2011年12月26日 星期一

Sensory Function in Children From Birth

Such functions include Vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. How are they peculiar to a newborn or a child?

At birth, the eye is structurally incomplete. The fovea centralis is not yet completely differentiated from the macula. The ciliary muscles are also immature, limiting the ability of the eyes to accommodate and fix on an object. However, the pupils react to light, the blink reflex is responsive to a minimal stimulus, and the corneal reflex is activated by a light touch. Tear glands usually do not begin to function until the neonate is 2 to 4 weeks of age.

The newborn has the ability to momentarily fix on a bright or moving object that is within 20cm (8 inches) and in the midline of movement is greater during the first hour of life than during the succeeding several days. Although Visual acuity is difficult to measure, it has been found that a newborn can respond to orthokinetic stripes that are comparable to 20/50 vision.

Once the amniotic fluid has drained from the ears, the infant probably has auditory acuity similar to that of an adult. The neonate is able to detect a loud sound of about 90 decibels and reacts with a startle reflex. The newborn's response to sounds of low frequency and high frequency differs; the former, such as the sound of a heartbeat, metronome, or lullaby, tends to decrease an infant's motor activity and crying, whereas the latter elicits an alerting reaction.

There also seems to be an early sensitivity to the sound of human voices, although not to specific speech sounds. One study found that infants younger than 3 days of age can discriminate the mother's voice from that of other females. As early as age 2 weeks the neonate may stop crying to listen to the sound of a voice. The cortical activity associated with hearing or with any other sense is still incomplete at this stage because of the immature myelination of the various neural pathways beyond the midbrain, This lack of cortical integration is responsible for the infant's response to sound.

The internal and middle ears are larger at birth, but the external canal is small. The mastoid process and the bony part of the external canal have not yer developed. Consequently, the tympanic membrane and facial nerve are very close to the surface and can be easily damaged.

Limited research has been done on the newborn's ability to smell, However, it is known that newborns will react to strong odors such as alcohol or vinegar by turning their heads away. Recent studies have demonstrated that breast-fed infants are able to smell breast milk and will cry to their mothers when the breasts are engorged and leaking. Infants also have the ability to differentiate the breast milk from their mother or from other females by the smell.

The newborn has the ability to distinguish between tastes. Various types of solutions elicit differing gustofacial reflexes. A tasteless solution elicits no facial expression, a sweet solution elicits an eager suck and a look of satisfaction, a sour solution causes the usual expression. During early childhood the taste buds are distributed mostly on the tip of the tongue.

At birth, the infant is able to perceive tactile sensation in any part of the body, although the face (especially the mouth), hands, and soles of the feet seems to be most sensitive. There is increasing documentation that touches and motion are essential to normal growth and development, Gentle patting of the back or rubbing of the abdomen usually elicits a calming response from the infant. However, painful stimuli, such as a pinprick, will elicit an angry, upsetting response.

These peculiarities are very essential in observing the healthy state of a newborn or infant.

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Integrate Your Autistic Child With Encouragement

I have learned from my brother who has his disorder of autism, that he and our family needed to be integrated in our community with encouragement. In addition, our family could not do it on our own. We needed additional help for all of us to understand how to function in the community as a family and individually.

When our family was able get together for holidays to do fun things, my brother was encouraged to be part of activities and be integrated, as well. He had to learn his boundaries and the boundaries of others.

You will want to take into consideration or ask questions, if your child should go to a park and play with other children? Go to a restaurant to eat with the family, friends and relatives? Go on trips or overnight special events? Go shopping or to a mall? etc.

Is your child going to display temper tantrums, have other behavior disorders that will make it difficult for he or she to be integrated? If this becomes a problem, your child may have to learn social skills on how to handle new interactions with different places and people.

There are tips and steps you might want to consider to take, to help your child and you to be integrated with encouragement and be part of the community. For example:

* Talk to your child. Make a list of what your child likes to do and does not want to do.

* What are his or her interests?

* What are the places he or she would like to visit?

* Does your child have confidence and knowledge to understand where and what the plans are?

* If your child does not understand what the plans are, will you be able to explain them to him or her so they understand?

* Are you as parent(s), caregiver(s), able to communicate what the needs are for your child to be integrated?

* To complete an activity, will you be able to teach your child how it is accomplished?

* What about the environment for your child? Is it positive, is it stressful, is it relaxing?

* Will there be loud noises, bright flashing lights that can create sensory problems?

* Are you willing to check out the areas for your child before you arrive, to know what is expected?

* Is there going to be a lot of walking? Is your child able to walk long distances or even short distances without conflict?

Communicate with other people in your community. Find out who your child will be interacting with and where that will take place. Keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of your child. Never push or force your child into some activity your child will not like or do.

These are some of the questions and concerns you will want to consider before trying to introduce your child to integration in your community.

You as parent(s), caregiver(s) have the responsibility to take charge of your child and understand how imperative it is for your child to be integrated in your community with encouragement.

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2011年12月25日 星期日

Asperger's Syndrome Treatment - Six Therapies That Can Help Solve Your Child's Sensory Issues

Perhaps one of the most important kinds of treatment for kids diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism, is sensory integration therapy. What is sensory integration therapy? Well, kids with autism have a lot of sensory processing issues. This means that every kind of stimuli seems too extreme for them. While most people have some kind of filtering system, kids and adults with Asperger's syndrome have a very hard time filtering out extraneous sensory information.

What does a sensory overload look like?

Your child may not want to put on the clothes you laid out for him because they are too scratchy or there's a tag in the back. He may refuse to go into many public places because they are too noisy, or the lights are too bright. He may suddenly have a tantrum because the smell of someone's perfume is overwhelming him.

A Child Who Is Under-Sensitivity To His Surroundings May Also Have Problems

Conversely, there are also kids who are under-sensitive to sensory stimuli and are constantly seeking and craving it. They are the kids who will be tearing around your house, crashing into things and generally on the move all the time. They want to touch everything and experience everything, and can never seem to sit still.

What both of these categories have in common are deficits in the sensory processing system. And there are ways to treat them.

1. Auditory Integration Therapy

An occupational therapist who is trained in helping kids with sensory issues will have a number of tricks up their sleeve. One is auditory integration therapy (AIT). Studies have shown that listening to special CDs of music that have certain frequencies and pitches can actually change the way that the brain processes information. With this therapy, it's changing the way sounds are processed.

The person who is getting AIT listens to a CD made for them for two sessions of 30 minutes each per day, using headphones. Over a period of time, the music can actually change the way the brain hears the music, and make a person less over-reactive to loud noises, and more able to process sounds and language effectively.

2. The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol

The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol is a treatment for Asperger's syndrome when kids have tactile sensitivity issues. In other words, they have problems with touch. Kids with this problem often can't stand the feel of their clothes, can't stand to play outside because they might touch something weird, or jump if someone accidentally touches them.

This method of treatment involves using a surgical brush to brush the person's skin in a very specific way. This is done several times a day at preset intervals. It needs to be done with a trained therapist's supervision. When it is done correctly, it can reduce sensitivity to tactile stimuli.

3. Other Methods

There are many different tools that occupational therapists will use to help a child with Asperger's syndrome who has sensory issues. Many of these will be different for each child. A lot of them may look like playing, but it actually has specific goals and focuses on specific sensory systems in the body to change the way that system processes information.

Here are a few other techniques:

Weighted blankets: People with Asperger's often crave deep pressure, as it is calming to them. Weighted blankets provide this. This increases their ability to focus.
Trampolines, swing sets, and rocking toys: These can stimulate the vestibular system in a person with Asperger's. This can help either calm them down or stimulate them, depending on their sensitivities. Any activities involving movement can be helpful in this case.
Joint compression: This is a treatment an occupational therapist can teach you that can regulate a person's nervous system. It involves manipulating and pulling on joints in a certain way that acts to kind of reset the sensory system.
Sensory fidget bag: A sensory fidget bag can be useful to keep on hand. This should include anything that you can find to fill a bag with that your child can fidget with. Some examples are stress balls, koosh balls, feathers, slinkys, and so on. These sensations will give the child something to focus on, thus also having a calming effect.

As you can see, there are many ways that sensory integration issues can be treated. Sensory integration therapy can be a very useful treatment for children who exhibit specific symptoms of Asperger's syndrome.

Hopefully these tips can make life a little easier especially for children with Asperger's and their parents. In addition to these methods, there are many other tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life. A great site to find information to help children with Asperger's syndrome is the web site www.AspergersSociety.org. There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.

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Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Overload

When my son had reached the age of 3 he was nearly impossible to handle. He would never go outside, refused to play with toys or go with me into the playground to play with the equipment there. He was scared when he was lifted off the ground and was terrified of swings and other equipment that would move. He was the only kid on the block who would never go on a kiddy-ride. He was unable to take a shower because he could not stand the water in his face, let alone go to the pool and swim! He was unable to get his hands dirty so playing with water and sand was impossible. He refused to put on new clothes due to the tags inside and was not able to eat solid food until the age of 3 and a half. I thought all three year old were this difficult to handle!

