2012年9月17日 星期一

Sensory Overload and Stress

As we move into the new millennium, we witness the effects of increasing environmental, economic, and psychological stress. Sensory overload is taxing the human system. The pressures upon all life on earth have reached unparalleled proportions.

Our bodies are subject to an onslaught of man-made stressors: crisscrossing fields of microwave, radio, television, and electronic transmissions, pollution, noise, and traffic, as well as the bombardments of information and advertising, and the requirements to produce more and more efficiently in the face of fierce economic competition. Add to that the threats of terrorism and war that have created a palpable level of world anxiety and we have a culture dominated by stress, tension, and fear. We are beings of energy vibrating at the edge of disintegration in a sea of over-stimulation.

How do we maintain our balance? What do we do when an intense stressor such as a lost job, divorce, or the death of a loved one lands on top of the load we bear? What if, to complicate matters, this load rests on a personal history of trauma?

One of the main reasons we have a hard time breaking out of this cycle is that we do not realize how deeply we are affected by stress. On the surface, we may speak of being in a time-crunch, feeling burned-out, or needing to get away. We joke about vibrating from all the pressure. When our stress is intensified, we feel that we are going to go ballistic. We blow off steam in more or less productive ways, from exercise to alcohol to road rage, but the underlying pattern of denial remains.

Psychologists describe our perpetual tension, or the fight/flight response, as a reaction to the relentless fronts of over-stimulation. This response pattern is characterized by high-frequency brain waves termed beta waves. We are functioning as if we are on high alert all of the time.

Moreover, medical scientists are discovering how this state of perpetual tension adversely affects our well-being. Stress creates chronic patterns of muscular tension. Muscular tension restricts the flow of blood, lymphatic fluid, and nerve impulses. Cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients and unable to clear toxic substances. This leads to chronic pain, cellular toxicity, and decreased immune response.

On an emotional level, we experience chronic anxiety and reactive response patterns marked by inappropriate anger and projected blame and criticism. Mentally, we become locked in rigid thinking patterns marked by a defensive mindset governed by fear. Spiritually we resign ourselves to being victims of circumstances and isolate ourselves in a survival mode. While our problems are not new, the pace of modern life has multiplied their negative effects exponentially.

If that sounds overly grim, take heart. It can be motivation to shift our state of awareness. It can intensify the search for ways to live differently. In recent decades, a time-honored light has begun to shine through the dense, tangled lines of our modern networks. This light radiates through a variety of old and new refractions. We see the emergence of a multitude of holistic practices.

In support of these phenomena, research has shown that certain exercises for the mind and body reduce stress and produce deep relaxation via slower alpha-theta brain-wave frequencies. In the states affected by these exercises, such a slowdown simultaneously occurs in many of the body's systems. This slowdown produces integrating, synchronizing, and healing effects. The practice of these exercises can develop capacities within us that will enable us to handle the pressures of our lives.

Taking these exercises even further, we are able to develop senses and modes of perception that have been latent in human evolution, as we know it. We can develop the ability to perceive and cultivate ourselves as the energetic beings that we are on the most fundamental level.

As an entry point to the expansion of the conscious domain, biofeedback research shows that we can positively affect aspects of our lives that we thought were automatic and inaccessible, such as brain-wave frequencies, heart rate, respiration, and chronic muscle-tension, to name a few. Guided-imagery research has proven the power of imagination and visualization in overcoming disease and increasing wellness. Meditation research describes how, through the application of awareness and intention, we can positively affect the intricate pathways that serve as conductors for qi ("chee"), the universal vitalizing force that enlivens our bodies.

Dr. John Sarno, a physician who specializes in pain relief, has shown that emotion and consciousness play a large role in health and disease. He has coined the term Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) to describe a host of symptoms that are caused by stress, tension, and repressed rage. To show the direct relationship of consciousness to TMS he found that "Awareness, insight, knowledge, and information were the magic medicines that would cure this disorder" (The Mindbody Prescription, New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1998, p. xxi). This supports what physicists have been saying for many years, which is that consciousness and physical reality are interwoven; mind and matter are inseparable. In the context of the qigong meditation, we see how body, emotion, mind, and spirit form a feedback system that can be used to shift our state of being.

Tension-causing sensory overload is both our most predominant problem and our window of opportunity. It is through a thorough understanding of our stress that we will find a new way. When we uncover the source of stress and take action to release this tension, we open to new possibilities. We recover and develop our fuller sensitivities and feelings of vitality.

These are not the mists of fantasy or the mere ear tickle of sweet sounding words. This is a well-mapped path. The Chinese have used Qigong Meditation as a powerful tool for self-development for thousands of years. You can receive a free introduction to this method and discover a step-by-step program of qigong meditation in my "LEARN QIGONG MEDITATION" course available from http://www.learnqigongmeditation.com

Copyright 2006 by Kevin D. Schoeninger

Kevin Schoeninger: M.A. Philosophy, Certified Personal Trainer, Qigong Meditation Instructor, and Reiki Master. http://www.learnqigongmeditation.com

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Occupation Therapy Tips for Parents

Overwhelmed by a diagnosis that requires your child to visit an occupational therapist? You're not alone. Try not to focus on feeling like there's a stigma involved with taking your child to therapy. Instead, recognize that occupational therapy is a life-changing and highly effective form of therapy for kids with a wide range of childhood developmental, physical and emotional disorders.

Here are some tips to help you manage your responsibilities as a parent of a child in occupational therapy:

1. Take lots of notes.

You'll get a lot of information from your child's therapist during the evaluation and initial appointments. Bring along a folder with your child's medical history as well as a notebook for taking notes.

2. Ask lots of questions.

Don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Don't be embarrassed if you're confused or not sure what to ask. This is new to you, and that's okay. Occupational therapists are highly skilled in dealing with new parents and new patients.

3. Do your homework.

Chances are, your child's occupational therapist will give you handouts and instructions for therapies to work on at home. These might be games, exercises or a "sensory diet" to assist with sensory integration. Follow through with your end of the deal by sticking to the instructions you're given. Therapy is far more effective with the right support system at home during the time in between sessions. Consider looking up some sensory processing disorder books and resources to learn more.

4. Pay attention.

Unless otherwise specified, observe your child's therapy. Note the way the therapist speaks to your child and the types of activities your child completes. Check out the types of therapeutic tools and sensory toys used. By simply watching, you'll probably pick up on some great ways to manage your child's behavior and communicate more effectively.

5. Be consistent.

Try not to miss too many appointments. While illnesses and vacations happen, it's very important to be as consistent as possible. Your child will begin to know when to expect appointments. Consistently helps you meet milestones and assist the occupational therapist in his or her routines.

Maria is a parent of a special needs child and the author of ShopSensory.com, a website devoted to sharing the best sensory toys, resources and tools.

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Home Remedies For Eye Care and Pupil Disorder

When a long-suffering walks through the door, the eye care expert must immediately begin evaluating the integrity of that patient; the way he or she carries themselves, their speech pattern, facial features, clarity of their eyes, position of their eyes, signs of squinting, or excessive tearing. These careful comments could alert the practitioner to issues that need attention. The eyes, as we know are the measure of the inner workings of the body. The pupils, in exacting, distinguish the delicate intricacies of the brain, and any abnormalities could prove devastating.

Our basic visual design is such that both eyes work jointly in synchrony with each other. That is to say that the eyes are hypothetical to focus at the same level, move together, procedure light at the same rate, and both pupils are hypothetical to react the same to light and somewhere to stay. There are certain circumstances that will prevent full regular functioning.

For example, the eyes may not move the same way resultant in an eye turn, or one eye may see better then the other consequential in decreased visual functioning. However, the pupils are always imaginary to react the same way, at the same time. The one immunity to this rule is if an individual is born with this irregularity. Putting that state of affairs aside, all pupils must respond identically. If there is a pupil irregularity, a very serious neurological crisis could exist, and that may be life aggressive.

The human beings are blessed with five sensory organs and eyes are among that five. We move eyes several times a day to bring the objects in focus. Due to its sharp focus one is able to see the far distant objects and the minute ones like ant. Any error in the functioning of the eye results in vision defects. The common vision defects are:

o Myopia (short sightedness)

o Hypermetropia (long sightedness)

o Astigmatism

o Presbyopia

o Causes of Eye problems

o Reading in inadequate light or dim light

o Working on computer for longer periods without using computer screnn.

o Inadequate diet specially the diet which is deficient in vitamin A

o Watching television from close and for maximum hours

Conditions which affect the structure or function of the pupil of the eye, including disorders of innervation to the pupillary constrictor or dilator muscles, and disorders of pupillary reflexes

Home Remedies for eye care and Pupil:

o Mix one part of rose water and one part of lime juice and store in a bottle and use it as an eye drop.

o Intake of sufficient amounts of vitamin A is very necessary for healthy vision.

o Eating spinach will help in preventing various eye problems as it contains carotene in very rich amount.

o Using drops of eyebright herb are very beneficial for the eye conditions.

o The consumption of good amount of vitamin C also lowers the chances of developing cataracts.

o Make a mixture of 4-5 grams of alum powder and 30-35 grams of rose water. Put 2-3 drops of this mixture in each eye every night to get relief from eyestrain and also redness in the eyes.

o Washing the eyes with cold water will give relief from strain and soothe the eyes.

Eye Exercises:

Palming - sit relaxed with legs folded on a chair and rest the elbows on the table. Keep the palms of both hands on the cheeks, close both the eyes and cover them with the hands. Remain in this position for 10-15 minutes.

