bad for a while, until everyone gets educated and finds a way to work together.

Supporting each other is the first step. I'm now hearing from other mom's who are out there struggling all alone. I encourage them to speak up in their communities and support the other moms, to get educated, to educate their families and to educate their teachers.

One day, Sensory Integration Disorder won't be such a mystery. Every class will have the ability to integrate these challenging children and will be set up with quiet corners, have balls for the kids to sit on, bean bags to lay on during reading time, heavy weights to sit on their laps, gum will be allowed to be chewed for the kids who need something to help them keep quiet, and the other children will understand and accept the differences. Once we educate our own kids how to manage their brains, their bodies and teach them all how they can learn best, then we'll be at a much better place in education.

We have to dream before it can happen. Then, we can get to work together to make it happen!

Mary Gardner, The Charisma Coach! is an executive communications consultant and coach. She's appeared on many national TV shows and travels the country as a trend reporter on local TV stations around the country. Mary is married and has a son with Sensory Integration Disorder and she welcomes other parents to write to her about their children. Her website is http://www.marygardner.com

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2011年11月27日 星期日

Do You See, Hear, Feel, and Smell Too Much? Could it Be Sensory Processing Disorder?

The senses take in sensory information, but the brain does not process them correctly. A person who is ultra-sensitive to environmental input (see, smell, hear, taste, touch, movement, balance, body position) can feel overloaded, anxious, tense, or scared. A feeling of the "fight or flight" response can set in.

The SPD Foundation writes on their website,

"Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly."

Both children and adults can have SPD. Today, it is primarily children who are treated by an occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration therapy. More adults are learning about SPD and recognizing that they may have had this their entire lives and have adapted in ways that can both help or hinder their lives.

Here are ways that an adult with Sensory Processing Disorder can adapt:

Avoiding situations such as a state fair or amusement parks
At family gatherings, wandering off to a quiet place for a while to rest from the sensory input
Doing balancing exercises
Taking Tae Kwon Do to improve body position awareness
Closing windows in the summer when the neighbors are using leaf blowers
Muting commercials and looking away from the fast-moving images
Wearing clothes that are soft
Cutting labels out of clothing
At meetings, sitting at the head of the conference table so the sound and movement is coming from one direction
Doing grocery shopping and other errands only early in the morning when the stores are quiet
Never shopping on Black Friday
Going to sensory integration therapy
Seeking inputs such as scented candles or perfume
Listening to music in surround sound or with headphones

This list is only a few of the adaptation or avoidance techniques that a child or adult may do because each person reacts differently.

Eileen Parker is the creator of the Cozy Calm weighted blanket. She has autism and sensory processing disorder so she knows first-hand how her weighted blanket gives her a happy and restful sleep. Find her weighted blankets at http://www.CozyCalm.com Read her blog at http://www.EileenParker.com

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Diagnosing Autism and the Differences With Sensory Integration Disorder

When it comes to diagnosing autism, there are many different factors that need to be considered. This is because the autism spectrum disorders have such a vast range of potential symptoms and no two cases are alike. Therefore, it is very easy to mistake autism for another condition. Among the most common mistakes when diagnosing autism is not understanding the difference between being on the spectrum, and sensory integration disorder.

This leads to the question of whether autism spectrum disorder and sensory integration disorder (also known as sensory processing disorder) are the same condition, or at the very least if they are related. Does one exclude the other? To begin, they are considered to be completely separate disorders, but to further understand them, Dr. Lucy Jane Miller performed a study "Quantitative psychophysiologic evaluation of Sensory Processing in children with autistic spectrum disorders", involving 40 high functioning autism or Aspergers Syndrome children who were tested for sensory integration disorder.

Dr Miller's results showed 78 percent of the participating children also displayed notable signs of sensory integration disorder. While, 22 percent of the participants did not show signs. However, a secondary study by the same researchers, "Relations among subtypes of Sensory Modulation Dysfunction" looked into children diagnosed with sensory integration disorder and tested them to see how many also had autism. Within that experiment, zero percent of the participants had autism. The reason that this is interesting is that while children with autism can exist without having sensory integration disorder, the majority show signs of the condition. On the other hand, there is no inclination toward autism in children who have only sensory integration disorder.

Children with both disorders demonstrate challenges with high-level tasks that involve the integration of different areas of the brain. This can include emotional regulation as well as complex sensory functions. However, the key to diagnosing autism as opposed to sensory integration disorder usually lies in the fact that autistic children experience greater problems in the areas of language, empathy, and social skills. Sensory integration disorder children do not experience the same connective breakdowns for controlling emotional empathy and social interaction.

In both disorders, children experience difficulties in tasks that require their brains to make long-distance connections, for example, between the frontal lobes (which coordinate the activities of the brain) and with the cerebellum (which regulates the perceptions and responses within the brain).

If you think that your child may have one or both of these disorders, it is important to speak to your child's pediatrician for autism diagnosing or identification of sensory integration disorder on its own or in combination with autism. If autism or autism alongside sensory integration disorder is the diagnosis, then you will be able to begin talking about the possible treatments available. These treatments can include various medications as well as alternative therapies and may overlap in terms of addressing aspects of both conditions simultaneously. For example many children with autism benefit from sensory integration therapies that also work well for children with sensory integration disorder.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans' brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out how to go about diagnosing autism and for information on autism characteristics please visit The Essential Guide To Autism.

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2011年11月26日 星期六

Living With Sensory Processing Disorder - A Family Affair

I. A child's view on how SPD effects family relationships

Living and coping with a disorder can often consume a child's world. For children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), this can be especially challenging as most children with SPD are seemingly "normal". Many people do not often realize that these normal-looking children could be plagued by such an emotionally, physically and socially taxing disorder. Emily Brout knows all too well how difficult it is to explain her disorder: "Sometimes it is really hard to explain what Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is to other people. It's very complicated and it's not even easy for me to understand! Many people don't know anything at all about SPD because there hasn't been a lot written about it or on T.V. So most people have no idea how SPD makes a person like me feel. In fact, there are many people who don't even think SPD is real! That makes me so mad! Why would anybody make this up?"

