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The Language of Cooking

This past week, I made my first video “Language in Boxes” and I encourage you to view it. It is posted at www.betterspeech.com and relates to how we can incorporate language learning into routine activities . They help your children learn language and don’t involve anything beyond just “living”. A part of the video relates to cooking and how it can be used in this way. In mine when we were kids, as I am sure others in homes, meals were an intrinsic part of daily life. As my older brother says – cooking is chemistry. We did a lot of that and really started from scratch,

The video below, talks about making rainbow popsicles (below) starts with a catchy tune and is a great illustration of how you can step by step make popsicles. Perhaps without intentional purpose, the song and visual images illustrates how much fun this can be and some children relate to it because they may have learned to enjoy cooking and have built memories that you can talk about, or even write about when you are done.

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THE BRAIN AND COOKING

See that lit up area of the brain below? Cooking helps to develop that lit up area called the frontal lobe. That is the area that involves reasoning (i.e. “what do i need to make i.e. apple pie?” problem solving (“how much should I make?”) attention and drawing inferences.

A SEQUENCE IN PREPARING TO WORK:

Growing up there was a garden in my backyard, every summer. It would start with trips to the farm where dad bought milk for us at home and also manure. Awful combination! However, we learned that manure was good for growing the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, carrots and string beans. Sometimes lettuce was mixed in. My job was to weed the garden as dad fertilized the plants in the hot summer months. At summer’s end, all of the vegetable garden would wind up in a pile to be transformed into fertilizer for the following year when we would start again.

Dad taught me the language of gardening and perhaps you can as well.

Nouns: Plants, manure, soil, the names of the vegetables, slugs, beer, fertilizer and weeds

Verbs: weeding, fertilizing, growing, pulling (out carrots when you could see the orange part of the carrot popping up), digging, burying

Animals that Can Be Harmful to Plants: Then we learned all about how slugs were not good for plants..or flowers in the plot of earth that was doled out to me in the backyard. I learned how to bury cat food containers (we had two) and pour beer in them. Voila – the next morning after these were buried were a handful of slugs in each container.

Descriptive terms: colors of vegetables, ripe vegetables vs those that needed to do so.

Sequencing the Steps for Preparing to Cook: My job was to go outside and pick the ripened vegetables and I learned how to distinguish those that were or were not. Mom would give me a bag and tell me “go get some string beans and carrots for dinner!”.

Pride: Even if it was next to the garbage pail in the backyard, my marigolds were my own contribution every summer!

Cooking Helps Those With Sensory Aversions

I will talk more to you about SOS Therapy in another post; but to share with you briefly, there is a sequential hierarchy in which we learn to eat and breaking the steps up helps children learn to participate in meals. It is a sensory approach, especially helpful for those on the autism spectrum and or those with sensory challenges.

I mention it, because the feeling of the textures of ingredients for “Grandma Rose’s Oatmeal Cookies” are a very salient memory and I can still smell them.

Tasting: Go to a garden stand or farm this fall. It’s a great time of year to learn more about the appearance of fresh vegetables and fruits. There is nothing like them! You can’t forget licking the spoon after stirring the batter when a cake is made!

Tactile: Experience washing, slicing, putting food into a pan, oven or baking

Seeing: Cook with foods and enjoy the visual component of seeing them.

Smelling: After everything is in the oven or on the stove and it is cooking!

Bonding!!

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In or Out of a School Building??

yellow school bus toy

To attend or not go to school/get help for your family through home-based services. What are the ethics?? Who should decide and what to do when you consider options? To me, it’s not a one size fits all answer. I feel for some families where remote schooling would be potentially harmful to their health and the consequences that the decision may have. Each possible scenario has pluses and minutes with the Delta variant amidst us, The potential impact on language is something that we may be dealing with for quite some time Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Communication and Language Skills in Children – PubMed (nih.gov)

Regardless of the research, I am concerned about this ethically. Should states allow parents to have the option of in-home schooling available to them? There are considerations.

One parent told me that she would rather have her son (who has ADHD) have services in speech therapy unmasked virtually vs. masked and in person. Interesting statement to ponder. Those with a social communication disorder or an autism spectrum disorder in which social interaction difficulties, problems in verbal and nonverbal communication may be prevalent. Sensory challenges may also play a role with these people and some will undoubtedly have trouble wearing masks. How do you deal with that? There are children who have never been in school – “started”; but never in a school building!

I’m not envious of those needing to make this decision now. There is a lot to think about.

Resource: Impact of Online Education on Families | Maryville Online

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Teach by Doing!

If you are concerned about the Delta variant and may be keeping a child home from school – or preschool know that there are options for your child to learn communication skills at home by infusing, or embedding teaching moments into your day – your daily routines.

To embed involves “learning by doing”. For example, here are some examples of ways that you can help your son or daughter to develop speech and language at home by DOING to give you food for thought so you can consider how aspects of your routines, when we are or are not socially distanced can become teachable ones. At the bottom of this post are some additional insights for how to teach language in the below stated areas of daily life.

Groceries:

Teach Vocabulary: food names and actions

Follow Directions by having them “give me the red pepper.” , have the child find and place the red pepper where it goes.

Answer questions by saying “what is this?” as you pick up i.e. a box of their favorite cereal. You could ask them to tell you “where does it go”

Sequencing the steps: You can teach this by modeling what you are doing in the process of unpacking groceries as you do it. For examplel: starting with saying “Thank you” to whomever has delivered your package. Discuss that you need to “pick up” the bag and “bring it to the kitchen” “unpack “(define that), “put the cereal …” etc.

Doing the Laundry:

Teach Vocabulary: clothing and action words

Sorting – all the dark colored clothes in one pile and the light ones in another Have your child help by putting “all the shirts go here. all the pants go in this pile.

Follow Directions: Ask your toddler or school ages child to “put a pod of soap into the machine” with your supervision.

Sequence: You can teach this by modeling or having your child hear/see the steps being performed: “open the door”-washing machine, “put clothes in” “put in the soap” “close the door”

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The idea of embedding activities into daily routines so that parents can help to facilitate development in language with their children in the 0-3 age range and actually beyond is widely used. It appears that in an age of a pandemic, social distancing and altered lifestyles that the need for inclusion of embedding activities into daily living has become even more important. You are your child’s first teacher and that job does not end – pandemic or not, 24/7. Hopefully, these suggestions can help.

Additional Resources:

https://selfsufficientkids.com/how-to-do-laundry-kids-teens/

Teaching Executive Function through daily routines

On youtube or in the library re books that you can read to your child about this and other daily activities. It’s worth taking a look and previewing reading about each activity even before you do it – or at a quiet time of the day.

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Pandemic Language

We learn in school that there is a typical progression of how language develops, a sequential step by step process that begins the day that infants are born regardless of what you speak. It’s fascinating to watch the “blob” that is born and the “person” that develops, especially in very early years. A reduction in social opportunities has changed family dynamics and still does in areas where a “lockdown” is still in effect. How does this or not impact on language acquisition? Are there changes in the sequence?

Consider these factors.

  1. Children learn through interaction with objects and others in the environment. Mirror neurons have an impact on development of social skills and perhaps they have not developed to the extent that we would hope due to reduced opportunities for socialization, especially with those diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.
  2. Children have had less physical activities.
  3. Some may have been home with parents who were working and may or may not have had more opportunity for “quality time”.
  4. Some preschoolers and kindergartners may have been “in school”; but never in a building. Will their learning style be different?

Digging into the research online, i found a scientific study that provides information on what parents did with their children during “lockdown” and documents that actions of parents and caregivers indeed has had an impact. For those still on “lockdown” perhaps it is helpful to think about the results of the research.

Please provide comments about your experiences. How did you interact with each other? With less social opportunity, how have your family members been affected in terms of language? Did communication change in your home and if so, how??

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The 5K Step Rule!

Schools are closed and there is still a pandemic brewing in our midst. Some remain unvaccinated and the question of what will come next has arrived. Technology will most likely be on the minds of students who now have more free time and ideas for developing routines and rules around it abound. However, I have another one for you and it came out of the blue in a discussion within the past two weeks.

I asked a parent, as a part of an evaluation that I was conducting about how much screen time their eight-year-old has. The answer was an awesome idea to consider.. the 5K rule “For every 5,000 steps she moves she get a half hour. The most she can get is one hour of time using her tablet”.

You are probably thinking.. how is this measured? That was my question.. and the parent had a marvelous idea. An exercise tracker. They are very easy to get, so click on the green link!

How life has changed!

I recall struggling with the one-hour rule of television unless there was a special program on or one that we had to watch for school. What did my brothers and I think of doing???? Perhaps I can share some ideas with your family. I was raised before computers and summertimes were different, to say the least. It gives me an opportunity to share another way to have fun! We had a different way of talking one another and still do – bringing new experiences to the next generation.