Blinking - while doing constant work with eyes, blink the eyes at least 10-12 times continuously.

Pupil exercises - rotate the pupils up and down for at least 5-6 times while keeping the neck and backbone straight.

Other causes of unequal pupil sizes may include:

* Aneurysm

* Bleeding inside the skull caused by head injury

* Brain tumor or abscess

* Excess pressure in one eye caused by glaucoma

* Infection of membranes around the brain caused by meningitis or encephalitis

* Migraine headache

* Seizure (pupil size difference may remain long after seizure is over)

* Tumor, mass, or lymph node in the upper chest or lymph node causing pressure on a nerve may cause decreased sweating, a small pupil, or drooping eyelid all on the affected side.

Read more on Home Remedies for Eye Care and Eye Care Products.

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2012年9月16日 星期日

A Parent's Introduction to Aspergers Syndrome

Aspergers Syndrome (AS) is in the category of developmental disorders of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that is under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD. It is different from Autism because there is not a specific delay of language or cognitive development, but does share the clumsiness (tripping, bumping, dropping things, etc.) aspects, although these are not particular to the diagnosis.

Why call it Aspergers?

It is named after Hans Asperger who, in 1944, described children in his pediatric practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, were non-empathetic with their peers, and were physically clumsy. It is sometimes referred to as a high functioning autism.


Aspergers Syndrome is treated mainly through behavioral therapy that is designed to work on communication skills, social skills, coping mechanisms, and helping with obsessions and repetitive routines. Most people with AS learn to cope with their differences, but may need support and encouragement to maintain their independence.

A typical treatment program for a child with Aspergers Syndrome includes:

The training of social skills for more effective interpersonal interactions
Cognitive behavioral therapy to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions, and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines
Medication, for coexisting conditions such as depression and anxiety
Occupational or physical therapy to assist with poor sensory integration and motor coordination
Social communication intervention, which is specialized speech therapy to help with the pragmatics of the give and take of normal conversation
The training and support of parents, particularly in behavioral techniques to use in the home

Kids with Aspergers don't usually share the withdrawn isolation of children with autism and will openly, but often very awkwardly, approach and engage others in social situation. However, their inability see things through others eyes, and the tendency to go overboard going on and on about their latest obsession, makes them appear selfish, uncaring and insensitive toward other people. This is not necessarily true, they just don't realize how they are perceived or that other people have different interests and feelings than they do.

Many of the children with Aspergers will actually memorize reactions in specific social situations, and recite definitions or examples of emotion, but have a very hard time acting on any of that knowledge in a real situation. Or they will use a rigid application of the specific social rules they have memorized. This can come across as forced eye contact, or the plastered on smile, or laughing at the wrong time. They want friends and do seek out social contact, but over the years their failures in these situations can be devastating.

Kids with Aspergers will sometimes develop very focused and intense interest in something or some activity, that will completely dominate their time and their life, almost to the exclusion of everything else, and they will try to draw whoever they can into the same interest. This is usually seen as normal childhood interest and behavior at first, until the obsessive qualities become apparent and problems relating to anything or anyone else starts happening.


The diagnosis uses the identification of the stereotypical and repetitive behaviors as a central part of how it is diagnosed, but confirmation is done by ruling out anything else that can cause the same symptoms. The motor behaviors that are observed are things like the hand flapping or twisting, complex whole body movements and walking on tip toes, repeating the same word or sound over and over again are all typical repetitive behaviors of AS.

Other Issues

Your child may display symptoms that aren't a part of an Aspergers Syndrome diagnosis, but still affect the child and your whole family. They may have perception difficulties, and problems with fine or gross motor skills, handling emotions, and difficulty sleeping. Many kids on the spectrum (Autism Spectrum) have trouble with SI, or Sensory Integration, and can be overly sensitive or under sensitive to sound light, touch, texture, taste, smell, pain, temperature and other things that stimulate the senses. It may feel soft and nice to you, but to them, it can be actually painful.

Children with Aspergers are more likely to have sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep, waking up often at night, and early morning awakenings. Aspergers is also associated with alexithymia, which means having problems identifying and describing ones emotions. My daughter certainly has emotions and feelings, but she has no idea how to describe them or even what they are, or why they are there. Very frustrating.

Special Education

Children with AS may require special education services because of their social and behavioral difficulties, although many attend regular education classes. Teens and tween with Aspergers may have difficulty with self-care, organization and disturbances in social and romantic relationship. They are usually very smart, but the inability to properly express and the awkwardness of social contact keep many from leaving home as adults, although some gain independence in work and domicile, even marrying and raising a family. Teen and preteen years are hard enough on kids without social difficulties, but can be very traumatic for a kid dealing with Aspergers.

Coexisting Conditions

Anxiety with AS is very common, and is usually centered on change or transition. That is why a consistent schedule is so important. Anxiety and stress during social situations is inevitable because of the constantly changing nature of humans and relationships and situations, there isn't a single right thing to do in every situation. Stress and anxiety will show up usually as a behavior, such as withdrawal, an obsession, hyperactivity, or even aggressive or oppositional behavior.

Depression, and other mood disorders, can be the end result of the constant stress and frustration of failing to properly socialize and make friends. Medication and behavior therapy can be used to deal with co-existing problems such as anxiety, depression, inattention, obsessive compulsion, and aggression.

Getting the family involved by helping them to understand what is going on with their child or brother or sister, will have a big impact on the child's future. It will also help with being able to deal with everything that is involved in dealing with a child with Aspergers Syndrome and bring some semblance of normalcy back to the family. Getting help early and involving the whole family as a built in support system has the best effect on long term outcomes for a child with Aspergers Syndrome.

Judson Greenman, advocate and father of four very special girls started these websites as a way of sharing the joys and challenges of Raising Special Kids - from one parent to another. See it all at http://www.my-special-kids.com and http://www.anieleirose.org

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Let's Talk About Autism

Autism is much more common than most people think. Autism is NOT caused by a person's upbringing, their social circumstances and is NOT the fault of the individual with the condition. It is a developmental disorder that some people are born with--it's NOT something you can catch or pass along to someone else.

Autism is usually diagnosed at a very young age, when a child is l/2 to 4 years old. It is not treated with surgery or medicine (although some people with autism may take medicine to improve certain symptoms, like aggressive behavior or attention problems).

This tragic disorder called autism causes many parents to spend extra time and energy to raise an autistic child and they should be given kudos for this, not criticism. Autism is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, to reason, and to interact with others. Just imagine, if you will, how this would affect your own life!

Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls, and it is found equally in all walks of life and in all populations around the world. Typically it appears by age 3, though diagnosis and interventions can and should begin earlier.

Not everybody with autism has the exact same symptoms, which makes it even more difficult to detect at an early age. There are no medical tests to determine whether someone has autism, although doctors may run various tests to rule out other causes of symptoms. Because their brains process information differently, teens with autism may not act like other people you know and the severity of the symptoms vary from person to person.

Some children have only mild symptoms and grow up to live independently, while others have more severe symptoms and need supported living and working environments throughout their lives. Some children who have just a few of these symptoms may appear to be developing within typical expectations, although somewhat more slowly. One of the many symptoms is sensory integration dysfunction. (This has been the primary symptom my grandson developed and still experiences mild symptoms.) He has lately been diagnosed with ADHD also.

We had no idea he had no sense of smell until he began walking up to individuals and sniffing their clothes and practically frightened them to death as they perceived he was going to bite them. Speech, language and problems writing also can develop.

Learning that a child has autism can be wrenching for parents. Feeling like they've lost the child they once knew, parents often move through the emotional stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is the acceptance stage that I want to talk about today.

I want you to understand what a child is going through and how important it is that he/she has your love and acceptance. Now, you are thinking that, of course, we love our child! I want to stress here just how crucial it is for your child to hear the words "I love you no matter what" several times a day. This soon becomes embedded and they are able to move forward, knowing that their parents appreciate them for who they are. Regardless of what else you do as caregivers, LOVE is primary. This quality also is crucial in everyone that works with your child, such as, teachers, doctors, therapists and others who enter their environment.

Please visit my Blog at


Meredith is a retired small business owner and has enjoyed retirement for a few years. She recently came out of retirement to develop an on-line affiliate business. She will be utilizing the approaches she has learned to earn money for a special project to help restore an old historical cemetery that is in ruin. The Data Connection will provide the monetary funds needed for this worthy endeavor.

On-line affiliate marketing fits right into her stay-at-home lifestyle. While she enjoys writing, the rest of the business will not come so easy. The article marketing concept is strongly emphasized in the approach she is taking. She believes strongly that this will result in establishing a business with a firm foundation. She invites you to visit her Blog at: http://aboutautismandmore.blogspot.com

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - What Criteria to Use When Deciding Treatment

When it comes to treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, many parents are at a loss as regards which treatment options to go for. Very often, they do not ask the right questions about the powerful mind altering drugs which are prescribed in tons across Europe and America. This article should help you to decide on what criteria to adopt before deciding which treatment is right for your child.

The first criteria to take into consideration is to see if the treatment you choose will affect your child's sleep in a positive or negative way. Many of the psychostimulants such as Adderall XR, Ritalin and Celexa have some side effects as regards sleep challenges and leave many children with a sleep deficit. This has a knock on effect at school and interferes with daytime functioning.

Hasbro Children's Hospital (Providence RI) recently carried out a survey. When psychiatrists and child psychologists were asked about how many children were suffering from insomnia in their care, the numbers were very high. In preschoolers it can be as high as 20%, while in school kids this rose to about 33%.