Apart from him being inside the house all day I was inside the house all day too. I was not allowed to sing, hum or whistle let along turn on a radio. He could not stand bright light or loud noises so he walked around all day with his ears covered with his hands. Even a simple thing as flushing the toilet was impossible due to the loud sound the water produces. I was unable to go out with him or visit friends with other kids. They were too loud. He would faint when the crowd on a birthday party would burst out in singing Happy Birthday.

For him this noise came out of the blue. A visit to the supermarket was a disaster due to all the loud noises and background music. On top of that he fainted about 6 times a day due to sensory overload. His nails and lips would go blue and he stopped breathing in, just out until his body went into complete shut down. He started this when he was a 3 month old baby. We are not talking about kids with breath holding spell who will faint whenever they don't get their way or want more candy. This was different and it was obvious to us it was related to sensory issues.

For us help started in the form of an ORT who visited us at home. She had specialized in Sensory Integration Therapy and explained me all about it. Since we felt we had noting to loose we started right away. It turned out the best thing that had happened to all of us! Even though the therapy is relatively easy to do and so much fun to participate in with your child, the results I have seen in my son were amazing. His therapy involved brushing, joint compression and sensory stimulation which have led to him calming down, being able to relax, eat solid foods and communicate with us in a much better way. He had so much fun doing it and it was never boring. After an initial 4 months of therapy at home he was able to go over to the practice of the ORT. She had a huge swing set up for him, tunnels to crawl in, lost of soft materials to play with, music and all other fun stuff to keep my active toddler entertained. The results were amazing:

He started using different kinds of words and more words then ever before, we could go out, visit other families and go to the playground. The first time he asked if he could go on a kiddy ride I cried. He took swimming classes and now goes to the pool once a week. But the best reward of all is: he has not fainted anymore from the day the therapy started. I strongly believe all kids with oversensitive senses can benefit from this therapy, specially those with autism.

Author is the mother of two children with Asperger Syndrome and has a degree in Social Sience. She has worked as a pedagogue educator for the past years to educate teachers, social workers and other parents on what children with Asperger Syndrome need in school or at home. For more information on Asperger Syndrome go to http://www.Asperger-Advice.com

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2011年12月24日 星期六

Sensory Processing Difficulties - Understanding the Family Dilemma

With the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders on the rise, let's focus on understanding the accompanying sensory processing issues. Although sensory processing difficulties are a symptom of Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome, every person can experience processing difficulties throughout life.

Also known as sensory integration, it refers to the way individuals respond to and process sensations. Our brains are constantly processing input from our sense organs (smell, touch, taste, hear, see and feel), even when we sleep. We usually don't notice the process, until it functions adversely. For example, all we need to do to overload our sensory system is navigate a shopping cart through a large grocery or house wares store. The overhead music plays while videos blare, smells rise and blend into one another, fans blow hot or cold air and overly helpful employees repeatedly pop out to greet us while we try desperately to stay in the left part of the brain so that we can get what we came for. Whew! By the time we get through the checkout, trapped between loud videos and beeping registers, we are feeling common symptoms of sensory overload: nervousness, simmering anger, headache and nausea. Now imagine how hard that must be for a small child or someone whose sensory system has difficulty processing the onslaught of stimulation.

Children have not yet developed the brain connections to tell us that they need to get away from the overwhelming stimulation. Instead, they scream, tantrum, run away or have potty accidents. Sensory overload triggers the primitive brain function of fight, flight or freeze and the body reacts without thought. The only goal is to survive, which temporarily hijacks the brain's executive functions, disabling logic, memory (retention and recall) and decision making processes.

For most of us, all we have to do is reduce or eliminate the excess sensory stimulation and the problem is solved. Usually our brains can sort it all, without conscious thought. Unfortunately, this task is much more complicated for someone when sensory processing difficulties are part of a disorder.

The entire family is affected when everyone is held hostage by the anticipation and prevention of rages or ear-piercing shrieks. Even the child feels helpless while he seeks to manipulate his world and the family system to avoid sensory issues. Often seen as behavior problems, these actions may actually help regulate the sensory system and bring it into balance. For the most part, behavior modification techniques do not work; the dysfunctional behavior is the result of a struggling brain process, not a goal-oriented choice.

When a family has a member with sensory processing issues, the choices are to continue living each day feeling powerless in a rage-reaction lifestyle or seek professional help. A neurologist is best qualified to make a diagnosis if Autism or Asperger's Syndrome is suspected. A specially trained pediatric occupational therapist (OT) can diagnose and treat Sensory Processing Disorder. A counselor who has experience with sensory processing issues can address the related anxiety and specific parenting techniques, which brings much needed relief to the family.

Generally, the whole family benefits by getting involved in the change process. An experienced counselor can help re-balance the parental power structure, lessen anxiety and resentment among siblings and coordinate treatment options with the school or daycare facility. Changing the way a brain functions takes time, commitment and active teamwork, which may frustrate parents who want a quick fix.

Lastly, remember to look for support from other parents who live with similar conditions. You can find support groups, information and professional referrals by accessing websites focusing on Sensory Processing Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Autism.

Sharon Cuff, MA counsels parents and children in Newtown Square, PA. She has over 25 years experience working with adults and children of all ages, stages and abilities. Call for an appointment at 484-437-0080 and visit her website at http://SharonCuffCounseling.com/

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Heavy Work Activities for Proprioceptive Input in the Classroom - For Kids With Sensory Issues

All children, but particularly those with sensory processing disorder, can benefit from movement activities in the classroom that provide input to the proprioceptive receptors in the joints and ligaments. In addition to providing exercise, these types of "heavy work" movements make it easier for the child to focus and attend. For the child with SPD, it's vital to get proprioceptive and deep pressure input throughout the course of the day as part of what's called a "sensory diet" of activities. It is not enough to get plenty of exercise and calming input before or after school, or during one session of OT. Most children with SPD need to be encouraged and guided to get the input they need throughout the course of the day.

There are many ways to help kids get this input within an ordinary classroom and school building. The child who is a sensory seeker will likely eagerly participate and even find her own ways to get the input she senses her body needs (be sure to guide her in finding appropriate activities, though). In contrast, the child with sensory issues who is underaroused or a sensory avoider may have to be reminded to follow the sensory diet the OT has set up. In either case, while it is great to provide opportunities for input, a child who isn't disciplined or self-motivated enough to carry out a sensory diet on her own will definitely need guidance to ensure that it happens. Given that the alternative is a child who is unfocused, becoming more anxious and agitated, and moving toward sensory overload and a fight-or-flight panic reaction such as aggression or total withdrawal, implementing a sensory diet during the school day during the school day is crucial.

When you integrate these activities into the classroom routine, and other children may participate as well, it helps the child with SPD to not feel quite so different or singled out. If the child is the only one doing the activity, give it a positive spin. Let her be the "playground equipment monitor," carrying the balls and equipment to and from the playground, or the "whiteboard monitor" who erases the whiteboard at the end of each day. You might even have a team of kids, including the children with sensory issues, in charge of washing desks or helping the janitor, and give them an honorary name such as the "clean crew." All of these strategies will reduce the stigma for the sensory child who must have an in-school sensory diet in order to stay focused.

Remember, the child who is focused on the discomfort in her body and her urge to move may be polite and obedient, appearing to pay attention when, in reality, her mind is not on what the teacher is saying. By incorporating a sensory diet tailored to the sensory child's specific, unique needs by a sensory smart school or private OT, you make it far easier for her to focus on what we would all like her to focus on: learning! If the child is verbal, be sure to include her in the setting up of a sensory diet. What works for one child may not work for another.

And check in regularly to be sure that she's really getting the benefit of the activities set up for her, and make it a goal to have her advocate for herself and meet her sensory needs in a socially acceptable way.

Here are some easy ways to get proprioceptive and deep pressure input within a classroom and school environment (of course, the playground and gym offer plenty more activities during recess and gym time, too):

* Move stacks of books

* Deliver items from one classroom to another place in the building (especially if it requires carrying something and climbing stairs)

* Stack items, such as reams of paper, books, or storage bins

* Erase blackboards and whiteboards

* Move chairs or tables, put chairs on top of tables at the end of the day and take them down at the beginning of the day

* Wash desks or cafeteria tables

* Set up and put away folding chairs and tables

* Carry bins of lunchboxes into and out of cafeteria

* Empty wastebaskets, sweep, mop

* Sharpen pencils with an old-fashioned, crank pencil sharpener

* Assist gym teacher or playground supervisor with taking out and putting away equipment such as bags full of balls, mats, scooters, etc.