Mom was a librarian …there were always trips to the library. My dad taught us to work in the backyard and we weeded the area where he was growing vegetables. I even had my own area for marigolds. It is heartwarming to me to know that in my own home city of NY that there are Community gardens in New York City (dailykos.com) so that these skills can be learned. Check with the parks department in your area I learned that cat food cans filled with beer attracted slugs and collected a lot of them that way because slugs would ruin the crop. We went to the park and raced after the Good Humour truck to get an ice cream pop down the street as the bell of the truck was heard when we finished dinner. You can have a lemonade stand at a city park in NYC, perhaps in other areas as well. We went to the local pool, drew pictures, and I kept a diary. Playing in the park or backyard was always an idea. The very fondest memories were those that last a lifetime… family vacations. To this very day, we talk about our childhood trips. We still have them and share our memories with a new generation of family members. I hope that they will have the same experience as we did…

Oh! Please don’t forget to take pictures and perhaps write a story about the details so that you can continue with new traditions and remember the old. It will give you more about which to talk and even share virtually during that half or whole hour 🙂

https://bestoflifemag.com/activities-for-kids-before-electronics-printable-checklist/

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Virtual Therapy

Parents have called me to schedule sessions this week and declined services provided remotely, although insurance companies are providing coverage and many professionals are providing it. THAT is the impetus for this post and I think one that may be of help to you!

Is it worth getting a Virtual High Five???

I think that the novelty of what this actually has been confusing for consumers and we as practitioners are also learning,,,

One of the benefits, of telehealth is that if you are a parent, young adult, adult with any kind of need, virtual intervention enables professionals and patients/clients to have a venue for reaching out to one another. Interstate compacts are in the works which means for consumers that there won’t be in issue if you want to work with someone who is out of state. Check with the person you want to work with and they should be able to tell you if the state they are in has joined “the compact”. I will try and update information periodically as a part of this post. Things are changing quickly,

In my experience of the past year and in reading those of others in the industry on social media the aim of intervention has been met very effectively through remote services. With those of a very young age group, the caveat is that a caregiver MUST be present and actively involved. Indeed, parents have been posting testimonials about the benefits of virtual therapy https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/5-skills-my-child-gained-during-virtual-learning

Another byproduct of virtual therapy has been the sense of empowerment and responsibility that is taken on the part of adults assisting students or older ones getting treatment for themselves. I would think that may even make virtual therapy sessions even more valuable,

In reviewing articles on the web related to the topic a good point is raised https://eyaslanding.com/telehealth-in-speech-therapy/ “The American Association of Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has provided data through over 40 published, peer-reviewed studies to confirm that online speech therapy services produce outcomes that are as good as face-to-face therapy.  There is currently research regarding implementation of teletherapy for articulation therapy, fluency/stuttering therapy, expressive and receptive language therapy, as well as parent coaching and strategy implementation”. Another advantage of the use of telehealth is that

In the area of feeding therapy, the goals are medical in nature and I have been finding feedback from others who tell me that it has been very helpful. Through telehealth families have become much more focused on learning and then practice more with their children. Treatment becomes more meaningful as a result because you partner and to your credit and share the therapeutic experience in a more authentic way. Caregivers are not so much watching therapists; but learning by doing.

Current Professional Research about Effectiveness of Telehealth Services

The current review aimed to determine if telehealth-delivered SLP interventions are as effective as traditional in-person delivery for primary school-age children with speech and language difficulties. The reviewed research was limited and of variable quality, however, the evidence presented showed that telehealth is a promising service delivery method for delivering speech and language intervention services to this population. This alternative service delivery model has the potential to improve access to SLP services for children living in geographically remote areas, reducing travel time and alleviating the detrimental effects of communication difficulties on education, social participation and employment. Although some initial positive findings have been published, there is a need for further research using more rigorous study designs to further investigate the efficacy of telehealth-delivered speech and language intervention.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546562/ and another reference was http://American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS): K-12 Speech-language pathology user’s guide. Maryland: American Speech Language Hearing Association; 2003. [Google Scholar].

For older students https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0070 These results suggest comparable treatment outcomes between traditional service delivery and telepractice for treatment of children exhibiting speech sound disorders. The findings provide support for the use of tele practice for school-age children.

For those concerned about feeding The benefit of the use of telehealth for feeding therapy is also starting to be documented in the research https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-20-00252

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (20022005) states that one way to improve access to speech-language pathology services for underserved populations is through telepractice. Telepractice involves delivering speech-language pathology services at a distance through the use of telecommunications technology. Anecdotal evidence and empirical research to date suggest that services provided by telepractice are effective (Brennan, Georgeadis, Baron, & Barker, 2004Forducey, 2006Kully, 2000Mashima et al., 2003Mashima & Doarn, 2008).

In closing (for now): Virtual therapy, tele-health, remote intervention… it goes by a number of names I believe will be here to stay. As a result it is worth learning more about as an option. If you are a professional or parent, please leave comments so that others can benefit from reading this post and I will continue to be updating it as more information is available.. thanks! many are motivated to use it because of its convenience. Telehealth may be more time efficient for an ever evolving world. Children become excited when technology is used and become highly motivated with activities that may be used

https://www2.asha.org/EvidenceMapLanding.aspx?id=8589944872&recentarticles=false&year=undefined&tab=all

A Systematic and Quality Review of Parent-Implemented Language and Communication Interventions Conducted via Telepractice
Read ASHA’s Article Summary | Go to Article

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-018-3724-5

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Do We Hear??

Listen, Listen To, Listeners, Therapist

World Hearing Day was March 3rd and I wonder-do we really hear each other???

Well… as a speech language pathologist this topic is near and dear to me. In fact, it is an occupational hazard… Pragmatics refers to the way in which people use language within social situations. Consider that you may use language to greet others, inform people about events, make demand, give directions or make requests. If you find that you are not able to do so and in fact may not have the focus to interact verbally with someone else and really hear, here are some ideas. After all – it is our verbal communication that separates humans from other animals

Movement or vestibular input will help your brain to calm down (this goes for adults too). For adults – think about how calm and energized or focused you may be after a work-out. For kids, consider the fact that movement can promote the use of sound. In the video below, by using a teddy bear or similar item this can be facilitated in young children. This activity promotes counting (in the video) but you can adapt it such that i.e. you sing “twinkle twinkle little star”, reciting ABCs or spelling words. For older people you can adapt a more age-appropriate strategy of using a wiggle seat cushion or exercise ball chairs gives more vestibular stimulation and promotes core strength.

*p.s. this also strengthens the muscles that we use to speak!

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/oJTLZoWkp-Y?start=14

A nice shared exercise activity for families

If you feel that you need more help in being able to focus attention, concentrate and communicate in a meaningful way, feel free to give me a call or reach out by email.

**Occupational Therapists also provide assistance in addressing these issues

Reading Suggestion:

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/9780874244373/Sensory-Integration-Child-Ayres-Jean-0874244374/plph

https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/managing-feelings/stress-anxiety/self-care-for-kids-6-ways-to-self-regulate?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter-en&utm_campaign=evergreen-mar21-fm&utm_content=send

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Holiday Kid Cooks and COVID19

Thanksgiving is coming; but how do you keep safe traditions now in a socially distanced world. Cooking has always been something central to our family. I would think that this is to others as well. In my family, we sometimes share a recipe. Everyone brings something to dinner and one family member makes a main course. This year will be different. We will all be separated. Perhaps we will come together on Zoom, Facetime or someone yum y uy ittyuyuu other form of technological means to mark a few minutes of the holiday together.

You are most likely going to be cooking anyway, so why not make it into a family happening. The speech-language pathologist in me suggests to you that there is so much that can be blended into this type of activity. For example, if you choose to make a fruit or vegetable salad together you can talk about the colors and categories of fruits or vegetables, with older kids – what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable, cut with math concepts of quarters, a half or eighths. You could talk about action such as cutting, with shaped fruit/vegetable cutters and fruit picks slicing, spatial concepts such as putting in, taking out, having one next to or in between. Whatever you do, there are guidelines that were developed to keep cooking as a safe activity. According to the CDC, the following guidelines for holidays are noted.

“Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread. Remember, it is always important to follow good hygiene to reduce the risk of illness from common foodborne germs”.

  • Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing, serving, and eating food. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Instead of potluck-style gatherings, encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only.
  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
  • Wear a mask while preparing or serving food to others who don’t live in your household.
  • If serving any food, consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
  • Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets or buffet-style potlucks, salad bars, and condiment or drink stations. Use grab-and-go meal options, if available.
  • If you choose to use any items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash and disinfect them after the event.
  • Look for healthy food and beverage options, such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low or no-calorie beverages, at holiday gatherings to help maintain good health.

In terms of our fruit and vegetable – here are some reasons to make this – by color~

My personal favorite addition to the below is to add some sort of seeds for crunch – pomegranate seeds or pepitas; but regardless ……

Here is a list of fruits by color:

Purple fruit: raisins, blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, dried and non-dried plums

Green Fruits: kiwi, green apples, honey dew, grapes. limes, avocado

Orange Fruits: mango, papaya,cantalope and oranges

Tan/Brown Fruits: dates, the skins of pears and the speckles of the skin of ripe bananas

Here is a list of vegetable by color:

Purple Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage and peppers

Green vegetables: cabbage, cucumber, asparagras, broccoli, spinach, green beans

Orange Vegetables: butternut squash, sweet potatoes and baby carrots

Tan/Brown Vegetables: potators, black eyed peas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans or chick peas

Keep safe! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Pandemic Halloween?

pumpkin halloween covid

The traditional trick or treating as we did growing up brings to mind the neighbor who gave out handfuls of peanuts and chocolates. As kids, my parents would search through the bags that my brothers and I brought home to make sure that what we had gathered was safe – unwrapped candy for example. I also recall carving out a pumpkin, drying out seeds and then roasting them. Cupcakes with icing was another thing that we enjoyed eating. As we got older and when I was raising a family there was the house next door that had a fabulous display and my son running out the doorway, coming back to the door saying that there were “customers mommy!!!”. This was in a suburban area of NY and now in an urban setting the “customers” are limited to buildings not so much those on the street OR those in schools who dress up and walk from class to class.