Having SPD makes family life and social time with friends tough on Emily. "SPD makes me feel like I'm being attacked by noises, smells, and lights every day. Smells can be really bad, and sometimes even make me throw up. It is very hard to sit in the cafeteria with my friends at school and try to hide the fact that I am gagging because of a smell. Noises are the worst for me. Quiet noises that repeat over and over make me really upset, and these noises are part of every day life. My sister and brother get mad at me because I yell at them for noises that they make. Sometimes, I get really sad and don't want to go anywhere. I also lose my temper and get really mad at people. I don't do this on purpose, but my friends and family don't always realize that. I just cannot help it. Every day I struggle to keep myself calm even though I feel scared, mad and upset on and off, all day."

Coping with a special need such as Sensory Processing Disorder can be equally frustrating to both the child and his or her family.

II. A parent's perspective on raising a child with SPD

Emily's mom, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Brout, can identify with trying to cope with raising a child who has a special need and maintaining her family dynamics. "A wise professor once told me 'Your primary goal is to not make things worse'. As I consulted psychologists and psychiatrists alike, I wondered if there were any clinicians who even understood what Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) was!" said Brout. "My daughter received Occupational Therapy to remediate her symptoms, yet her personality and our family dynamics had already been shaped by the disorder's complications." Dealing with this frustration and lack of help from mental health professionals who had no real treatment for her daughter, Brout often wondered, "was there anyone out there who would understand that I was not simply giving in to my daughter's 'manipulations' because I was a browbeaten mother lacking any savvy?"

Everyday life posed so many difficulties and heartache for Brout, as a parent who had to watch her child struggle with SPD. "Although her other senses were affected, extreme over-reactivity to certain sounds caused my otherwise sociable, empathic sweet-natured little girl to be unpredictably moody and explosive. During toddler hood and early childhood she threw tantrums that lasted for prolonged periods of time. She was extremely clingy, and often appeared sad. Background noises that most people didn't notice set her off into rages." Not being able to ease a child's suffering could leave any parent feeling helpless. Brout remembers one of those moments with Emily, "when she was six years old she looked at me and said 'When I hear bad noises I feel like I'm turning into the Incredible Hulk'. Then she asked intently, 'Mommy, can you fix my brain?' This moment defined the extent to which my daughter was suffering, and how negatively her self-image had been impacted by SPD. What little girl should envision herself as a huge, green, out of control mutant?"

What can a parent do? How can a parent mediate Sensory Processing Disorder within family life?

For parents coping with their child's SPD, Brout offers this advice, "it is helpful to remind yourself that with Occupational Therapy, sensory integration treatment, and as he or she gets older, your child will be able to implement greater control over his or her behavioral reactions to his or her physiological responses. In the meantime, however, regulation (calming the child so that he or she is not over stimulated and agitated) is the first priority." She goes on to suggest that in order to make this shift, "you must allow yourself to dismiss much of what you have been told about parenting, even by mental health professionals, because it does not apply to SPD children. For now, think of your child as one whose body over-reacts to sensory stimuli, and who is deficient in calming down." When faced with an agitated child whose behavior is effecting family life, Brout suggests using the three R's: Regulate, Reason and Reassure

Regulate: "Help your over-responsive child calm down by identifying the source of the sensory stimuli, and shift the focus from any resulting conflict. As a child develops greater language and cognitive skills this process becomes easier. However, even younger children with limited language skills can be regulated. Each child is unique which is why it is essential to consult with a professional."

Reason: "Once your child is calm, review the incident with him focusing on his thought processes. If he cannot identify the stimuli that triggered his actions, try to do it for him by making suggestions. For younger children, you will have to go through this process with relative simplicity and brevity. With enough consistency your child will understand your message, and will also learn that when he or she is over-stimulated, calming down is the first step! Remember, this process is not an over-night cure!"

Reassure: Remind yourself that your child does not like feeling out of control. Reassure him that over time he will gain control, and that you will help him. Let him know that you expect him to try as hard as he can, but protect his self-esteem and self-image by framing the problem as though it were 'a work in progress'. Repairing damaged self-esteem and poor self-image is much more difficult than reshaping a child's misconstrued ideas about the causes and consequences of behavior. No child should see himself as a huge out of control green mutant being that repels others!"

In regard to family dynamics, Dr. Brout states, "the SPD child feels victimized by the overwhelming sensory stimuli generated by family members. However, siblings are also likely to feel victimized having often been the object of the over-responsive child's mood swings and/or aggression. Therefore, it is important to let siblings know that they are not responsible for these problems and that you are doing everything you can to get help for your over-responsive child and for the family. Behavior is not only about actions and consequences. It is about interpersonal relationships and that is especially true in regard to SPD as it affects family functioning."


Jennifer Jo Brout, Ed.M., Psy.D. is a psychologist focused on Sensory Processing Disorders and their application to mental health. She earned an Ed.M. in School Psychology from Columbia University and a Psy.D in School/Clinical Child Psychology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Brout is currently involved with projects at the KID Foundation Research Institute, Duke University, and in association with audiologists and private clinicians throughout the country.

In 2006, Dr. Brout launched Positive Solutions of New York, LLC to support research in psychological conditions, developmental disorders, and learning difficulties related to sensory processing/regulatory disorders through various creative and public service projects.

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Parenting a Child with Sensory Integration Disorder

After suffering another incredibly stressful morning trying to get my 5 ½ year old son dressed, I've come to the conclusion that there must be other families who go through the same frustration every morning. Most just wouldn't believe that we have it different than anyone else who has young kids. When I'm talking to someone about Jeremy, my stress shows but the explanation is too long so I don't usually elaborate. Their usual answer is "sounds like a typical 5 year old". I guess I've grown used to that. What is harder is to hear from other people who are trying to be helpful that we have a "discipline problem." They offer their typical advice of how to reign a child in and get them to behave.

The fact of the matter is, is that he is NOT a typical 5 year old! Oh, Jeremy loves to play instead of work, throw rocks and finds an empty box utterly fascinating, but the day to day events of our lives, the usually mundane things, are stressful and incredibly different.

