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.ūüėĎ”

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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs math learning with children whose parents received interventions such as content guides and suggestions for supplemental activities. The studies also found that parents‚Äô awareness of children‚Äôs 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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Back to School?

What a challenging prospect in times of a pandemic.  It’s a tough decision in terms of how to educate your child whenever schools open up. Both kids and parents will have feelings. Nobody seems to be considering that, in my opinion.  There are novel CDC guidelines. In case you missed them, here is a link CDC Guidelines   Other thoughts are outlined by the  American Academy of Pediatrics. 

For starters:  How do you explain coronavirus?  In very simple terms

Your child is entitled to additional services in terms of having lost much therapy time if they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)? Check with the school special education supervisor and/or the principal.

and finally, how do you deal with the emotions that kids may experience when potentially planning for the first day back if that is your decision?  There are some ideas below:

Resources:

Know Your Rights for a Special Needs Child https://www.familyequality.org/2020/03/30/special-education-rights-during-covid-19-pandemic/

Dealing With Anxiety-Helping Kids Cope:

Give toddlers tools to ease anxieties and worries and feel better again. It’s normal for toddlers to worry and feel anxious‚ÄĒthey have enough …
 
For older children
 
 

Autism Awareness

We have all been preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, but how can we not be. It still is a month during which we acknowledge and bring awareness to the nature of Autism. For those with families where you have a child with this diagnosis, there are indeed ways in which we can more effectively cope in day-to-day life. 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 felt might help others. I hope that it does and welcome your comments about what enables you to get through this challenging time. Please share…

https://parade.com/1019088/debrawallace/temple-grandin-tips-children-with-autism-coronavirus-quarantine/?fbclid=IwAR1L8M8petdXfGQyZdPhyx51viLP1usEaEOzhHHVEgWOH-o6rqu9SOKvtnA

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

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 Рplease 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 Рtake 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

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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 Рperhaps 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‚Äď131.¬†[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.

A Decade of Changed Communication

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

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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Play and Holidays

 

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top view photography of toddler playing with toy

 

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

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

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

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

TRADITIONAL TOYS:

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

https://funandfunction.com/  

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

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

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

BATTERY OPERATED, ELECTRONIC OR TRADITIONAL TOYS:

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

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

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

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

Understand Typical Developmental Milestones and Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe

We all hope for happy and healthy children. When there is a glitch…when a parent has the unfortunate situation of being told that their child will need help in the very early years, when neuroplasticity is at a peak, emotions may rage. ¬†Cuts to the early intervention program, in many areas of the country have heightened anxiety about the future for disabled children,¬†those receiving services through the early intervention program or those receiving services elsewhere.¬†¬†Some parents have expressed reticence¬†about¬†enrolling their¬†child in a¬†specialized education program, or having professionals in their home to offer¬†services to their child.¬†¬† That feeling is¬†respected.¬† Acceptance of¬†a developmental delay¬†or other type of handicapping condition may take a while to set in.¬†¬†That said – I have a few suggestions.

I have realized that parents whose children receive early intervention services or those who would like their children considered for program participation are genuinely unsure of the process or they are not educated about what might qualify their child for services in a particular area.  Others are unaware of what they would expect to see in terms of skill development in a variety of areas.  That is unfortunate.  Parents need guidance and there are resources available for you.  Especially of concern is that you learn about when typically developing children acquire specific milestones like crawling, sitting, standing, speaking, eating solid food, drinking from a cup, assisting with dressing.  There are many more that could be mentioned.  Below is information that may be helpful: 

DVD:¬† A Life to Love: Preventing Accidental Injury to Our Most Precious Resource-available in English, Spanish, Chinese Creole, Arabic and Russian¬† (produced by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services @ 150 William Street New York, NY 10038.¬† NYC residents can call 311).

Clinical Practice Guidelines Quick Reference Guidelines for Parents and Professionals are available through the NY State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program, Corning Tower Building, Room 208, Albany, NY 12237-0618  These are available free of charge at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/eipindex.htmeip@health.state.ny.us  and relate to a variety of developmental areas such as vision, communication, hearing, motor function. 

Zero to Three www.zerotothree.org