Those are fun memories, but this year things will look a lot different. Going trick or treating by yourself isn’t much fun. What will the memories be of this year’s generation of trick or treaters? Will there be any in an age of social distancing??? How can we be safe and how can it become a memorable one. All is not lost. Here are a few resources that I pulled together.

Halloween Guidance

picture_as_pdfDownload Guidance

En Español

COSTUMES

Masks are certainly in vogue… that will most likely remain in place for those non-sensory challenged people. Costumes and masks can perhaps be homemade.this year so that you don’t have to be shopping for them if you are or are not in a “hot spot”. see how these are. In searching for some ideas to share I came across CDC Guidelines that are for use at Halloween and also include those that will be applicable for the upcoming holiday season. Keep them nearby as you consider celebrations with family and friends.

GAMES

Games to be played?? Google online and you will find a number of them. For older kids or adults

School-aged kids https://redtri.com/halloween-activities-and-ideas-for-kids/slide/3 and https://kizi.com/games/halloween-bingo

Preschool through early elementary grades https://www.totschooling.net/2017/09/free-halloween-printables-for-kids.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=%F0%9F%91%BB%F0%9F%8E%83%F0%9F%95%B7%EF%B8%8F+Halloween+Theme+Learning+Printables&utm_campaign=Halloween+2020

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Risks of Drinking

Since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, there is an increase in drinking. The impact of this on pregnancy is an issue of importance that need not be overlooked at this time. My guest blogger Patrick Baily (bio listed below) provides us with insight into its impact.

photo for wordpress

FAQS about FADS   

Women who are considering having a baby but who also enjoy the occasional drink (or more) should look at more info about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and how they can affect their offspring.

Here are some important answers to FAQs about FASDs.

What is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), FASDs are not a single condition but rather an umbrella term that includes several disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) recognizes four diagnostic categories that collectively are labeled FASD. They are:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Partial FAS (pFAS)
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
  • Neurobehavioral disorder linked with prenatal alcohol exposure (ND-PAE)

What Causes FASDs?

When a woman drinks during pregnancy, alcohol in her blood passes through the umbilical cord to her baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy. This includes all types of alcohol, including beer and wines.

For the safety of the developing fetus, it’s recommended that women who are or who may be pregnant, that they avoid alcohol. In part this is because a woman may not be aware she is pregnant for four to six weeks. 

The good news is that it’s never too late to stop drinking during pregnancy. An unborn infant’s brain continues to grow, but the earlier a woman stops drinking the less likely her infant is to sustain FASD later in life.

What Symptoms Can a Person with an FASD Have?

Though no two cases are alike, people suffering from FASD often have difficulties in:

  • Learning and remembering
  • Understanding and following directions
  • Maintaining attention
  • Controlling impulsivity and emotions
  • Communicating and socializing
  • Doing daily life skills such as bathing, feeding, telling time, counting money, and watching personal safety
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor memory
  • Language and speech delays
  • Low IQ or intellectual disability
  • Poor judgment and reasoning skills
  • Sucking and sleep problems as a baby
  • Hearing and/or vision problems
  • Problems with the kidneys, heart, or bones
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Small head size
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose (called the philtrum).

People with FASD are also more likely to exhibit mental disorders such as:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Problems with impulse control, hyperactivity, and conduct
  • Increased prevalence of substance use disorders

Are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Common?

It is difficult to determine the exact number of children who have an FASD, but experts estimate at least 40,000 children are born with an FASD each year in the United States. Based on studies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 8,000 babies may be born with FASDs each year.

Can FASDs Be Treated?

Yes. However, there is no cure. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders last a lifetime, though early intervention treatments often improve a child’s cognitive and physical development.

Protective factors are:

  • Early diagnosis before six years of age. When children are diagnosed at an early age, they can be placed in suitable educational classes and receive the social services needed to help both them and their families.
  • A nurturing, loving, and stable home environment throughout the school years. Children with FASDs tend to be more sensitive than other children to changes in routines or lifestyle and damaging relationships. Family and community support can work together to prevent secondary conditions, incomplete education, unemployment, and criminal behavior.
  • Absence of violence. A stable, non-abusive household that encourages children to avoid youth violence is essential to positive development. Children who have FASDs require being taught other ways of demonstrating their frustration and/or anger.
  • Involvement in social services and special education. Children are more likely to reach their full potential when placed in special education that is geared towards their specific needs and learning style. There is a large range of learning needs in children with FASDs, and education closely geared to their particular symptoms is essential.

What Types of Treatments are Needed for Those with FASDs?

Children and adults who suffer from an FASD have the same medical and health needs as anyone else. They need early well-baby care, good nutrition, hygiene, vaccinations, and exercise. In addition, they should be monitored for concerns specific to their condition.

Some needed medical specialists might include:

  • Primary care provider
  • Pediatrician
  • Nutritionist
  • Audiologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Neurologist
  • Mental health professionals such as a child psychologist and psychiatrist, and behavior management specialist.
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Immunologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Speech-language pathologist

Medications that are often prescribed for those with FASDs include stimulants, antidepressants, neuroleptics, and anti-anxiety drugs.

Behavior and education therapies tend to be most effective. Some of those are:

  • Good Buddies
  • Families Moving Forward (FMF)
  • Math Interactive Learning Experience (MILE)
  • Parents and Children Together (PACT)

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

FAQS about FADS  

Women who are considering having a baby but who also enjoy the occasional drink (or more) should look at more info about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and how they can affect their offspring.

Here are some important answers to FAQs about FASDs.

What is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), FASDs are not a single condition but rather an umbrella term that includes several disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) recognizes four diagnostic categories that collectively are labeled FASD. They are:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Partial FAS (pFAS)
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
  • Neurobehavioral disorder linked with prenatal alcohol exposure (ND-PAE)

What Causes FASDs?

When a woman drinks during pregnancy, alcohol in her blood passes through the umbilical cord to her baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy. This includes all types of alcohol, including beer and wines.

For the safety of the developing fetus, it’s recommended that women who are or who may be pregnant, that they avoid alcohol. In part this is because a woman may not be aware she is pregnant for four to six weeks.

The good news is that it’s never too late to stop drinking during pregnancy. An unborn infant’s brain continues to grow, but the earlier a woman stops drinking the less likely her infant is to sustain FASD later in life.

What Symptoms Can a Person with an FASD Have?

Though no two cases are alike, people suffering from FASD often have difficulties in:

  • Learning and remembering
  • Understanding and following directions
  • Maintaining attention
  • Controlling impulsivity and emotions
  • Communicating and socializing
  • Doing daily life skills such as bathing, feeding, telling time, counting money, and watching personal safety
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor memory
  • Language and speech delays
  • Low IQ or intellectual disability
  • Poor judgment and reasoning skills
  • Sucking and sleep problems as a baby
  • Hearing and/or vision problems
  • Problems with the kidneys, heart, or bones
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Small head size
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose (called the philtrum).

People with FASD are also more likely to exhibit mental disorders such as:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Problems with impulse control, hyperactivity, and conduct
  • Increased prevalence of substance use disorders

Are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Common?

It is difficult to determine the exact number of children who have an FASD, but experts estimate at least 40,000 children are born with an FASD each year in the United States. Based on studies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 8,000 babies may be born with FASDs each year.

Can FASDs Be Treated?

Yes. However, there is no cure. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders last a lifetime, though early intervention treatments often improve a child’s cognitive and physical development.

Protective factors are:

  • Early diagnosis before six years of age. When children are diagnosed at an early age, they can be placed in suitable educational classes and receive the social services needed to help both them and their families.
  • A nurturing, loving, and stable home environment throughout the school years. Children with FASDs tend to be more sensitive than other children to changes in routines or lifestyle and damaging relationships. Family and community support can work together to prevent secondary conditions, incomplete education, unemployment, and criminal behavior.
  • Absence of violence. A stable, non-abusive household that encourages children to avoid youth violence is essential to positive development. Children who have FASDs require being taught other ways of demonstrating their frustration and/or anger.
  • Involvement in social services and special education. Children are more likely to reach their full potential when placed in special education that is geared towards their specific needs and learning style. There is a large range of learning needs in children with FASDs, and education closely geared to their particular symptoms is essential.

What Types of Treatments are Needed for Those with FASDs?

Children and adults who suffer from an FASD have the same medical and health needs as anyone else. They need early well-baby care, good nutrition, hygiene, vaccinations, and exercise. In addition, they should be monitored for concerns specific to their condition.

Some needed medical specialists might include:

  • Primary care provider
  • Pediatrician
  • Nutritionist
  • Audiologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Neurologist
  • Mental health professionals such as a child psychologist and psychiatrist, and behavior management specialist.
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Immunologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Speech-language pathologist

Medications that are often prescribed for those with FASDs include stimulants, antidepressants, neuroleptics, and anti-anxiety drugs.

Behavior and education therapies tend to be most effective. Some of those are:

  • Good Buddies
  • Families Moving Forward (FMF)
  • Math Interactive Learning Experience (MILE)
  • Parents and Children Together (PACT)

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

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Benefits of Clear Masks

Those with hearing challenges may need to be able to lip-read and for that reason, a different type of mask is available to them. It is called a mask with a “mouth expression shield”. As a speech-language pathologist, I see real benefits for the use of this mask when children are in school be they diagnosed with learning challenges, intellectual differences, with diagnoses as being on the autism spectrum or just neuro-typical. It’s also a wonderful tool in the age of COVID19 when you are an adult with communication challenges.