If your child is suffering from sleep challenges because of the medication he is on, it is high time to reconsider and find alternative treatment. Otherwise it means that more prescription drugs are given to solve the sleeping problem and this leads into a downwards spiral where too many drugs are given to children. There are other ways of treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The second criteria when selecting the right ADHD treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is to make sure that child behavior modification is an integral part of the treatment. Pills or medication will never teach social, learning or coping skills! This is recommended by the NIMH who say that medication must be combined with behavioural therapy or effective parenting skills. This is also supported by the research carried out at the University of Buffalo.

The third criteria in selecting treatment for ADHD is to ensure that the lifestyle changes you employ are actually compatible with your ADHD child's condition. For example, make sure that crowded places such as shopping malls are reduced to a bare minimum. As ADHD children suffer from a sensory overload, noisy environments are more than likely to lead to a meltdown. The answer is to increase green time activities. You can help an ADHD child by breaking down tasks and routines. There are ways of preparing for bedtime which will induce better sleep such as winding down time before bed. The computer is NOT the way to do that. TVs and computers off an hour before bedtime are great ways to enforce this.

The bottom line is to choose an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment which will cause your child the minimum of discomfort in side effects. You can also ensure that the lifestyle changes and routines actually are helping him to grow and develop into a happier and more confident child.

Why not check out my website below for more ideas. You will be so glad you did!

Yes, you CAN raise happier, calmer and better behaved children. Discover more info on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and how the selecting the right treatment can turn your child around.

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Is My Child Just Active Or Could it Be ADHD?

Are you the parent of a young child who seems to be perpetually moving? Does your child have difficulty attending to tasks? Have you been told by family and friends that your child's behavior is not normal. Are you concerned that your child may have ADHD? This article will discuss 9 symptoms of ADHD, and also give information about a rating scale that can be used to help determine if your child has the disorder.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This disorder has 3 core symptoms which are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. There are an estimated 1 and ½ to 2 and ½ million children with ADHD in the United States, which is 3-5% of the student population. More boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD which is approximately 4-9 times more.

According to the DSM IV ADHD can be defined by the behaviors exhibited. Children and adults have a combination of the following behaviors.

1. Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in their seat.

2. Difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.

3. Difficulty sustaining attention and waiting for a turn in tasks, games, or group situations.

4. Blurting out answers to questions before the questions have been completed.

5. Difficulty following through on instructions and in organizing tasks.

6. Shifting from one unfinished activity to another.

7. Failing to give close attention to details and avoiding careless mistakes.

8. Losing things necessary for tasks or activities.

9. Difficulty in listening to others without being distracted or interruption;

A child can have ADD which is Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactivity. Those children would have symptoms of inattention and impulsivity but no symptoms of hyperactivity.

If your young child has several of these symptoms over several months, you should bring up the possibility of ADHD with your child's physician. A rating scale is available to help determine if a child has ADHD; the scale is called the Connors -3: Connors Third Edition.

This scale can be given by medical personnel or educational personnel. If your child is three years old and receiving special education services you may ask special education personnel to conduct a Connors Rating Scale. The Connors-3 can be found at: http://www.proedinc.com.

The reason that it is important to determine if your child has ADHD :

1. Because of the impact ADHD can have on your child's academic success.

2. Because of the impact ADHD can have on your child's school behavior.

3. Because many children with ADHD may have other disabilities; such as learning disabilities, short term memory disorders, sensory integration disorder, anxiety or mood disorders.

The earlier you know that your child has ADHD the earlier that you can begin treatment, watch for other disabilities, and help your child reach academic success!

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities. She has been an educational advocate helping hundreds of parents successfully navigate the special education system. She is also the author of the book: Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How to Beat Them at Their Own Game. For more information about parenting a child with a disability go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com

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2012年9月15日 星期六

Dermatillomania in Children

Compulsive skin picking is a type of obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSD). OCSD symptoms typically begin during the teenage years or early adulthood, but recent research shows that some children may develop the illness even during the preschool years. Research also indicates that at least one-third of OCSDs in adults begin in childhood. Compulsive skin picking also called psychogenic excoriation is also sometimes seen in children. It is disappointing to know that there are very few resources available to parents whose children suffer from this sometimes debilitating disorder.

Skin picking most likely starts due to inadequate messages from the skin to the central nervous system and a decreased sensitivity to pain. It is more likely to occur during periods of boredom or stress, and occurs most often at bedtime, in the bathroom, in class, and in the car. Through excessive skin picking, children tend to convey messages for which they can't find the words. It may be almost impossible for a child to describe all the thoughts and feelings that are making him to pick but the evidence alone of compulsive picking is enough to signal to a parent that medical intervention is needed.

Effort should be made to eliminate the possibility of a physical cause for picking. If there is a physical cause, that must be treated and the urge to pick will probably go away. A number of products are available to help alleviate the discomfort and distress associated with this disorder. Physical impediment devices such as special gloves can be used. They are helpful in only a small number of cases.

Finger nails of children should be regularly trimmed to avoid compulsive skin picking. Also, their fingernails should be clean and tidy to reduce the chances of infection in the areas that a child is picking.

Sensory stimulation can be provided to help reduce the incidence of the picking. An occupational therapist trained in sensory integration can do an assessment and make recommendations for activities that increase sensory stimulation, such as skin brushing and play activities such as playing with a stress ball that are fun as well as effective in reducing the need to pick. A trained professional can also provide insight into the mental outlook of a child and thus prove to be of great help.

It may become necessary to treat skin picking in children with oral or topical medications. There are special formulations of these drugs for children and care should be taken that children receive these special doses. This treatment should be observed for sometime in case there are signs of improvement in these children. It's quite likely to witness these children get better with continued treatment.

Since this disorder results from anxiety, drawing undue attention to the activity could likely make it worse. It is important to note that punishment, lectures, nagging, consequences, undue fussing, blaming and shaming and all the responses we persist in do not work. In fact, the increased anxiety could actually lead to an increase in picking.

Curing dermatillomania isn't as difficult as you may think, too many people rely on lengthy and expensive therapy sessions or medications; Compulsive skin picking can be cured without leaving the house.

If you'd like to know how to cure this disorder please keep reading Dermatillomania Cure

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Top 10 Reasons Why You Need To Integrate Manual Therapy Into Your Current Program

I want this article to reach out to practitioners, trainers and the general public because I feel that everyone needs to implement some form of manual therapy into their program. Whether it's a monthly Massage Therapy treatment, a bi-weekly A.R.T. visit, or a weekly laser therapy session, I believe that any and all therapies will not only make your program better, but it will make your program work better for you.

Here's how we can break this down for the above target groups:

1) For Clients, this area of health is often over looked and underutilized. Knowledge is power, and by reading this blog, readers can take action towards a proper health care plan.

2) For Trainers and Fitness Pros, working with a health care professional can take your business to the next level and help your patients achieve greater success. They will thank-you for being informed and dedicated to their success and lead them to a achieving great results.

3) For Practitioner: as a health care professional, we often think that everyone knows what we do, and immediately think every client must have this done. This is not the case so we must make everyone aware of what we do and how we can help them.

Manual therapists are Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, or Body Workers. These professionals follow an actual science and technique, with takes a lot of schooling and practice. Techniques from these professionals are a far cry from the indiscriminate kneading and pounding of some masseuses, who only make people to feel better for awhile, sort of like a placebo.

Manual Therapy and Alternative Medicine is not only for pain, but to stay healthy and achieve an optimal level of fitness and health in our current workout or lifestyle plan. Whether you are an athlete looking to get stronger, or a stay at home mom looking to create a balanced lifestyle, here are my top 10 reasons you need manual therapy in your current program. There are far more reasons for someone to be working with a health care provider such as a massage therapist or chiropractor, some are general and more are individual. Feel free to leave your comments and ideas on the bottom of this blog. I would love to hear your thoughts!

1. Create Body Awareness

Have you ever been told that your glutes doesn't fire or you have one side of your body much stronger or balanced than the other? A Manual Therapist can show you how to balance and strengthen your weak areas and teach you how to get your muscles to fire properly, allowing you to take your program to the next level.

2. Removing built up toxins

Massage flushes away waste products from your muscles, tissues, and skin more easily. This helps digestive disorders (such as spastic colon, constipation and intestinal gas) as well as acne and other deficiencies.

3. Relieve pain.

Soft tissue work can help block nervous system pain receptors and increase blood flow to the muscles. It can reduce the pain of arthritis as it relieves and increases joint mobility and it takes pressure off painful joints. Trained practitioners can also help ease the pain of migraines, childbirth and cancer.

4. Increase attitude and alertness.

Bodywork improves attitude. It gets things flowing in the brain by stimulating brain-wave activity which helps increase alertness. Techniques like Massage Therapy and standard chiropractic adjustments can help you reach your goal!

5. Prevent injury and illness.

Tense muscles pull and tighten the body, restrict circulation and pull the body out of alignment. Unattended, this can lead to a host of problems.

6: Release of Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, or natural pain killers. They transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. They are mostly found in the pituitary gland. In addition to decreased feelings of pain, we experience euphoria, a change in appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high levels of these natural chemicals, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.

7. Improve nerve Function

Contracted muscles can press on or pinch your nerves causing tingling, numbness or pain.

Certain manual therapies like massage therapy relaxes these contracted muscles to relieve the compression on your nerves. Sensory receptors in the skin and muscles wake up bringing new awareness to areas that have felt cut off by chronic tension patterns.