This morning was supposed to be a lot of fun. We all woke up early to take a trip to Miami to see my husband's family. It's a 3 day weekend so we wanted to get an early start on Saturday morning so we could enjoy the afternoon in Miami. My husband got up and made coffee, I wrapped about 6 gifts that we're bringing and Jeremy started pulling out clothes and toys he wanted to bring.

I encouraged him to bring the clothes and toys into his room but instead more and more toys got dragged into our living room. When it was time to sit down and eat his breakfast, his favorite of 'waffles and cream', the battle started. Normally, a good tactic is to put a clock in front of him so he can see how much time he has. Today we didn't do that because we were not thinking about the exact moment we had to leave like we do every day for school. That was a BAD CHOICE on my part. I should have showed him the exact time he needed to have eaten and gotten dressed by. Then we should have marched out the door. Unfortunately, we had to pack our suitcases and pack the car.

When Jeremy got to the table ate a few strawberries and milk and got up. My insistence of him sitting and eating finally got ugly after about 15 minutes. While I was running around trying to get everyone ready to go out of town; I continued to put him back in his seat and demand that he eat. I sat with him for about 5 minutes and he didn't eat. I told him he could get a star for his chart if he ate, and got dressed. He started whining and crying so I took a star away from his chart that we've created. On one trip to the bedroom he started playing with a tractor. When I found him again ( I was now taking a shower) he wanted to bring the tractor to the table. I told him NO and to get back to eat. He was screaming and crying because now he wanted the tractor and then he said that "you are the only mommy in the world who is mean to me every day". That is when I told him that if he said that one more time he would get his mouth washed out with soap. (This works wonders for those awful things that kids tend to say sometimes but If I could live without ever doing anything drastic like this, I would!!!)

That stopped the complaining about how "mean" I am but the whining continued. I had to finish feeding him myself in between his tears. He finally finished eating after about 45 minutes. I had turned off the TV by this time of course. I've learned that having the TV on or light music can easily overwhelm Jeremy.

Next, getting him dressed was no easy feat. The first shirt I put on didn't feel comfortable. This was a brand new pre washed long sleeve t-shirt from Osh Kosh. It's darling, but unfortunately, new clothes rarely stay on my son. He prefers old and soft. Many of his very favorite clothes and shoes have spots and tears, but they are the only ones that I can get him to stay in. This morning was no different. I put on Gap underwear, Osh Kosh Jeans and the Osh Kosh t-shirt. After he was completely dressed, he started screaming and wailing about the shirt being too small and the pants being too big. So, off the clothes came! And it wasn't just a calm, "mommy I'm taking off these clothes", it was a screaming crying whining fit accompanied by throwing his clothes across the room which landed on my husband's face as he was walking across the room. At least today he didn't RUN when it was time to get him dressed. That is the typical scenario. He races across the room when it's time to take off his pajamas or time to get changed any time. I can't figure out why! I don't know if that is his body having an automatic reaction to change, or if it's a behavior issue. But it's something that we want to work on in occupational therapy.

Because I already know the drill, that nothing I can say or do will make him keep clothes on when he doesn't want to wear something, I went to the drawer and brought out the old favorites. The yellow long sleeve t-shirt with the #63 and the army looking pants that are soft and comfy. If you see Jeremy out of his school uniform, this is more than likely the outfit he'll be in.

I think of all of the hundreds of dollars that I've wasted by buying clothes that don't quite feel right. I think of the dozens of pairs of shoes that he has kicked and screamed about. I have thrown out piles of socks that just didn't have the seam in the right place. Getting Jeremy dressed to go anywhere, is a struggle nearly every single day.

Recently, the school had a second hand sale on uniforms. I felt like I struck gold by finding the oldest shirts in the school. To me, that means, the SOFTEST and that is perfect for my kid! He is 5 years old, and he wants to wear size 12 shirts. They are big and don't cling to him. Also, discovering the GAP undershirts has been a miracle in our lives. My friend Diane has a red head boy (I believe red heads are more sensitive) and they recommended the GAP undershirts.

I remember trying to get Jeremy dressed at age 2 was no different than now. He went to the Montessori school and because it was pre-school, they weren't particular on the time we arrived. Many, many mornings Jeremy would fight and scream when I had to get him dressed. He would have been perfectly happy staying at home watching TV all day. He would be completely happy just doing that every day of his life. But, fortunately for him, he has two incredibly active parents who rarely ever sit around and watch TV. We have our traditional "Friday night movie night" but we don't watch TV much during the week.

Jeremy does get to go to After Care at school if he's had good behavior the day before. There, they run around the fields, play ball, climb on the jungle gym, have snacks and play with their friends. He loves it! I find that it's the best place for him since he races the kids and exerts more energy there than anywhere else. The hardest part is when it's time to go. What else? He runs away! My mom has found it completely embarrassing because he doesn't pay attention when it's time to come. He just continues playing and then runs to the other side of the field where he can't even hear us yell for him.

By reading books like "The Out of Sync Child" and talking with other mom's I've found a few things that work in this situation. First of all, when you get there, allow the child 5 minutes or 10 minutes to play. Tell him/her that he has 5 minutes and then it's time to go. For Jeremy, he then gets time to transition to the next activity. And the expectation is set. Our new rule is that he is able to achieve a star for his chart at this point. If he comes immediately after the 5 minutes is up, he can get a star for that which when added up every day can determine whether or not he gets to go to after care the next day. He needs to get 5 stars a day - for getting out of bed quickly, for eating and taking his plate to the sink, for making his bed, for getting dressed (almost) by himself, brushing his teeth and hair, etc. He has the chance to earn 3 stars in the morning. Several of the above list is combined into one section for instance: putting dishes in sink and making bed = one star.

The chart system is working for us pretty well. He gets stars taken away for negative attitudes or whining. One day he ripped all of the bad and the good extra stars down. He didn't realize he also ripped the good ones down. Jeremy can earn EXTRA stars for having excellent behavior like the day he had such a great attitude one morning. I was so pleased and so proud of him that he got to go to After Care that day even though he didn't have enough stars the day before. The extra stars can accumulate to 20 and then he gets to go to Toys R Us to buy a toy. So far, he has only a couple of extra stars for good behavior.. and believe me.. I'm looking!