If your child is in school-a teacher would be more likely to interpret the reaction of a student to the information being presented and visa-versa

A parent may be able to bond more effectively with an infant and visa versa.

An adult with compromised communication function may be able to communicate more effectively with a significant another person, a caregiver, friend, or family member.

A person with cognitive deficits who may not be able to recognize others may be scared if they see a part of the face that is blocked; but unable to express this and become emotional – thinking they are alone. They may perseverate on a remark such as “where is…..?”

A newborn may more easilly bond with you if you are visible to them.

Image result for clear masks for adults
For Adults https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/best-clear-face-masks-47602563

9 Reusable Clear Face Masks That’ll Let Everyone See Your Smile

  • Transparent Vinyl Protecting Mask. …
  • Anti-Fog Adults/Kids Clear Mask. …
  • Anti-Fog-Transparent Mask. …
  • Transparent Face Mask. …
  • Handmade Smile Lip Reading Communicator Mask. …
  • Adult Sized Non Woven Fabric Masks with Clear Viewing Window. …
  • Clear Vinyl Protected Mask.

More items…•Jul 8, 2020

For Kids: https://people.com/style/clear-face-masks/

Additional Reviews of Masks: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/07/22/benefits-clear-face-masks-and-where-buy-them/5489635002/

Are your kids scared of wearing masks??? Here are two links to books that may be helpful: https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=Sesame+Street+Masks+For+Coronavirus&qpvt=sesame+street+maskks+for+coronavirus&FORM=EWR

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sourcebooks-and-sesame-workshop-to-publish-heroes-wear-masks-to-support-families-through-back-to-school-season-301110110.html

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What Does it Mean?

 

crowd of protesters holding signs
Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

The need for discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement and racism is a very real and saddening sign of our times. How do you start this discussion? How do you discuss if remarks are racist or not? In the presence of higher-level language deficits in those with a non-verbal language disorder or social communication disorder, there may be a need for consideration. Helping them to differentiate if remarks are or are not will be important.

Middle school-aged youngsters through college-aged years will need special help for their own protection and well being. because of the fact that from a neurological standpoint. higher-level reasoning, problem-solving, and self-regulation of your own behavior is developing at this time. The baseline functioning of those with nonverbal language disorders (NVLD) or Social Communication Disorder (SCD) will already be below what is typical.

If you are talking about the movement and concept of racism with an individual who has been diagnosed with They may not perceive what has actually occurred if they feel that they have been a victim of racist remarks and behavior. Maybe it was and maybe not. I say this because, those diagnosed with NVLD display problems in understanding communication that is not verbal which includes body language, tone of voice, and facial expression.

For example, I recently had a discussion with a college-aged male adult of Mexican-American descent who felt he had been a victim of racism in an interaction with a healthcare professional. He was accused of being a “drug seeker” when asking for a narcotic that had previously been prescribed and found effective for him in alleviating pain on a short term basis. The stakes were higher now and he felt that he would need the same medication over a three or four week period to tolerate pain from a post-operative dental procedure. He had been told that it would heal within that time frame, but could not tolerate the pain. He could not work, sleep, and was in pain when eating, drinking, or breathing because of this. The healthcare provider hung on him, after hearing his request for the drug. He was left in a situation with no solution for pain relief. This may not have been an ideal way in which to end a discussion with a patient; but, there were lessons when actions spoke volumes. This man felt that his feelings were not validated, he had taken a risk in talking with the doctor – needed help and felt very badly that there was no satisfactory answer or solution to his problem at that time.

In processing this interaction through discussion, great insight was obtained. Regardless of his racial or ethnic background, he had not perceived why this professional may have expressed himself by referring to him as a “drug seeker”. The followings issues arose:

The fact that a narcotic taken over a month-long period could be highly addictive needed to be discussed.

Talking about the need to consider other options was not at that moment on his mind, but was really necessary.

We processed together how the tone of voice and behavior may have had a negative impact on the outcome of this discussion. After all – he had wanted only one thing, saying nothing else would work and essentially made a demand.

At the time that the surgical procedure had been performed was there another factor visually in terms of his appearance when he initially went for treatment. It made him stop and think. His hair was mid-back length, uncombed and he had old clothes on that were very worn out when he initially had met the doctor.

Wonderful that in our discussion, he was able to share really being shaken up by the fact that someone had perceived him and put a label on it “drug seeking”. He said in response, “That’s really bad..being a drug addict is a label that sticks with you and it is not a good thing”. He said that he “just want to feel better so I can sleep, eat and work without pain”.

The discussion was closed by asking him if he now thought that his initial interpretation of the doctor’s remark was truly racist. Something to think about….

 

 

 

 

 

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Language Development and COVID19

The “new norm” of saying “Hello” and “Good-bye”

Language impaired children often have trouble interpreting facial expressions. Increasing numbers of states may be required that everyone except for those under the age of two wear masks. How will this affect social skills? Reading the emotions of others is so important to be able to communicate with each other

Language is changing in terms of interpretation of facial expressions – after all we are wearing masks hopefully more often than not at this time. Teaching emotions and interpreting them will change so please click on this link to learn some tips. A literal visual picture will be worth a thousand words! https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/Wearing-Masks_Story.pdf

Learn about how to help your children interpret emotions underneath those masks

Helping Children Understand Emotions When Wearing Masks
Young children look for emotional cues from caregivers to help interpret the environment and rely on their caregiver’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture to identify and understand emotions. Here are tips and ideas for helping children identify emotions when your face, your most expressive feature, is covered by a mask. Use these strategies to let children know that behind the mask, a kind and warm expression is still there!

  1. Practice emotional expressions with a mask on in front of a mirror. Pay attention to facial cues that can be seen, body movements, and hand gestures.
  2. Incorporate ASL when teaching emotions
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91foGHKuwL0).
  3. Direct children to look at your eyebrows, eyes, body movements, and gestures when talking about emotions. For example, “Look, I am happy.
    You can’t see my mouth smile, but my cheeks lift up, my eyes crinkle, and my shoulders and arms look like this.”
  4. Increase the use of gestures throughout the day and when talking
    about emotions (e.g., shoulders shrugged for sad, arms out to indicate
    a happy mood).
  5. Talk about your feelings as much as possible (e.g., “I am feeling happy that it is almost time to go outside and play.”; “I am feeling sad that it is raining right now.”; “I am feeling excited that we have a new toy in centers today.”).
  6. If using an emotion check-in, encourage all adults in the classroom to participate and check-in when the children do (https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/FeelingFaces_chart_template.pdf).
  7. When talking about emotions, hold up the corresponding emotion card or visual near your face. Consider wearing a lanyard with a visual of an emotion expressions (e.g., tired, happy, excited, sad, angry, mad, nervous).
  8. Be sure to face children and remain nearby when talking to them while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask muffles the speaker’s speech, which can make it more difficult to understand what is said.
  9. Provide an activity for children to practice wearing a mask and making different faces while looking in a mirror or at each other. Point out how their face looks (e.g., eyes, eyebrows).
  10. Allow children to use masks during play with stuffed animals to help familiarize them with seeing masks in their environment.
  11. Reference: National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations | ChallengingBehavior.org
    The reproduction of this document is encouraged. Permission to copy is not required. If modified or used in another format, please cite original source. This is a product of the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations and was made possible by Cooperative Agreement #H326B170003 which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
    Pub: 06/26/20

Please keep the conversation going and post how you an your children are changing how you are interacting with others. How is language changing for your family???

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Summer Tech Use?

On Facebook recently, I read the following question from a parent and had some ideas about what might be helpful:

“Anyone had success in detaching their kids from the electronic world? I have a huge concern about what this is doing to my 2 boys with multiple letters in their diagnosis…I am afraid our summer is a battle and competition with it.😑”

There is cause for concern, battles aside. According to How Technology Hinders People with ADHD: “Technology use requires balance and self-monitoring. It can be beneficial to utilize the available software to help increase productivity, but also to help decrease distraction and hyper-focus”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides guidelines for the use of technology that might be worthwhile to consider.

Create a Family Media Plan.

Create three rules:

RULE ONE

“Pick One Piece of Technology to Use Today for .. (time limit) ) Pick one i.e. kindle, i-pad, computer, etc,

You might want to define clearly on a color coded wipe off board or schedule such as this for each child:

Monday =Kindle Fire;

Tuesday = iPad etc. I might want to rotate every day of the week. Monday may be kindle day, Tuesday could be i-pad day etc.

RULE TWO

Plan Media Viewing: Here is a list of acceptable programs or … decide together what will be watched (you as a parent are responsible for how technology is used and viewed at home)

RULE THREE

Talk about what you have watched with mom/dad

Technology Can Facilitate Social Interaction Graphic

**The research shows that children of different ages understand ond process what they view on computers or other electronic devices best if you as an adult watch it with them and then discuss what is being viewed.

The Ready to Learn Television Program

The Ready to Learn Program: 2010-2015 Policy Brief, published in March 2016, summarized ED’s Ready to Learn Television program research on the effectiveness of three educational television production organizations.53 The brief reported on 15 effectiveness/summative research studies with children aged 3-8 using media in informal learning settings (such as after school or child care programs); 7 of the studies focused on learning at home. From the 7 studies that focused on learning at home, positive associations were found between at-home engagement and children’s math learning with children whose parents received interventions such as content guides and suggestions for supplemental activities. The studies also found that parents’ awareness of children’s math learning increased their likeliness to engage in activities and strategies to help their children learn math.

