2012年5月31日 星期四

Understanding the Links Between ADD/ADHD and Sensory Integration Disorder

Many frustrated parents are unaware of the similarities and the links between ADD/ADHD and Sensory Integration Disorder. In fact, many people have not yet heard of it. Sensory Integration Disorder is basically a condition whereby the brain is unable to fully utilize the information gathered through the senses in an effective, organized way.

Children with sensory integration disorder (SI) may have difficulty finding the right balance to react to information received. Sufferers tend to react in extremes to things such as touch, smells, sounds and tastes that other people take in their stride as part of their daily life.

A child with this condition will display extreme and anti-social behavior as the senses are experienced. The behavior could involve extreme emotional outbursts, crying, tantrums and more. Parents' first instinct is to assume that the child is trying to get attention through this behavior when in fact it is sensory integration disorder.

Kids with ADD/ADHD and SI disorder will display a number of other symptoms. Kids with hearing sensitivities will hear noises that other people do not hear, such as people chewing or breathing or other background noises.

Children with touch sensitivities will be indifferent to temperatures or pain. They will refuse to wear clothes made of certain fabrics or wear long sleeves even in summer to avoid skin showing. They may also avoid physical contact with other people. They are also likely to avoid grooming and any activities that involve touching their faces, hair or teeth. Kids with ADD/ADHD and SI may have very low or very high activity levels, spin things around and taking things apart.

The brain is unable to process and interpret information that is entering properly, which causes them to be unable to form a proper impression from the combined information of all the senses. Parents are likely to view the child's reaction as misbehavior, but the child suffering from ADD/ADHD and sensory integration disorder is probably very fearful and confused.

Lizette has extensive experience in creating home education tools and resources that are available freely from [http://www.twinstaracademy.com/]

She also has a lot of experience in dealing with an ADHD child, thanks to her 9-year old daughter. However, she has found benefit from Minerals for ADHD

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Alternative For ADHD - Discover the Truth About Sensory Integration Therapy and ADHD

Probably the most famous treatment for persons with ADHD is pharmacotherapy. Why is that, you may ask. Well, that is because when children, let us say your child is diagnosed with a condition, the first professional that you may think can help you are doctors. Yes, that is correct; they can help you. However, you should know that the help they can provide you is limited. They may know a lot about ADHD but the treatment approach that they are trained to perform is limited into prescription of medicines. However, they know the right persons who can attend more to your child's problem that is why there are things like referrals.

Now, let us first have an overview of ADHD. It is a neurobiologic disorder that has three hallmark features; that is inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Now, here comes the tricky part. Most of you may think that these symptoms are purely behavioral, but you are wrong. There is actually what professionals call the sensory integration dysfunction. Now, what exactly is sensory integration? It is the ability to process, organize and synthesize sensory information that a person may receive from the body and/or the environment. Most of the time, it is the children with Autism that usually have sensory integration dysfunctions. However, there have been cases of children with ADHD who also have Sensory integration (SI) problems. These SI problems may manifest either the child will withdraw or seek a particular sensation. In your child with ADHD, his or her hyperactivity may actually be a sign that your child is seeking a particular sensation. Therefore, treatment approaches like behavior therapy would not work in your child, thus the Sensory Integration Therapy. This is an alternative for ADHD treatment which makes use of sensations and will manage your child's behavior through giving your child the amount of sensation that your child is seeking. After this has been achieved, there will be an immediate and significant change in the behavior of the child. Your child may be more attentive in the tasks assigned to him or her. Although there are studies proving its effectiveness, for some, these studies are still insufficient. Therefore, there still are debates regarding this intervention approach. However, these are still used in clinics but those who perform it do it carefully.

This information only means that there are still a lot to learn about ADHD and that the problems that your child may have may not be what you expect. So if your child is not responding to a treatment approach, this may mean that this is not your child needs, and so you may study more about the condition and ask question to expand your knowledge.

Puneet writes a blog about ADHD and helps ADHD sufferers to find new treatments in naturopathy and alternative medicine. If you are looking for a well-researched herbal remedy for ADHD, you may read more

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Autism Sensory Integration - How Do Sensory Diets Fit In?