8. Be a Preventative Measure for Better Health in The Future

Getting treatment and making a plan with your health care professional will allow you to heal small injuries head on before they become chronic or debilitating. We call this a maintenance plan and have seen amazing results from clients who once would only come when they were severely hurt. Now they don't even go to that place, all it takes is half an hour every 2-3 weeks.

9. Work with A complete Health Care Team

If you're lucky enough to go to or work in a clinic with a number of different practitioners, you'll know what I mean by this. Having an entire team behind you not only will allow you or your clients to get every aspect of their health properly taken care of, but it allows the client to feel comfortable and confident in their health care plan.

10. Guidance

As practitioners, we are often asked advice and sometimes told the life story of our clients. This happens to any professional who allows their client to feel safe and confident in their presence. When you achieve this safety zone with your clients not only will they heal quicker, but they will refer clients your way as well.

Adam Bogar is the clinic director and co-owner at Dynamic Training & Rehabilitation in Ontario, Canada. [http://www.dynamictrainingandrehab.ca]

DT&R is a leading alternative health care, rehabilitation, and fitness facility that utilizes acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, bootcamps, and personal training to achieve desired results.

Adam is also the co-create of therehabbiz.com, Alternative Therapy Management Group. The most powerful online strategic marketing, coaching and products for alternative health care professionals.

To learn more, check out [http://www.TheRehabBiz.com]

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What Family Members Should Learn in Determining Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Family

At present, the rate of individuals diagnosed with autism is 1 out of 160. Autism which is an intricate developmental disability usually becomes visible within the first three years since birth. This disorder affects brain development in such areas of communication and social interaction. Most cases exhibit delay in the developmental stage at the age of three which generally affects boys other than girls. Family members should be aware of symptoms such as difficulty with verbal or non-verbal communication, especially when the child cannot express himself, social interaction and play activities or activities integral to everyday living. This disorder makes it difficult for them to relate to the outside world and let them stick to their own world instead.

April 4, 2009 is World Autism Awareness Day. This day is focused on elevating awareness about autism in society while encouraging diagnosis of early stages and signs. The World Autism Awareness Day aims to gather autism organization worldwide providing a voice to those who are not diagnosed, seeking for assistance and are misunderstood. Medical tests for diagnosing Autism are not defined since symptoms and characteristics differ individually and individual development with regard to communication and behavior is commonly the basis for diagnosis. Autism Awareness helps the society to accept individuals and deal with the behavioral disorders. There are some disciplines associated with Autism disorders which include Neurology, Developmental Pediatrics, Autism Specialist, Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy. Each diagnosis and intervention expands the probability for the child to grow and progress.

Autism awareness can be essential for families dealing with the agony of seeing their children exhibiting the disorder through the symptoms they encounter everyday. Each individual with the Autism disorder shows unique characteristics that vary from time to time. Families should be aware of their patient's behavioral pattern and must learn to observe the disorder through symptoms like limited verbal or non verbal communication, short attention span and may communicate with gestures only. They may also indicate presence of overactive or passive traits, minimal interest in interacting with peers or strangers, shall sometimes experience sensory impairment, and avoids eye contact. In some cases, families may observe that their patients may lack spontaneous and imaginative play, lack interest in imitating other's actions nor initiate play, resistance to routine changes and show aggressiveness to themselves or to others. Autism is therefore, a spectrum disorder which should be closely monitored and observed among family members especially on their early childhood years.

Exclusively written by Mary Ann Villanueva Oppus (original copy on file)

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2012年9月14日 星期五

ADHD Tip - You Won't Believe What Other Problems Can Mimic Symptoms Of ADHD

ADHD seems to be the popular flavor to explain why our children, and often times adults too, are having a difficult time performing at work, in school, or with their peers or colleagues.

It constantly amazes me how many other reasons there could be to explain what is happening. Whereas ADHD has become so popular, and part of mainstream culture, we can quickly overlook or not fully understand what else might be happening to affect the individual who is struggling.

Let's take a look at three distinct groups. Some of these factors are more relevant to children, yet there are many that apply to both children and adults alike.

Category 1: Health problems

There are general health and medical problems that can mimic symptoms of ADHD. It is now more important than ever to really consider the implications of a balanced diet and how not following suggested guidelines can impact how we feel and behave.

The following is a list of possible health related issues that share similar symptoms with attention deficit disorder:




Thyroid disorder

Other medical

Category 2: Psychological

In young children and adolescents, there are many diagnoses that can mirror symptoms of ADHD. In many cases, particularly in children, it can be difficult to differentiate the symptoms for a clear diagnosis.



Sensory Integration

Normal child development

Bipolar disorder

Non-verbal learning disability

Asperger syndrome

Sensory-integration problems

Trauma response

Substance abuse

Category 3: Stress

When I worked as a therapist, I saw a lot of adults and children who were diagnosed with ADHD, but were clearly more impacted in their lives by some of the following stressors:


Financial trouble

Single parenting




It is often difficult to really focus and interact with the world when we are so preoccupied and concerned with what many people might take for granted.

The biggest problem with trying to figure out what is really going on is that most people need time to build trust and to feel comfortable revealing exactly what is going on. So what might first look like ADHD, could in fact eventually turn out to be anything but that.

Don't get me wrong. In many of these cases, if this is the issue you are struggling with, then you or your child clearly does not have ADHD. At the same time, there is also the distinct possibility that any number of these issues can be present in addition to attention deficit disorder.

And now I would like to invite you to download an almost 60-minute audio interview available at [http://www.adhdsuccessaudio.com] where one successful professional reveals his personal struggle and success managing his symptoms of ADHD over the last 15 years.

You are also invited to keep up with constantly updated information on ADHD at http://www.thetruthbehindadhd.com.

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Sensory Loss in Older Adults - Taste, Smell & Touch - Behavioral Approaches for Caregivers

As we age, our sensory systems gradually lose their sharpness. Because our brain requires a minimal amount of input to remain alert and functioning, sensory loss for older adults puts them at risk for sensory deprivation. Severe sensory impairments, such as in vision or hearing, may result in behavior similar to dementia and psychosis, such as increased disorientation and confusion. Added restrictions, such as confinement to bed or a Geri-chair, increases this risk. With nothing to show the passage of time, or changes in the environment, the sensory deprived person may resort to repetitive problem behaviors (calling out, chanting, rhythmic pounding/rocking) as an attempt to reduce the sense of deprivation and to create internal stimulation/sensations.

This article is the third in a series of three articles that discuss the prominent sensory changes that accompany aging, and considers the necessary behavioral adjustments or accommodations that should be made by professional, paraprofessional, and family caregivers who interact with older adults. Though the medical conditions are not reviewed in depth, the purpose of this article is to introduce many of the behavioral health insights, principles, and approaches that should influence our care giving roles. This article addresses age-related changes in taste, smell, and touch, and a related subject, facial expressiveness.


A. Changes in taste and smell with aging:

1. Less involved in interpersonal communication, leading to decreased quality of life, and contributing to depression and apathy;

2. The decline in taste sensitivity with aging is worsened by smoking, chewing tobacco, and poor oral care. This results in more complaints about food tasting unpleasant or unappetizing, and sometimes causing the person to stop eating altogether;

3. With aging, there is a decline in the sense of smell, resulting in a decreased ability to identify odors. Also the person with a declining sense of smell is more tolerant of unpleasant odors, and this can be further exacerbated by smoking, some medications, and certain illnesses.

B. Effects of taste and smell changes on demented elderly:

1. Individuals with Alzheimers Disease lose their sense of smell more than non-dementia individuals, due to change in their recognition thresholds. This is because there is a concentration of tangles and plaques characteristic of Alzheimers Disease found in olfactory areas of the brains of patients with this disease, compounding the declining sense of smell that accompanies old age;

2. The impairment in the ability to distinguish flavors in foods for those with dementia results in diminished eating pleasure, and a loss of appetite. Recommendation: more attention to and greater awareness of the importance of eating, and reminders of having eaten, which can minimize the risk of malnutrition and dehydration;

3. The impaired sense of taste and smell can result in a serious inability to sense danger, such as gas leaks, smoke or other odors, which would obviously interfere with taking necessary steps for safety. Also, problems with taste may cause the person to overcook or use spoiled foods, raising the risk of food poisoning. Recommendation: use smoke detectors, clean out refrigerators regularly, and check drawers for food hoarding.


A. Changes in sense of touch with aging:

1. The sense of touch includes perception of pressure, vibration, temperature, pain, position of body in space, and localization of a touch. Some of this sense of touch diminishes with aging, but affects no more than 50% of older adults;

2. The most pronounced changes occur in the feet, and changes become less apparent as we move up the body. A decline in the sense of perception in the feet contributes to increased danger of falling or tripping over objects. Changes in hand sensitivity will often lead to dropping of objects;

3. Because the sense of touch is the most intact of all senses in older adults, and least impacted by advancing years, it can be the more important means of communicating, whether to gain his or her attention, to reassure him or her, to let the person know that you are there to help, and to guide the person in an activity;

4. Touch is therapeutic since older adults may be touch deprived. In medical and institutional settings, such as nursing homes, there may be even fewer opportunities for touch and physical contact. Recommendation: take extraordinary steps to make appropriate physical contact with the older adult for reassurance, to gain attention, to confirm communication, and to provide a greater sense of safety and security.