On a personal Note:

On this Father’s Day, I remember the house rule in my family. Each of the three of us siblings was allowed to watch television for one hour per day. The rule was so ingrained into my daily life that I can even recall the names of the shows I watched and the time of day. It was always for an hour in the morning before school. It was a relaxing way to start the day. Of course, the time of day changed with advancing childhood years.

There were exceptions to that rule: My parents allowed us additional time if we had to watch something on television for school OR if there was a special program – for example watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a family was a big deal for us. It was, after all, a simpler time. Another such special additional viewing that stands out is the night that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. The LM landed on the Moon at 20:17:39 GMT (16:17:39 EDT) on 20 July 1969. That was special!… so special that we went to the neighbor’s house to watch together. We went there because they had a color television set and I imagine my parents wanted to share the occasion with other adults. For some reason, one of those memories as a little girl was that of dad carrying me home really comfortable in his arms, because I fell asleep right after the landing.

The beauty of this rule is a child was that I was forced to develop other interests and had to learn what else I could do in my free time. Mom was a librarian so we spent a lot of time picking out books and reading. I’d read two or three books at a time. I set up lemonade stands, rode my bike, learned how to draw, and write poetry. During the summer, we went to the pool. We traveled as a family, as we got older and actually may do so even now, periodically as adults. It builds bonds by sharing face time. The challenge comes when you sit down to eat and the phone has to go in a basket, away from everyone and the game is who can stay away from their phone for the longest! Technology can really be addictive!

Finally – for additional thought on the topic of how we use the brain and how it develops take note of this article and perhaps build reading time into your family’s regular routine:

https://medium.com/@alltopstartups/the-reading-brain-why-your-brain-needs-you-to-read-every-day-f5307c50d979#:~:text=Our%20brains%20change%20and%20develop%20in%20some%20fascinating%20ways%20when%20we%20read.&text=Reading%20involves%20several%20brain%20functions,something%20as%20by%20experiencing%20it.

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Can You Hear Me?

Homes with multiple children and pets can be hectic and loud, requiring extra attention to everyone and stressful for families. Especially being at home at this time, being mindful of your child’s ability to hear will be especially important.

Infants

Ear infections are more frequent in babies who have hearing aids because fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear due to the earmold. Consider that it will be helpful to have a prescription for alleviating eat pain and infection.

Baby Hearing Protection - How to Protect Your Baby's Hearing
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.babyhearing.org%2Fprotect-hearing&psig=AOvVaw1JEy4_AdF-jaVaOBs-Fzo3&ust=1589143947716000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CLsBEK-JA2oXChMIkJf_1tSn6QIVAAAAAB0AAAAAEAQ

Preschool – School Aged Children:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bhsm2020-school-services-covid4-1.jpg

With older children, who are remote learning, are the batteries working? Have extra ones on hand. because without working these may be affecting a student’s ability to concentrate and complete their work. A number of different ways of enhancing hearing function are detailed in a scholarly article published in ASHA’s American Journal of Audiology. Consider that there are headsets with a feature to help them. Your child may not necessarily tell you; but in this state of crisis at home and in the community this isn’t something to forget. If you are stressed and your child is not looking at you or responding to you for example auditory function may be compromised. Are they pulling at their ear and fussy? Consider that hearing may be a factor.

The Best Hearing Aids for Kids and Teens
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fphysicianshearingservices.com%2Fblog-posts%2Fthe-best-hearing-aids-for-kids-and-teens&psig=AOvVaw01fLSAa6WSE0dpsSjbqcJs&ust=1589143544984000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwiqsJ6V06fpAhVDBd8KHaBiDf8Qr4kDegUIARDWAw

ASHA encourages everyone to enjoy these devices safely by taking three basic steps:

  • lower the volume
  • limit the time spent listening
  • wear earphones that go around the ear or fit deeper into the ear to better isolate wanted sound and reduce the need to increase the volume

Referenced in articles published by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, Alexa Skill Blueprints may be helpful for your school aged child who needs to complete homework. https://blueprints.amazon.com/home As an example, the program can create a spelling test

ALL BLUEPRINTS

The Spelling Bee Icon

The Spelling Bee

Create an interactive spelling bee themed tale.MAKE YOUR OWN

Hear a sample of The Spelling Bee

“Alexa, open the Spelling Bee”

Alexa: Welcome to the Spelling Bee. This story has three blanks in it. To change a blank, say ‘Alexa, undo.’ Let’s get started. Please say a child’s name.

“Aloise”

Alexa: You said Aloise. Ok. […] Are you ready to hear your story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FTU_Logo._CB1558396165_.png

HOW TO CREATE

  1. Get inspired by the sample story
  2. Customize it, or start from scratch
  3. Drop in sound effects, fun expressions, and pauses
  4. Create interactive “blanks” to fill in while you listen
  5. Pick a name for your skill
  6. Give your child access to this skill in FreeTime. Go to Amazon Parent Dashboard, tap on the settings icon next to your child’s name, select Add Content, go to the Alexa Skills tab, and then toggle your Blueprint skill on

HOW TO USE

Gather your audience. When you play the story, Alexa asks listeners to fill in the blanks and then reads the story.

Resource:

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Virtual Schooling Tips

In a challenging time for the ability to educate your child, parents are struggling in the manner in which children have to learn. With this being Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM), this second BSHM post relates to how you can better help your child (and yourself) succeed at tele-schooling.

No alternative text description for this image
Additional Resources
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/business/school-education-online-money.html?fbclid=IwAR2l9NACDI_so_6leaGM1uCgBgmZ-8EPxknSxHYy2yJM5jyzWnvfy3T4sCY
Featured

LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. This is a month designed to educate others about these areas and provide resources. Well… during this COVID 19 declared state of emergency, families have inquired about the need to structure time at home. In response to this concern, I am posting ideas and include some links at the bottom of this post that may be of help.

Thanks to the American Speech-Language Association https://www.asha.org for the information contained in this post and the photo above. In addition, I’ve included a few related resources at the end which found and think may be useful for others

Ten Ways Children With Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connection During the Coronavirus Pandemic

With social distancing (or more accurately, physical distancing) a new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all ages are challenged to find different ways to connect socially. However, for children with language disorders—who have difficulties with social interactions in the best of times—the physical distance mandated to prevent the pandemic’s spread can be especially challenging.

Sheltering-in-place is encouraging people to find resourceful and creative ways to extend and strengthen their social bonds. Children and adults are using video platforms for playdates, happy hours, and meetings; sharing relatable memes and jokes through email, social media, and texting; attending streamed worship services, fitness classes, and art and music lessons; and more.

However, children with language disorders may not be able to adapt as quickly as others. Parents can help their children interact socially during this time in the following ways:

  1. Screen time. Realistically, screen usage will increase while people are sheltering at home. Some research shows that screen time can lead to speech and language delays in children. But TV shows, movies, and social media can be viewed in a way that optimizes social interaction. When possible, use these technologies interactively: Watch shows/movies together, and discuss them (e.g., Who was your favorite character? What do you think will happen next? Why did the show end that way?). Ask kids to introduce you to their favorite video game or TikTok personality.
  2. Conversation opportunities. Although families may be together more than usual, parents may be focused on financial, medical, work, and other significant responsibilities and concerns. But conversation-rich opportunities can occur in everyday tasks that are already occurring, such as cooking/dinner prep (following a sequence of steps) or traditional activities that families are rediscovering as everyone hunkers down (e.g., board games offer a chance to talk about rules and turn-taking).
  3. Reading. This time of relative isolation can lend more time for reading. But this doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Families can read to each other and find different types of books online. Young children can play rhyming and word games. Parents can ask older children questions to guide their understanding (e.g., What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? What was the main plot? What motivated each character?)
  4. Being with friends and family. The importance of communicating with friends and extended family during this time cannot be understated. Children with language disorders may find the phone and FaceTime/Zoom communication more challenging than others. Parents can practice conversations in advance and can suggest topics and related responses (e.g., making comparisons between the weather in different cities; talking about home school experiences). They can involve siblings and discuss ways that they can help their sibling who has a language disorder.
  5. Understanding changes. The changes in daily routines may be particularly hard for children with language comprehension and production problems. They may hear alarming news reports or sense the tension of their parent(s)—but they may not have the ability to ask their questions, express their feelings, or speak about this confusing time. Parents can define new vocabulary words (e.g., coronavirus, COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine, sheltering at home) and can explain changes in routine. Parents can establish a new routine, as much as possible, and can involve a child in decision making (e.g., When would you like to call grandma and pop-pop? Which friend should we talk to today? What food would you like?). 
  6. Creativity. Dance, music, art, and other classes that kids may have been taking in person are now virtual, offering a great opportunity to continue the connection with those teachers and friends. And online drawing, cooking, and other tutorials are plentiful. Low-tech possibilities to use creativity and practice language skills include having a child pick out items around the house and create their own store; planning an indoor camping night (e.g., making a list of what they’ll need, ideas for things they want to do); and planning and planting a garden.
  7. Physical activity. Gyms, personal trainers, and community fitness programs are providing content online. Parents and children can use these activities as a way to bond together and as topics of conversation (e.g., different types of exercises, healthy eating, the connection between physical activity and wellness). Or they can take up a new form of exercise and learn it together via televised on-demand or online programs (e.g., family yoga). Some family-friendly neighborhoods have organized circuit training stops at various houses (posting a different exercise on each front/garage door) so families can get in shape and share a neighborhood-based social activity without actually interacting physically.
  8. Humor. Many people have been sharing or receiving humorous COVID-related memes and videos to ease tension and connect with others. Children with language disorders may miss some of these coping opportunities because they tend to miss the nuances of humor. Parents can help them better understand humorous anecdotes or jokes by talking through them. Jokes are a sophisticated form of communication—what a great learning opportunity!
  9. Organizing. Some households are undertaking to declutter and organizing projects that have been on the back burner for years. These can be language lessons, too. What items go together? Do you remember when you wore that outfit? Will you play with that toy anymore?
  10. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some children with language disorders use AAC to help them communicate (e.g., letter boards, speech-generating devices). Parents should make sure that kids are using their AAC devices at home, at all times. These devices are not just for school.

