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).
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:
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.
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.
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 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
The advantage of a sensory-friendly gift packaging with a novel and eco-friendly packaging options.
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.”
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!
There are good and unfortunate impacts that technology has had to date based on a variety of sources. Think about the last time that you tried to talk to someone to find that they could not answerer you. They had earbuds in their ears, were not looking up at you – just at a machine and appeared to be in an entirely non-face-to face world. The effect on communication in this century is both astounding and profoundly changing us.
The good news is that there are positive things that we can use computers for, as noted in an example of a few resources below. There are others if you search by grade level which yields similar listings so look at those as well.
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 movieswww.halloweenmoviesforkid would be a nice activity
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…
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.
Taken from the below-noted website, you can both read more about SPD and obtain this “sensory processing chart without cost:
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
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
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.
Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:
I find it hard to believe that only a month ago I was writing about Back to School and how to prepare for it in upcoming weeks. Regardless – Back to school night typically occurs in mid to late October. We are already at the beginning of the month and Columbus Day weekend is next week! Time to continue the conversation
STUDENTS IDENTIFIED AS NEEDING RELATED SERVICES?HAVE IEPS: Open school nights for families with children who have children experiencing challenges in communication or other areas of development can be anxiety provoking, from parents in a different way than for others. Preparation may be different http://www.ldonline.org/article/33219
Home-school communicationT: eachers and families need to be in touch throughout the year. Whether it’s through a folder, notebook or daily learning log, you should hear something about the system the teacher uses to keep in touch
Aside from these issues: There really ARE other obstacles and recaling my days of working in the city schools, keeping these in mind may -no make that will, be helpful:
Bring your child’s IEP. Confirm that EVERYONE has been able to access and implement its use – as specific to the class size, the size of the group in which your child has been placed with a reltaed service provider and if there are any supplies that they need at school to aid in providing special education (or even general education students.
Ask if your child’s teacher or related service provider needs anything to help your child, if you are in a position to help: Why? probably little known fact is looming in the schools about which you are unaware. Ninety-four percent of public school teachers say they spent their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies in the 2014-15 school year without reimbursement, according to the study. The average amount spent was $479. About 44 percent spent $250 or less, while 36 percent spent $251 to $500.May 15, 2018
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:
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.