1. Some neurological disorders, like Alzheimers

disease, Parkinsons, and other types of dementia result in decreased facial expressiveness. This makes it difficult to discern emotional reactions or expressions that would otherwise be apparent in those without such disorders;

2. Because we depend so much on non-verbal communications and facial expressiveness, it is difficult to know if the other person is hearing and understanding what we are communicating. This makes it less enjoyable and less rewarding to communicate with someone who does not show the expected emotional reaction, such as a smile, a laugh, a grimace, or even a shrug.
Recommendation: even in the absence of facial expressiveness, do not avoid communicating with this person, but do not be upset or disappointed when the emotional reaction does not appear. Caregiver disappointment and rejection only contributes further to apathy and withdrawal.


The following principles apply to caregiving approaches with older adults who have diminished sensory function. Increased sensitivity and insight to the needs of these individuals improves their quality of life and improves our effectiveness:

1. Observe his or her behavior, and look for cues and signs of pain or discomfort;

2. Help the person work through the emotional impact of the sensory changes, allowing expression, acceptance, and support of the grief and sadness accompanying these losses;

3. Do not try to fix the unpleasantness; acceptance and support goes a longer way toward healing than a quick fix or a patronizing attitude;

4. Reduce excess disability by maximizing whatever functioning is still left, such as proper eyeglass prescriptions, or functioning hearing aids;

5. Consider assistive devices (phone amplifiers, large text books, headphones, and the Braille Institute for a variety of useful visual aids).

6. Remember that the need for touch increases during periods of stress, illness, loneliness, and depression;

7. Touch is especially important when communicating with blind, deaf, and cognitively impaired individuals;

8. Use touch often, but only to the extent that the person is comfortable with it;

9. Do not give the person a pat on the head, or a tap on the cheek, as this can be perceived as condescending.

Normal aging brings with it a general decline in sensory functioning. To minimize the emotional, behavioral and attitudinal impact these losses have on older adults, caregivers should develop insights and approaches that take the special needs into account, and try to turn unpleasant, frustrating situations into more caring, helpful, and sensitive interactions. As caregivers can integrate behavioral principles in the delivery of the health care with older adults, we can have a positive impact on the management of these losses.

Copyright 2008 Concept Healthcare, LLC

Joseph M. Casciani, PhD, is a geropsychologist who has devoted his professional career to working with older adults and their caregivers. His company, Concept Healthcare, http://www.cohealth.org, offers online resources to integrate behavioral health approaches in the health care of older adults.

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Asperger's Syndrome - Defining Asperger's Syndrome Versus Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders

Your child may have just been diagnosed or he is showing symptoms of an autism spectrum disorders and you now wonder, What is Asperger's Syndrome? With a recent - or anticipated - diagnosis you are wondering where to turn. Perhaps you are trying to figure out what this will mean for your child and your family's future. Here you can find an overview on what Asperger's Syndrome is and what to expect in the future.

First of all, Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a developmental disorder than affects the way a child...or adult...interacts with, perceives and interprets the world. A spectrum means that there are many different forms of autism, ranging from very severe to very mild. Those on the more high functioning side usually get a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.

Many children as well as adults may be misdiagnosed...this is unfortunately all too common. Many are initially diagnosed with ADHD or OCD or some other condition before a proper diagnosis is reached. This is unfortunate because it delays the start of effective training and treatments that can help someone with Asperger's syndrome.

So what does this mean?

Social Aspects of Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is primarily a syndrome that has to do with deficits in social functioning. Someone with Asperger's will have often have trouble both understanding language and using language in a proper way. They often have a pedantic style of talking, and are often referred to as "walking dictionaries." People with Asperger's are often very smart, and can talk about facts very easily, but have a lot of trouble with small talk or really any social connections at all, at least when they're younger.

People with Asperger's syndrome don't tend to understand sarcasm or jokes, and take everything you say very literally...even when they are adults. They have very concrete thinking, and are very rule oriented. Those with Asperger's often depend on routines to get through the day, and can be very upset if their routines are interrupted; children may have meltdowns while adults may get angry or autocratic. They are prone to emotional upset if something does not go right.

Due to their deficits in social skills, children and adults with Asperger's syndrome often have trouble making friends. When they are kids, they will not understand the concept of playing with others. They will often do something called "parallel play" where they might play next to, but not with, another kid. They have to be taught to share toys and be flexible enough to play with another child. Adults can become very isolated after years of not being able to establish long-lasting friendships.

Obsessive Interests

The interests of children and adults often deviate from their peers, especially when they are older. Those with Asperger's are often obsessive about specific subjects, such as geology, a particular sports team, or trains, and their peers find this uninteresting. This constant focus on one topic and lack of interest in topics that others bring up tends to isolate them further.

Obsessive interests are a main fabric of the cloth of Aspergers syndrome. Most kids with Asperger's have something that they are very interested in and talk about it endlessly. One child might be obsessive about cars. Another "Thomas the Train". A third with volcanoes. And so forth.

Because they are unable to truly show interest in a wide range of subjects that are of interest to their peers, they become social outcasts. This all contributes to the social isolation that is so common in kids with Asperger's especially when kids start school. While their friends are talking about baseball or video games, the Aspergers child may exclusively talk about volcanoes. It doesn't take long before his or her peers in school loose interest in both the subject of volcanoes AND in the child.

In an adult, the inability to show interests in general office politics or to chit-chat about sports or the latest TV shows can isolate a person from his or her colleagues. This lack of social integration may make the person with Asperger's seem like an "odd duck" or just "not fitting in" which can lead to lay offs and lack of promotions.

Sensory Issues Are A Common Symptom Of Asperger's Syndrome

People with Asperger's syndrome often have a lot of difficulty with sensory processing. The typical person can usually tune out extraneous noise, smells and visual stimuli, among others. They do it without even thinking about it, because that's the way their brain is set up.

People with Asperger's syndrome, however, lack a "barrier" between their brain and the sensory onslaught of the world. They are far, far more sensitive to loud noises - or even soft ones no one else notices; to smells of all kinds...from what comes from your kitchen to the perfume of a passerby on the sidewalk. They often have trouble with the feeling and texture of clothing; with how tight or loose it is, and with the tags on the back. Visual stimuli can also be quite distracting. These sensory concerns need to be minimized for a child with Asperger's to function in his or her environment, and their concerns need to be taken seriously. Many adults have difficulty holding a job because of the noise, distractions and overall sensory overload of a "cubicle farm" in which they must work. A co-worker tapping a pencil or bright fluorescent lights can overwhelm an adult with Asperger's.

Fixation On Routine Is A Common Symptom Of Asperger's Syndrome

Aspies (as those with Asperger's syndrome are affectionately called) often fixated on a routine. Following a set routine is extremely common. And any change in routine may cause a meltdown. Yet stubbornly sticking to routine helps those with Asperger's feel safe and grounded. Yet family, friends, and co-workers can feel that this fixation with routine is extreme. With kids, even small change in routine, like sitting in a different chair around the dinner table, can cause a meltdown.

A lot of children with Aspergers need to know exactly what will happen in order not to feel completely overwhelmed. A good tip is to ensure that you tell your child, in advance, if there will be any change in his or her routine (such as an upcoming vacation). A good strategy is to write down what you will do, where you will go, who will be there etc. Paint a picture in your loved one's mind so that he or she can turn the future vacation into a routine before it occurs. The more your child understand what will happen and when, the more accepting he will be of the changes and the easier he will be able to handle the new experience.

Most adults learn to handle changes in routine...if for no other reason than the world around them is never predictable and they must learn in order to survive. Nevertheless, most adults with Asperger's still feel much more comfortable following a routine. This lack of spontaneity can cause challenges in relationships...how many girlfriends want their boyfriend to always take them to the same restaurant? And once there to order the same diner time after time.

Good Things About Asperger's Syndrome

While not a comprehensive list, these are the main and most common features of Asperger's syndrome. Not to fear, though, not everything about having Asperger's is negative. People with Asperger's are often more likely to be unfailingly honest, loyal, and hard working. They are often very intelligent and can make great contributions...especially in fields that they are passionate about...when they are older. They have a unique way of looking at the world that can benefit all those around them.

Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and some of the great thinkers of the world are suspected to have or have had Asperger's. While many aspects of Asperger's Syndrome will always remain a challenge, and while there is no question your child will have a more difficult path through the world than many others, always remember there is often benefit to thinking a little bit differently. When you think about a diagnosis of Asperger's and its associated symptoms and wonder "What is Asperger's" remember you have a choice about the way you look at it.

Once we understand how a child or adult with Asperger's thinks, and understand that sensory issues as well as the need for routine motivate their actions, we can devise treatments and training to help them cope with an ever-changing world. Many treatments allow those with Asperger's to succeed and thrive. Hopefully treatments can make life a little easier especially for those with Asperger's and the people who love them. There are many other tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life. A great site to find information to help both children and adults with Asperger's syndrome is the web site www.AspergersSociety.org. There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.

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2012年9月13日 星期四

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy - An Evidence-Based Treatment For Disorders of Attachment

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is an evidence-based and effective form of treatment for children with trauma and disorders of attachment . It is an evidence-based treatment, meaning that there has been empirical research published in peer-reviewed journals. Craven & Lee (2006) determined that DDP is a supported and acceptable treatment (category 3 in a six level system). However, their review only included results from a partial preliminary presentation of an ongoing follow-up study, which was subsequently completed and published in 2006. This initial study compared the results DDP with other forms of treatment, 'usual care', 1 year after treatment ended.