One of the best solutions to some of the problems children with Autism experience is sensory integration techniques. Some children with Autism are so uncomfortable that occasional techniques are of little use.

Many people think that the children are really in pain. I do not know about you but if I am in pain it is almost impossible for me to learn anything.

One of the solutions is what is called a sensory diet. Basically a sensory diet is a plan to do a set variety of techniques. They are also done on a schedule.

A good sensory diet needs to be developed with the help of an occupational therapist or physical therapist. The therapist needs to be one with experience working with sensory diets and children with Autism.

There is no one set of techniques that will make up all people's diet. Just the same way typical children respond to many different techniques, the child with Autism will.

Some people will need pressure point therapy. Some will need massage. Others might need scented markers. Children with Autism might get brushed or any combination of these techniques and others.

The occupational therapist or physical therapist will set up the variety of techniques and the timing. They will also train the family on the different techniques so they can be done the same way across settings and people. Having someone with specific training is important to finding a system that will help.

A parent's challenge will be to get all the people involved in their child's life to do the sensory diet. In addition we will still want to use various techniques when dealing with a meltdown or behavior issues.

Would you like more free information? Please register here: http://autismonabudget.blogspot.com/2009/12/free-information.html

Mylinda Elliott is the parent of five children. The third of the five has Autism which was diagnosed early on. The fourth of the five children has Aspergers. She is a self taught expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mylinda Elliott has also worked professionally in the disability world for the past fifteen years. She is considered the "Go To" woman for advice or resources on disabilities.

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2012年5月30日 星期三

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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SID - Sensory Integration Disorder and Neurofeedback

Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) was discovered by Jean Ayres, Ph.D. about 40 years ago. Symptoms of SID in children are often misinterpreted as psychological problems or just plain bad behavior.

Higher cognitive functions including things such as learning and behavior depend upon having normal sensory integration.

As a psychologist, I am sad to say that when I was in graduate school, (1982 - 1987) that this disorder wasn't talked about much. At this time I am often involved with families who have a child with Sensory Integration Disorder.

Imagine, if you will, that for each of your 5 senses, there is a wire of a different color that leads the information form that particular sense, into your brain. For example, for the information that comes in from your eyes, or your visual senses, you might imagine a red wire; and blue one for hearing (auditory), etc.

Now, assuming that your brain was able to notice what color of "wire" the information was coming from, and knew that the red "wire" was information from your eyes, and blue was from your ears, it would be a fairly straightforward process for keeping things figured out. Someone with SID, however, doesn't experience it quite like this.

When someone is dealing with SID, their brain is getting mixed signals. At times, the red "wire "might be visual information; at other times, it might be the blue "wire" that is shuttling the visual data. Then, there may be times when the red "wire" is carrying both visual and auditory information. Can you see how this might be very confusing for the brain to interpret?

This sounds like a rather complex challenge, does it not? One could argue that it is, I suppose, but I've never been one for building a "case" for difficulty. Instead, I prefer to gather evidence for possibility.

In short, when neurofeedback is helpful for those with SID, it's as though neurofeedback is able to teach the brain to start recognizing the "wires" accurately and stop acting "color blind" when it comes to incoming sensory information. And, why shouldn't everyone's brain learn to clearly interpret sensory information?

Want to know more about the amazing world of Neurofeedback? Click on this link to go to http://www.NeurofeedbackBook.com Dr. Clare Albright is a psychologist and the author of a 168 page book, "Neurofeedback: Transforming Your Life with Brain Biofeedback" and can be reached at (949) 454-0996 http://www.NeurofeedbackBook.com. The pdf version of the book can be downloaded for only $7.99!

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2012年5月29日 星期二

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 not 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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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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Do You See, Hear, Feel, and Smell Too Much? Could it Be Sensory Processing Disorder?

The senses take in sensory information, but the brain does not process them correctly. A person who is ultra-sensitive to environmental input (see, smell, hear, taste, touch, movement, balance, body position) can feel overloaded, anxious, tense, or scared. A feeling of the "fight or flight" response can set in.

The SPD Foundation writes on their website,

"Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly."