* Do laps around the gym or playground

* Climb stairs

* Cut cardboard and heavy paper card stock

* Do pushups against the wall

* Do chair push ups (holding the chair on either side as you sit, then pushing up to lift the body)

* Bounce while sitting on an exercise ball (loose or in a holder)

* Press legs against a lycra band stretched around chair or desk legs

* Sit on an inflatable cushion such as the Disc O' Sit

* Walk up a ramp or incline such as a wheelchair ramp or hill on the playground

* Hold open heavy doors, or open them for individuals entering or exiting the building

* Push or drag boxes, carts, or furniture across carpeted floor.

Nancy Peske is a professional writer and editor and the mother of a child diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and multiple developmental delays. She is the coauthor of the award-winning book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues and has been active in the special needs community since 2002. She sends out a weekly newsletter of practical tips for parents and provides helpful information on SPD on her website at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com

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2011年12月23日 星期五

Getting to Know Your Baby - How She Learned From Every Sensory Experience

As each week goes by, your baby will appear less floppy, less curled up, and more alert. She is now interested in the world and is learning from every sensory experience.

Reflexes and posture - At this stage reflexes still govern your baby's movements, although over the next few weeks they will become more integrated and most of the more primitive ones will disappear. Your will notice that she still has her fencing (ATNR) reflex - when her head is turned to one side, she extends her arm on the same side. She will start to catch a glimpse of her hand in this position, but because her arms swipe around so much, she will not be able to remain focused on it for long. Her arms and legs move a lot at this stage, especially the arms, swiping wildly through the air. This makes her feel disconcerted and you can help her to feel more composed by cupping your hands behind her shoulder blades and providing some pressure to bring her hands towards the midline of her body. During this period you will notice that she clasps her hands much less. Occasionally she will open them. She will not start reaching for objects yet, but will stare intently at them, almost reaching out with her eyes.

During this period your baby needs opportunities to work her back and neck muscles, as she becomes less flexed. If you place her on her tummy she will start to lift her head up from the surface and when held in a sitting position she may hold her head upright for a little while. When you pull your baby into a sitting position from lying on her back, she will start to hold her head in line with her body. By six weeks your baby will have uncurled a lot, have straighter hips and knees, and will be able to hold her head up for a few minutes.

Visual development - Your baby is working hard at developing her eye muscles. The muscles inside her eyes are responsible for her focus and clearness of vision. She will be practicing her focus at different distances. She loves mobiles with contrasting colours because they help her to maintain focus and work those muscles. The muscles surrounding her eyes are responsible for coordinating eye movements. This is essential if she wants to watch a moving object. Your baby enjoys patterns of any kind. She will watch people if they are in her line of vision and even turn her head towards them if she hears a sound.

Social awareness - Your baby recognizes your face and will stare intently at your facial features. If you stick out your tongue, she may copy you. If you smile, she will try desperately to copy it. Eventually the big milestone that makes all the hard work seem worthwhile will happen around the six-week mark: your baby will start smiling. Some babies start smiling with intention (not just for gas bubbles) even earlier than six weeks. Your baby loves language and responds to your voice. When you speak to her she will hold your gaze for longer and may even try to talk by making little throaty noises.

Regulation - At this stage your baby can just about maintain her body temperature and heart rate. She cannot regulate her sleep/wake cycles or state (calm-alert/active-alert, and so on) yet and that is why she fusses just before she falls asleep. One of your baby's key tasks at this age is to learn to remain calm when exposed to stimulation.

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Sensorial Branding - The Future of Brand Building

"People spend money when and where they feel good"
- Walt Disney

Most brands & products are now interchangeable. This sad statement emanates from one of the fathers of marketing, Philip Kotler.

For a brand to be identified, recognized and understood in its values is the core of every strategy, the nagging issue of every marketing manager.

However, in a competitive environment where the usage & functional value of a brand (a product or a service) can be easily copied or duplicated, what is left to stand out from the crowd? How can the customer's preference be triggered to ensure their loyalty? How can the tie that will closely link your brand to the consumer and put you ahead of the competition be built, retained or strengthened?

These are questions to which sensorial branding answers: use senses (and their impact on the consumers' perceptions) to enrich the brand experience and build up its uniqueness and personality, while ultimately paving the way to the consumers' affection, preference and loyalty.

Sensorial branding (and sensorial marketing) fills the gap left by traditional marketing theories when it comes to answering today's consumer mindset. This new kind of thinking finds its origins in the '90s, with the shift from the rational mindset that formerly prevailed in the consumer's decision-making process to the emotional and hedonist quest that now drives their desires and consumption acts.

In reaction to an increasingly virtual and pressurized industrial world, people have started seeking a way to reconnect to reality in their private sphere, for a pathway to re-enchant their world. The individual values of pleasure, well-being and hedonism rose along with a true new concept of consumption that exposed the limits of traditional marketing theories.

Consumption today is a form of "being". Just like any leisure activity, it becomes a place to express a piece of your personality, where you share common values with a small group of other individuals (a tribe). And maybe more than anything else, consumption acts must be analyzed as "felt" acts, as experiences capable of providing emotions, sensations and pleasure.

Purchasing acts are driven by this desire for sensational experiences that re-ignite senses and drive emotions. No matter how effective a product may be, it is its hedonist and emotional added-value, as well as the distinctive experience it offers, that lead consumers to buy it and ensure its loyalty.

What does it mean from a branding point of view?

First, it means that price and functionality are now taken for granted (or, in other words, not sufficiently differentiating). It is now the intangible, irrational and subjective attributes of the brand offering that are the new factors of success.

Second, it highlights the fact that sensations, new experiences and emotions must be part and parcel of the brand experience. It is through these 3 channels that the brand can create greater differentiation, influence consumer's preference and secure their affection.

In summary, focusing the brand strategy on rational arguments regarding its functional value is no longer sufficient to ensure success. What is clear is that empowered brands are the ones managing to deliver hedonist and emotional attributes throughout the brand experience. This is where brands can add meaning and, therefore, value and sense to products and services, transforming them from interchangeable commodities into powerful brands.

This is where sensorial branding is competent: exploring and unveiling how brands can connect with people in a more sensitive way, at this true level of senses and emotions. To put it more clearly, it focuses on exploring, expressing, and empowering the brand's hedonist and emotional potentials.

In this theory, sensations prevail because they are a direct link to consumers' affections. Senses are directly affected by the limbic part of the brain, the area responsible for emotion, pleasure and memory. In a way, it is no big surprise. This is all about going back to basics, to what actually appeals to a human being on an everyday basis. Sense is a vital part of our human experience. Almost our entire understanding and perception of the world is experienced through our senses. A growing number of research shows that the more senses your product appeals to, the greater the brand experience.

While communication & visual identity focus mainly on sight and sound, an accurate poly-sensorial identity integrating touch, smell (and taste when applicable), sends a more powerful emotional message to consumers, multiplying the connections or touch points through which the consumers can be attracted, convinced and touched by the brand. It enables and encourages consumers to "feel" and "experience" the brand (product or service) with their "emotional brain".

As Martin Lindstrom, author of best-selling book Brand Sense states, success lies in mastering a true sensory synergy between the brand and its message.

The first brand to intuitively implement the sensorial branding theory was Singapore Airlines. Like any other airline company, Singapore Airlines' communication and promotions primarily focused on cabin comfort, design, food and price. The breakthrough was made when they decided to incorporate the emotional experience of air travel. The brand platform they implemented aimed at one simple, but rather revolutionary, objective: to present Singapore Airlines as an entertainment company. From that moment onward, every detail of the Singapore Airlines travel experience was scrutinized and a new set of branding tools were implemented: from the finest silk and colours chosen for the staff uniform, to the make up of the flight attendants that had to match Singapore Airline's brand colour scheme; from the drastic selection of the flight attendants that had to be representative of the "Asian beauty archetype", to the way they should speak to passengers and serve food in the cabin. Everything had to convey smoothness and relaxation to transform the Singapore Airlines travel experience into a true sensorial journey. Right after turning the Singapore Airlines flight attendant into an iconic and emblematic figure of the brand (the famous "Singapore Girl"), they broke through the barriers of marketing again by introducing a new dimension to the brand: a signature scent. They specifically designed a signature scent, called Stefan Floridian Waters. This olfactory signature was used by the crew, blended into the hot towels served to passengers, and it soon permeated the entire fleet of planes. Described as smooth, exotic and feminine, it was the perfect reflection of the brand and achieved instant recognition of Singapore Airlines upon stepping into the aircraft. It soon became a unique and distinctive trademark of Singapore Airlines, capable of conveying a set of memories all linked to comfort, sophistication and sensuality.

Another example given by Martin Lindstrom is Rolls Royce. To recapture the feeling of older "rollers" and maintain the luxurious aura surrounding the brand, Rolls Royce analysed and recreated the unique smell made by materials like mahogany wood, leather and oil that permeated the interior of the 1965 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce. Now every Rolls Royce leaving the factory is equipped with a diffuser in the underside of the car's seat to convey this unique identity of the brand.