It is important to note that over 80% of the children in the study had had over three prior episodes of treatment, but without any improvement in their symptoms and behavior. Episodes of treatment mean a course of therapy with other mental health providers at other clinics, consisting of at least five sessions. A second study extended these results out to 4 years after treatment ended. Based on the Craven & Lee classifications (Saunders et al. 2004), inclusion of those studies would have resulted in DDP being classified as an evidence-based category 2, 'Supported and probably efficacious'. There have been two related empirical studies comparing treatment outcomes of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy with a control group. This is the basis for the rating of category two. The criteria are:

1. The treatment has a sound theoretical basis in generally accepted psychological principles. Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is based in Attachment Theory (see texts cited below

2. A substantial clinical, anecdotal literature exists indicating the treatment's efficacy with at-risk children and foster children. See reference list.

3. The treatment is generally accepted in clinical practice for at risk children and foster children. As demonstrated by the large number of practitioners of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and it's presentation as numerous international and national conferences over the last ten or fifteen years.

4. There is no clinical or empirical evidence or theoretical basis indicating - that the treatment constitutes a substantial risk of harm to those receiving it, compared to its likely benefits.

5. The treatment has a manual that clearly specifies the components and administration characteristics of the treatment that allows for implementation. Creating Capacity for Attachment, Building the Bonds of Attachment, and Attachment Focused Family Therapy constitute such material.

6. At least two studies utilizing some form of control without randomization (e.g., wait list, untreated group, placebo group) have established the treatment's efficacy over the passage of time, efficacy over placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an already established treatment. See ref. list.

7. If multiple treatment outcome studies have been conducted, the overall weight of evidence supported the efficacy of the treatment.

These studies support several of O'Connor & Zeanah's conclusions and recommendations concerning treatment. They state (p. 241), "treatments for children with attachment disorders should be promoted only when they are evidence-based."

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, as with any specialized treatment, must be provided by a competent, well-trained, licensed professional. Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is a family-focused treatment .

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is the name for an approach and a set of principals that have proven to be effective in helping children with trauma and attachment disorders heal; that is, develop healthy, trusting, and secure relationships with caregivers. Treatment is based on five central principals.

At the core of Reactive Attachment Disorder is trauma caused by significant and substantial experiences of neglect, abuse, or prolonged and unresolved pain in the first few years of life. These experiences disrupt the normal attachment process so that the child's capacity to form a healthy and secure attachment with a caregiver is distorted or absent. The child lacks a sense trust, safety, and security. The child develops a negative working model of the world in which:

- Adults are experienced as inconsistent or hurtful.

- The world is viewed as chaotic.

- The child experiences no effective influence on the world.

- The child attempts to rely only on him/her self.

- The child feels an overwhelming sense of shame, the child feels defective, bad, unlovable, and evil.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a severe developmental disorder caused by a chronic history of maltreatment during the first couple of years of life. Reactive Attachment Disorder is frequently misdiagnosed by mental health professionals who do not have the appropriate training and experience evaluating and treating such children and adults. Often, children in the child welfare system have a variety of previous diagnoses. The behaviors and symptoms that are the basis for these previous diagnoses are better conceptualized as resulting from disordered attachment. Oppositional Defiant Disorder behaviors are subsumed under Reactive Attachment Disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms are the result of a significant history of abuse and neglect and are another dimension of attachment disorder. Attention problems and even Psychotic Disorder symptoms are often seen in children with disorganized attachment.

Approximately 2% of the population is adopted, and between 50% and 80% of such children have attachment disorder symptoms . Many of these children are violent and aggressive and as adults are at risk of developing a variety of psychological problems and personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder , narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and psychopathic personality disorder . Neglected children are at risk of social withdrawal, social rejection, and pervasive feelings of incompetence . Children who have histories of abuse and neglect are at significant risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as adults . Children who have been sexually abused are at significant risk of developing anxiety disorders (2.0 times the average), major depressive disorders (3.4 times average), alcohol abuse (2.5 times average), drug abuse (3.8 times average), and antisocial behavior (4.3 times average) (MacMillian, 2001). The effective treatment of such children is a public health concern (Walker, Goodwin, & Warren, 1992).

Left untreated, children who have been abused and neglected and who have an attachment disorder become adults whose ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships is deeply damaged. Without placement in an appropriate permanent home and effective treatment, the condition will worsen. Many children with attachment disorders develop borderline personality disorder or anti-social personality disorder as adults .

FIRST PRINCIPAL. Therapy must be experiential. Since the roots of disorders of attachment occur pre-verbally, therapy must create experiences that are healing. Experiences, not words, are one "active ingredient" in the healing process.

For example, one eight year old boy who had Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and a variety of sensory-integration disorders wrote about his past therapy and attachment therapy this way (More details of this story can be found in the book Creating Capacity for Attachment, edited by Arthur Becker-Weidman & Deborah Shell):

My first therapy was with Dr. Steve. The therapy was FUN! We ate lots of snacks. I had a bottle. We played lots of cool games like thumb wrestling, pillow rides, giant walk, Superman rides, guess the goodies, eye blinking contests, hide and go seek goodies. I had to follow the rules and play the games just like Dr. Steve said.

Dr. Steve taught me how to play and have fun with my Mom. But I still didn't know how to love. I would still get real mad and try to hurt Mom and break things. Inside I still thought I was a bad boy. I was still afraid Mom and Dad would get rid of me. I had lots of tantrums at home. Sometimes I would still get out of control and break things and try to hurt Mom. I was getting even worse when I got mad.

Stuff Dr. Art Taught Me - I learned about my feeling well. Sometimes I stuff too many feelings like mad, scared and sad into my feeling well. Then the well will overflow and I could explode with behaviors. But I can stop that by expressing my feelings. Then the well can't overflow because I let some of the feelings out.

I also made pictures of my heart. I was born with a nice heart but then when I went into the orphanage I got cracks in my heart. My heart cracked because they couldn't take good care of me. I was a baby and I needed someone to hold me and rock me. But they couldn't because there were too many babies. Then I put 16 bricks around my heart. I was protecting my heart so it wouldn't get hurt anymore. But the bricks kept the love out too. I wouldn't let Mom's love in. I had lots of mad in my heart.

My hard work in therapy got rid of all the bricks. Then Mom's love got in. The love made the cracks heal. Now I have a bright red heart with no cracks.

I really liked Dr. Art now and am proud that I am strong. I still don't need therapy. I still let Mom's love into my heart! Sometimes I send e-mail's to Dr. Art. I tell him how good I'm doing.

I started missing Dr. Art and told Mom. Mom was confused and thought I wanted more therapy. I told Mom "I don't need therapy. I just want to have lunch with Dr. Art." So I sent Dr. Art an email to let him know that I wanted to have lunch with him. Then one day we had lunch together.

Sometimes it's still hard. I still get mad and sometimes I don't express my feelings well. Sometimes when Mom helps me I can express my feelings and say "I don't want to pick up my toys. It makes me mad that I have to but I will". When I say that it doesn't make me feel mad anymore. It helps me to listen to Mom. But sometimes when I get mad I pout and stomp my feet and run to my room if I forget to express my feelings. But now I let Mom help me so that I can talk about my feelings and do what she says

It's been a really longtime since I tried to hurt Mom or break things when I'm mad. I feel good about love now. I know that my Mom and Dad love me. I know that I love Mom and Dad. I don't feel like I'm a bad boy anymore.

Effective therapy uses experiences to help a child experience safety, security, acceptance, empathy, and emotional attunement within the family. A number of techniques and methods are used including psychodrama, interventions congruent with Theraplay, and other exercises.

SECOND PRINCIPAL. Therapy must be family-focused. Therapy helps the child address the underlying trauma in a supportive, safe, secure environment in "titrated" and manageable doses so that what the parents have to offer can get in and heal the child. It is the parents' capacity to create a safe and nurturing home that provides a healing environment. Being able to have empathy for the child, accept the child, love the child, be curious about the child, and be playful are all part of the "attitude " that heals. Parents are actively involved in treatment.

THIRD PRINCIPAL. The trauma must be directly addressed. Therapy helps healing by providing the safety and security so that the child can re-experience the painful and shameful emotions that surround the child's trauma. Revisiting the trauma is essential if the child is to begin to revise the child's personal narrative and world-view. It is by revisiting the trauma and sharing the anger and shame with an accepting, empathetic person that the child can integrate the trauma into a coherent self.

FOURTH PRINCIPAL. A comprehensive milieu of safety and security must be created. Traumatized children are often hyper-vigilant, insecure, and deeply distrusting. A consistent environment that is safe and secure is essential to creating the experiences necessary for the child to heal. This milieu must be present at home and in therapy. Good communication and coordination among home, school, and therapy is another important element of effective treatment. "Compression-wraps," invasive and intrusive stimulation designed to evoke rage, "re-birthing," and other provocative techniques are not part of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. These intrusive and invasive techniques are not therapy, not therapeutic, and have no place in a reputable treatment program.

Fifth Principal. Therapy is consensual and not coercive. At our center we are very clear that physical restraint is not treatment and is not used in treatment in any manner. Treatment is provided in a manner consisted with the Association for the treatment and Training of Children's White Paper on Coercion in treatment.

The therapist must be well trained, licensed, and have significant experience in treating trauma-attachment disordered children. A good resource to locate such therapists is the Association for the Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children, ATTACh. In selecting a therapist you should look for the following:

- Significant training from a recognized training program. Ask where the therapist was trained, how long ago, and for how long.

- Ongoing training. Ask when was the last training event the therapist attended and how long was the event.

- Licensure in the state in a recognized mental health discipline.

- Membership in ATTACh.