It's hard for Jeremy's self esteem to have these problems. He's gotten in trouble nearly every single day at school. He's come home many times saying, "I'm a bad kid, I'm a bad kid", which really rips out my heart! The system of putting their "apple or acorn" in the yellow, or red basket brings a reputation of "bad behavior". Jeremy has also had his apple on the teachers' desk many times. If he gets bad behavior like this, they take him out of recess. They'll take him out for 5-10 minutes or even the whole time! When I learned this, I freaked out! Jeremy NEEDS activity in order for his brain to FUNCTION correctly. By taking him out of free time outside, they're just hurting the situation. I caused a stink about that at the school and I think they've made some adjustments. The school counselor is now involved and helping to guide the teachers in working with Jeremy. It's truly been a collaborative effort.

Jeremy has also been slow to finish his work. We had him professionally evaluated and it was also discovered that he has auditory processing disorder. This doesn't allow him to process more than one thing at a time. He can hear well, but he can't focus on more than one thing at a time. It doesn't allow him to hear people calling his name if he is immersed in another activity. Next summer, he'll be doing a 10 day intensive program for auditory processing which includes 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. He'll be listening to headphones which somehow reprogram his brain to hear more than one thing at a time. I am really looking forward to this time to see if we can correct some of the behavior that he has.

We've found a few things that can work for Jeremy in regards to his behavior at school. First of all, Jeremy is OFF of all sugar. He used to have waffles with syrup every morning and all of the sugar gave him too much energy and he was bouncing off the walls! We finally realized that sugar has adverse effects so he now gets little if any sugar in the morning. We even prefer milk over orange juice since fruit has sugar in it.

Next, Jeremy has to take time to exercise in the morning. We put a mini trampoline in our living room and he bounces a few hundred times in the morning before school. If we have time, my husband will take him out to ride his bike before school or run around the field and play Frisbee. On mornings that he doesn't get to exercise, he seems to be more talkative and figity at school.

I've had to explained to Jeremy that sugar is "poison" to his brain. It makes him react in such a negative way where he throws fits and disobeys. I seem to automatically know when he's had sugar! When he acts like this and I know he's not overtired, I automatically ask if he's had sugar!? Usually, the answer is yes and so then I require him to start bouncing on the trampoline to get the energy out.

Jeremy might also have ADHD, which is a possibility since he was a preemie and upwards of 40% of preemies have ADHD. I went to one doctor and within about 1 minute he was telling me that Jeremy had ADHD and would require medicine! That appalled my husband and I was quite put off myself. Even if Jeremy does have ADHD, we're not going to put him on medication without trying to find every other way to manage it first. Besides occupational therapy, we've heard of other therapies that families have used and have had great success. Besides monitoring diet, they've used biofeedback and also some sort of testing of the electrodes in the body to eliminate toxins. I may have those details wrong, but we haven't gone down that road yet. Right now, Jeremy is in Tae Kwan Do 2 times a week. There, they teach self discipline, self esteem, leadership and focus. These are all qualities that I want for Jeremy.

If anyone could have told us where we'd end up even 6 months after we started down this path, I wouldn't have been able to handle it all at once. When we first discovered it, people came out of the woodwork to tell us their discoveries and what they went through. A friend from high school confided in me about her family situation and how they dealt with it. It was hard on her husband to imagine that their kid, coming from two "over achiever " parents, would have developmental problems. I could relate to that of course, but when she started telling me that her child couldn't stand loud noises and would cover his ears and cry and scream, I couldn't relate to THAT. She also told me that it'd be best for Jeremy to repeat kindergarten and at the time, it was a thought that I couldn't bear. We've since determined that Jeremy will repeat kindergarten next year. Coming to that conclusion took a lot of time and was a result of visiting numerous pre schools, talking with our own principal, vice principal, other parents, his teacher and the counselor. It was our principal who encouraged us not to do anything rash. I trusted her and I kept him in school and made the decision early on to repeat next year.

Other parents of kids of SID children had other stories. One parent's child had low motor skills and didn't want to swing or play with other kids. That was completely OPPOSITE of Jeremy. I did meet one mom at a workshop for parents with kids of SID who is very similar to Jeremy. He's a "crasher" and needs just as much physical stimulation as Jeremy. We laugh over the fact that we TELL our kids to jump on the couch... instead of getting off of them. So, little by little, with more reading and more talking, I found we all had one thing in common: MAJOR FRUSTRATION!

My friend from high school also had some of the same issues I was facing at home. My husband, who is a complete overachiever, couldn't deal with the fact that it was recommended that Jeremy go on medication. He absolutely REFUSED to even consider the possibility and so this would create lots of tension. My resolve was to find a solution, whatever that was. I was dealing with the teachers and with Jeremy every day, not just in the morning or at bed time. When I took Jeremy to school, the stress stopped for my husband, but not for me or his teachers. After speaking with numerous wives, I've discovered that the husbands don't believe it, or WANT to believe it. It appears that because men feel that they must be strong in every situation and must handle many obstacles in life, and that having a son that is facing problems is just too much to bear. Most of the dads of the boys with SID are in denial at first. The wives tend to have to deal with finding out what the issues are all by themselves by researching, talking and finding solutions. Many of the husbands fight the wives to the end until the wife finally convinces her mate to "just speak with an expert". In one case I know, the father uses the excuse, "he's just like I was" so he assumes it is okay. Meanwhile, everyone including his wife is going crazy having to deal with his child. My friend is of the mindset that if there IS help available, then she's going to get it! In reality, many of these men are right, because the kid IS just like them... and if there would have been help for their own mothers way back when, then the moms more than likely would have taken it instead of suffering through it and of course it would have made everything easier on the child. They could have learned tactics that would have helped them manage their actions, their bodies and their behavior.