What we learn here is that only when all the sensory touch points between the brand and consumer are integrated, evaluated and leveraged can true enrichment of your brand identity be achieved. In the future, it can become the most cutting-edge tool to stand out from the crowd, boosting the brand experience and eventually influencing consumer loyalty.

Few brands today are truly integrating sensorial branding in their strategy, while forward thinking companies are already implementing it with success. Adding a sensorial dimension to the brand experience is surely about to become the next competitive asset.

In the future, brand building for marketers may lie in one simple question: what does my brand feel like?
To get more information about Sensorial Branding services, either in China or internationally you can come have a look at Labbrand website.

Vladimir Djurovic

Vladimir Djurovic is the founder and Managing Director of Labbrand, a Shanghai based innovative brand agency specialized in brand research, strategic and creative services. Labbrand website at: http://www.labbrand.com/ is also the portal to Labbrand branding blog: http://www.labbrand.com/brand-source which collects fresh ideas, trend analysis and reviews of branding related hot topics, with a special focus on China.

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Gifted Children - Do They Have Sensory Sensitivities?

Gifted children are a joy and wonder to watch as they effortlessly progress through many different facets of growth and development. Their intellectual capabilities are far beyond those of their peer age group. They possess outstanding abilities and are capable of performing at astonishingly higher levels of performance when compared to other children. Although there are many standardized tests of intelligence that help educators and professionals accurately identify gifted students, parents usually recognize their advanced development first.

It is very likely that most parents recognize that there is something unique and special about their gifted child during the first three years of life. Gifted children demonstrate extraordinary growth and development skills during this time. They accomplish and surpass expected milestones months or even years before other children their same age. Parents observe their children rapidly progressing through various stages of development and they are often described as "ahead of their age". Some of the signs of a gifted child include:

Many gifted children learn to read earlier than expected and can more easily understand what they read.
They learn basic skills more quickly and apply reasoning at an early age.
They are curious and ask more questions about "how" and "why".
Gifted children usually communicate well verbally with their parents, siblings, peers, and even strangers -- and they usually have an expanded vocabulary.
They appear to be very organized and efficient.
Gifted children enjoy a challenge and seek opportunities to grow developmentally and solve new problems.
They are able to understand abstract ideas, non-verbal communication, and other types of communication.
These are just some of the potential characteristics of gifted children. There are many more signs that indicate a child has a special talent and ability to learn, communicate, grow, and develop. Parents and teachers who recognize these signs will often give gifted children many more opportunities to learn and excel.
But recent studies also indicate that gifted children may suffer from sensory sensitivities more often than their non-gifted peers. Based on his research, W. Roedell, in his article published in Roeper Review, theorizes that the gifted child often has intense sensitivity. This means that gifted children may undergo more stress due to their inability to effectively process some of the sensory signals travelling through their bodies and to their brains.

To understand what this means, it is important to understand how sensory integration works. Sensory integration is the ability for people to process sensory data and information collected from the five senses and from the environment surrounding them. It is a neurological process that carries the stimuli to the brain where it is processed, organized, and evaluated for usable information or actions. When sensory integration is interrupted or does not function properly, it is like a mis-fire or mis-cue to the brain. Pieces or parts of information are missing and it is difficult for the brain to process the data. This can result in problems with daily living skills, academic progress, or social interactions.

While parents may be swelled with pride and adoration as they watch their young gifted child grow and develop - and justifiably so - they may overlook this important aspect of their child's development and behaviour. They may believe that their child has difficulty socializing with peers because "he is just smarter than they are" or "he needs more mature interactions". Unfortunately, the real problem may be that he may be experiencing sensory integration dysfunction and it is too difficult for the child to engage in social interactions, develop friendships, or enjoy activities with other children.

If a gifted child is affected by sensory integration challenges, it is possible that he or she may have more functional problems than other children. They could become more aggressive, impulsive, withdrawn, and introverted than other children. They do not experience the gratification and developmental processes associated with healthy social interactions because they do not participate in social activities as often.

So where does all of this information and data lead us when it comes to helping gifted children overcome sensory integration dysfunction, or teaching them to manage through some of the challenges associated with this issue?

Educators, therapists, and counselors must be keenly aware of this issue and must evaluate gifted children carefully to assess whether or not it is a problem. Utilizing this information when developing and observing children in classroom settings, activities, and social activities becomes vital to understanding any special needs of gifted children.

For example, although gifted children may be well above their peers in intellectual capacity and application, they may experience more sensitivity and have difficulty processing certain noises, sights, or sounds. They may find that bright fluorescent lighting creates a feeling of confusion or anxiety for the gifted child. Turning down the lights to accommodate the child may help. If the child is more sensitive to loud noises, then playing music at a lower volume or speaking in a softer tone may be beneficial. Parents and teachers both need to understand the sensory stimulus that affects a child and help the child learn to deal with the challenge. But they must also teach the child how to cope with the sensory sensitivities in various ways.

In "Sensory Sensitivities of Gifted Children", there is an indepth view and analysis into this topic. The theories and hypotheses that are addressed through various researchers indicates that gifted children may have different sensory modulations (or different ways of processing sensory stimuli) than those who are not gifted. W. Roedell theorizes that "gifted children's unique challenges and skills are likely embedded in a neurological system that perceives and responds to the environment differently from children of typical intelligence."

As parents, teachers, and professionals, we must learn to understand the gifted child better and evaluate whether or not sensory integration challenges are present. This also means that we must find tools and resources to help gifted children manage their sensory challenges so they can focus, concentrate, and become more socially engaged. Until now, many educators and professionals believed that sensory integration dysfunction was a problem associated with children who had ADHD, hyperactivity, or other disorders. This new research opens up a whole new world of possibilities to provide the gifted child with better guidance and resources related to the sensory processing.

Rather than assume a gifted child is just acting inappropriately in a social environment, or that the child has behavior problems, or even that the child just doesn't want to play with children his own age due to his higher intelligence level, parents and professionals should explore the tools, resources, and information that can better assess and uncover the real problem. A higher intellectual capacity is just one aspect of a gifted child's life and world. They excel above their peers in this area, but they may also experience psychosocial issues that deter them from engaging in vital and rewarding developmental social interactions with others.

Accessing information and tools to support the growth and development in all aspects of the gifted child's life is an important part of the educational and nurturing process. For further information on research or resources related to gifted children and sensory sensitivities, or sensory processing difficulties, refer to the full studies noted in this article.


Roedell, W. (1984). Vulnerabilities of highly gifted children. Roeper Review, 6, 127-130.

Miller, L., Anzalone, M., Lane, S., Cermak, S., & Osten, E. (2007). Concept evolution in sensory integration: A proposed nosology for diagnosis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 135-140.

Gere, D. R., Capps, S. C., Mitchell, D.W. & Grubbs, E. (2009) Sensory sensitivities of gifted children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 288-295.

Debbie Hopper, an accredited occupational therapist, has a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney. Debbie is passionate about her mission of researching, evaluating, and making the most valuable resources and tools easily accessible to parents, teachers, and therapists.

With post-graduate training in sensory integration assessment and intervention, Debbie brings significant focus to this area of growth and development through LifeSkills4Kids.com.au. Debbie's passion gives her a relentless drive and motivation to continually research new and innovative resources to help children learn and benefit from all life skills.

To sign up to our newsletter, visit us at http://www.lifeskills4kids.com.au

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2011年12月22日 星期四

How to Treat Sensory Processing Disorder

The body is designed in a way wherein the different sense organs work with the brain for the interpretation of the different senses so that we can exhibit the appropriate responses, both behavioral and motor. However, there are instances when the responses are not proper because of misinterpretation of the senses. This condition is called sensory processing disorder.

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) was formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction was first described by A. Jean Ayres, a neuroscientist who said that this disorder is similar to a 'traffic jam' that occurs in the neurons, wherein some parts of the brain are prevented from receiving the correct information so that sensory information are interpreted correctly. For someone who has SPD, what happens is that sensory information is perceived differently from that which is normal to other people. This will then result in behavior or responses that are unusual, which makes it hard to accomplish some tasks.

The exact causes of sensory processing disorder are not yet known, and are still subject to research studies. There have been results however saying that this is an inherited disorder, but there can also be environmental factors that can contribute to it. When this is not properly managed while a child is still young, it can result to several problems involving the child's emotional, education and social state. Because of the problems with the child's motor skills, he can become isolated from his peers, suffering from low self-esteem. There can also be poor self-concept and failure with academics. Those who are unaware of this disorder will be labeling the child as clumsy, disruptive or even uncooperative. When this gets worse, it will lead to depression, anger problems, anxiety and aggression.