Both children and adults can have SPD. Today, it is primarily children who are treated by an occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration therapy. More adults are learning about SPD and recognizing that they may have had this their entire lives and have adapted in ways that can both help or hinder their lives.

Here are ways that an adult with Sensory Processing Disorder can adapt:

Avoiding situations such as a state fair or amusement parks
At family gatherings, wandering off to a quiet place for a while to rest from the sensory input
Doing balancing exercises
Taking Tae Kwon Do to improve body position awareness
Closing windows in the summer when the neighbors are using leaf blowers
Muting commercials and looking away from the fast-moving images
Wearing clothes that are soft
Cutting labels out of clothing
At meetings, sitting at the head of the conference table so the sound and movement is coming from one direction
Doing grocery shopping and other errands only early in the morning when the stores are quiet
Never shopping on Black Friday
Going to sensory integration therapy
Seeking inputs such as scented candles or perfume
Listening to music in surround sound or with headphones

This list is only a few of the adaptation or avoidance techniques that a child or adult may do because each person reacts differently.

Eileen Parker is the creator of the Cozy Calm weighted blanket. She has autism and sensory processing disorder so she knows first-hand how her weighted blanket gives her a happy and restful sleep. Find her weighted blankets at http://www.CozyCalm.com Read her blog at http://www.EileenParker.com

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2012年5月28日 星期一

Bean Bag Chairs for Autism Sensory Integration Therapy

Beanbag chairs have been a casual alternative for comfortable, stylish seating since the 1960s. They come in different sizes and colors, and sometimes different shapes, too, so that they mold themselves to whatever shape you sit in for maximum comfort. For many years, furniture manufacturers made bean bag chairs with small polystyrene beads, but because they posed a choking hazard for young children, manufacturers now make bean bag chairs with shredded polyurethane, the same material that lines car cushions. As a result, bean bag chairs are more comfortable than ever, and with a growing array of fabrics and materials for colors, they've experienced something of a resurgence as a viable choice for informal interior decor. However, bag chairs aren't just stylish and comfortable. Many therapists use them in different ways to help people on the autism spectrum cope with sensory processing issues.

Many individuals affected by autism have neurological issues that affect their ability to process and organize sensory information. They may experience delays in acknowledging what they see, hear or feel, or they may feel sensory input more or less intensely than neurotypical people. This can be very unsettling, and may trigger upset, restlessness and even anxiety in an autistic person. Bean bags are a safe, gentle way to help a person with autism organize their sensory input and have a greater awareness of their bodies in their immediate surroundings. Many physical therapists use beanbag chairs as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for sensory integration issues in autistic kids.

As seating, beanbag chairs provide immediate sensory feedback to the child about every subtle shift in his movements. The child can feel the countless small pieces of shredded polyurethane adjusting beneath the chair's cover. This can also help a child learn more about his body's responses and how to better monitor what feels comfortable to him and what doesn't. Learning to pay attention to his body's sensory cues is an important part of helping a child cope with sensory processing issues. Children can easily take bean bag chairs with them in a therapy session, if a session of therapeutic services require the child to move from room to room.

Many kids on the autism spectrum who also struggle with sensory processing difficulties benefit from deep sensory pressure massage and feeling weighted objects around their torsos. Bean bag chairs are an inexpensive option for providing this purpose. Placing a child on a beanbag, and then placing a second bean bag over the child's torso is a safe method to provide some weighted pressure evenly distributed across the torso. Many autistic kids find this extremely relaxing and comforting.

Bean bag chairs are a safe, gentle option for physical therapy that must involve gentle weight-lifting to improve coordination and muscle tone, both common problems for young children on the spectrum. Children can lift the chairs easily with little coordination necessary, and a dropped bean bag chair, unlike a traditional weight set, won't cause any injury or damage.

With the many features and benefits of bean chairs, buying one which provides the comfort and affordability necessary to meet your needs is crucial. Comfy Sacks has bean bags in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Instead of being filled with beans, they are filled with a proprietary blend of shredded polyurethane foam. This guarantees that it will be soft, and durable for years to come.