- A comprehensive informed consent document and appropriate releases.

- An initial assessment to develop a differential diagnosis and treatment plan.


Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is a treatment developed by Daniel Hughes, Ph.D., (Hughes, 2008, Hughes, 2006, Hughes, 2003,). Its basic principals are described by Hughes and summarized as follows:

1. A focus on both the caregivers and therapists own attachment strategies. Previous research (Dozier, 2001, Tyrell 1999) has shown the importance of the caregivers and therapists state of mind for the success of interventions.

2. Therapist and caregiver are attuned to the child's subjective experience and reflect this back to the child. In the process of maintaining an intersubjective attuned connection with the child, the therapist and caregiver help the child regulate affect and construct a coherent autobiographical narrative.

3. Sharing of subjective experiences.

4. Use of PACE and PLACE are essential to healing.

5. Directly address the inevitable misattunements and conflicts that arise in interpersonal relationships.

6. Caregivers use attachment-facilitating interventions.

7. Use of a variety of interventions, including cognitive-behavioral strategies.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy interventions flow from several theoretical and empirical lines. Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1980, Bowlby, 1988) provides the theoretical foundation for Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Early trauma disrupts the normally developing attachment system by creating distorted internal working models of self, others, and caregivers. This is one rationale for treatment in addition to the necessity for sensitive care-giving. As O'Connor & Zeanah (2003, p. 235) have stated, "A more puzzling case is that of an adoptive/foster caregiver who is 'adequately' sensitive but the child exhibits attachment disorder behavior; it would seem unlikely that improving parental sensitive responsiveness (in already sensitive parent) would yield positive changes in the parent-child relationship." Treatment is necessary to directly address the rigid and dysfunctional internalized working models that traumatized children with attachment disorders have developed.

Current thinking and research on the neurobiology of interpersonal behavior (Siegel, 1999, Siegel, 2000, Siegel, 2002, Schore, 2001) is another part of the foundation on which Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy rests.

The primary approach is to create a secure base in treatment (using techniques that fit with maintaining a healing PACE (Playful, Accepting, Curious, and Empathic) and at home using principals that provide safe structure and a healing PLACE (Playful, Loving, Acceptance, Curious, and Empathic). Developing and sustaining an attuned relationship within which contingent collaborative communication occurs helps the child heal. Coercive interventions such as rib-stimulation, holding-restraining a child in anger or to provoke an emotional response, shaming a child, using fear to elicit compliance, and interventions based on power/control and submission, etc., are never used and are inconsistent with a treatment rooted in attachment theory and current knowledge about the neurobiology of interpersonal behavior.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, as conducted at The Center For Family Development, uses two-hour sessions involving one therapist, parent(s), and child. Two offices are used. Unless the caregivers are in the treatment room, the caregivers are viewing treatment from another room by closed circuit T.V. or a one-way mirror. The usual structure of a session involves three components. First, the therapist meets with the caregivers in one office while the child is seated in the treatment room. During this part of treatment, the caregiver is instructed in attachment parenting methods (Becker-Weidman & Shell (2005) Hughes, 2006). The caregiver's own issues that may create difficulties with developing affective attunement with their child may also be explored and resolved. Effective parenting methods for children with trauma-attachment disorders require a high degree of structure and consistency, along with an affective milieu that demonstrates playfulness, love, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy (PLACE). During this part of the treatment, caregivers receive support and are given the same level of attuned responsiveness that we wish the child to experience. Quite often caregivers feel blamed, devalued, incompetent, depleted, and angry. Parent-support is an important dimension of treatment to help caregivers be more able to maintain an attuned connecting relationship with their child. Second, the therapist with the caregivers meets with the child in the treatment room. This generally takes one to one and a half hours. Third, the therapist meets with the caregivers without the child. Broadly speaking, the treatment with the child uses three categories of interventions: affective attunement, cognitive restructuring, and psychodramatic reenactments. Treatment with the caregivers uses two categories of interventions: first, teaching effective parenting methods and helping the caregivers avoid power struggles and, second, maintaining the proper PLACE or attitude.

Treatment of the child has a significant non-verbal dimension since much of the trauma took place at a pre-verbal stage and is often dissociated from explicit memory. As a result, childhood maltreatment and resultant trauma create barriers to successful engagement and treatment of these children. Treatment interventions are designed to create experiences of safety and affective attunement so that the child is affectively engaged and can explore and resolve past trauma. This affective attunement is the same process used for non-verbal communication between a caregiver and child during attachment facilitating interactions (Hughes, 2003, Siegel, 2001). The therapist and caregivers' attunement results in co-regulation of the child's affect so that is it manageable. Cognitive restructuring interventions are designed to help the child develop secondary mental representations of traumatic events, which allow the child to integrate these events and develop a coherent autobiographical narrative. Treatment involves multiple repetitions of the fundamental caregiver-child attachment cycle. The cycle begins with shared affective experiences, is followed by a breach in the relationship (a separation or discontinuity), and ends with a reattunement of affective states. Non-verbal communication, involving eye contact, tone of voice, touch, and movement, are essential elements to creating affective attunement.

The treatment provided often adhered to a structure with several dimensions. It is pictured in Figure 1, below. First, behavior is identified and explored. The behavior may have occurred in the immediate interaction or have occurred at some time in the past. Using curiosity and acceptance the behavior is explored. Second, using curiosity and acceptance the behavior is explore and the meaning to the child begins to emerge. Third, empathy is used to reduce the child's sense of shame and increase the child's sense of being accepted and understood. Forth, the child's behavior is then normalized. In other words, once the meaning of the behavior and its basis in past trauma is identified, it becomes understandable that the symptom is present. An example of such an interaction is the following:

Wow, I see how you got so angry when your Mom asked you to pick up your toys. You thought she was being mean and didn't want you to have fun or love you. You thought she was going to take everything away and leave you like your first Mom did, like when your first Mom took your toys and then left you alone in the apartment that time. Oh, I can really understand now how hard that must be for you when Mom said to clean up. You really felt mad and scared. That must be so hard for you.

Fifth, the child communicates this understanding to the caregiver.

Sixth, finally, a new meaning for the behavior is found and the child's actions are integrated into a coherent autobiographical narrative by communicating the new experience and meaning to the caregiver.

Past traumas are revisited by reading documents and through psychodramatic reenactments. These interventions, which occur within a safe attuned relationship, allow the child to integrate the past traumas and to understand the past and present experiences that create the feelings and thoughts associated with the child's behavioral disturbances. The child develops secondary representations of these events, feelings and thoughts that result in greater affect regulation and a more integrated autobiographical narrative.

As described by Hughes (2006, 2003), the therapy is an active, affect modulated experience that involves acceptance, curiosity, empathy, and playfulness. By co-regulating the child's emerging affective states and developing secondary representations of thoughts and feelings, the child's capacity to affectively engage in a trusting relationship is enhanced. The caregivers enact these same principals. If the caregivers have difficulty engaging with their child in this manner, then treatment of the caregiver is indicated.

Children who have experienced chronic maltreatment and resulting complex trauma are at significant risk for a variety of other behavioral, neuropsychological, cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, and psychobiological disorders (Cook, A., et. al., 2005; van der Kolk, B., 2005). Children and adolescents with complex trauma require an approach to treatment that focuses on several dimensions of impairment (Cook, et. al., 2005). Chronic maltreatment and the resulting complex trauma cause impairment in a variety of vital domains including the following:

- Self-regulation

- Interpersonal relating including the capacity to trust and secure comfort

- Attachment

- Biology, resulting in somatization

- Affect regulation

- Increased use of defensive mechanisms, such as dissociation

- Behavioral control

- Cognitive functions, including the regulation of attention, interests, and other executive functions.

- Self-concept.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy addresses these domains of impairment. Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy shares many important elements with optimal, sound social casework and clinical practice. For example, attention to the dignity of the client, respect for the client's experiences, and starting where the client is, are all time-honored principles of clinical practice and all are also central elements of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

In summary, therapy for traumatized children who have disordered attachments must be experiential, consensual, and provide an environment of security, acceptance, safety, empathy, and playfulness. Only an experienced and trained therapist can provide attachment therapy.

Becker-Weidman, A., (2006) "Treatment for Children with Trauma-Attachment Disorders: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy," Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. Vol. 23 #2, April 2006, 147-171.
Becker-Weidman, A., (2006). "Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: A multi-year Follow-up," in, New Developments In Child Abuse Research, Stanley M. Sturt, Ph.D. (Ed.) Nova Science Publishers, NY, pp. 43 -- 61.
Becker-Weidman, A., (2007) "Treatment For Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy," http://www.center4familydevelop.com/research.pdf
Becker-Weidman, A., & Hughes, D., (2008) "Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: An evidence-based treatment for children with complex trauma and disorders of attachment," Child & Adolescent Social Work, 13, pp.329-337.
Craven, P. & Lee, R. (2006) Therapeutic interventions for foster children: a systematic research synthesis. Research on Social Work Practice, 16, 287-304.

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The 5 Secrets Of Learning That No-One Ever Told You

Secret Number 1 - Brain Hemisphere Dominance

Everyone knows that we have two brain hemispheres - the left and the right. Logic and Gestalt.

The left hand hemisphere or the logic hemisphere handles our ability to see the bits and pieces that make up information - our ability to see the trees in the forest. It controls our ability to sequence information and put it in an orderly pattern. It helps us to see logical progressions and to recognise patterns such as number facts (multiplication tables) and rhymes.

