Play and Holidays

IMAGE |  EDIT

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!

Holiday Meals

 

chef cooking in kitchen
Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

The article below appeared in a publication from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association a few years ago and with the holiday season upon us, I thought it would be helpful to share with others.  Feeding poses challenges not only in terms of nutritional needs; but, socially and emotionally for special needs families. Perhaps these ideas will help.  In addition – the author Melanie Potock is so knowledgeable and she provides meaningful information on her own blog/website https://mymunchbug.com/

Planning for Holiday Meals with a Picky Eater – Leader Live — Happening now in the speech-language-hearing world
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/blog.asha.org/2013/11/07/planning-for-holiday-meals-with-a-picky-eater/amp/

Technology

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 yo.  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

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.

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!

Sensory Processing Disorder 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.

A Journey in the Understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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:

  • SYMPTOMS
  • STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH ORGANIZATION: ROUTINES
  • MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING
  • SLEEP ISSUES AND RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP
  • CLOSING STATEMENT

SYMPTOMS

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.

https://www.additudemag.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-adhd/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yPMIrV5H1w1cnI0Id297yfLAJjIP283Vj0LztNQpX1dhGtQKNi0wRoClUIQAvD_BwE

ORGANIZE KIDS AND ADULTS EACH DAY

Finding out that a family member has ADHD or ADD depending on the type is overwhelming as it is challenging to find out to whom you can turn to get help. For starters you can do something at home


Create routines! Consistency and predictability is helpful http://Kid Routine Printables- http://girlinthegarage.net/2014/08/ki…

Are you an adult who suspects that you have the symptoms or perhaps a known diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. Organizational strategies are imperative for you as well. Take a look at this blog post https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-tips-for-creating-a-routine-for-adults-with-adhd/

MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING

Problems at home getting your child or you as an adult having trouble calming yourself down to focus. Help is available with some resources available at this link https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fidget+items+for+adhd&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-0Me8Bqv5d4H_ybXopbLbd3fDDQVTuFuuiBdbvW-6Ns4tqhoQHcWYxoCF58QAvD_BwE&hvadid=213954863905&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=e&hvrand=14588173531033197546&hvtargid=kwd-295234017326&hydadcr=4120_9338763&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_ldzonec9t_e

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

SLEEP HYGIENE: KIDS AND ADULTS

MEDITATION:

Some may complain that they do not have the patience to listen to them; but guided meditation apps abound as an aid to get to sleep – for adults and kids. Here are kid friendly scripts that can be loaded at no charge https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/free-meditation-guided-relaxation-scripts-kids/

For adults and children: you can try a free app url=https://www.calm.com/&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=1603556317+61837906998+378906119265&utm_term=calm%20app&utm_content=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE

Taken from https://www.tuck.com/sleep-resources/ here is a list of materials that may be of help

Sleep Health and Wellness

Sleep Medicine

Sleep Products

Mattress Guides

CLOSING RESOURCE

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!

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

https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/lego-and-emotions/

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

SAD

HAPPY

MAD

https://ttte.fandom.com/wiki/How_do_You_Feel,_Thomas%3F?file=HowDoYouFeel,Thomas%3F.png

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.

Reference

Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=youcue+feelings&i=stripbooks&gclid=CjwKCAjwxOvsBRAjEiwAuY7L8uy2mC8MOJL6o2am_o69lw8oQq04qSWVYkH_sRWZMkaMTCz1n6izmBoCYUQQAvD_BwE&hvadid=241626664073&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3578291734155525261&hvtargid=kwd-263732575109&hydadcr=20777_10173310&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_6hadcfm4ei_e

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
https://funandfunction.com/goals/sensory-regulation.html?fun_age=58%2C1478&utm_medium=search&fbclid=IwAR0x_jcpBP6aaY66IH4doN-X1qVMriGZUKwJM_WyfJnvKlRsgYffQlWpsSA
*this link has toys and other items to use in self regulation