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Autism Symptoms in Children - Sensory Issues

What are some of the most common autism symptoms in children? Sensory issues. What are sensory issues? Sensory issues are when your child has all his senses turned to high. In other words, he is overly sensitive to noise, smells, lights, crowds, touch, and so on.

How does this autism symptom in children present itself? A child with autism who is sensitive to noise may scream in a crowd, cover his ears, or generally look agitated. He may not be able to concentrate in the classroom because of all the noise. He may get especially agitated at unexpected noises, such as fire alarms, fire trucks, sirens, and so on. The noise from a coffee grinder may even be enough to cause a meltdown (yelling and screaming.)

How to Minimize the Effect of These Autism Symptoms in Children

In these situations, you might try to only bring your child with autism to environments that will be reasonably quiet...when possible...and prepare him for the noise when this is not. iPods or earplugs, or both, can work wonders in this situation to minimize the effects of these autism symptoms.

Shopping Can Be Difficult

Sensitivity to crowds, bright lights or other visual information will become all too apparent when you try to shop in your local supermarket. Most children with autism have an awfully hard time with grocery stores. There is too much activity going on around them and it is hard for them to process it all. People chattering every which way, the noise of shopping carts squeaking, music and announcements over the PA system - these issues all trigger autism symptoms in children

Colors and shapes and so much visual information to take in can be over stimulating. Smells from the meat or fish departments, of perfume on others, or from cleaning materials can cause adverse reactions in some children with autism. If you have to bring your child to a grocery store, try to have something to distract them so that they don't get as overwhelmed.

Identifying these Autism Symptoms in Children

What are some other ways that you can tell if your child has sensory issues, which could be a symptom of autism? A lot of kids with autism have trouble with touch. They won't wear tight, restricting clothes, or clothes that are at all itchy. A lot of times they complain that the fabric just doesn't feel right. They often will need loose cotton clothes to be able to tolerate wearing clothes at all. If you find something that works, you should buy many different colors, because it may be hard to repeat in the future.

Avoidance of Physical Contact is one of the Common Autism Symptoms in Children

Many kids with autism will resist hugs and touching other people. They stiffen and avoid touch of any kind. Their skin is hypersensitive to what it encounters. Often, they will avoid getting dirty or playing outside because they don't like the feel of the dirt and ground on them. Many hate the beach because of the feel of the sand. Sensory integration therapy can help with this.

Sensory issues can be key autism symptoms in children to look out for, so you should take note if you notice any of the above.

Hopefully, with early identification and early treatment, life can be a little easier for those with autism and the people who love them. For additional tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life visit the AmericanAutismSociety.org. There you can sign up for their FREE newsletter with tips and info on autism.

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2012年5月27日 星期日

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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Autism Sensory Integration - Parents Need Quick Tools to Reduce Sensory Overload

Many times there are quick fixes to sensory overload for people with Autism. Quick fixes are little things that can be done or little tools that we can carry in a purse or car. Because little things can build up and turn into a melt down it is so much easier to deal with issues while they are little.

One of the things my children used to complain about was the tags in their clothes. When I had little understanding of Autism I thought my child needed to just get over it. Then that and other things would lead to overload. Now I know to take care of the tags early on.

Of course thank goodness for the brands that have gone to stamps instead of tags. It takes a little more effort to find those brands for the adult woman with Autism but is well worth the effort. One little tool that proved invaluable was a set of ear plugs. The inexpensive ones worked the majority of the time. The idea was to muffle the noise. I carried those in my bag and my car for years.

We also had a relatively inexpensive head phone. The ones you see specifically for children with Autism are usually very expensive. Parents can pick up one of these head phones at a sporting goods store. People who shoot guns use them. Although they are cheaper they are of a quality equal to the disability specific head phone.

My child did not tolerate them on her head very well. Although these headphones were kept in the car we only used them when there was big noise that we could not escape. She was a little more cooperative then.

Would you like more free information? Please register here: http://autismonabudget.blogspot.com/2009/12/free-information.html

Mylinda Elliott is the parent of five children. The third of the five has Autism which was diagnosed early on. The fourth of the five children has Aspergers. She is a self taught expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mylinda Elliott has also worked professionally in the disability world for the past fifteen years. She is considered the "Go To" woman for advice or resources on disabilities.