The treatment of sensory processing disorder will warrant the services of an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will provide sensory integration therapy for the child, wherein sensory stimuli and experiences will be taught to the child. There will also be sensory diet, a therapy where the therapist will plan and schedule activities for the child to address the different needs of the nervous system. There will be different techniques that will be included in the therapy such as calming, alerting and organizing. The treatment for SPD can also include alternative therapies depending on what the doctor says. One of the common therapies is therapeutic body brushing which is ideal for children who are oversensitive to sensory experiences. This will help the SPD patient to learn how to adjust to certain sensory stimulations.

There is no definite cure for sensory processing disorder for the treatments that were mentioned will only help the affected person learn how to adapt and react properly to stimulations. If you are taking care of a child who is suffering from SPD, you have to be patient when dealing with him, since it is not just frustrating for you but it is more difficult to the child. It will take some time before the child can learn the appropriate responses so you will have to assist him and make sure that he learns properly. And of course, you will need to assist him with developing his mental, emotional and social skills.

For more information on Different Types of Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnoses, Please visit: Sensory Processing Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder.

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Living With Sensory Processing Disorder - A Family Affair

I. A child's view on how SPD effects family relationships

Living and coping with a disorder can often consume a child's world. For children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), this can be especially challenging as most children with SPD are seemingly "normal". Many people do not often realize that these normal-looking children could be plagued by such an emotionally, physically and socially taxing disorder. Emily Brout knows all too well how difficult it is to explain her disorder: "Sometimes it is really hard to explain what Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is to other people. It's very complicated and it's not even easy for me to understand! Many people don't know anything at all about SPD because there hasn't been a lot written about it or on T.V. So most people have no idea how SPD makes a person like me feel. In fact, there are many people who don't even think SPD is real! That makes me so mad! Why would anybody make this up?"

Having SPD makes family life and social time with friends tough on Emily. "SPD makes me feel like I'm being attacked by noises, smells, and lights every day. Smells can be really bad, and sometimes even make me throw up. It is very hard to sit in the cafeteria with my friends at school and try to hide the fact that I am gagging because of a smell. Noises are the worst for me. Quiet noises that repeat over and over make me really upset, and these noises are part of every day life. My sister and brother get mad at me because I yell at them for noises that they make. Sometimes, I get really sad and don't want to go anywhere. I also lose my temper and get really mad at people. I don't do this on purpose, but my friends and family don't always realize that. I just cannot help it. Every day I struggle to keep myself calm even though I feel scared, mad and upset on and off, all day."

Coping with a special need such as Sensory Processing Disorder can be equally frustrating to both the child and his or her family.

II. A parent's perspective on raising a child with SPD

Emily's mom, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Brout, can identify with trying to cope with raising a child who has a special need and maintaining her family dynamics. "A wise professor once told me 'Your primary goal is to not make things worse'. As I consulted psychologists and psychiatrists alike, I wondered if there were any clinicians who even understood what Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) was!" said Brout. "My daughter received Occupational Therapy to remediate her symptoms, yet her personality and our family dynamics had already been shaped by the disorder's complications." Dealing with this frustration and lack of help from mental health professionals who had no real treatment for her daughter, Brout often wondered, "was there anyone out there who would understand that I was not simply giving in to my daughter's 'manipulations' because I was a browbeaten mother lacking any savvy?"

Everyday life posed so many difficulties and heartache for Brout, as a parent who had to watch her child struggle with SPD. "Although her other senses were affected, extreme over-reactivity to certain sounds caused my otherwise sociable, empathic sweet-natured little girl to be unpredictably moody and explosive. During toddler hood and early childhood she threw tantrums that lasted for prolonged periods of time. She was extremely clingy, and often appeared sad. Background noises that most people didn't notice set her off into rages." Not being able to ease a child's suffering could leave any parent feeling helpless. Brout remembers one of those moments with Emily, "when she was six years old she looked at me and said 'When I hear bad noises I feel like I'm turning into the Incredible Hulk'. Then she asked intently, 'Mommy, can you fix my brain?' This moment defined the extent to which my daughter was suffering, and how negatively her self-image had been impacted by SPD. What little girl should envision herself as a huge, green, out of control mutant?"

What can a parent do? How can a parent mediate Sensory Processing Disorder within family life?

For parents coping with their child's SPD, Brout offers this advice, "it is helpful to remind yourself that with Occupational Therapy, sensory integration treatment, and as he or she gets older, your child will be able to implement greater control over his or her behavioral reactions to his or her physiological responses. In the meantime, however, regulation (calming the child so that he or she is not over stimulated and agitated) is the first priority." She goes on to suggest that in order to make this shift, "you must allow yourself to dismiss much of what you have been told about parenting, even by mental health professionals, because it does not apply to SPD children. For now, think of your child as one whose body over-reacts to sensory stimuli, and who is deficient in calming down." When faced with an agitated child whose behavior is effecting family life, Brout suggests using the three R's: Regulate, Reason and Reassure

Regulate: "Help your over-responsive child calm down by identifying the source of the sensory stimuli, and shift the focus from any resulting conflict. As a child develops greater language and cognitive skills this process becomes easier. However, even younger children with limited language skills can be regulated. Each child is unique which is why it is essential to consult with a professional."

Reason: "Once your child is calm, review the incident with him focusing on his thought processes. If he cannot identify the stimuli that triggered his actions, try to do it for him by making suggestions. For younger children, you will have to go through this process with relative simplicity and brevity. With enough consistency your child will understand your message, and will also learn that when he or she is over-stimulated, calming down is the first step! Remember, this process is not an over-night cure!"

Reassure: Remind yourself that your child does not like feeling out of control. Reassure him that over time he will gain control, and that you will help him. Let him know that you expect him to try as hard as he can, but protect his self-esteem and self-image by framing the problem as though it were 'a work in progress'. Repairing damaged self-esteem and poor self-image is much more difficult than reshaping a child's misconstrued ideas about the causes and consequences of behavior. No child should see himself as a huge out of control green mutant being that repels others!"

In regard to family dynamics, Dr. Brout states, "the SPD child feels victimized by the overwhelming sensory stimuli generated by family members. However, siblings are also likely to feel victimized having often been the object of the over-responsive child's mood swings and/or aggression. Therefore, it is important to let siblings know that they are not responsible for these problems and that you are doing everything you can to get help for your over-responsive child and for the family. Behavior is not only about actions and consequences. It is about interpersonal relationships and that is especially true in regard to SPD as it affects family functioning."


Jennifer Jo Brout, Ed.M., Psy.D. is a psychologist focused on Sensory Processing Disorders and their application to mental health. She earned an Ed.M. in School Psychology from Columbia University and a Psy.D in School/Clinical Child Psychology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Brout is currently involved with projects at the KID Foundation Research Institute, Duke University, and in association with audiologists and private clinicians throughout the country.

In 2006, Dr. Brout launched Positive Solutions of New York, LLC to support research in psychological conditions, developmental disorders, and learning difficulties related to sensory processing/regulatory disorders through various creative and public service projects.

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2011年12月21日 星期三

Autistic Journey Down Sensory Lane

Often we seem to get so caught up in the everyday caring for the basic needs of autistic children that we forget they like to just have fun. There are some wonderful activities and games that serve the purpose of providing therapeutic value, improving motor skills, developing sensory stimulation and encouraging social interaction. Playing selective games with autistic children can provide all of these important benefits, and at the same time add a happy outlook toward life. Parents gain a better understanding of their child's needs through these activities. This is not a scientific observation, but a personal insight into my experiences in Ryan's world. You see, Ryan has sensory integration dysfunction. I appreciate the value of the places we sought to take him in order to seek stimulation for his sensory system and encourage the development of social skills. Children with autism can play selective games that can provide all of these important benefits and at the same time add to a happy outlook for child and parent. Ryan's condition includes weak muscles and it gets a bit tricky to stimulate, but not over stimulate his sensory system to the point of being detrimental.

To the autistic child, and probably any child, SAND AND WATER are their best friends. Of course, the place that comes to mind right now is the beach. Don't forget the sun screen, a swimsuit, an umbrella, a small shovel, a pail and toys to bury and dig up. It's amazing what can be accomplished with these natural elements. In the back yard, fill a sand box half full of sand and add water until it forms little puddles and let them play in it. Look for a playground with deep sand around each of the slides, merry-go-rounds and springy rides. It's fun to burrow in the sand and enjoy the sensation. The therapist pointed out to us that it was good for him to get in the swing and have us twist the swing and let it go. The spinning motion was a wonderful experience for him. The merry-go-round gave him more of the spinning motion which he needed. Also another benefit of the merry-go-round was the pushing and pulling of a heavy object. The slide gave his skin a good brushing as he slid down it. Of course he would have to climb back up to the top in order to go down again ,which strengthened his muscles. The bouncing and rocking motion on the springy animals gave him another beneficial reward. The benefits just go on and on and the best part was that he was having fun. Later treats were enjoyed at the picnic table.

