Sometimes same events re-occur. Years ago, families had rules about the use of television with children and now things have gotten more complex with the emergence of social media, smartphones, and computers for example.
The Family Media Plan-published by the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the fact that at the age of fifteen months, the use of media is okay so long as a parent watches with the toddler. The controversy around this area is a fascinating one that should be considered by parents and caregivers. In visiting homes it becomes apparent that there are varying opinions and reasons for or against its use being voiced. Research about the use of technology is telling us more and more. The fact that it is showing that there is an influence on brain development is not surprising. How does this affect your children and parenting style around this issue?
Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development
In a study, preschoolers who used screens less had better language skills.
So frustrating… your child enters the world and you are not aware of the hand that you will be dealt with. You have a child – a wonderful child whom you love so much – but they have a different style of functioning. They may respond to the world differently. They may need accommodations in school so that they have an untimed exam. They may need related services such as Speech Therapy and/or a paraprofessional to provide support in the “least restrictive environment least restrictive environment
Your child is evaluated to determine what needs they may or may not have. You go to your local school district office to discuss the plan based on these reports and an Individual Education Plan is developed. The law states that you have rights as a parent to both participate and agree or disagree to an outlined plan for your child. I am not a special education advocate, but I work with children of different ages. Part of my work involves assisting parents with written reports to present at IEP meetings/CPSE meetings and speaking with professionals in terms of suggesting supports from which those whose skills I have evaluated may benefit.
Speaking more than one language at home enriches communication for children with autism
Neuro-typical and-atypical learns a language in the same way. Rather than a detrimental task for them, you are actually creating new pathways in the brain AND enabling more of the brain to develop. The fact is that anyone can learn a language, but it is simply easier to do so at an early age as the brain is initially developing. Over time, the language that a child is most comfortable with may change. The key will be to give a child lots of practice.
In this reading series, Bosley may be a helpful addition for your child’s quiet reading time at home; because you can Follow Bosley on his adventures and learn a new language This dual language book is designed to teach your child new words and phrases. Techniques that are used include Repeat words Simple phrases Opposites Highlighted vocab words
Just published this week on the American Speech-Language Association website:
The Healthy Communication and Popular Technology Initiative is an effort led by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to safeguard healthy communication in a technology-driven world. We’re a force for moderate tech use that encourages conversation, human interaction and practicing safe listening.
We are texting, emailing and posting more than ever – but are we truly communicating?
The technology we use every day has helped us accomplish great things, but it’s also had a profound impact on how we communicate. If current habits continue, experts are concerned overuse of popular technology could lead to diminished speech, language and hearing abilities”.
Within the context of home care intervention, I may walk into a family’s home with a child who has a diagnosis of receptive and expressive language delay. Apparent are different scenarios related to this phenomenon
*****I am not trying to be critical of any parent or parenting style, but merely pointing out what has been observed
a parent on the phone and a child pulling at their clothes, but the parent ignores them.
the parent is on the phone and the child is playing on a tablet or phone and neither acknowledges each other or after opening the door – a newcomer in the home.
While speaking to a parent all of a sudden Elmo across the room starts to dance. When asking how that happened, the parent pointed out that their daughter had learned to push a red button on a cell phone that then activates Elmo. That’s what happened. Inquiring as to whether or not the child could actually manipulate the toy and make that happen or request help in doing so, you could feel the tension in the room. I never got the answer.
Like many a scholar before and since, Bertrand Russell confidently asserts that certain traits—“speech, fire, agriculture, writing, tools, and large-scale cooperation”—set humans apart from animals. Although we appear to excel in many domains, such claims are not typically founded in any thorough comparison. In fact, if you set the bar low, you can conclude that parrots can speak, ants have agriculture, crows make tools, and bees cooperate on a large scale. We need to dig deeper to understand to what we owe our unique success—what separates us from other animals in the domains of language, mental time travel, the theory of mind, intelligence, culture, and morality. In each domain, various nonhuman species have competences, but the human ability is special in some respects—and they have much in common.
Only time will tell if this continues to be the case.