Although this is no doubt a difficult time for all, parents can help children with language disorders to keep a safe physical distance without losing social nearness that is so critical to their development. 

Note: This is a modified version of a post originally published via the ASHA Leader Live blog.  

LEADER LIVE

Additional Resources:

Creating a family media plan https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx

Having Conversations http://resourcesforearlylearning.org/educators/module/20/7/19/

https://www.playworks.org/resource/34-conversation-starters-for-your-family/

Reading Books: https://www.rd.com/culture/read-books-for-free-online/

https://www.nypl.org/books-more/recommendations/best-books/kids

Educational Games Online

https://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/busyday/bugs/

https://pestworldforkids.org/

Featured

COVID 19 with ASD or not

 

While walking in Central Park, I’ve noticed few if any children wearing masks. Did I wonder why? Indeed the answer is yes because I have seen this before and wondered.  After returning from my walk, completing some additional work I went digging and found that there are ways to protect your infant or toddler as well, in modified form. https://www.today.com/parents/cdc-says-children-should-wear-masks-slow-covid-19-spread-t178005masks.

Unfortunately, the issues connected with those experiencing symptoms of Autism this period of a pandemic may be extra-challenging. In this last weekend of Autism Awareness Month, I had some suggestions for families in terms of managing this stressful time with your special needs child or even an adult. Information about Support for Individuals with ASD: Coping with Family and Virtual Interactions During COVID-19 may be helpful to peruse: https://www.autism.org/covid-19-resources/ https://www.autism.org/covid-19-resources/

The symptoms of COVID 19 may be different in children in that they might be milder. That said it’s a good idea to be familiar with them. In children with COVID‐19 J Med Virol. 2020 Mar 31. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25807. [Epub ahead of print] She J1Liu L2,3Liu W1,2,3 the following symptoms were reported in children

 

  • fever and cough are the most common clinical manifestations, with some accompanied by fatigue, body aches,
  • nasal congestion,
  • runny nose,
  • sneezing,
  • sore throat,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • vomiting, and
  • abdominal pain.

For those of you reading this who may benefit from visuals about this topic, the following video link regarding the symptoms of the virus in kids is available at HEALTH.COM  

With challenges in the economy, face masks are easy to make on your own with materials for which you don’t have to get outside.

My wishes and hope for safety as we work through this period…..

Additional Resources

[

**COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov .
Get the latest research from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus.

 

Related Link:

 

 

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COVID-19 Parents

Sick woman looking at a thermometer.

In an age with so much sickness and heightened stress, don’t forget to stay healthy.  Forgetting about maintaining health in the area of nutrition should not be forgotten. The adage of  “you are what you eat” can not be understated.

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Having a concrete list of symptoms, so you can do a self-check as part of your daily hygiene may be helpful. https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19-self-assessment-tool .

As a speech-language pathologist, I would be remiss if I did not mention anything about this, in an age of social distancing. There are ways to connect with families:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusparents/

“Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic is a group for parents, by parents, who are committed to supporting each other through the coronavirus pandemic.
We aim to help each other navigate school closures, childcare needs, social isolation, and other pressing concerns for kids and parents.
In addition, ParentsTogether (the host of the group) mobilizes parents to take action on issues affecting families. When we see opportunities to act, especially in support of families facing hardship due to the pandemic, we will share with this group.
This group is open to any parent or caregiver in need of support around the coronavirus. As an organization, ParentsTogether has a clear point of view: We fight on behalf of all families, with a commitment to equity and justice. No matter what your point of view, all parents are welcome in this group.
This community will work when all of us commit to mutual respect and civil discourse, even when we are anxious, scared, uncertain or angry–and especially when we disagree.
Coronavirus Parents do not provide formal medical or legal advice, and none of the posts here should be interpreted as medical or legal advice.
There are many health-related questions that are likely to arise in this group; members who share health resources are urged to include sources.”
runners-silhouettes-athletes-fitness-39308
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In closing – none of us wants to get sick so please take care!   https://parents-together.org/what-should-parents-do-if-they-contract-covid-19/

Resources to Keep You Informed

Resources for Families
Advocates for Children of New York https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/covid-19-updates?fbclid=IwAR24OaXWDMqk0SQHaOMDnlmNLzq3yDvOaP5smAW9ATb2J9FmXrJE42BgOTw

Information on Remote Learning https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learn-at-home/information-on-remote-learning

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COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME

AND PERHAPS APPEARING FRUSTRATED …

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I will try to keep adding to this list for you as I come across items to add; but for starters, here are some concrete suggestions and resources available for you:

Is your child interested in music:  Tuesday and Wednesday online music classes  https://www.musicbrains.net/book-online

and from Daniel’s Music Foundation in NYC there are other virtual options https://www.danielsmusic.org/virtual-lessons

 

Continue reading “COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME”

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SLP Activity Suggestions

With credit to Lisa Chattler, SIG 16 associate coordinator
Seal Beach, CA      I provide the list below and thank her on behalf of all of my readers for this wonderful resource!

***SIG=special interest group (language, learning and education) of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association

Continue reading “SLP Activity Suggestions”

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Before Technology

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?

THE CHECKUP

Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development

In a study, preschoolers who used screens less had better language skills.

 

Credit…iStock by Getty Images
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Navigate Special Ed

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Navigating Special Education

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

LRE continuum pyramid levels

Photo credit: https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-lre-least-restrictive-environment/?utm_source=copy&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=SocialSnap

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.

You may be scheduling a meeting with educational attornies and trying to answer the question of “what’s next?” An attorney may advise you that your child is entitled to free appropriate education.  What is that? http://www.nyedlaw.com/blog/2018/02/what-constitutes-free-appropriate-public-education.html

Over the years, I have seen children fall through the cracks and not get the services that they need.  It’s in the best interests of your child to advocate on behalf of your own.

In the NYC area there are organizations such as

The Parents League   

IncludeNYC

available to help guide you as well.  Similar programs are offered in other areas so check with parents organizations supporting the needs of children such as your own.

Additional Resource https://magazine.parentingspecialneeds.org/publication/?i=646946&ver=html5&p=24

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Add Routines to Your Day

Kids love routines.

The dictionary definition tells us that routines are a “sequence of actions regularly followed. Why are routines important?  Without giving it away, here are 18 reasons:  http://www.skilledatlife.com/18-reasons-why-a-daily-routine-is-so-important/

Elmo, from Sesame Street, gives us an idea of what a routine for a young child may look like https://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/

The need to assist families with children who have disabilities to embed tasks into their routines each day may be exasperating.  What can you do???   https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues

Examples of accommodations for hyper-sensitivities

  • Dimmed lights
  • Incandescent versus fluorescent lighting
  • Sunglasses or visor to block overhead fluorescent lighting
  • Ear plugs or headphones in noisy environments
  • Closed door or high-walled work areas to block distracting sights and sounds
  • Avoidance of strongly scented products (perfumes, air fresheners, soaps, etc.)
  • Food options that avoid personal aversions (e.g. intensely spicy, textured, cold, hot, etc.)
  • Clothing that accommodates personal sensitivities (e.g. to tight waistbands and/or scratchy fabric, seams and tags)
  • Request for permission before touching

Examples of accommodations for hypo-sensitivities

  • Visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information
  • Sensory-stimulating toys (e.g. safe chewies and fidgets)
  • Opportunities for rocking, swinging and other sensory stimulating activities
  • Strong tasting and/or textured foods, cold beverages, etc.
  • Firm touch (according to preference)
  • Weighted blankets
  • Fun opportunities to practice physical skills (catching, dancing, jumping, running, etc.)
  • Furniture arrangements that reduce chances of bumping into sharp or hard surfaces

 

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Becoming Bi or Tri-Lingual

woman reading book to toddler
Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

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.

For special needs parents who have voiced this concern: Current research does not support the idea that raising a child with autism in a bilingual learning environment will delay language development or cause a language disorder. In fact, based on recent studies, we encourage parents to expose their child with autism to bilingual language environments.www.marcus.org › autism-resources › autism-tips-and-resources › autism…Autism & Bilingualism | Marcus Autism Center For sure – with these children you will want to have social pragmatic group involvement – defined here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/social-skills-and-autism. It’s just important for you and the group leader to understand that the child who learns two languages will typically develop skill function in the same sequence but at a slower rate. The fact that language development is slower will also slow down the rate of social skill development. Here is a list of the sequence https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-10-years. You may wish to discuss this with the social skills group leader, identifying with your child’s team where they are at.