A different source for sensory therapy is a discount dollar store. We visited there on a regular basis. It is the type of store that encourages handling, touching and choosing. Sometimes we would spend two hours there. To teach Ryan the value of money and the ability to choose, I would give him a dollar. As we shopped, he could put anything that interested him into the basket but the rule was that he could only purchase one thing with the dollar I gave him. Since everything was a dollar, the only difficult thing was to learn to make choices. He soon began to think not only of himself, but he would think of things his sister would like to have.

Fast food places with playgrounds inside are perfect places for autistic children to go and play. The first time we took Ryan, he had just begun his year of therapy and was very cautious about going up so high. He did not like for his feet to leave the ground. However, he was brave and climbed to the very top and froze and could not come down. My husband had to climb through all that maze and bring him down. We thought he would never want to go back, however, we were wrong. The next visit he climbed all the way to the top and finally slid down the tunnel to the floor. He would repeat this many times. It gave him much needed confidence and provided sensory therapy. Observing the other children in action encouraged him to participate. Another benefit was totally unexpected. Ryan did not like to be touched by others. It was very threatening to him. Soon, during all the activity with the children he began to get accustomed to being touched and soon began to be more comfortable around others. A word of caution, close supervision is a must here, because some children may play a little rough. We always took time out to eat something and enjoy the social aspect of the trip.

Please feel free to visit my blog and watch the video on autism. http://aboutautismandmore.blogspot.com

Meredith is a retired small business owner and has enjoyed retirement for a few years. She recently came out of retirement to develop an on-line affiliate business to earn money for a special project to help restore old historical cemeteries that are in ruin. The Data Connection will provide the monetary funds needed for this worthy endeavor. On-line affiliate marketing fits right into her stay-at-home lifestyle. While she enjoys writing, the rest of the business will not come so easy. The article marketing concept is strongly emphasized in the approach she is taking. She believes strongly that this will result in establishing a business with a firm foundation. She invites you to visit her Blog at: http://aboutautismandmore.blogspot.com

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Innovate to Integrate

The ever-changing consumer market is giving the organizations enough reasons to modify their strategies towards their customers. In the present era, there are two things, which can drive the profit margin of a company, one is constant innovation and the other one is to serve the customers in a better way than the next best competitor. As the consumers observe a product through the peripheral route rather than the central route, so companies need to look for the motivational factors, like-

- Daily contemplation

- Daily transformation

- Daily Casteration and finally

- Sensory gratification

These emotional factors will only be achieved iff the organization encourages an innovative culture. Innovation brings about a movement from existing state to desired state in the consumers mind.

The logic behind performing market research survey is to gauge the market potential, understand customer tastes and preferences. Innovation comes only when the company wants to satiate the needs as well as provide more value additions. Integration all the value drivers is really a critical task and it requires lot of analysis of the inspirational instincts. The reference group factor plays crucial role in delivering the right kind of product to a right kind of consumer group. The several types of reference groups are-

- Primary and Secondary

- Aspirational and Dissociative

- Formal and Informal

Innovation for integration is a necessity when the company is either thriving or else it is trying to make its footsteps in the market playground. Hierarchical value mapping defines the various levels of value realization by consumers and how organizations can offer their customers to find out the hidden values in their products. The model determining value creations is as structured below:-

FIG:- Hierarchical Value Mapping Model

To decide on what process to innovate and integrate is a herculean task and many organizations can perform this task very effectively if they follow certain principles, like General Incongruency Adaptation Level Theory (GIAL), where it's stated that the innovation should not fall between two extreme stages, otherwise it would loose meaning. The innovation must not be too alien from the current product portfolio, because it will create too much of tension, excitement in the consumers. However, as a natural process customer always want to reduce the disturbances within their mind and while doing that they generally remove different brands from their evoked set of brand personalities.

The basis of product innovation is to create a different niche market for that specific category and target a particular segment group. Inspire, Innovate, Integrate - these should sum up an organization's vision, drawing inspiration from its in-built expertise, innovating through new technologies and their usages and integrate all of them to give the best and cost-effective solutions to every business problem.

Constant innovation to offer the best optimum services and solutions to the partners should be the correct strategy to play in this dynamic world. While developing on resolving to "Innovate and Integrate", the focus must be on creating an effective change management process to implement the solutions.

In comparing the degree to which corporations integrate sustainability innovation as business strategy to doing so through product and process design, four types of corporate actors are found: leaders, laggards, dabblers, braggers. Leaders integrate sustainability innovations into both business strategy and product and process design, while laggards do neither.

Those that have pushed social and environmental issues up the priority list in their product and process design, but have yet to strengthen integration in their business strategy might be considered to be 'dabbling' with sustainability. Conversely, strong integration into business strategy without sustainability manifesting itself in product and process design might suggest 'bragging' with little action.

There may be some barriers to sustainability innovation, including "a high degree of internal and external skepticism." It also makes recommendations for companies looking to integrate sustainability innovation.

Success is usually achieved by being selective: Rather than attempt to push Sustainability-Driven Innovation too hard, too far, too soon, it is better to focus on one or two nuggets of opportunity that look promising and demonstrate some tangible benefits," the report states. "Often, careful engagement of external stakeholders is a great way to identify these opportunities."

The main concept is to integrate every business unit under the same roof, to host in the same area the whole development chain from idea through production phases, all the way to products ready for market launch. By bringing all the actors closer together the hope is to shorten the time for developing new products, and make these available to consumers much faster than what is possible today.

Cooperation and transfer of knowledge between different actors is very important for a cluster. The best way to transfer knowledge is trough personal meetings, thus it is very important to have everyone gathered at the same place.

In the knowledge economy, the one sure source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge. In the theoretical field, interest in knowledge management has grown dramatically. In the business community, organizations are coming to regard knowledge-based intangible assets such as technological know-how and innovation as their most valuable and strategic resource, and they are also increasingly realizing that they must effectively and efficiently manage and cultivate their knowledge and competencies to maintain sustainable competitive advantage.

However, there is scarcity on knowledge strategy toward dynamically integrating technological innovation with knowledge management in academic and practical domain. Therefore, based on some theories such as technological innovation, strategic management, transaction cost economics, organizational learning and knowledge management, the framework of knowledge strategy and the model of knowledge-based communities of creation are evaluated.

The Business Architecture Integration, Innovation describes an approach and method for building an architecture of the business. It explains how to build and integrate the core cross-functional processes, sometimes called value streams, with all the architectures of the enterprise and the corporate strategy. It formally captures the intellectual capital in an "architectural type" blueprint or model of the business that is available for strategic and tactical analysis. Consequently, the business and IT teams can work in harmony with the insight gleaned from the Business Architecture to create higher profits, superior customer service and a competitive advantage for the enterprise.

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2011年12月20日 星期二

Can Your Child, With Sensory Issues, Learn to Tolerate Holiday Gatherings and Parties?

Does your child with sensory integration disorder avoid or become distressed at parties and gatherings? Whether it is a party, family gathering, or school social event, the stimulation that these situations provide can be much too unsettling for children with sensory issues. A child may actually go into what's called a panic response of "fight or flight," where his nervous system reacts as if he is in actual danger when what's really happening is that the noise, lights, and movement are so intense for him that they are triggering this primitive survival response. The sound of a group of several children singing in unison may make him feel to him as if someone is attacking his ears. He may perceive all the visual stimulation of colored lights, party decorations, and people milling about as an all-out assault on his nervous system. So how can you help a child with sensory issues to have fun without removing him from the situation completely? Accommodations and a plan for helping the child cope with the stress of special events are necessary.

First, help the child to understand exactly what will happen at the party or gathering and in what order. You might write a social story, that is, a simple story of what the child will experience from the beginning of the party to the end, with photographs or illustrations, to help her feel a sense of control over what will happen. You might simply talk to your child about the order of events and what she might do in stressful situations, such as if the music seems too loud or she is frightened by the large number of children moving about in the room.

When planning events, remember that children with sensory issues need a quiet, safe, low-stimulation environment to retreat to when they begin to feel their anxiety rising. If the child is becoming stressed out, accompany him to a quiet, dimly lit room nearby-a cloakroom, a bedroom, or even an unoccupied bathroom. Offer opportunities for comforting and focusing stimulation. Your child might need to sit and rock, listen to calming music on a personal music player, lie on a couch or sit in a chair as you gently press pillows against him, or lie on the floor as you roll an exercise ball over him or press pillows against him gently. Oral comforts such as a lollipop, chewing gum, or other chewable item may help the child regroup and, in time, return to the event. Earplugs can help reduce some of the noise, and activities that allow him to hyperfocus may make the "hoopla" less distressing to his nervous system. Calming activities can be done before, during, and afterwards, as needed. Then too, ask your child to help you identify what would make him feel more comfortable.