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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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2012年5月26日 星期六

Diagnosing Autism and the Differences With Sensory Integration Disorder

When it comes to diagnosing autism, there are many different factors that need to be considered. This is because the autism spectrum disorders have such a vast range of potential symptoms and no two cases are alike. Therefore, it is very easy to mistake autism for another condition. Among the most common mistakes when diagnosing autism is not understanding the difference between being on the spectrum, and sensory integration disorder.

This leads to the question of whether autism spectrum disorder and sensory integration disorder (also known as sensory processing disorder) are the same condition, or at the very least if they are related. Does one exclude the other? To begin, they are considered to be completely separate disorders, but to further understand them, Dr. Lucy Jane Miller performed a study "Quantitative psychophysiologic evaluation of Sensory Processing in children with autistic spectrum disorders", involving 40 high functioning autism or Aspergers Syndrome children who were tested for sensory integration disorder.

Dr Miller's results showed 78 percent of the participating children also displayed notable signs of sensory integration disorder. While, 22 percent of the participants did not show signs. However, a secondary study by the same researchers, "Relations among subtypes of Sensory Modulation Dysfunction" looked into children diagnosed with sensory integration disorder and tested them to see how many also had autism. Within that experiment, zero percent of the participants had autism. The reason that this is interesting is that while children with autism can exist without having sensory integration disorder, the majority show signs of the condition. On the other hand, there is no inclination toward autism in children who have only sensory integration disorder.

Children with both disorders demonstrate challenges with high-level tasks that involve the integration of different areas of the brain. This can include emotional regulation as well as complex sensory functions. However, the key to diagnosing autism as opposed to sensory integration disorder usually lies in the fact that autistic children experience greater problems in the areas of language, empathy, and social skills. Sensory integration disorder children do not experience the same connective breakdowns for controlling emotional empathy and social interaction.

In both disorders, children experience difficulties in tasks that require their brains to make long-distance connections, for example, between the frontal lobes (which coordinate the activities of the brain) and with the cerebellum (which regulates the perceptions and responses within the brain).

If you think that your child may have one or both of these disorders, it is important to speak to your child's pediatrician for autism diagnosing or identification of sensory integration disorder on its own or in combination with autism. If autism or autism alongside sensory integration disorder is the diagnosis, then you will be able to begin talking about the possible treatments available. These treatments can include various medications as well as alternative therapies and may overlap in terms of addressing aspects of both conditions simultaneously. For example many children with autism benefit from sensory integration therapies that also work well for children with sensory integration disorder.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans' brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out how to go about diagnosing autism and for information on autism characteristics please visit The Essential Guide To Autism.

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Sensory Loss in Older Adults - Vision - Behavioral Approaches For Caregivers

As we age, our sensory systems gradually lose their sharpness. Because our brain requires a minimal amount of input to remain alert and functioning, sensory loss for older adults puts them at risk for sensory deprivation. Severe sensory impairments, such as in vision or hearing, may result in behavior similar to dementia and psychosis, such as increased disorientation and confusion. Added restrictions, such as confinement to bed or a Geri-chair, increases this risk. With nothing to show the passage of time, or changes in the environment, the sensory deprived person may resort to repetitive problem behaviors (calling out, chanting, rhythmic pounding/rocking) as an attempt to reduce the sense of deprivation and to create internal stimulation/sensations.

This article is the first in a series of three articles that discuss the prominent sensory changes that accompany aging, and considers the necessary behavioral adjustments or accommodations that should be made by professional, paraprofessional, and family caregivers who interact with older adults. Though the medical conditions are not reviewed in depth, the purpose of this article is to introduce many of the behavioral health insights, principles, and approaches that should influence our caregiving roles. This article addresses age-related visual changes.


A. The changes in vision that accompany aging include:

1. A loss of elasticity of the lens; this means the person is no longer able to focus or accommodate to changes in lighting conditions. (Starting in our 40's, glasses are needed to see fine print). It also means the older person cannot adjust to sudden changes in lighting, resulting in an uneasiness when leaving a bright room to enter a dark hallway, or finding seats in the dark in recreation rooms, or theater. Going in the reverse direction can be equally difficult: from a dark room to a bright area.

