Autism Spectrum Disorder – Empowerment for After the Time That You Receive the Diagnosis?

After reading a blog post from Autism Connect (see link below) about the signs, symptoms and treatment, I immediately had recollections of experience with my first cousin Jerry. We are six months apart in age and to my knowledge, he now lives in a group residence in Pennsylvania. I’ll tell you more about that but here is the link: . Here is an excerpt

Effective Treatment Options For Autism — Autism Connect

Autism or autism spectrum disorder related to the brain, impacting the way an individual communicates and socializes with others. It causes problems in social interaction too. The term “spectrum” in autism refers to the wide range of symptoms that varies from person to person in its severity. Autism sets in early childhood, causing hindrance in […

In terms of my own recollection: I recall a hot summer day. It was visiting day at camp. A dog was barking and Jerry was inconsolable. His behaviors were those characterized in the youtube video link below. He was yelling, rocking from side to side and his hands were shaking. We walked away from the dog and up a dusty dirt hill. The behavior finally stopped; but, I have no idea how and it seemed like hours during which I tried to help him calm. Nothing seemed to help. I felt awful because I was unable to help him.

I know now that he was stimming/ˈstimiNG/. Oxford dictionary indicates that this noun is defined as a behavior consisting of repetitive actions or movements of a type that may be displayed by people with developmental disorders, most typically autistic spectrum disorders; self-stimulation.” stimming was part of her coping mechanism”

**the presence of this behavior may not necessarily mean that the individual has autism

Understanding Sensory Integration was something that could have helped me at the moment with Jerry. The concept had not yet realized; but now I can share this.

Jean Ayres gives me that insight. On Wikipedia work is described. “Building on the work of Charles S. Sherrington and others, she began developing the theory and associated intervention techniques of sensory integration in the 1950s by examining the relationship between the brain and behavior. By the 1960s, Dr. Ayres recognized and described “hidden disabilities” or “dysfunction in sensory integrative processes” (Ayres, 1963, 1968), which she later referred to as sensory integrative dysfunction.” I often refer others to her text that describes the signs, symptoms, and treatment of this. Of course, you can get it on Amazon I sometimes suggest this book to parents as well as

Empowerment and Knowledge That You Are Not Alone:

The receipt of a diagnosis of Autism can be devastating for families. In my work, I see families mourning the fact that they will have to be dealing with a lifelong problem and with an uncertain road ahead of them. You are not alone and I wanted to give you resources so that you can do something for yourself – connect with others and become an advocate for the person about whom you have concerns. Some of these are in the links are to programs on the NYC area; but, I am positive that there are similar programs to this in other areas. Check online:

  • The Parents League of New York Described in the website this organization was “Founded in 1913 as a coalition of parents and independent and private schools, the Parents League of New York supports families and children by providing a broad range of educational and parenting resources.
  • Facebook has groups connect with others in your geographic location supports families and children by providing a broad range of educational and parenting resources.
  • Autism Speaks is another national organization
  • In my area, IncludeNYC is a wonderful organization providing both workshops on topics important for those with Autism and other special needs. I am sure that there are similar programs in other areas.
  • Autism Society of America Thanks to the work of my uncle and other parents who gathered to work towards the development of this national organization was formed.

Preparation for Schooling After EI, If not Done Already

Photo by on

Parents tell me that in one moment the services are all in your home and you have a coordinator keeping very close touch with you who will organize everything. Parents are being required to research schools that may be available to children when they prepare to research appropriate programs for their child. Now it is all up to you and it is “so overwhelming. This appears to be the biggest cooncern during the transition period. I’l hear from parents that “I am so stressed about this right now…how will I ever find a school?” Speaking with your service coordinator about getting a list of these or visiting the NYS Education Departnment website will be helpful once you have the results of the testing to determine that in fact your child is eligible and the nature of the concerns is defined. Here are links that may be helpful before or after you have these results. .


Some parents have found schools but now the laws – at least in NY State and I believe others have changed. You are being required to have your child vaccinated; but are choosing not to do so – for any of a number of reasons. Here is what the law indicates

As a result of not vaccinating your child and for those in the NYC area this is a youtube video that may help you understand how to get home schooling for your child. I found it on youtube – searching for home schooling in my city and you may be able to find this for your locale.


Maybe your child is starting or has started already. They HAVE been vaccinated.

Here are sometips .

