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!

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

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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

https://youtu.be/JPJg5XUrCgk
 
 

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4tJV078Qbw

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfmF9D4i8Tg&feature=youtu.be

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)

https://definingtess.com/top-5-things-to-do-after-your-child-is-diagnosed-with-autism/

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.

What Does it Mean to Have Generational Intelligence and What are Your Thoughts?

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What is communication in the 21st century? Are we merely talking??  Research actually is saying “no”. The above chart from the University of Liverpool illustrates the differences between age groups.  We are really are what I would term to be global communicators; in that, we use a variety of communication forms.  That has good and bad sides to it.  The need to be generationally intelligent becomes necessary for all of us if we are going to get along.  Why?  It’s important since the presence of a digital world has made these differences even more pronounced than they ever have been.  The differences are also permanent. Technology is not going away any time soon and is changing every day quite rapidly.

Jean Twenge gives a great deal of insight about the concept I am introducing.  She discusses the differences in how people are living, looking at longitudinal studies that she has conducted. Her latest book documents this:  https://www.amazon.com/iGen-Super-Connected-Rebellious-Happy-Adulthood-ebook/dp/B01N6ACK3B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529427009&sr=8-1&keywords=iGen.  Sadly, she notes that those who are born in an age of smartphones and the internet are not as happy as a result of the social isolation of many digital natives.  Wouldn’t this now point to the need for increased and easier access to mental health care?

Technology has also had an impact on physical health, both positively and negatively.    http://www.digitalresponsibility.org/health-and-technology/  Only you understand how you individually are being affected or not.   It is interesting to think about and then consider if there are any issues that impact on your life.  How is your life being affecting and how are you communicating pre-post technology or as a digital native?

 

 

Dr. Andreas Hoff (2012) Generational Intelligence: A Critical Approach to Age Relations By Biggs, S., and Lowenstein, A., Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 10:3, 304-308, DOI: 10.1080/15350770.2012.698975.  

 

Did You Hear What I said?? Did You Understand me!!

The answer to these questions are going to be conveyed differently, depending on your age and life experience with technology.  I’ve been doing a great deal of reading about communication and wonder what the best way to do so is at this time.   The subject has consumed me lately as I talk with others about how to figure out whether someone has a disorder of speech-language or not.  What is a real pathology of communication.

Jean a Twenge documents in a number of her texts, based on years of research, tells us that how we do will vary based on how old you are.   of the generational group into which you are birthed. .

Messages appear to get confused in my opinion,  unless the correct form of communication is utilized.    I use email a great deal; but find that it is unfortunate that I don’t even know what most my colleagues look like.  E-mail is mostly the way that I obtain work.  It is less personal.  All of us should add a photo of ourselves next to our names.  Can anyone communicate how to add that?  I send signed cards to colleagues around the holidays.  One year, I was told how much it was appreciated because “nobody sends these anymore ..it is only communicated electronically.  The  impact that technology has had on Millennials vs. Baby Boomers has been documented in the literature.  For example, The titled Have Smartphone Destroyed a Generation documents some of the effects of these changes.   The article was published by a professor of psychology at San Diego State University by the name of Jean M. Twenge last week in “The Atlantic”. The link https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/ .  It poses the next question regarding how we view communication in today’s world.  How does the change affect those who did not grow up with it and how does it impact on those who did.?  The author explores it and it would be good to take note of its contents. My thanks again to its author!

Technology clearly can become addictive and studies are showing that there is impact on neurologic development.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170902/   No surprise!  It’s use can be beneficial if tailored to the individual; but parents in particuylar should be aware:

The author of the below article (see link) talks about how limitations around the use of technology are helpful with children. In the presence of AAP (american academy of pediatrics) guidelines parents can shape the behavior of them and ease the transition into and out of periods of exposure through the development of structured embedding of this into daily life.  To this day, I recall my childhood.  My parents told each of the three of us (two older brothers and I) that we had one hour of television per day unless there was a special show on or an assignment to watch something given to us by our teachers at school.  We survived AND the limits developed and implemented with consistency worked!   https://parenting.nytimes.com/childrens-health/child-screen-time?module=ptg-onsite-share&type=link   So-I leave you with food for thought…

Do we now need to redefine the term: “communication” And what does it actually mean to do so?