The right hand hemisphere or Gestalt hemisphere handles our emotions, our ability to see the big picture - the reason why. It helps us to make sense of the bits and pieces in a meaningful and emotionally relevant way. The Gestalt hemisphere handles intuition and it is what allows us to make intuitive leaps - those flashes of brilliance when seemingly unconnected information comes together into something amazing. It governs our ability to relate to others with compassion and empathy. It is our creative side, our artistic and musically inclined self. Without it, the bits and pieces supplied by the logical hemisphere are meaningless pieces of information.

To learn effectively we need access to both hemispheres of the brain. In children with high stress levels (aka a learning difficulty,) one of the hemispheres is not functioning as it should. It is suppressed by the dominant hemisphere and its gifts are locked away. These children (and adults) are at a disadvantage - they are operating with only half of what they need to learn effectively. Hence some are dreamers - they can see the big picture but have no way of knowing how to accomplish their dream. Sometimes they are called lazy. Others are so bogged down in the details they get lost in what is called analysis paralysis - they can see the bits and pieces but can't quite grasp how to put them all together into a cohesive whole.

Regaining the use of the whole brain - what I call brain integration - is the first step we take when working with a new student.

Secret Number 2 - The Ability To Move Forward

For so many students (and their parents!) feeling stuck, clumsy, confused and lost is a daily experience. It isn't necessarily a physical feeling - although it can be. Mostly it is a mental feeling, one of being stuck in mud, it is a struggle and hard work.

Of thinking you have the answer and then beginning to doubt yourself. Of being unsure that you heard the instructions properly, so you need to check, double check, triple check before you feel confident to move forward with the activity.

Our ability to move forward determines how we approach different situations. If we feel stuck, our self-esteem and self-confidence are eroded over time and our insecurity increases. As it increases we become fearful of making mistakes, of "getting it wrong", of being laughed at.

On the other hand, if we can move forward without fear - we can sometimes have what I term bull at a gate syndrome. We can rush in where angels fear to tread. Sometimes we can lack the caution which allows us to assess the situation fully. We can have what situations like the one that faced Po in Kung-fu Panda 2. We can see our objective - Gongman City Palace, but not see the wolves prowling the streets, we leap into action without seeing the dangers that lie before us. As Mantis said: "What are you doing? The streets are crawling with wolves!"

A balance between the two extremes - feeling stuck and fearlessly moving forward - are needed for our children to learn. They need to be able to make a decision and see it through. In order to do this, our children need the foundation of Secret Number 1!

Secret Number 3 - Ability To Communicate

What is communication? For many people it is our ability to read and write, to speak clearly and succinctly. However, it is so much more than that. Communication is more non-verbal than verbal. It is the way we hold our self, the tone, the pitch, the delivery speed. It is our body stance, our facial expressions, the way we use or hold our hands. These visual cues are what bring meaning and depth to our communications.

Beyond this, communication encompasses our style of presenting information. Are we logical communicators? If so, we start at the beginning and plod through every detail of what has happened, useful for writing reports, but boring in a conversation!

If we are an emotional communicator, we bring in the full range of expressive language options. We rant, we rave, we may be incoherent at times (especially when excited or angry). We tell the story from an emotional point of view - telling what stood out at the time, not necessarily in a logical progression. So we have difficulty sequencing events as we jump around following the emotional trail. This event reminds me of that one (which may have happened a long time ago) which reminds me of something that I thought I heard yesterday and so on.

When it comes to learning, if we are limited in our communication - meaning our communication is controlled by the hemisphere which is suppressed under stress - we may know the answer but have difficulty expressing it. We have difficulty getting our ideas from our head onto the paper. Sometimes we can talk our way through it, but often we feel tongue-tied. We grow frustrated with our inability to express what is inside of us.

This can go on until we literally explode. The child who is limited in their ability to communicate can feel as though they are living inside a pressure cooker. Once they hit critical levels, steam has to be let out - often in the form of tears, tantrums, escapism, or total shut down where they withdraw inside of themselves completely.

For those around them, this situation is just as frustrating. After all, when they are relaxed and integrated these children show us glimpses of what they are capable of. And these tantalising glimpses leave us frustrated that they aren't performing at their best, especially when we don't understand why.

Secret Number 4 - Visual Input

Visual Input isn't just what we see. It is how we see it, how we then relate it to previous memories and how we then decide to act upon that information.

For the child that is visually limited, the visual world is a confusing place. They can see, but the ability to interpret is not functioning. They can stare at a page of writing or maths and not comprehend what it is they are meant to do. It is as if we had placed a foreign language in front of them and then demanded that they tell us what it means. To us, the language is what we are familiar with, we converse in it, we know that the child knows how to speak this language; they have shown that they recognise some words, some of the time.

So why can't they read and recognise those words?

The answer lies again, in integration. When the hemisphere that is responsible for visual input is suppressed, it is as though that information doesn't exist. We record it but we can't do anything with it (doctors call the Visual Processing Disorder).

When we work on the integration between hemispheres, we allow the information to be "seen", to be recognised and used. Hence we can teach someone to read, to decode, to follow sentences in a short span of time when they are integrated and accessing all information that is available to them.

No discussion of visual input would be complete without mentioning Irlen Syndrome. This syndrome which affects the visual cortex is highly prevalent in our society - especially among students with the so-called learning difficulty.

Irlen isn't a dysfunction of the eyes. It is a misfiring of the two nerves that lead from the eyes to the visual cortex. Normally these two nerves fire in sync and present a clear picture to the visual cortex for processing. When Irlen is present, one of the nerves is firing slower than the other creating a distorted message - kind of like looking at a 3-D TV screen without 3-D glasses on...

The brain needs to work hard to straighten this image out, to even out the distortions. But often it can't and the images move, swirl, vibrate and pulse causing fatigue, nausea, eye strain, avoidance problems as well as focusing issues. For people with Irlen, the world is a visually tiring place.

Often, they have no idea that this is not the experience everyone has when they look at a book, or computer screen or anywhere else that requires them to focus. For them it is just how the world is, so they don't mention it unless asked direct questions. It is often a surprise to parents to hear that the words on a page move, blur, disappear, swirl, dance, jump or rearrange themselves for their offspring.

Secret Number 5 - Auditory Input

The final secret to learning is Auditory Input. Like Visual Input, there is more to Auditory Input than hearing. When we think of Auditory, we think of the sounds that we hear - usually words.

For the student with a limited ear, they hear but don't differentiate sounds. It is just one large jumble of noise that has no particular meaning. We could be talking to them, perhaps in our frustration raising our voice to almost shouting, and they would still be blissfully unaware that we are even talking. Like the eye that is limited, noise goes in (the ears work fine) but no associations are attached to them.

For people with a functioning ear, but who are not in an integrated state, the ear continually scans the environment looking for danger. This means that for people like my son, the noise of the wind outside the classroom window is just as important as the teacher's voice. He can't focus exclusively on the teacher's voice - his ear is continually straining to catch the sound of the predator he KNOWS is hiding ready to leap.

When we are in fight or flight mode (stress by any other name), we descend to the level of instinct. Survival is our main concern. Not learning. Not seeing things from different points of views. Nothing but survival is able to capture our interest.

Learning of any description is impossible when we are concerned for our safety. It seems laughable I know - after all our kids are in school, what harm can come to them there? But the body doesn't know that school is a safe environment. It feels the adrenalin and cortisone pulsing through our veins. It knows that we are primed to run for our life or fight our way out - so this MUST be a dangerous environment with predators lurking, otherwise we wouldn't have adrenaline or cortisone pumping through our system...

So our children are edgy, easily distracted, jumping or turning towards every sound... (Sounds like ADHD doesn't it?) They are tense, ready to fight, ready to run. Small things can set them off - and later they don't know why.

Depending on the combination of senses available to our child (which of the 32 Learning Profiles they have) many responses are possible. Running from the room when the tension becomes too much (looking for a safe place), verbal aggression when approached incorrectly by the teacher or another student (fight my way out of here), a feeling of constriction and being trapped, anxiety attacks, fidgeting, easily distracted by noise when they are meant to be focusing on the task at hand etc.

These children are labelled ADHD, ADD, Auditory Processing Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder. Very few doctors or specialists recognise that these kids are highly stressed individuals who need to be shown safe, effective stress release methods that they can employ every day, in every situation.

Once again, brain integration and moving from a stressed state to the integrated state can and does have a marked impact on the behaviour of these students. When they feel safe, integration occurs, the unsettling behaviours diminish and viola we have a student who can focus, who can learn.

So what does this all mean for your child?

If we truly want our children to learn to the best of their ability then we need to understand how learning occurs for them. It is unfair to label children who are stressed with "disorders". Stress is not a disorder; it is a sign that something in a person's environment is amiss. We, as parents, educators and carers need to teach our children how to manage themselves and their response to stress. We cannot expect to teach children with a one-size-fits-all approach, especially when the world that they live in is rapidly changing and filled with uncertainty.

Learning about your child's unique learning profile isn't difficult. Applying that knowledge also isn't hard. It simply means that we need to change the way we view our child and their education - to learn to recognise the signs of stress and to remind our children of what they can do to relieve that stress. This, as parents, we can do. It is easy, and it benefits us all.

Diana Vogel

Diana Vogel is a sought after speaker, tutor, parent educator and author who is passionate about teaching parents and their dyslexic children the life skills that they need to maximise their chances of success. The mother of 2 wonderful boys, one of which is dyslexic, Diana has seen both the positive and negative sides of the dyslexia coin.

To learn more about Diana and the work that she does go to http://www.TheKidWhisperer.com.au

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