Halloween with a Special Needs Child

Halloween is tomorrow! Are you ready??

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 movies www.halloweenmoviesforkid would be a nice activity

Literacy is an area of interest to those of us in the area of speech-language pathology. Here is a link to some books with the Halloween theme https://www.google.com/search?q=halloween+books&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS777US777&oq=halloween+books&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2855j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

The best of all may be arts and crafts that are thematic for the holiday so that you can spend face time with eachother and be creative. Here is a link for some quick and easy activities to give you some ideas https://crazylittleprojects.com/halloween-crafts-for-kids/

Have fun!

SPD Awareness Month


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…

The discrete differences according to the STAR Institute are found at https://www.spdstar.org/node/1114

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.

How to Recognize a Sensory Processing Disorder in Your Child | ilslearningcorner.com #sensoryprocessing #sensoryplay

Taken from the below-noted website, you can both read more about SPD and obtain this “sensory processing chart without cost:


SPD Awareness Month

Additional Resources


Teaching Emotions to Those Who May Not Express Them Easily

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:


Considerations for Open School Night

I find it hard to believe that only a month ago I was writing about Back to School and how to prepare for it in upcoming weeks. Regardless – Back to school night typically occurs in mid to late October. We are already at the beginning of the month and Columbus Day weekend is next week! Time to continue the conversation

TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN: What can you do to get prepared and how are you feeling about it. For general information this link brings you some guidance interms of how to do so https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/back-to-school-night/ , in the event that you have a typically developing child/children

READING ROCKETS: https://www.readingrockets.org/shows/launching/roots Ask your teacher where your child is in terms of reading at school. This way you can be your child’s first teacher and help them with their reading skills.

STUDENTS IDENTIFIED AS NEEDING RELATED SERVICES?HAVE IEPS: Open school nights for families with children who have children experiencing challenges in communication or other areas of development can be anxiety provoking, from parents in a different way than for others. Preparation may be different http://www.ldonline.org/article/33219

  • .
  • Home-school communicationT: eachers and families need to be in touch throughout the year. Whether it’s through a folder, notebook or daily learning log, you should hear something about the system the teacher uses to keep in touch

Aside from these issues: There really ARE other obstacles and recaling my days of working in the city schools, keeping these in mind may -no make that will, be helpful:

Bring your child’s IEP. Confirm that EVERYONE has been able to access and implement its use – as specific to the class size, the size of the group in which your child has been placed with a reltaed service provider and if there are any supplies that they need at school to aid in providing special education (or even general education students.

Ask if your child’s teacher or related service provider needs anything to help your child, if you are in a position to help: Why? probably little known fact is looming in the schools about which you are unaware. Ninety-four percent of public school teachers say they spent their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies in the 2014-15 school year without reimbursement, according to the study. The average amount spent was $479. About 44 percent spent $250 or less, while 36 percent spent $251 to $500.May 15, 2018



Here is the reality for this year https://www.uft.org/your-union/uft-programs/teachers-choice Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists only started to get funds for supplies in 2017/18 as well as continuing education!

above is a link to a center that l.. if your IEP says that the child should receive one but there is a long wait list for you-this may be helpful to pursue.

How Do you Define and Describe Sensory Processing Deficits in a Meaningful Way, What Can You Do About Them and How Do You Help Others to Understand?:

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:

Image result for sensory systems
In addition to these five, we have proprioception (sensation of muscles and joints of the body), vestibular (sense of head movement), interoception (these provide the sensations that tell us how we feel-hungry, tired, need to feel the bathroom and the following link explains this new sensory system in more detail) https://www.facebook.com/STARInstituteforSPD/videos/1540367686031185/

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.

***Many thanks to Bill Nasen who is the author of a book being published in October 2019 https://www.amazon.com/Autism-Discussion-Anxiety-Shutdowns-Meltdowns/dp/178592804X/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=bill+nason&qid=1553451610&s=gateway&sr=8-3&fbclid=IwAR2SU44pGAPb3sZLBqTGrNWJbNXKIs0tSToC1C9aPPLxnLJgAlkPzXzCFg0 for providing these valuable photos on Facebook’s The Autism Discussion Page @AutismDiscussionPage there is a book series and a wealth of information on this topic. there.

There are also resources available that may be of assistance for adults or children:

For Children With SPD:

The book called The Out of Sync Child helps identify strategies to help children. Potentially, strategies can be useful are related in this book, https://www.amazon.com/Out-Sync-Child-Recognizing-Processing/dp/0399531653

The STAR Institute gives both professionals and parents a number of resources such as home activities and books connected with the topic of SPD. Another helpful resource if you navigate here is one about how to handle dental visits! https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Checklist of symptoms in children who have SPD https://www.spdstar.org/basic/symptoms-checklist

Sensory Items that may be helpful https://inyardproducts.com/blogs/blog/117708293-15-amazing-sensory-products-for-your-child There are many more available online.

Issues at school? If these are potentially going to come up or are reported in the upcoming school conferences in your child’s fall meeting consider navigation to this site beforehand https://childmind.org/article/school-success-kit-kids-sensory-processing-issues/

Adults with SPD:

Knowledge and awareness don’t stop after you grow up. To help others find resources the guide at this link might be helpful. http://www.sensoryprocessing.info/books-adults.html

Sensory items that may be helpful :https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/sensory-products-adults

Assistance is available at the STAR INSTITUTE as well as resources pertaining to treatment https://www.spdstar.org/landing-page/treatment and readings connected with this condition are available for adults if you peruse this link https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Children or Adults with SPD

** this above link to me appears to be related to anyone with sensory issues and not just with the ASD or SPD diagnoses

Self Regulation
*this link has toys and other items to use in self regulation