Key Suggestions for How to Teach Your Child

One person’s parent or caregiver speaks on language and the other parent speaks the second language

At school – one language i.e. English and at home i.e. Mandarin

In the morning one language is spoken and then at night a second language is spoken

Some parents send their children to language classes after school. In NYC for example https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/english-language-learners-programs-and-services

Keeping within the guidelines of your Family Media Plan you may want to incorporate these television programs for your younger child https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-bilingual-tv-shows-for-preschoolers or as they are older https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-lists

No-Tech Activity for Teaching Dual Languages:

  • Reading Rockets

  •  

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/learning-two-languages

  • Bosley

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

Paperback Bosley Sees the World : A Dual Language Book in Mandarin Chinese and English Book

 

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/bosley-sees-the-world-a-dual-language-book-in-spanish-and-english_tim—johnson/9469358/#isbn=1470171155&idiq=35837160

 

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Technology Initiative:

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.

JOIN US

THE SITUATION

We are texting, emailing and posting more than ever – but are we truly communicating?

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

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”.

I agree. 

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.

You get the idea……

Perhaps consider this article published today  https://blog.asha.org/2020/01/17/asha-president-is-parents-smartphone-use-the-new-secondhand-smoke/ 

and this

Adapted from The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us From Other Animals by Thomas Suddendorf, out now from Basic Books.

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.

Continue reading “Technology Initiative:”
Featured

How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

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 […]

via How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

For school aged children, a caregiver can request the school district for an AAC assessment through the IEP process. Here is an example of how to request through DREF.org
https://dredf.org/…/uploads/2016/02/AT-AAC-Assessment.doc

 

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Types of Language

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

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:

Scripting is a parent-directed way of teaching children to use functional language to meet their needs and wants.  It may be used in children who are diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing (CAPD).  Here is a link to give you examples of how this works and as well, how you could use this as a teaching tool for your child at home who is diagnosed with this deficit.  https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/05/13/building-speech-language-practice-into-your-childs-day/

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/

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Memory and Autism

photo of girl sitting near christmas tree
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

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).

With this knowledge – take a look at the text and alphabet letters that were duplicated from memory by an autistic individual who had viewed this page in the book Chicka Chicka Boom https://www.amazon.com/Chicka-Boom-Board-Book/dp/1442450703 Book/dp/1442450703    Hayden Gonzales posted this to Facebook on December 26, 2019. Thank you for bringing this to light!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is an easy story whose words are marvelous for teaching young children the alphabet. In fact, the following link provides some information about how the book can be used to elicit language development http://doodlebugshomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/08/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-with-l

No photo description available.No photo description available.

 

https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/neu-20121.pdf   “memory in autism appears to be organized differently than in normal individuals — reflecting differences in the development of brain connections with the frontal cortex”.

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:

http://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/?fbclid=IwAR0VKcWb_ZAHzheWdgT7ekqhwG_NuW8JLOMtCHZyT4PnolRXeyq6oeXxLSw

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.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

References:

https://study.com/academy/lesson/declarative-memory-definition-examples-quiz.html

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/01/autism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_and_memory

Read the journal article

Prior MR, Chen CS. Short-term and serial memory in autistic, retarded, and normal children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia. 1976;6:121–131. [PubMed[]

http://www.judyendow.com/sensory-solutions/autism-and-the-sensory-system-part-6-of-8/

 
 
 

  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.

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A Decade of Changed Communication

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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?

Now he has new plans https://time.com/facebook-world-plan/

Cell phone usage has changed us too.  At the very bottom of this post, there is a link noting the evolution of this type of communication.

July 14, 2015, the following was published http://attentiv.com/we-dont-speak/  Text messaging leads to abbreviated speech. We can avoid faces by merely looking at a screen.  Fewer verbal productions are heard, and the duration of these discussions is shorter.  The way in which we “talk” has changed  and is different cross-generational groups October 17, 2016, the following was published:  https://www.languagetrainers.co.uk/blog/2016/10/17/with-texting-and-social-media-are-people-really-speaking-less/

August 24, 2018, an article was published indicating that ADHD as a diagnosis may not be linked to technology use.  I learned that as I was writing this post and was surprised by the finding.  https://www.psychcongress.com/article/has-easy-access-technology-increased-rates-adhd  Why?  I’ve seen it in my travels at work – children looking into computer screens-not acknowledging parents, becoming highly active with the rush of adrenalin-fueled by the use of the screen.   Digging further, I found this video    https://www.wsj.com/video/silicon-valley-renegades-take-on-tech-obsession/2D3A120C-C88F-4C81-A005-1439E464A507.html

What Can We Do Right Now to Positively Use Technology?In this upcoming second week of school vacation (at least in NYC, NY) there are some very useful apps that may be of help to use with your child.  When used, please consider the fact that you will want to implement their use under your supervision and guidance.https://ilslearningcorner.com/2015-09-15-kids-apps-for-learning-disabilities/?fbclid=IwAR2PGx4WLPViOnmxB6vFbCmpdtirsR293kzBThNHWy5ap7TvkHfmlo0cHu8

As well, you might want to include the use of age-appropriate school workbooks https://www.highlights.com/store/workbooks?gclid=CjwKCAiAuqHwBRAQEiwAD-zr3Zbarrj_KcVvfduGbsezrdoCgGZTzB2ARwgB-hm0_3Gc3040nL-75RoCIOEQAvD_BwEandr

and reading materials from the local library.

I’ve posted other potential activities that do not involve screen time so please scroll back for those and please don’t forget to look up at each other and look!

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Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sensory Friendly Holiday

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 following is from https://sensoryprocessingdisorderparentsupport.com/tips-for-a-more-successful-sensory-christmas.php

Tips For A More Successful Sensory Christmas!  

 

1. Keep a routine as much as possible. Using visual schedules can be helpful so they know what is next. 


2. Enjoy short and simple activities.


3. It’s ok to have a personal family only Christmas.


4. If you do go out for Christmas, explain sensory challenges to everyone ahead of time.


5. Have a quiet room or space for your child to be alone when they get overwhelmed.


6. Take your child’s weighted blanket and sensory tools.


7. While you are out remember that it’s ok to leave early; watch your child’s signs.  


8. Shopping for children with SPD can be unbearable. Try to shop without them if possible or shop in smaller shops with less people.


9. Try to make Christmas day last for days or a week, not everything all on one day.


10. Most areas have a sensory Santa, it’s better to schedule a time as a visit to Santa can be too much for children with SPD.


11. If you are going out to dinner bring your child’s choice foods because most will not eat what is served for Christmas dinner.


12. Read social stories to prepare your child for Christmas events.


13. When you notice your child is coping well, praise them as much as possible.


14. Stick to your child’s sensory diet as much as possible during the holidays to keep them regulated. 

15. Allow time for scheduled sensory breaks and exercise.


16. Don’t forget your child’s noise-canceling headphones.


17. Bringing an IPad if they use one will be helpful to keep them busy or they could listen to earphones to avoid most noise.


18. Lower expectations as most children with SPD will have meltdowns during holiday events and dinners as they get overwhelmed.


19. If your child has several gifts, open them gradually so they don’t get overwhelmed.

(a few a day)


20. Include your child with decorating the tree but remember flashing lights or musical decorations can be too much for a child with SPD.


21. Keep Christmas decorations on the walls and in doorways limited and simple. Gradually add them to your home.


22. If your child doesn’t want to open gifts in front of others, try to respect that.


23. I know as a parent that you want your child to enjoy Christmas events but how everyone else enjoys it will be different from how your child enjoys it.


24. Before attending events, make a signal or sign that your child can use to let you know when it’s too much for them.


25. Don’t be afraid to say no to having visitors over. If you do have visitors it’s ok to have a time limit.


26. Don’t force the Christmas on your child that you want to have.


27. Let your child run, jump, spin or swing as much as they need too during the holidays.


28. Think of the human senses. Smells at Christmas can be strong, sounds can be too loud and lights can be too bright.

29. Less can be best. Too much of anything is usually going to be overwhelming.

30. Enjoy yourself! Have a glass of wine and have a Christmas that works for your family, it doesn’t need to work for everyone else!

If you are having a child over for Christmas dinner that has SPD or plan to attend an event with a child who has SPD….. PLEASE be understanding.

 

Toy Selection:  

A few posts ago, I wrote about some ideas for toy selection.  An article in my e-mail box is something to consider in terms of guidelines for teens and tweens especially with (NAON TECH) toys in mind

https://blog.asha.org/2016/11/29/10-non-tech-holiday-gift-ideas-to-promote-kids-language-learning/

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

 

GIFT WRAPPING: 

The advantage of a sensory-friendly gift packaging with a novel and eco-friendly packaging options.  