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I remember a time when people had to learn how to write with a pen and paper.  There were no computers.  There were no cell phones.  There were rotary phones. Some phone numbers would begin with words like “hunter…”  There was the mailman who does still come and deliver real letters.  There was nothing called e-mail or a fax machine to send paperwork to others. Things moved at a slower pace. The world was much less connected.  Computers and other forms of technology, of course, have changed that……

Can anyone tell me at all what it means to communicate in today’s world?  I’m trying to figure it out because lately, I have gotten so many interpretations. The one sentence answer “speak” is the most often heard answer but is this really the case.???  I’ll be on the subway and say “excuse me” but nobody hears me when I am trying to get off the train.  Earbuds get in the way of hearing speech and fewer people seem to speak.   Another answer to my question was that to communicate is “the ability to interact with others”.  I really like that one!

I sincerely mean that I want to hear your answers to this question because I am wondering if those of us in the industry are truly doing our job.  Are we addressing the needs of the people who may walk in and ask for help?.  If you have trouble communicating it seems to me as if there are many more options available.  What are they?  What’s easiest for you or hardest?

These answers will be especially helpful as I discuss this concept with graduate students in a few weeks.  Can this new generation of future professionals add to this list.? We’ll see.  I think the more traditional concepts we learned in graduate school years ago have broadened.  Below are a few examples from my pediatric clientele from this past week:

  • I asked the parents about their concern-why are they asking me to help their child and what does it mean to communicate?.  Their priority was that one-word response “speech”.  The conversation continues. I ask the parent if there are any other ways that his child may let him know that she wants something and he said that she will show him what she wants by pointing to it. I remind him – “that is a form of communication too..isn’t it?   The dad stopped for a second and says he agrees.
  • Another family visit and the child is learning how to Facetime.  Check it out in my tags.  Now, how old are the children using this app???
  • Another family visit and all of a sudden I hear a noise. “What is that?” I ask because nothing seemed to have provoked the sound. I notice that the child has dad’s i-phone and has looked at the icons. The child discriminated between the icons.  She had located Elmo. The child demonstrated that she understood cause and effect behavior by recognizing that if the icon was tapped with her pointer finger that Elmo would make noise and move. Finally, she was very obviously happy with what had happened.  She ran over and picked up Elmo so that she could play with the doll.

If we want a child to learn to speak, how could this last scenario have been replayed?. If dad’s i-phone had not been present, would the same behavior occur?  Languages are lost if we do not use them

 

 

The above chart from the University of Liverpool illustrates the differences between age groups.  We are really are what I would term to be global communicators; in that, we use a variety of communication forms.  That has good and bad sides to it.  The need to be generationally intelligent becomes necessary for all of us if we are going to get along.  Why?  It’s important since the presence of a digital world has made these differences even more pronounced than they ever have been.  The differences are also permanent. Technology is not going away any time soon and is changing every day quite rapidly.

Jean Twenge gives a great deal of insight about the concept I am introducing.  She discusses the differences in how people are living, looking at longitudinal studies that she has conducted. Her latest book documents this:  https://www.amazon.com/iGen-Super-Connected-Rebellious-Happy-Adulthood-ebook/dp/B01N6ACK3B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529427009&sr=8-1&keywords=iGen.  Sadly, she notes that those who are born in an age of smartphones and the internet are not as happy as a result of the social isolation of many digital natives.  Wouldn’t this now point to the need for increased and easier access to mental health care?

Technology has an impact on mental and physical health as well.  This has had positive as well as negative effects  http://www.digitalresponsibility.org/health-and-technology/  Only you understand how you individually are being affected or not.   It is interesting to think about and then consider if there are any issues that impact on your life.  How are you communicating with other people? How much technology are you using? What types and how much during the day?  If you are old enough to know a world in which there was no internet how has your life changed?  I would be interested in hearing from readers about your thoughts and for anyone reading this post to consider.  Thanks for your help!

Dr. Andreas Hoff (2012) Generational Intelligence: A Critical Approach to Age Relations By Biggs, S., and Lowenstein, A., Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 10:3, 304-308, DOI: 10.1080/15350770.2012.698975.