Play and Holidays

 

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top view photography of toddler playing with toy

 

Parents ask – what can I get for my special needs child for the holidays.  The gift of sharing time and allowing for this experience is probably one of the most important.  This is well documented in the literature and even pediatricians have weighed in on the subject of play with children.

Play is important for communication development as the below blog author illustrates http://www.playingwithwords365.com/the-importance-of-play-for-speech-and-language-development/   and as you step into the shopping mall on Black Friday or you are selecting toys online consider these developmental stages in play development https://pathways.org/kids-learn-play-6-stages-play-development/.   The reason to consider this would be to make sure that your child can actually benefit from the toy being purchased,

Recognize that for children – anything can become a toy.  The box collection (by age) of 52 quick and creative idea cards is great for easy ones which can be a guide for fun activities.  If money is an issue for you – take a look. All the materials can be found at home:

If it is hard financially to purchase toys, you may wish to contact The Salvation Army for assistance.

TRADITIONAL TOYS:

To me, a traditional toy is one that is not battery operated.  I remember using these as a child. For example lincoln logs, building blocks, board puzzles, board games such as Monopoly, CandyLand, Pick Up Sticks or numerous doll teal parties with a tea set, balls, frisbees. There are many others and this site offers

https://funandfunction.com/  

https://www.target.com/s/non+battery+toys?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google&fndsrc=tgtao&CPNG=Toys_Dolls%2BPuppets%2BPlush%2BAction+Figures&adgroup=Animal+Figures_3&LID=700000001171643&LNM=non+battery+toys&MT=b&network=g&device=c&location=9067609&targetid=kwd-302805841827&ds_rl=1246978&ds_rl=1248099&gclid=Cj0KCQiAt_PuBRDcARIsAMNlBdpoEMMECWDQDfTaVdTipJsGvkDwed41JpN0uX-c9KZSZ5mCPxmFoLYaAuqgEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

The value of a traditional toy cannot be underestimated because the use o f these involves that of imagination expansion.  Here is some foood for additional thought https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/no-battery-gifts/

https://www.target.com/s/non+battery+toys?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google&fndsrc=tgtao&CPNG=Toys_Dolls%2BPuppets%2BPlush%2BAction+Figures&adgroup=Animal+Figures_3&LID=700000001171643&LNM=non+battery+toys&MT=b&network=g&device=c&location=9067609&targetid=kwd-302805841827&ds_rl=1246978&ds_rl=1248099&gclid=Cj0KCQiAt_PuBRDcARIsAMNlBdpoEMMECWDQDfTaVdTipJsGvkDwed41JpN0uX-c9KZSZ5mCPxmFoLYaAuqgEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

BATTERY OPERATED, ELECTRONIC OR TRADITIONAL TOYS:

One of my favorites is Melissa and Doug toys because they are very sturdy, last a long time and can be used in so many different ways as children grow.  A number are available on their website and here are some links on the site for those who want them toys for upcoming vacations with packing limitations: https://www.melissaanddoug.com/search/?q=puzzles%20for%20toddlers   or https://www.melissaanddoug.com/search/?q=puzzles+in+a+box&lang=default   

Other toys through Melissa and Doug are Sensory Friendly toys      as well as on these sites:

https://www.specialneedstoys.com/usa/holiday-gift-guide

Whichever toy you may choose to purchase, have fun!  Without realizing it you will be building memories that will last a lifetime!

Feeding Senses

  Picture from:     http://wisdomthroughmindfulness.blogspot.com/2010/03/

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.”     

This article can describe what can be done When-Children-Wont-Eat-Understanding-the-Whys-and-How-to-Help.pdf

and in her blog post, a parent relates how her child benefitted from its use https://singingthroughtherain.net/2013/03/tips-for-children-with-feeding-disorders.html

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!

Red-Flags-w-logo

Technology

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New and profound diagnostic terms are emerging that diagnose actual addiction in this area. It’s called “Internet Addiction Disorder” according to the diagnostic manual used by physicians and other healthcare professionals.  If you want the codes here they are: https://www.aihc-assn.org/Blog/tabid/1676/ArticleID/379/Internet-Addiction-A-Digital-Problem-in-the-Real-World.aspx

IAD will display distinct habits. According to the journal Current Psychiatry ReviewsTrusted Source, someone with an IAD will:

  • have mood changes
  • focus on the internet and digital media
  • be unable to control how much time they spend
  • need more time or a new game to be happy
  • show withdrawal symptoms when not using the internet or technology
  • continue using the internet or technology even when it affects their relationships
  • neglect their social, work, or school life

How it is diagnosed is complex. Here is a link  https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html for you so consider your own habits and that of the medical community https://www.aihc-assn.org/Blog/tabid/1676/ArticleID/379/Internet-Addiction-A-Digital-Problem-in-the-Real-World.aspx. Can you list 25 things that you do each day that does not involve technology?  I asked a group of graduate students studying to become speech-language pathologists and they had trouble.  How about you?

There are good and unfortunate impacts that technology has had to date based on a variety of sources.  Think about the last time that you tried to talk to someone to find that they could not answerer you. They had earbuds in their ears, were not looking up at you – just at a machine and appeared to be in an entirely non-face-to face world.  The effect on communication in this century is both astounding and profoundly changing us.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/04/health/screen-time-lower-brain-development-preschoolers-wellness/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2019-11-04T22%3A00%3A09&utm_term=link&fbclid=IwAR2kl7JF5e1BDeY6-j-BGQiGqpT1t5BA4dVM4yVIpZsbSpNZ7pZRuopXkQ0

https://www.today.com/video/screen-time-may-be-reshaping-preschoolers-brains-new-study-says-72848453586?fbclid=IwAR0rorh-QKQcF0r8KFkYOmmSK9DGoQbP2CkRXT-1RhYg0qywY8lGoQDwrxo

https://www-nytimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/well/family/screen-use-tied-to-childrens-brain-development.amp.html

https://blog.asha.org/2020/01/17/asha-president-is-parents-smartphone-use-the-new-secondhand-smoke/

GOOD NEWS!

The good news is that there are positive things that we can use computers for, as noted in an example of a few resources below. There are others if you search by grade level which yields similar listings so look at those as well.

https://download.cnet.com/news/best-apps-to-educate-and-entertain-preschool-and-kindergarten-age-kids/

28 of the Best Apps for Kids in the First Grade

American Academy of Pediatrics advises families is that used in moderation can be helpful.  https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx    History is repeating itself. The transition from oral to written language posed challenges for those living through that period.  We all need to embrace the change and recognize that things are not all bad with this new change in communication.