  1.  The sound of wrapping paper may be noxious to some.  I searched for eco-friendly fabric gift bags and found these holiday-specific and general gift wrap ideas https://www.etsy.com/listing/254960158/custom-hanukkah-gift-bags-party-favor?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sr_gallery-1-28&pro=1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/717961454/christmas-fabric-gift-bag-in-traditional?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sr_gallery-1-21&cns=1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/707127055/fab-gift-bag?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+kwanza+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sc_gallery-1-13&plkey=146e719b1b76c2698fc21d6373933564e0af18c9%3A707127055&frs=1

For those who love textures and need stimulating gift wrap, Amazon had an idea when i searched there.  If you type the following:  textured+wrapping+holiday+paper+for+kids

Another idea would be to wrap gifts in colored bubble wrap.  Search online for your desired color.  If you have a gift that could fit into a bubble mailing envelope, that would be another alternative.

uBoxes, Red Bubble Small 3/16" Wrap x 12" Wide (30-Feet)  https://www.amazon.com/Red-Bubble-Small-Wrap-Wide/dp/B019ZU3KDO/ref=asc_df_B019ZU3KDO/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198080987010&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17620725630839429984&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060354&hvtargid=pla-386417161357&psc=1

or blue:

https://www.amazon.com/Offitecture-Cushioning-Perforated-Stickers-Included/dp/B07TD4KB61/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=blue+bubble+wrap&qid=1576084346&s=office-products&sr=1-5l

Grass textured gift bags are another option

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS777US777&sxsrf=ACYBGNSvzZH2LSijBOSblXAT6JgQk0W1pA:1576085470957&q=grass+texture+gift+bag&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ24b1j67mAhWOxFkKHf0wDfQQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1920&bih=888#imgrc=f9GOl9r39Q3fvM

Instead of a bow, put a card so that you know who the gift is from into a sensory bag such as this pencil case which may provide some sensory input afterwards

https://www.playtherapysupply.com/sensory/discreet-fidgets/sensory-bag?gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nGvVe6B0VlxQOmpUoks2BsrXQLnxq7p_Gb7tpht956lJUqBHYWkG2RoCCYwQAvD_BwE

If you want to use traditional gift wrap, perhaps attack a colorful squishy bag with a label indicating from whom the gift is

https://www.etsy.com/listing/725352973/colorful-squishy-bag-sensory-bag-texture?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_low-low_e-toys_and_games-toys-learning_and_school&utm_custom1=27272a7c-2672-4036-b680-03b8c430baf0&utm_content=go_6721326207_78232985694_388251268231_pla-352859725646_c__725352973&gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nLl5St30w4VJOqQTK7hxTIO7bQ640JoBdVtA-CuChOp3TjF778uBKxoCH10QAvD_BwE

I think that this gives you a fair amount of food for thought.  If you want to make a sensory bag, just search for that online. Etsy has some nice ideas for these.

Most of all – have a lovely time!

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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

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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!

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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:

https://ilslearningcorner.com/2015-10-how-to-recognize-a-sensory-processing-disorder-in-your-child/?fbclid=IwAR2pUGvV3vYYIbYqtt3zY68GocZPbEKSsEfKzV8fFN6i0-lDLxyZLZo-NAg

SPD Awareness Month

Additional Resources

 

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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

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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
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What Can You Do When the Screen Goes Off??”

]

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!”.

First of all… TURN THEM OFF.  

New research according to a report on CNN reveals significant differences in brain development

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

This video is presented to parents with children on the Autism Spectrum but these principles can apply to so many of us that i wanted to share it with you

 
 

Here are some fun seasonal activities that you can do at home that will be enjoyable and something to do with your family, especially as the days get shorter.

SEASONAL FUN:

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Carving a pumpkin-adapting the activity for your child based on their abilities an differences in managing textures in a child-friendly way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX6OIhqFZ8o

Write a story about carving the pumpkin, use educational workbooks that are consistent with your child’s age https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2

Read stories (actual books) together. For adults look at the book The Reading Brain https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2 which gives you documentation of how doing so, as opposed to reading books electronically with your children can affect your brain!

 

 

RAINY DAY/WEEKEND OR VACATION DAYS:

Instead of going out for a Halloween costume try to make it yourself. Here is something that i found that might be of help in terms of suggestions: https://www.mother.ly/child/no-sew-diy-kids-halloween-costumes?rebelltitem=9#rebelltitem9

 

Here is a youtube video to consider: Paper-Mache

SUNNY/FUN DAYS: STEP OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR:

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:

https://www.fatbraintoys.com/special_needs/sensory_integration_disorder.cfm

Leisure time and family functioning in families living with autism spectrum disorder (Autism, August 2019, Vol. 23 Iss. 6)

Additional Resources from Emily Ferjencik May 13, 2019 ASHA LEADER article which I put a link to at the beginning of this post are worth a look!


WOW: THE BIG DIFFERENCE A TINY TOY CAN MAKE
INEXPENSIVE, READILY AVAILABLE OBJECTS CAN TURN TREATMENT INTO A FLOOD OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES FOR THE YOUNGEST OF CLIENTS.
TACKLE FOUNDATIONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS—NOT JUST LANGUAGE SKILLS—BY INFUSING FUN AND SILLINESS INTO SESSIONS.
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Preparation for Schooling After EI, If not Done Already

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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?”

GET INVOLVED: CONCERNING HEALTH ISSUES

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

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/preschool/program-list-nyc-region.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

http://www.acces.nysed.gov/bpss/schools/requirements-organization-student-records-provided-department

  • 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! https://www.romper.com/p/rice-krispies-sensory-love-notes-is-making-love-more-accessible-brb-i-need-tissues-18648897

Therapy Insights and COVID19

This blog post is short and sweet. I need your thoughts:

How has the pandemic impacted your child’s development of language? Please share in the comments section below

We learn in school that there is a typical progression of how language develops, a sequential step by step process that begins the day that infants are born, It’s fascinating to watch the “blob” that is born and the “person” that develops, especially in very early years. That can be a whole other post. However, for now – a reduction in social opportunities has changed family dynamics and still does in areas where a “lockdown” is still in effect.

I wonder – are there changes in the sequence of developmental steps that are “typical”. Children have had less physical activities. Some may have been home with parents who were working and may or may not have had more opportunity for “quality time”. Some preschoolers and kindergartners may have been “in school”; but never in a building. Will their learning style be different?

Indeed, digging into the research online, i found a scientific study that provides information on what parents did with their children during “lockdown” did indeed have an impact. For others now who still are or may be on “lockdown” perhaps think about the results of the research.

Please provide comments about your experiences. How did you interact with eachother? With less social opportunity, how did your family spend time?. The more that speech language pathologist know about your concerns and about the history of your child’s communication needs, the more we are able to help. Thanks!

COVID19 and ASD

Why is Autism called Autism Spectrum Disorder? - The Carmen B. Pingree  Autism Center of Learning
https://carmenbpingree.com/blog/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder/

We have all been preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, but how can we not be. Good news is that this year, one since this post was originally written, we have a vaccine! I’ve re-written it with reflection in mind and the fact that there is concern. April is also Autism Awareness month and April 2nd is World Autism Day. In that spirit, I wanted to start this month off with a post along that theme.

Many have resorted to using more and more technology with their children. The paper, “Association of Early-Life Social and Digital Media Experiences With Development of Autism Spectrum Disorder–Like Symptoms,” was published online in JAMA Pediatrics and is available at this link. Don’t be alarmed, in response to comments about this article, it is noted that there is more need for research.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2772821?resultClick=1. Look at how the spectrum of online relationships has changed us. How does this impact your family and how does it impact development of relationships in which communication is already a challenge?

Social Media Monitoring and the Spectrum of online relationships

The impact of COVID19 on development of social skills has not yet been measured yet. This is a significant area of concern for those who live on the autism spectrum. As a result, continued monitoring milestones of your child is imperative, Parents can do so using a screening tool that I have referenced below. There are also resources for adults.

ROUTINES:

Especially during a pandemic and increased social isolations there are challenges to disrupted routines. Yet, this is so important, especially for a child or adult struggling with the symptoms of a spectrum disorder. So many have told me that it is just too hard to schedule appointments, or that they are overwhelmed and having trouble working. Temple Grandin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin has some thoughts that I still think might help others. Take a look: https://parade.com/1019088/debrawallace/temple-grandin-tips-children-with-autism-coronavirus-quarantine/?fbclid=IwAR1L8M8petdXfGQyZdPhyx51viLP1usEaEOzhHHVEgWOH-o6rqu9SOKvtnA.

Back to School???

In a matter of speaking … yes! Wow!!!   Blended learning students in grades 9-12 return to buildings beginning 03/22 (at least in NYC). Speech-language pathologists help others with organizational skills so in that spirit here are some reminders

Get back into that routine now! Resume the routine bedtime, preparing lunch the night before, laying out clothing etc. Whatever the routine – especially with students who are special needs, that will be important. Since we are talking about older students returning, maybe a chart as below with their routine would be helpful to write out now.. 

Self-care daily routine schedule for tweens. Gentle reminder for your tween  to establish a good daily routin… | Daily routine schedule, Daily routine,  Night routine

Once your son or daughter is back – in-person.. 

  • Please communicate face to face if possible – not through facetime; but in-person and it will be important to show up with your son or daughter’s paperwork in hand.  I’d suggest that you hand it to the special education supervisor as soon as your high school student enters the door.  They may be pulling away during their adolescent years; which we’d typically expect. However, they won’t tell you – you are needed!  Just like at the beginning in September – here is a checklist:
  • Set up a meeting or call your child’s lead teacher and introduce yourself. If possible go to school in person as it is the parent who makes themselves known that gets the help!  
  • Make sure that your child’s therapy schedule is in place as times may change ..???  perhaps…  
  • If your son or daughter needs any adaptive equipment – communication boards or FM systems and these are typically at school – make sure they are there and also any eyeglasses!

***If your son or daughter can help with the very last item above it may be wonderful so that you guide them in self advocacy skills!

Remember that it is not just your child who needs the help.  Your child's teacher needs the support from the school therapist so that they know how to support him or her and they need you too as the "team leader". Your son or daughter needs guidance too!


Resources: The impact that changes in kids since the pandemic necessitated social distancing cannot be understated.

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