You might give your sensory child a pile of Legos or blocks, or allow her to play with a toy on her own off to the side of the main activity area, if that's what she needs in order to be a part of the group. Don't assume she doesn't like the other guests just because avoids participating in the activities the other kids are enjoying. She may be better off socializing in a more low-key atmosphere with a minimal number of children and a focused activity such as a craft project, a baking project, or a card game or board game. Frankly, she may not be ready yet to attend a party with all the cousins, or the kids at the day care center without frequent breaks. As she develops ways to accommodate her sensory issues and you and others work with her to develop her ability to tolerate stimulating environments, she'll be better able to handle a variety of sensory situations.

It may be that your child with sensory issues can't handle the activity at all and, for safety reasons, needs to be escorted home. Be prepared to "rescue" your sensory child at preschool, late at night at a slumber party, or during a family gathering. You might want to ask a close friend or a relative to be available to take her in or watch your other children should you realize your sensory child cannot handle the situation. If you talk to your sensory child beforehand and let her know what her coping strategies and options are, however, you may be able to ease her anxiety enough that she will push herself to tolerate the unusually high amount of stressful stimulation. Encourage her to let you know her limits and be as flexible as you can-or let it go this time and simply plan an alternative celebration she can handle.

Nancy Peske is an author and editor and the parent of a child who at age 2 was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and multiple developmental delays. Coauthor of the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, available from Penguin Books, Nancy offers information and support on her blog and website at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com and sends out a newsletter of practical tips available at http:www.sensorysmartnews.com Nancy has been active in the sensory processing disorder community since 2002.

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Sensori-Neural Hearing Loss - Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Sensori-neural hearing loss (SNHL) is a common disorder which is caused by a dysfunction of the components of the inner ear, which mainly include the cochlea and the auditory nerve. Impaired hearing may result from biochemical, metabolic, vascular, hematologic or endocrine causes. Hearing loss may also be genetically acquired, and may be associated with other abnormalities in the body.

The Ayurvedic treatment of SNHL is aimed at treating the known cause of the condition, and improving the structural and functional integrity of the inner ear and the central nervous system. Medicines like Saarivadi- Vati, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, and Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu are used for symptomatic treatment of the inner ear. Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Arogya-Vardhini, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Chandraprabha-Vati and Dashmoolarishta are used to treat the various causes of this condition. Herbal medicines like Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Pippali (Piper longum), Marich (Piper nigrum), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) and Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus) are also very useful for this purpose.

Medicines like Tapyadi-Loh, Ekangveer-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhvans-Ras, Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma, Kaishor-Guggulu and Sinhanaad-Guggulu are used to strengthen and improve the functioning of the auditory nerve and the central nervous system. Herbal medicines like Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are used to heal and regenerate damaged nerve-cells, thus improving nerve function.

Immunomodulatory medicines like Suvarna-Bhasma, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Abhrak-Bhasma, Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), and Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) are used to reduce the deleterious effects of stress and to boost the immune status of the body. This helps in early improvement in SNHL, and prevents further deterioration of this condition.

It is also important to take into consideration other associated abnormalities in the body. In such situations, the treatment is aimed at healing the body tissues. More commonly, medicines which act on the "Rakta", "Mansa" and "Meda" dhatus (tissues) are used. These medicines include Patol (Trichosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Triphala (Three Fruits), Draksha (Vitis vinifera) and Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica). Correction of abnormalities in the body tissues indirectly helps in improvement in hearing by reducing the dysfunction of the inner ear.

Patients affected with SNHL often present with no obvious cause for the condition, or may give a confusing history. A typical case history will adequately drive home this point. A thirty-six year old female came for treatment of SNHL of both ears, with more hearing deficit of the left ear. She reported that this problem started after coming back from her native place, where she had an episode of influenza, and had also received a minor injury on the left side of her face, to which she attributed her symptoms. She was treated for her hearing deficit, keeping these obvious causes in mind. However, when she did not report any benefit even after 6 weeks of treatment, a more detailed history was taken, with direct questioning for any other possible causes for her condition. She then reported that she had worked for some time with a construction company, where a large amount of drilling work was in progress. Unable to withstand the noise, she had left the job in two weeks. She was then given different treatment in the light of this new knowledge and she recovered completely with four months of treatment.

Surgery, hearing aids, and speech and language therapy are the currently accepted interventions in the management of SNHL. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can be used as an alternative or supportive therapeutic modality to give better, quicker, or additional benefits to individuals affected with SNHL.

Dr. A. A. Mundewadi is Chief Ayurvedic Physician at Mundewadi Ayurvedic Clinic based at Thane, Maharashtra, India. He is available as an online Ayurvedic Consultant at http://www.ayurvedaphysician.com. The online clinic offers Ayurvedic treatment for all chronic and refractory health problems. Dr. A. A. Mundewadi uses high quality herbal extracts in tablet form, which are easy to take, effective and safe for long-term use. Dr. A. A. Mundewadi, B.A.M.S., has clinical experience of 25 years and clinical research experience of 12 years. He has conducted extensive research in HIV infection, Schizophrenia and many other chronic diseases.

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2011年12月19日 星期一

Functional Organization of the Central Nervous System III - The Sensory System

The sensations can be broadly divided into:

1. Superficial sensation (touch, pain and temperature)

2. Deep sensation (deep pain, pressure, sens of position, sense of movement, joint sensation and vibration); and

3. Cortical sensations (tactile localization, tactile discrimination and stereognosis).

At the periphery, there are receptors to appreciate different sensory modalities.

I. Touch receptors- Meissner's corpuscles, Merckel's discs and free nerve endings.

II. Pressure- Pacinian corpuscles

III. Heat- Ruffini's Corpuscles

IV. Cold- Krause's end bulbs

V. Pain- Free nerve endings.

The modern view is that the specificity of these receptors may not be absolute. The same receptor may be subserving different sensations under different conditions. When the receptors are stimulated, afferent impulses pass in the dendrites of the first sensory neuron into the spinal cord. This afferent neuron is situated in the posterior root ganglion. The axons of this cell pass through the posterior root into the spinal cord and ascend up as the sensory tracts. Fibers subserving different sensations take different paths.

Fibers subserving proprioception, vibration and a portion of touch column (colum of Goll and Burdach) to reach the lower part of the medulla, where they synapse with the cells in the gracile and cuneate nuclei. Lateral fibers of the posterior column carry sensation from the upper limbs whereas the medial fibers carry sensation from the lower limbs. From here the second order neurons corss the mid-line in the medulla and Pons and pass up in the medial lemniscus to reach the main sensory nucleus of the thalamus.

Fibers subserving the remaining part of touch, pain, heat and cold synapse with the cells in the posterior horn of the spinal cord soon after entry. The second order neurons arising from these cross to the opposite side at different levels (pain and temperature fibers more obliquely one or two segments above) and pass up on the other side as the anterior spinothalamic tract (touch) and lateral spinothalamic tract (pain and temperature). In the lateral spinothalamic tract fibers from the lower limbs are placed laterally and fibers from the upper limbs are medial. Some fibers do nto cross and they pass up the ipsilaterla spinothalamic tracts. In the brainstem, the spinothalamic tracts pass up lateral to the medial lemniscus to reach the thalamus. Third order neurons arise from the thalamus. Third order neurons arise from the thalamus and fibers which maintain their functional specificity pass up through the internal capsule to be relayed to the sensory area of the ortex int he postcentral gyrus.

In the sensory cortex, the body image is arranged similar to that in the motor area from above downwards. From the postecentral gyrus fibers are projected to other cortical areas. In the pareital lobe, the sensory information derived from superficial and deep sensations is integrated to give the impression of size, shape, texture, weight and pattern of the objects (stereognosis). The mental picture of the body (body image) is obtained by integration of the sensory information with information obtained from the special senses. This function of "body image" is mainly carried out by the nondominant parietal lobe. The corresponding portion of the dominant hemisphere carries out the function of receptive and interpretative components of speech. This part of the parietal lobe has connection with the ipsilateral motor cortex. This arrangement helps in producing patterns of movements in the lips, tongue, fingers, and respiratory muscles which form motor symbols to represent speech (gesture speech).

The thalamus appreciate crude (protopathic) sensation and pain. The fine sensations (epicritic) are appreciated in the cortex. Among the afferent impulses reaching the CNS, most do not reach consciousness. Some subseve spinal reflexes. These afferent fibers make contact either directly or through interneurosn with the spinal motor nuclei. Other fibers which carry muscle and joint sensations end in the base of the posterior horn of the spinal cord and synapse with the second order of neurons. These neurons form tracts which ascend up on the anterior and posterior spinocerebella tracts to reach the cerebellar cortex of the same side. Most of the fibers ascend on the same side but some fibers of tis tract cross to the opposite side to ascend in the anterior spinocerebellar tracts. These tracts carry propioceptive impulses which enable the cerebellum to coordinate activity.