Please do not rely on the school system to have uploaded all of the information about your child into their computer system. NYS Education Department has its own requirements and must be both FERPA (Family Education and Rights Privacy Act) and IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) for their maintenance. Familiarize yourself with what they should have on file, but keep a record of them on your own at home. It is in your interests to have these on file from the very beginning of your child’s education and transition to CPSE or Kindergarten

  • Go to school and introduce yourself, bringing the IEP in person and any of the other paperwork that they should have there, based on what you read from the above link.
  • Connect and get to know your special education supervisor, your child’s teacher and related service providers. In my experience – those who do so are those whose children get the most out of the school experience.
  • You may be given a packet of information- a welcome letter on that first day. Recognize that there are ways to get involved and stay connected with the educational team, as well as the administrative staff.
  • Joining a parents group at school is a great idea.
  • Home activities are a great thing to get ahold of from each professional as you can support yor child’s work and perhaps even praise them for their school accomplishments. Request them!
  • If your schedule allows for it you may want to volunteer to act as a chaperone for school trips.

Enjoy the experience! Recognize that you are now your child’s advocate! It’s great to become their cheerleader now.

Finally – just a fun idea: A colleague posted this and I could not resist sharing it with you. You may want to consider sending this snac k to school, especially on day one: They look great!

With a Feeling of Obligation to Provide Some Suggested Guidance Regarding the Use of Technology in a Responsible Way as the School Year Starts:

Leader Live — Happening now in the speech-language-hearing world

HomePrivate PracticeAudiology Advising Families on Screens: 7 Resolutions for the New School Year

Advising Families on Screens: 7 Resolutions for the New School Year

written by Jaumeiko Coleman August 12, 2019

Family eating a meal together.

It’s that time of year: back to school. Whether you are celebrating or mourning the end of summer, this time marks a fresh start for families. As parents consider how to best help their child achieve success this school year, audiologists and speech-language pathologists know how much tech use can affect a child’s school achievement. This makes it an ideal time to guide parents toward better balance after the all-too-common summer screen-time binge.

Editor’s note: As always, children who use low- and high-tech augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) should continue to use them at all times—and in an interactive way.

As with almost everything in child rearing, the rules are not necessarily one-size-fits all: what works for one child (or family) may not work for another. Finding the ideal balance can take trial and error. As parents continue to grapple with setting appropriate parameters for kids, it’s not necessarily as simple as “no more than 30 minutes a day.”

Try sharing these tech resolutions with families to help them find a screen time balance to the new school year:

  1. Make—and stick to—a plan. If you haven’t already developed a family technology plan, the start of school makes an excellent time to do so. Numerous trusted groups, including the American Academy of Pediatricsand Common Sense Media, offer templates to make this easy. Even if you already use a plan, find time to revisit it and consider—with your kids—whether the rules need to evolve. What is, and isn’t, working? Are kids old enough for additional/different privileges? Screen time plans need to change to stay effective.
  2. Focus on quality. While quantity—such as daily/weekly time limits—still work for many families, not all screen time is created equal. As most experts now stress, 30 minutes spent creating something—art, stories, programming—isn’t the same as 30 minutes passively viewing YouTube videos. Emphasize the former—and consider allowing more leeway if the time gets well spent.
  3. Make dinner time sacred. An oldie but goodie, dinner time should be offline time. Make conversation king at the table. In addition to building kids’ communication—speech, language, and social—skills and providing an unmatched, consistent opportunity for family bonding and connection, a host of other benefits are linked to regular family dinners. Technology is almost always a distraction—so no answering texts, emails, or Googleing. Everyone can hold off for those 30 minutes.
  4. Keep bedtime use off limits. Another classic, but oft-ignored recommendation. Recent research from Common Sense Media found 68% of teens—and 74% of parents—now take their mobile devices to bed with them. Not only can this detract from beneficial bedtime activities such as daily reading, but it can interfere with adequate sleep—which is necessary for physical and mental health, as well as academic success.
  5. Limit during homework time. This undoubtedly becomes more difficult as kids get older and assignments require online research. To that end, minimize technology as much as possible—and only to assist in homework. During homework time, discourage multi-tasking with social media or texting.
  6. Get involved. Make tech use a group activity. Watch your kids play Fortnite or view videos from their favorite YouTuber with them. Ask questions. Show—better yet, have—interest. This not only keeps the lines of communication open and provides a chance to talk/bond, but it can moderate parents’ concerns about their child’s online time—i.e., it may not be as bad as you think. Conversely, it can be an early indicator of problematic content.
  7. Elevate the conversation—Think beyond limits, rules, and restrictions. Again, these have their place, but encourage kids to think critically, for themselves, about how they use technology (risks/rewards) and help them appreciate and value offline time—both activities and relationships—prioritizing people over devices. Parents can’t monitor everything, especially as children get older. Talk about your expectations for being a good digital citizen and your family’s values, so they carry these along when they are at friends’ houses, on the school bus, and out in the world. Give them the tools to make good decisions.

For more information and tips, visit ASHA’s Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative.