The frustration of not able to communicate or express their wants can have a negative effect on individuals with autism. They may tend to stay aloof, throw tantrum and indulge in negative behavior For autism, assistive technology can benefit individuals (of all age groups) in promoting communication and social interactions. Assistive technology refers to hand-held gadgets such […]
Functional language is exactly that. Functional language is the communication that is used in order to effectively obtain what you want or need. It is purposeful. Without its use, language has no true meaning so this is a goal that we want to see achieved in anyone who is learning to speak one fluently. If you were to learn a foreign language in an online course, here is an idea of how it might be taught and learned. https://www.netlanguages.com/blog/index.php/2017/08/28/what-is-functional-language/
Scripted Language may not be as familiar a term to you:
Scripted language can manifest itself in the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others, sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources such as favorite books or something someone else has said.
People with Autism often display scripting in the process of learning to talk and I mention it because if you are a parent who is reading this or a professional interacting with a person who is “scripting” you want to understand it and not necessarily become neither irritated nor confused by this type of behavior. There are different types of scripting: echolalic and social. Consider the following resource: http://www.thespeechmama.com/2011/10/07/how-to-teach-a-child-with-autism-to-talk/
For those who see that all in their child with Autism is bleak – please see a light of strength that they may possess. The challenge to consider is how to use this productively:
“Visual memory for some types of material has been found to be an area of strength for children with autism but complexity of the stimuli appears to affect memory function in this modality as well. Interestingly, the right hemisphere may compensate for Visual memory for some types of material that has been found to be an area of strength for children with autism but the complexity of the stimuli appears to affect memory function” (Prior & Chen, 1976).
The post brought to mind my first cousin. Jerry was diagnosed with autism at a very young age and at a point when not much was known about the disorder. He would memorize calendars and could tell you what day of the week you were born on, for example, four or even five years ago. How remarkable, I thought. I wondered why – perhaps research now is answering that question.
What Is Declarative Memory? This is an area of strength in those who are autistic. \
Your ability to recall addresses, locations of parking garages, intersection names, phone numbers, and an experience that you had at a restaurant are all a part of declarative memory. Declarative memory, also referred to as explicit memory, is the memory of facts, data, and events. For example, let’s say that you know that your favorite restaurant is only open until 6 PM on Sundays. The time that the restaurant closes is stored as a declarative memory. We can consciously recall declarative memory. Declarative memory is a type of long-term memory. Here is a functional strategy that may be useful for daily activities that require this:
Declarative memory seems to help individuals with autism compensate for social deficits by memorizing scripts for navigating social situations. It supports the learning of strategies to overcome language or reading difficulties not only in autism, but also in SLI and dyslexia. And it appears to help people with OCD or Tourette syndrome learn to control compulsions and tics.
Lindsay Strachan Fofana Thank you for this! My almost 4 year old son is receptive and expressive language delayed but loves to learn and seemingly has photographic memory. Yesterday he spelled his name backwards. I explained to him what he had done and he was tickled! It’s very promising and always exciting.
Welcome to a new decade! Where have you been and where you will go this year. I hope my readers will be able to increase their connectivity to others and opportunities to engage with those in many different venues. As you do so- pause and think about how we are doing so. My question to you is where did talking face-to-face vs. FaceTime go?
Changes Over a Decade in How We Talk:
Absolutely fascinating how it seems that social media has taken over so much of our means of communicating with one another! Take a look at the statistics https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics and recall that social media only became a phenomenon of the late 1900s. Remember the movie “Social Network” and how famous Mark Zuckerberg became as a result?
Regardless of how it has affected us, the use of technology has changed communication, the way that we think and live our lives each day. There are positive ways in which we can use technology at home and the guidelines posted by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that the key is to use it in moderation and with parental supervision.
Changes in routine can affect children and think about how it affects you as well. All the excitement of the upcoming weeks is upon us and perhaps an overlooked thought is how to deal with your special needs family member. Maybe it is foremost in your mind. It may be in that of your child as school holiday gatherings occur this or next week before school vacations.