Some other sensory fibres which do not bring sensation to consciousness and collateral branches of the main spinothalamic pathways and of the special sensory paths join the upper part of the reticular formation in the midbrain. In the reticular formation, there is an intercommunicating system of short neurons which also receive fibers from ost parts of the cerebral cortex. This system is important for maintaining consciousness.

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Book Reviews For "Raising a Sensory Smart Child"

Book Review for "Raising a Sensory Smart Child"

Written by: Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske

Penguin Books

ISBN: 014-303488

399 pages


5 Stars

Biel and Peske share their personal stories dealing with Sensory Integration Dysfunction in order to help other parents cope with sensory integration issues. SI Dysfunction is separate from autism, but often presents with autism and autistic spectrum disorders. In SI Dysfunction, a young child receives sensory input correctly, but misinterprets the information. The most likely cause is a neurological condition, but the authors spend a chapter discussing reasons why SI Dysfunction would present, including genetics, head trauma during birth, and fragile X syndrome.

Biel and Peske explain there are seven senses a young child uses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, vestibular, and proprioception. Vestibular involves one's sense of balance and proprioception involves the compacting/expanding of joints. Without careful integration, a young child might seem a little off and in a child's young development, they might present with speech and developmental delays. When SI Dysfunction presents by itself, a young child will usually make all their physical milestones on time, like sitting and walking, but when it comes time to start to use utensils and start talking, they'll demonstrate delays.

Biel and Penske explain that children with SI Dysfunction have hypo or hyper sensitive symptoms. Hyper means they tend to avoid an activity and hypo means they seek out behaviors to calm themselves down. A hyperactive sensitivity to touch might have a child pulling the tags off his shirt because he can't stand the way it feels against his skin. A hypoactive sensitivity to proprioception might have a child jumping up and down to feel the compression of her joints.

Biel and Penske's explanations are easy to understand and help give the reader a sense of what the dysfunction is, how it's caused, and what to look for in your child.

The book also discusses intervention options and how to best help those children with SI Dysfunction. An occupational therapist plays a crucial role in helping parents and children manage their sensory seeking or avoiding behaviors. Most children with SI Dysfunction can lead productive lives. There is also a list of resources and tips on how to create a sensory diet. A sensory diet is used to manage a child with sensory issues.

Biel and Penske write in a conversational style that's easy to read and understand. The book is full of knowledge for parents who have children with sensory issues. The writing is crisp and sharp. The book is well organized. "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" is a good read to learn more about SI Dysfunction.

StephB likes to read many books and a variety of different genres. StephB is an author at Writing.com which is a site for Creative Writing.

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2011年12月18日 星期日

Learning to Live with Sensory Processing Disorder Successfully

I've spent thousands of dollars on Occupational therapy for my son who has had Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. I believe in Occupational Therapy and who knows where we'd be if we didn't have the OT. But I've found how to integrate it into our life, and save us some money.

My son loved OT and I know the many benefits that he received from it. But it didn't come without a struggle. Each session was $60 per half hour, or $120 an hour. I loved seeing him thrash around in the mats, swinging on the swings or spinning, running and jumping. I knew that he was getting mental benefits as well as physical and we continued the work at home by doing jumping on the trampoline, wheel barrels and crab crawls. But the money I was spending without being reimbursed started to cut into other things I wanted to do for my son. For instance, I wanted to get him allergy testing, but that $1300 for the test was something I'd have to save for, so we cut out OT.

I've made hundreds of little changes in our lifestyle over the past year and a half since I became somewhat educated about my child's needs. It truly has been a series of trying something and seeing if it worked, and trying another to see if that worked. Some days, it seems we have moved forward several steps, but then we can take several steps backwards in one day, or one giant, dramatic episode.

Here are a few things I've learned about my son. I need complete structure in the house and with his routine. He gets up at a certain time, eats, bathes and does story time every day and every night. We have to plan far in advance to do something out of the ordinary, and the whole house has to be set up to accommodate that. That means, if we have cub scouts or basketball practice, then the house has to be clean before he gets home and I will focus 100% of my time on him before he goes. If we have a play date, the date wraps up at exactly 5PM so I can get home and get dinner on the table by 6:15 and have him in the tub by 7PM. His bedtime is strictly 8:30 and there is no negotiating.

I've learned that I have to spend more time with him in the afternoon. I get all of my work and chores done during the day around my work, so when he gets home, I play with him and part of that play is his OT. He jumps on the trampoline, we box, wrestle, go hunting for treasures in the yard or go for a walk. The afternoon routine always consists of homework and exercise.

I have learned that TV and play dates with other kids are rewards. For good behavior, he can watch a cartoon. He does not get to plop down in front of the TV whenever he wants or turn on the computer. He has to do his home work and gets to play with friends if he has good and we usually plan these play dates. We do this so there is not much stimulation and there isn't a lot of chance where he can get over stimulated.

All throughout the morning and day and evening, I rub Jeremy's muscles. I scratch his back and affectionately massage his legs, arms or feet. In the bathtub I scrub him with a washcloth and he always makes sure that I get under his armpits! That wash cloth takes the place of the OT brush and the massage he gets throughout the day must help too. He doesn't seem to complain about it because I tell him we want to warm up his muscles and keep him in shape.

I have asked Jeremy to help me get in shape so we do push ups together, crab crawls and bear crawls. We race each other and we compete. In the evenings or in the mornings, I have my husband wrestle with Jeremy or have Jeremy try to push my husband over by pushing his hands against my husbands' hands. This helps with the upper body strength and is similar to wall push ups. The wrestling is good for his body as well and acts like the mats in therapy.

Bath time used to be the worst time of the day. Getting him in and out of the tub was a literal nightmare. I dreaded it for the hour before bath time. Now, I give him choices. He can stay in the tub for the whole time or he can get out and watch 15 minutes of TV. He has choices to make and it doesn't matter to me which choice he makes, it is up to him. He usually gets out the tub to watch a few minutes of TV. I have stopped screaming for him to get out of the tub. I simply give him a choice of two things: tub or TV. If he chooses to stay up for longer than he is supposed to, then he loses a play date with friends the next day. If he gets in bed on time, then he gets a special reward and I'll make a special play date for him the next day if I'm able.

We've experimented with no dairy, magnet therapy, supplements and tae kwan do. We've done allergy testing, toxin testing and are hoping to do Mind mapping in the near future. My goal is to get him off of any type of ADHD medication. We'll keep doing different therapies until we've found the magic potion of what works for him. We regularly read healing scriptures and the Psalms in the Bible.

We are on a journey together and I'm definitely not "there" but I have learned a few things along the way. I've learned that my child needs me to keep him comfortable and needs me to structure his life. I've learned that yelling isn't the answer and that building up his body is a process but it's one that is worth the effort. I've learned that putting him first above everything else has worked for me. My career is on hold. Marketing is on hold. Moving ahead with dream projects are on hold. Jeremy has my complete and full attention at the moment.

I've never worked so hard in my life. I don't even eat sugar or drink alcohol much anymore because it might affect my mood and I just don't have time to slow down. I do many of my workouts at home with hand weights, pushups and lunges because I know I need to be strong for this journey.

My son has made me into a better person. His challenges that he had early on due to a premature delivery has made us all work harder in our life. But I see a remarkable person developing right in front of me. He's smart about nutrition and exercise. He understands the value of hard work. He sees that when he eats well and exercises that people comment positively on his body. He has such in depth knowledge of historical bible characters from the cartoons, that he often shares pearls of wisdom with me from the leaders of the Bible. He understands that everyone is a little bit the same like that we all have skin, eyes and hair, and that we're all a little different, in our attitudes, beliefs and actions.

I feel honored to have a child that has had challenges in life out of the gates. He changed my attitude of entitlement to one of hard work and commitment and devotion. I would never give up the last several years of incredible struggle and learning that we've gone through. Now I know what it takes for him to have a good day. It takes muscle work, good food to feed his body, reading to him, being with him and loving him.

Sensory Processing Disorder is a situation that can cause families to be in crisis and have chaos. When the kids are whiney and uncomfortable and mom and dad aren't sleeping, the whole family life is turned upside down. There is hope though, and I hope one day I'll be able to say that all of my discoveries are things that worked over the long haul, but for right now, they seem to, and I'm going to continue to integrate our OT, healthy eating and nurturing of my son into our daily routine.

After all, I've never met another person who I thought was more worth it... than my son.

Mary Gardner, Author of "The Insiders Guide to Professional and Motivational Speaking" , is an executive Communications Consultant and Coach. She is president of Lifestyles Communications, Inc. which helps individuals communicate in the new global and virtual world. Her website is http://www.marygardner.com Sign up for a free report on Sales Tips for the Non Sales Professional at http://www.marygardner.com

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