My husband finally came around when he was able to speak with the Occupational Therapist where we got Jeremy evaluated. They promised to do whatever possible to work with Jeremy to correct many of these issues. The whole topic of using medication to help Jeremy hasn't come around for a while, but I know that my husband will be open to it if we have to do it. He's had to deal with Jeremy while I've been out of town and it nearly put him over the edge.

We're really just starting on this journey to getting the help we need. I've discovered many successes through trial and error. I've found that having a chart that rewards Jeremy for his chores and responsibilities for the day motivates him better than punishment. Tae Kwan Do has been fantastic to improve his self esteem. Talking with the teacher on an almost daily basis alerting her with new research I've found or discoveries that have happened has really helped. Daily massages on his feet, legs, back and hands are helping the stimulation of his skin so he doesn't freak out quite as bad when putting on socks and shoes. Teaching him to breathe himself through frustrations is an ongoing process and educating him about what to feed his body to it works correctly has helped me just as much!

Had I known what it would take to parent a child with Sensory Integration Disorder, then I would have said that I didn't have what it took. And I probably would have been right. My stress level has been through the roof ever since I had Jeremy but in reality finding out that he had something that was actually diagnosed gave me the power back! I knew that if I educated myself, our situation would improve and indeed it has.

I'm now able to understand that I need to implement complete structure in order for him to function at his best. That structure does include plenty of free or down time, but when it's time to do something or go some where, I put on my "drill sergeant" hat to get him to perform. It goes against my nature to be that firm, but I've learned that in order for our family to function, then I have to do what I have to do.

Please feel free to share your stories with me or to reach out for support. Perhaps if several of us can reach out to others to help, then others will be able to educate their spouses, their teachers and their friends.

Mary Gardner is an executive communications consultant and lifestyle coach. She is the mommy of Jeremy, a precious and active 5 year old boy who has Sensory Integration issues. Mary can be reached at mary@marygardner.com

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2011年11月25日 星期五

Sensory Integration Deficiency Disorder - More Than Just a Myth

Sensory Integration Deficiency Syndrome, Sensory Integration Disability Disorder, Sensory Issues...Yeah, there are many names for this disorder, and it seems like they're all long and difficult to pronounce. If you've been diagnosed as having this disorder chances are you were diagnosed by an occupational therapist. Hit it on the head, huh? Well, here's why...

An occupational therapist named Anna Jean Ayres was the first one to popularize the idea of a disorder that interferes with the normal brain function of sensory integration. She was by no means the first one to research it, but she was one of the first to publish her findings.

That was in 1989. Today there is still a lot about Sensory Integration Disorder Syndrome that still isn't known. Sorry to change names again, but there a lot of names to choose from.

Most doctors that have actually heard of this disorder don't really know much about it though. Many who do believe it is nothing more than the side-effects of people with autism, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, and several other developmental or neurological disorders. It's hard for someone with sensory issues to be taken seriously.

Occupational therapists may be the ones who will be most likely to believe you have the disorder, but don't fool yourself into thinking that's a cure. Many therapists claim to have a cure VIA exposure therapy, but usually when a patient would get better it was usually due to them outgrowing the syndrome on their own.

There's the good news. Many children who have sensory issues eventually outgrow them on their own. This is not every case, but most people who have this disorder and nothing else will outgrow their symptoms.

The major signs that a child may have sensory issues include: sensitivity to touch, smell, hearing, sight, or texture of their food (touch is the one you especially want to watch out for). Sensitivity to getting their hair cut. This one's not always prevalent, but prolonged cases usually involve the child walking on their toes.

Even if you never outgrow the disorder there are many ways to manage it. Walking becomes easier for toe walkers if they lose a little weight. Explaining the condition can also be helpful in dealing with the day to day rigors of basic human contact. If someone touches you in a way you don't like, simply explain it in a calm, mature fashion.

These tips may sound corny or even too simple to be true, but knowledge is a powerful tool, and if you know what's going on then you have power.

Good luck.

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Helping the Child Who Has Sensory Processing Issues

There's something up with a child you know. He's clumsy, picky, always on the move, or flopped in a chair like a wet noodle. He's impulsive, intense, and quirky. Maybe he has a learning disability, ADHD, or autism, or maybe not, but his behavior and responses to everyday sensations are puzzling. Why does he withdraw or act out? Why are transitions so difficult? Can he really hear the fluorescent lights that he claims are distracting him?

It's very likely that this child you're concerned about has sensory processing disorder, also known as SPD or sensory integration dysfunction. An estimated 1 in 20 children and almost all children with autism have SPD.

This child's nervous system is wired atypically, causing her body to process everyday sensations differently. Unable to rely on her senses to give her an accurate picture of what is going on in her body and her world, she is prone to anxiety, distractibility, impulsivity, and frustration. A child with SPD will tune out or act out when overstimulated. The need for sensory input such as movement and touch can be so overpowering that the child truly can't control her need to seek it out. Many of us have difficulty tuning out background noise, or prefer clothes that fit a certain way. These are sensory preferences. When a child's sensory issues interfere significantly with learning and playing, he needs the help of an occupational therapist and a sensory smart adult who can teach him how to feel more comfortable in his body and environment.

Fortunately, many of the accommodations that can make a huge difference in the life of a child who has sensory issues are simple and inexpensive. Here are just a few:

Cut out clothing tags, turn socks inside out or buy seamless ones, and avoid clothing with embroidery and elastic that will touch the skin and create distracting, irritating sensations.
To tolerate the intense sensation of having his teeth brushed, the child with SPD may need to use nonfoaming toothpaste and have his mouth and lips desensitized by using a vibrating toothbrush or even just gently pressing a hand-held vibrator against his cheek, jaws, and lips before attempting to brush.
To calm and focus a child with sensory issues, you can try applying deep pressure against the skin as you compress her joints. Hugging, or pressing pillows against her body or rolling her up in a blanket to play "burrito" are often enjoyable ways for a child to get input. Always pay close attention to what a child is telling you, in words or body language, about her response to sensory input. Do not upset her with unwanted touch.
In school or at home, allow him to sit on an exercise ball or an inflatable cushion, with a smooth or bumpy surface. This will meet the movement needs of a child who just has to be able to squirm and help the child with poor body awareness to better sense where his body is when he's seated. When these needs for movement and body awareness are met, the sensory child will focus better on listening, eating, or doing schoolwork.
Provide a quiet retreat when she's overwhelmed by the sensory onslaught of everyday life. Whether she sits alone with you in a car outside of a party or restaurant, or in a quiet, darkened room, listening to relaxing music on a personal music player with headphones, a sensory break can do wonders for a child's ability to tolerate her environment.