PRE-PLANNING: With credit to the Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support Group which can be reached at the link below, I noted that although labeled for Xmas that many of the ideas could be adapted to suit your own family’s holiday celebrations.
The speech-language pathologist in me ran across a video in an e-journal disseminated to professional members of the national organization regarding the noise-factor produced by some of those toys that you might select
The advantage of a sensory-friendly gift packaging with a novel and eco-friendly packaging options.
Continuing from the theme of earlier this week in terms of preparing for the holidays, part of doing so is to think about meals and what will be served, how many people are coming, what ingredients you will need and then cooking. If you have a child who can’t tolerate eating different foods then YOU have an additional layer that is so emotionally ridden. If you have a child who cannot tolerate the smell of foods cooking or the site of those which you have on the counter how will you prepare them? Food is such a basic thing that we need for every day. Working with parents each week with children who have feeding challenges reminds me of the emotional influence that problems in this area pose to families. Having taken Dr. Toomey’s training this past fall, I became aware of information that might be able to help you and I have already found its benefit during my daily practice. It is known as a sensory-based feeding therapy approach, building on each of them. http://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/?fbclid=IwAR0VKcWb_ZAHzheWdgT7ekqhwG_NuW8JLOMtCHZyT4PnolRXeyq6oeXxLSw
“The SOS Approach to Feeding program was developed by and copyrighted by Dr. Kay Toomey. Please note, all materials, documents and forms taken from the SOS Approach to Feeding program are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Dr. Kay Toomey. For more information on the SOS Approach to Feeding program, please visit http://www.sosapproach.com.”
The SOS Feeding approach is appropriate for children that are “problem feeders” and not “picky eaters”, which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between. Picky eaters are those that have a limited variety of foods and will not easily eat, but they often will reluctantly touch or taste new food. Picky eaters do not need SOS feeding therapy. A problem feeder, however, has an even more restricted variety of foods with more severe reactions to interacting with non-preferred foods and is a candidate for SOS feeding therapy. Here are some questions to consider if you are concerned about your child’s eating:
Does your child have a decreased range or variety of foods (less than 20)?
If your child gets “burned out” on food and takes a break from it, will they refuse that food still, after the break?
Does your child refuse entire categories of food groups (proteins, vegetables, etc.) or texture groups (hard foods, soft cubes, puree textures)?
Does your child almost always eat different foods at a meal than the rest of the family?
Have you reported concerns about your child’s feeding across multiple well-child check-ups?
If you answered “yes” to several of the above questions, talk to your child’s pediatrician about a referral for an evaluation to determine if feeding therapy would be warranted for your child.
Please note, the term “problem feeder” is used by the SOS Feeding approach program to delineate children who are outside the normal range of age-appropriate feeding behaviors, i.e. only being a “picky eater”.
Is your child a red flag for a referral? Know that in this season of giving that you can be given the hope of improved ability to help your child enjoy eating!
Typically families with young children may be approaching them with excitement. In my experience, families with children who have disabilities may have apprehensions. How can you proactively approach Halloween? How can your family prepare for dealing with stimulating settings and create a more meaningful/less stressful day in this Halloween week? Here are some resources that may be of help. Firstly:
Here is a wonderful blog post with suggestions for reducing stimulation, creating costumes and preparing for the big day www.familyeducation.com .
Do you want to have a party indoors with snacks and decorations. Perhaps kids movieswww.halloweenmoviesforkid would be a nice activity
This month is another “Awareness” month. We not only become aware of ADHD but one of the concomitant conditions: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
The need to have an understanding of the sameness and difference between the conditions is very important as it can have an impact on planning for treatment and perhaps the type of testing that needs to be done. According to the STAR Institute
“many of these kids have both disorders. A national stratified sample of children suggests that 40% of children with ADHD also have SPD (Ahn, Miller et. … Causes: In very simple terms, ADHD and SPD are both disorders that impact the brain. “.
STAR Institute doesn’t talk about adults, but I cannot imagine that there is not a large population of adults who have ADHD + SPD as well…
Being empowered with knowledge and having that increased awareness about individual differences will only help us as individuals -neuro-typical or not to interact with one another. That I believe is the goal of awareness months- so it behooves us all to take a look.