Jaumeiko Coleman, PhD, CCC-SLP, FNAP is ASHA’s Director of School Services. PRACTICESCHOOLSTECHNOLOGY1


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I finally took a social media break — nida chowdhry

Last week I deleted all the games on my phone and the data associated with them. Why? I was playing too much. I was past level 1000 on one of them and realized that I simply was not reading “real” books – the kind that you hold in your hand. I went to the library and borrowed some. Great! I thought to myself. Now I am using more of my brain and getting neuro-exercise (my own word). Here is the data to back that up I recently posted on technology and how it affects or may be affecting your life. Well… coincidentally I ran across the above post and had to share it with my readers. I wonder what your thoughts are AND if you were to make one change in your habits with tech use – consider what might happen to you!

Well.. I haven’t given up my phone completely. On my tablet I found this article that is great to read in conjunction with the one that I am sighting in the title of my blog which has to do with addiction to social media and how to spot it in yourself

My question has and still is how the use of technology may be affecting the brain. Here is the scary thing. I found out that blood glucose levels in the brain are heightened and in turn affect the functioning of the brain. Further, “The mammalian brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy, and tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. Consistent with its critical role for physiological brain function, disruption of normal glucose metabolism as well as its interdependence with cell death pathways forms the pathophysiological basis for many brain disorders” Ms Nida Chowdhry’s instagram cleanse and my deletion of games on my phone may not be such a bad idea to try.

It is not all bads news. Technology can do wonderful things for us too. All the modern day conveniences are at our finertips, you can do research and find out information through your searchbars as I did in preparing this blog. Take a look at this chart for information on specifics around the use of it – not just for conveniences

So .. the conclusion is not only to be aware of how technology may be affecting us negatively – but to recognize the positives and use it in moderation. Don’t forget to include “face-time” interactions that do not involve machine, read “real” books and physically write, add with a pen and paper – using your brain to make calculations when you have the time and socialize in person – not through technology all the time. As well – recognize and respect the generational differences and preferences in communication style. Not all people feel comfortable using it and others have yet to learn how to use it. What do you think?

Shaping the Way We Use Technology Or Not….

A year or so back, I was sitting, catching up on reading mail one afternoon and i come across my graduate school alumni magazine.  The topic that month was related to the use of technology in education. One of the articles talked  about different types of careers that are developing in the field of education, that relate to technology. Really interesting.  It got me thinking about my day-to-day work and the types of things that have happened over the past few years. How are we changing??   

I avoid using technology at work, aside from some apps on my i-phone.  Call me old fashioned; but, there really is a logical reason when you are interacting with young children. Why?   there now is scientific evidence that the use of technology really impacts us.  For example, this article from Scientific America might be eye opening for some 

One might poo-poo the article that I site in the previous paragraph since the article was written in 2013.   Before YOU choose to do so, copyrighted in 2018 MaryAnneWolf writes the text Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World.  (yes – you CAN get it online at Amazon 🙂  )

  • Wolf continues the dialogue about the influence of technologic reading vs. tangible “book” reading. There are real differences that she suggests: the ability to critically think, reflect and being empathic. She even documents the neurology of reading and how our brains assists is with it (which I can’t give away – you will have to read her book!) and the fact that we don’t use the same aspects of neuroanatomy when reading online. The adage of “use it or lose it” may now be popping into your head. Scary isnt it. My conclusion was that reading a book may actually be a form of exercise for your brain. I myself wonder, is this going to be another addition to the recommended amount of aerobic exercise that we need to maintain health? Interesting rhetorical question or perhaps a “real one” to discuss at your next physical.

New screen-time guidelines for early childhood are outlined in and the American Academy of Pediatrics published the following

Among the AAP recommendations:

The idea of developing a Family Media Plan has been suggested  to help as a guide.

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

Another question that I had in reviewing this information in preparing for a graduate student seminar being given to students studying the field of Speech-Language Pathology was what about adults? Who helps guide us in curbing use of technology so that it is used responsibly. After all, I would challenge my reader to make a list of 25 activities that you engage in during the week that do not involve battery operated devices. Can you? When I asked my students to do so, it was hard. Even the mundane task of grocery shopping in a “real” grocery store where you actually take a shopping cart, walk up and down an aisle and take items off of a shelf was not happening. By a show of hands, few students engaged in that task. No wonder we are becoming an overweight society!

With the above depressing news that has been documented – how technology is affecting our health, I dug up an article that may be of help. I will close with this and a request to consider how technology is affecting your life and how it is affecting the life of those around you. Consider how you can take care of yourself!

I feel proud to have been selected as a guest for a tweetchat hosted by KidsCompanions. What is a tweet chat you may ask A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests. The following was the topic of mine and although conducted a little while ago, much of the content is relevant to today. Thanks to the host! Delays in Speech and Language Development: How Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) Help – KidCompanions Chewelry & SentioCHEWS

Source: Delays in Speech and Language Development: How Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) Help – KidCompanions Chewelry & SentioCHEWS