A pediatric occupational therapist, trained and experienced in helping children with sensory issues, can work with parents and teachers to plan and carry out activities for the child that can help him or her function better at home, at school, and away. She can also help problem solve and discover accommodations that will ease the child's discomfort, and set up a "sensory diet" of activities that will help him. Whether working on a consultation basis, in a sensory gym nearby, at home or at school, the right sensory smart OT can make a huge difference for a child with sensory processing disorder.

Nancy Peske is an author and editor and the parent of a child who at age 2 was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and multiple developmental delays. Coauthor of the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, available from Penguin Books, Nancy offers information and support on her blog and website at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com She has been active in the SPD community since 2002.

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Alternative For ADHD - Discover the Truth About Sensory Integration Therapy and ADHD

Probably the most famous treatment for persons with ADHD is pharmacotherapy. Why is that, you may ask. Well, that is because when children, let us say your child is diagnosed with a condition, the first professional that you may think can help you are doctors. Yes, that is correct; they can help you. However, you should know that the help they can provide you is limited. They may know a lot about ADHD but the treatment approach that they are trained to perform is limited into prescription of medicines. However, they know the right persons who can attend more to your child's problem that is why there are things like referrals.

Now, let us first have an overview of ADHD. It is a neurobiologic disorder that has three hallmark features; that is inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Now, here comes the tricky part. Most of you may think that these symptoms are purely behavioral, but you are wrong. There is actually what professionals call the sensory integration dysfunction. Now, what exactly is sensory integration? It is the ability to process, organize and synthesize sensory information that a person may receive from the body and/or the environment. Most of the time, it is the children with Autism that usually have sensory integration dysfunctions. However, there have been cases of children with ADHD who also have Sensory integration (SI) problems. These SI problems may manifest either the child will withdraw or seek a particular sensation. In your child with ADHD, his or her hyperactivity may actually be a sign that your child is seeking a particular sensation. Therefore, treatment approaches like behavior therapy would not work in your child, thus the Sensory Integration Therapy. This is an alternative for ADHD treatment which makes use of sensations and will manage your child's behavior through giving your child the amount of sensation that your child is seeking. After this has been achieved, there will be an immediate and significant change in the behavior of the child. Your child may be more attentive in the tasks assigned to him or her. Although there are studies proving its effectiveness, for some, these studies are still insufficient. Therefore, there still are debates regarding this intervention approach. However, these are still used in clinics but those who perform it do it carefully.

This information only means that there are still a lot to learn about ADHD and that the problems that your child may have may not be what you expect. So if your child is not responding to a treatment approach, this may mean that this is not your child needs, and so you may study more about the condition and ask question to expand your knowledge.

Puneet writes a blog about ADHD and helps ADHD sufferers to find new treatments in naturopathy and alternative medicine. If you are looking for a well-researched herbal remedy for ADHD, you may read more

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2011年11月24日 星期四

Help Kids With Sensory Integration Disorder Tolerate Transitions and Change

To kids with sensory integration and sensory processing issues, the world is filled with abrupt and unpleasant transitions. What seems to us to be an easy shift in activities may be, to them, like slamming on the brakes and or making a sharp turn that causes them to feel disoriented. To transition a child, first, get her attention. Call her name and tell her that she is going to switch activities soon, and give her a time frame for completing the switch. For an older child, you might say "In fifteen minutes you need to do your homework..." and set a kitchen timer. For a younger child, you might say "when you've gone down the slide three more times, we're leaving the park" and encourage her to count each of those last trips down the slide. Keep your voice inviting and warm but firm when you give warnings about transitions.

Remind the child of the positive aspects of the new activity he will be switching too. Even if it is not his favorite task you can remind him of the upside. If he has a dentist appointment, remind him that the dentist has that box of terrific toys to choose from when the appointment is over. If he doesn't like to leave the park, tell him he can choose the music for the car when you drive home.

To help him switch gears when time is up, the sensory child may well need some sort of calming or focusing activity. Climbing some stairs, marching, stretching, having a nonsugary snack, doing jumping jacks, or engaging in a fun little shuffle race (shuffling provides a lot of good, strong input to the legs) may be what he needs to regroup and ready himself for the next activity on the agenda.

If the child resists a transition and protests, think of it as an old car making creaky noises as it starts up in cold weather. Don't give the resistance too much attention, but do give her some time to adjust to the transition. Ask yourself, does this have to happen instantly or can you take a few more minutes? Plan for extra transition time, because the more patient you are, the easier it will be to diffuse her anxiety about the switch. As you observe her carefully, you'll see which transitions are the most difficult for her and be better able to prepare her. Use calendars and clocks, even with young children, to give them a sense of what's coming up.

Remind her what she needs to do to prepare for the activity ("You'll have to dress warmly to go on the walk"). Don't assume she will account for the preparation time, such as gathering the materials to do her homework, or the clean up time, such as putting away her toys. Leave plenty of time for her to accomplish these activities and praise her for doing the prep work or cleanup, offering a sense of how long the activity took: "Good for you! You got all your dolls and their clothes put away in just three minutes!" "I know it took ten minutes to find your shoes, coat, hat and gloves and put them on. That was frustrating for you, wasn't it? Let's talk about how to make it easier to find them all so it's not so much work to go outside to the park." Be light and positive as you discuss how long tasks take and what is involved and you can help your child understand the beginning, middle, and end of a task and predict how long each step will take.

Talk to your child about possible accommodations for her concerns and her sensory issues as she switches from one activity to another: "No, we can't make the walk only 5 minutes long, but you can keep your hands in your pockets instead of wearing mittens. You can rub your head before you put your hat on so the tightness doesn't bother you so much. No, you can't get candy at the corner store we'll be passing."