Taken from the below-noted website, you can both read more about SPD and obtain this “sensory processing chart without cost:
Well… this is ADHD awareness month. I had no idea! In acknowledgement of this fact I am structuring this post with videos embedded and links. I narrowed this post down into four sections with resources in each category and there is one closing section. i tried to include resources for both adults and children My hope is that this blog post will give you some basic strategies for functioning during the day and maintaining health:
STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH ORGANIZATION: ROUTINES
MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING
SLEEP ISSUES AND RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP
ADDITUDE MAGAZINE is published on a regular basis throughout the year. A link to the signs and symptoms of this disorder are found. This particular article is quite detailed and the magazine extremely informative.
In closing: The organization CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD http://www.chadd,org provides a wealth of information including support groups – local chapters around the country which are amazingly helpful. Good luck!
There is a valued importance for social learning. “Social Interaction surrounds us as we move through our lives. Even when we aren’t actively engaged in interactions, we’re still exposed to it” according to Anna Vagin, PhD in her a book (see link at the bottom of this post) which outlines a curriculum that she developed using online videos to help teach social learning. Highly recommended for clinicians, teachers and even parents. It’s outline is written in very straight forward and presented in non- clinical terms
Almost every child falls in love with Thomas the Tank Engine. With Black Friday coming next month and holiday shopping – you may want to consider adding this to the list if you have a child unable to do so. Research shows that the first emotions to develop are “happy”, “sad” and “mad” . Look at just this one character and the link below to a Thomas book that may be useful as a part of your home library
In her text (see link below), Dr. Vagin lists these as helpful resources to help children learn about emotions
Emoti Plush toys are dolls with moveable facial features (mouth, eyebrows) that allow children to be shown and themselves demonstrates changing feelings www.emoti-plush.com
Kimochis-characters that can be used as a playful way to help children identify and express feelings www.kimochis.com
For older children-why not act out more lengthy scenarios with materials from those described at this link https://www.smartfelttoys.com/ . The house may be a particularly good one for acting out a scene that may be of meaning for your individual family.
Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:
I personally have a dislike of labels being put on people, but on some level, they do enable us to understand what we see or experience ourselves. The area of Sensory Processing Disorder is not that commonplace of a condition and not as familiar as the “flu” or “stomach virus” for example. So the importance of understanding and then conveying to others that which you know about the condition has meaning. It allows for the potential of gaining the understanding of others around you and empowers others to be more empathic of the needs of those with SPD.
The below five systems are typically those that we learned about in school… keep reading – there are additional ones:
In a visual manner, we can take a look at the neuroanatomy of the disorder which adds greater understanding of the fact that there is a REAL reason for why the behaviors exist and what may cause disturbances in self-regulation.
The blog post https://blog.asha.org/2019/05/13/the-best-toys-for-slps-are-the-toys-that-do-nothing/ that recently appeared in the ASHA Leader resonates with me. I put individual links to which the author refers at the bottom of this post, So does the book “If You Give a Mouse an iPhone (of course available on Amazon in print). Here is a link to the story being read https://youtu.be/S3nVxt6_lAc If you can’t get it otherwise and are not familiar with it – the mouse is given an iPhone.. he uses it (viewing something that is not defined) and is unaware of his surroundings on a trip. The battery of the phone runs out and the result is a tantrum.
With the new American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Family Media Plans that i talked about in a recent post, I really did not give any suggestions for the way to redirect your child when the screen is not visible. That led to this post and the awareness that there are so many things that you can do together. Indeed as my colleague wrote you can really be “the best toy!”.
In NYC https://www.nybg.org/learn/kids-teens/childrens-gardening-program/ and in other cities there are most likely similar types of activities. Novel – if this is not the case is using an avocado seed, allowing it to sprout roots by soaking it in water and allowing it to grow in a pot with dirt. Plant peas from the pods or use others from fruits.
INEXPENSIVE AND SPECIFIC FOR THOSE WITH SENSORY CHALLENGES:
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 https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/vaccinations.html
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.