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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COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME

AND PERHAPS APPEARING FRUSTRATED …

pexels-photo-987585
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

Play and Holidays

 

IMAGE |  | EDIT

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!

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

‚ÄúThe 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.‚Ä̬† ¬† ¬†

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 ‚Äúproblem feeders‚ÄĚ and not ‚Äúpicky eaters‚ÄĚ, 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‚Äôs eating:

  • Does your child have a decreased range or variety of foods (less than 20)?
  • If your child gets ‚Äúburned out‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs feeding across multiple well-child check-ups?
  • If you answered ‚Äúyes‚ÄĚ to several of the above questions, talk to your child‚Äôs pediatrician about a referral for an evaluation to determine if feeding therapy would be warranted for your child.

Please note, the term ‚Äúproblem feeder‚ÄĚ 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

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!

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