The more prepared she is for any transition, the less anxiety-provoking the transitions involved will be. And whenever you can, cut yourself some slack as you work to help your child transition. It's challenging to do, but in time, your child will learn to better tolerate the unpredictability in his day.

copyright (c) 2010 Nancy Peske

Nancy Peske is the mother of a child with sensory issues and coauthor of the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues and sends out a weekly newsletter of practical tips for parents and professionals who work with children who have sensory processing issues, available at http://www.sensorysmartnews.com You can learn more about practical ways to help children with sensory integration issues at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com

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Gifted Children - Do They Have Sensory Sensitivities?

Gifted children are a joy and wonder to watch as they effortlessly progress through many different facets of growth and development. Their intellectual capabilities are far beyond those of their peer age group. They possess outstanding abilities and are capable of performing at astonishingly higher levels of performance when compared to other children. Although there are many standardized tests of intelligence that help educators and professionals accurately identify gifted students, parents usually recognize their advanced development first.

It is very likely that most parents recognize that there is something unique and special about their gifted child during the first three years of life. Gifted children demonstrate extraordinary growth and development skills during this time. They accomplish and surpass expected milestones months or even years before other children their same age. Parents observe their children rapidly progressing through various stages of development and they are often described as "ahead of their age". Some of the signs of a gifted child include:

Many gifted children learn to read earlier than expected and can more easily understand what they read.
They learn basic skills more quickly and apply reasoning at an early age.
They are curious and ask more questions about "how" and "why".
Gifted children usually communicate well verbally with their parents, siblings, peers, and even strangers -- and they usually have an expanded vocabulary.
They appear to be very organized and efficient.
Gifted children enjoy a challenge and seek opportunities to grow developmentally and solve new problems.
They are able to understand abstract ideas, non-verbal communication, and other types of communication.
These are just some of the potential characteristics of gifted children. There are many more signs that indicate a child has a special talent and ability to learn, communicate, grow, and develop. Parents and teachers who recognize these signs will often give gifted children many more opportunities to learn and excel.
But recent studies also indicate that gifted children may suffer from sensory sensitivities more often than their non-gifted peers. Based on his research, W. Roedell, in his article published in Roeper Review, theorizes that the gifted child often has intense sensitivity. This means that gifted children may undergo more stress due to their inability to effectively process some of the sensory signals travelling through their bodies and to their brains.

To understand what this means, it is important to understand how sensory integration works. Sensory integration is the ability for people to process sensory data and information collected from the five senses and from the environment surrounding them. It is a neurological process that carries the stimuli to the brain where it is processed, organized, and evaluated for usable information or actions. When sensory integration is interrupted or does not function properly, it is like a mis-fire or mis-cue to the brain. Pieces or parts of information are missing and it is difficult for the brain to process the data. This can result in problems with daily living skills, academic progress, or social interactions.

While parents may be swelled with pride and adoration as they watch their young gifted child grow and develop - and justifiably so - they may overlook this important aspect of their child's development and behaviour. They may believe that their child has difficulty socializing with peers because "he is just smarter than they are" or "he needs more mature interactions". Unfortunately, the real problem may be that he may be experiencing sensory integration dysfunction and it is too difficult for the child to engage in social interactions, develop friendships, or enjoy activities with other children.

If a gifted child is affected by sensory integration challenges, it is possible that he or she may have more functional problems than other children. They could become more aggressive, impulsive, withdrawn, and introverted than other children. They do not experience the gratification and developmental processes associated with healthy social interactions because they do not participate in social activities as often.

So where does all of this information and data lead us when it comes to helping gifted children overcome sensory integration dysfunction, or teaching them to manage through some of the challenges associated with this issue?

Educators, therapists, and counselors must be keenly aware of this issue and must evaluate gifted children carefully to assess whether or not it is a problem. Utilizing this information when developing and observing children in classroom settings, activities, and social activities becomes vital to understanding any special needs of gifted children.

For example, although gifted children may be well above their peers in intellectual capacity and application, they may experience more sensitivity and have difficulty processing certain noises, sights, or sounds. They may find that bright fluorescent lighting creates a feeling of confusion or anxiety for the gifted child. Turning down the lights to accommodate the child may help. If the child is more sensitive to loud noises, then playing music at a lower volume or speaking in a softer tone may be beneficial. Parents and teachers both need to understand the sensory stimulus that affects a child and help the child learn to deal with the challenge. But they must also teach the child how to cope with the sensory sensitivities in various ways.

In "Sensory Sensitivities of Gifted Children", there is an indepth view and analysis into this topic. The theories and hypotheses that are addressed through various researchers indicates that gifted children may have different sensory modulations (or different ways of processing sensory stimuli) than those who are not gifted. W. Roedell theorizes that "gifted children's unique challenges and skills are likely embedded in a neurological system that perceives and responds to the environment differently from children of typical intelligence."

As parents, teachers, and professionals, we must learn to understand the gifted child better and evaluate whether or not sensory integration challenges are present. This also means that we must find tools and resources to help gifted children manage their sensory challenges so they can focus, concentrate, and become more socially engaged. Until now, many educators and professionals believed that sensory integration dysfunction was a problem associated with children who had ADHD, hyperactivity, or other disorders. This new research opens up a whole new world of possibilities to provide the gifted child with better guidance and resources related to the sensory processing.

Rather than assume a gifted child is just acting inappropriately in a social environment, or that the child has behavior problems, or even that the child just doesn't want to play with children his own age due to his higher intelligence level, parents and professionals should explore the tools, resources, and information that can better assess and uncover the real problem. A higher intellectual capacity is just one aspect of a gifted child's life and world. They excel above their peers in this area, but they may also experience psychosocial issues that deter them from engaging in vital and rewarding developmental social interactions with others.

Accessing information and tools to support the growth and development in all aspects of the gifted child's life is an important part of the educational and nurturing process. For further information on research or resources related to gifted children and sensory sensitivities, or sensory processing difficulties, refer to the full studies noted in this article.


Roedell, W. (1984). Vulnerabilities of highly gifted children. Roeper Review, 6, 127-130.

Miller, L., Anzalone, M., Lane, S., Cermak, S., & Osten, E. (2007). Concept evolution in sensory integration: A proposed nosology for diagnosis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 135-140.

Gere, D. R., Capps, S. C., Mitchell, D.W. & Grubbs, E. (2009) Sensory sensitivities of gifted children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 288-295.

Debbie Hopper, an accredited occupational therapist, has a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney. Debbie is passionate about her mission of researching, evaluating, and making the most valuable resources and tools easily accessible to parents, teachers, and therapists.

With post-graduate training in sensory integration assessment and intervention, Debbie brings significant focus to this area of growth and development through LifeSkills4Kids.com.au. Debbie's passion gives her a relentless drive and motivation to continually research new and innovative resources to help children learn and benefit from all life skills.

To sign up to our newsletter, visit us at http://www.lifeskills4kids.com.au

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2011年11月23日 星期三

What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

ADHD, what is it exactly? Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental disorder usually causing inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in children starting before the age of seven. ADHD is a chronic disorder that occurs in 3-5% of children worldwide.

The controversy surrounding ADHD has been around since the 70's. Some people don't even believe that ADHD is an actual disorder; others believe it has a genetic or physiological basis. Even more controversy surrounds the treatment for ADHD. Treatments include behavior modifications, life-style changes, counseling and stimulant medication.

Now a days anytime a child is hyper parents think it is ADHD. Between 2-16% of kids in school are diagnosed with ADHD and given medication for this disorder. Many kids however are usually misdiagnosed. Many symptoms of ADHD can be attributed to other disorders, many of which can accompany ADHD. Because such combinations of disorders appear together, this can complicate diagnosis. There are five behavioral symptoms that have been attributed to ADHD, but are actually not symptoms of ADHD directly. Many of these symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADHD when in actuality they are their own disorder and should be treated as such. The five problems are Anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, learning disabilities, and sensory integration disorder.

1. Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by feelings of worry, apprehension, and fear. Anxiety can be triggered by a person, a place, or even by a feeling. The stimulus can even be unidentifiable outwardly to other people. It's harder to diagnose kids that have anxiety largely due to the fact that kids articulate their feelings much less than adults do. Kids with anxiety usually appear preoccupied or zoned out. This is due to their internal thoughts of worry. Kids with anxiety don't know how to handle or express their anxiety and perceive their threats as uncontrollable and unavoidable.

2. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness that can result in an aversion to activity. Depression can impair thinking skills, memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. People who suffer from depression usually seem out of it. They have trouble focusing, become irritable, and have a lack of interest or initiation. Depression has no one single cause. Family history, pessimistic personality, trauma and stress, physical conditions, and other psychological disorders can all be associated with depression. For others depression had not specific trigger or cause. Since children have more difficulty expressing their emotions, it's important to determine depression in children through the evaluation of the child's behavior in several contexts.

3. Disruptive Behavior is where a child will not settle down and becomes troublesome or disorderly. Especially in a school setting this can become a problem where the disruptive student doesn't allow the other students to learn. In some cases kids can be disruptive intentionally, to show off, be funny or look cool. However children that have disruptive behaviors usually feel frustrated and are rebelling against authority to bring attention upon them. These types of kids have not developed adequate self-control, which causes them to act out and ultimately cause distractions for other classmates.

4. Learning disabilities is a classification of disorders where a person has difficulty learning. These disorders have affected the brain's ability to receive and process information therefore making it terribly difficult for the person to learn. Because we do not know what causes this problem within the brain learning disabilities are impossible to cure. However, there are other ways to get around learning disabilities. Intervention and support are the most important options available to someone who have a learning disability. Learning disabilities in children can cause inattentiveness, disruptive behavior, anxiety and depression. There are many learning disabilities such as reading, writing, math disorders, visual perception, auditory processing, nonverbal, dyslexia etc.

5. Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is a neurological disorder where the person is unable to coordinate sensory information as it comes through the senses. When present in a child, the child may appear inattentive or quite the opposite as hyperactive. This is caused by the child being oversensitive or under sensitive to the sensory stimuli surrounding him/her. A child with a sensory integration disorder may be distressed by loud noises, bright lights, rough textures, or smells; or conversely, may need to handle things, hang upside-down, or shout boisterously.

As you can tell from the descriptions of the each of these disorders, many of the symptoms are the same or very similar. Many of these disorders accompany each other and therefore the person may be dealing with several different disorders at the same time. Because many of these disorders are now affecting children as well its important to evaluate and diagnose properly. This way we can properly treat for the correct disorder and stop over-medicating of our children, which can cause them harm in their future.


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Bean Bag Chairs Used As Sensory Integration Products

For children with sensory processing disorders, bean bag chairs can be a lifesaver. Most sensory integration products are designed to help children better process sensory information and let them enjoy life safely. Bean chairs are a great sensory integration product that gives children with sensory processing disorders the sensory input they need without costing a lot of money.

These chairs work as sensory integration products by providing a child with the sensory input they need to stay calm. Instead of sitting on a typical hard chair, they can be enveloped by a soft bean bag chair that provides deep pressure sensory input over the whole body. This supportive pressure helps keep the child calm while they do relaxing tasks like reading or watching television. Children can even curl up and nap on beanbag chairs because this deep pressure input is relaxing to them. But these chairs aren't just useful for relaxing children with sensory processing disorders. They can also be used in activities.

Some children with sensory processing disorders need to run and crash into things to provide stimulation. Bean bag chairs are perfect for this because they are soft enough to crash into without hurting the child while still providing the sensory input the child craves. Many children also enjoy being squished by soft materials. Parents or caregivers can place a bean bag on the child's back and apply gentle pressure to give the deep sensory input the child needs. Caregivers can also turn this activity into a game where the child pretends to be a turtle with the bag chair on his or her back. Because of the deep pressure sensory input they provide, bag chairs are perfect for children with sensory processing disorders.

Think that bean bag chairs are right for your child's sensory processing disorders, or want to see some large bean bags? Then check out the beanbags at ComfySacks.com

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