2. Decreased pupil size; the light reaching the retina is reduced, requiring more light to see. This results in the need for lighting 3x to 4x what younger people need to see clearly

3. A loss of transparency; with age, there is a yellowing of the lens in the eyes, making color discrimination more difficult, especially blue and green. Warmer colors, such as reds and yellows are perceived best, explaining why bright colors are preferred.

4. More susceptibility to glare, and longer time is needed to recover from the effects of glare;

5. Eye diseases and disorders, such as cataracts causing a clouding of the lens; glaucoma, resulting from increased pressure of fluids in the eye, damaging the optic nerve and impairing vision. Glaucoma, the number one cause of blindness in U.S., in advanced stages results in yellow halos around images. Macular degeneration may occur, where vision is distorted, and images appear different sizes or different shapes, and are missing a central element. Visual disorders may be secondary to stroke, in which the eye can see the image but the brain cannot interpret the images. Diabetes may result in disrupted blood flow to the retina, causing diabetic retinopathy and a loss of vision, and blindness, in extreme cases.

B. What are the effects of visual loss on the older adult?

1. An increased dependency on others;

2. A sharply reduced quality of life (changes in activities in daily living and instrumental activities of daily living, reduced connection with outside world);

3. And, a fearfulness and reduced tendency to venture outside.

C. What are the effects of vision changes on demented elderly?

1. With the losses in visual acuity, other problems in cognitive functioning are heightened, such as difficulty processing unfamiliar faces and settings;

2. Because the person with dementia already has difficulty learning new behaviors, he or she is less able to learn new habits to compensate for the visual losses (e.g., learning to use visual aids to identify articles of clothing or other possessions;

3. There is likely to be an increased disorientation and confusion, as the search for structure and external cues is strained.


The following principles apply to caregiving approaches with older adults who have diminished sensory function. Increased sensitivity and insight to the needs of these individuals improves their quality of life and improves our effectiveness:

1. Observe the behavior of the person, and look for cues and signs of pain or discomfort;

2. Help the person work through the emotional impact of the sensory changes, allowing expression, acceptance, and support of the grief and sadness accompanying these losses;

3. Do not try to fix the unpleasantness; acceptance and support goes a longer way toward healing than a quick fix or a patronizing attitude;

4. Reduce excess disability by maximizing whatever functioning is still left, such as proper eyeglass prescriptions, or functioning hearing aids;

5. Consider assistive devices (phone amplifiers, large text books, headphones, and the Braille Institute for a variety of useful visual aids).

Approaches for impairments in vision:

1. Address the person before you touch him or her, identify yourself, let him or her know when you are leaving, speak normally, and do not shout;

2. Describe his or her surroundings to help orient and familiarize the person to the environment, tell him or her location of belongings, and if things have been moved;

3. Use as much contrast as possible, e.g., red objects on white background is better than black on a gray background, or blue on green background, (consider switch plates on walls, toothbrushes, combs);

4. Avoid moving quickly from a bright room to a darkened room, or v.v. Make sure the visually-impaired person takes the time for the pupils to adapt to the changes in lighting;

5. Introduce yourself every time you come into contact with the person, and explain what you are going to do because there are no visual cues;

6. Help to identify others in their environment with colored clothing, name tags with large print, etc.

7. Clean eyeglasses regularly, provide adequate lighting, and avoid glare;

8. Provide night lights, and arrange furnishings in the environment for safety and ease of mobility.

Even with normal aging, functioning of our five senses is not like it was when we were younger adults. This article offers caregivers who work with visually-impaired older adults some insights into the special needs and adjustments that will turn unpleasant, frustrating situations into more caring, helpful, and sensitive interactions. By integrating these behavioral approaches in the delivery of the health care with older adults, we can favorably impact the management of these conditions.

Copyright 2008 Concept Healthcare, LLC

Joseph M. Casciani, PhD, is a geropsychologist who has devoted his professional career to working with older adults and their caregivers. His company, Concept Healthcare, http://www.cohealth.org, offers online resources to integrate behavioral health approaches in the health care of older adults.

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Helping the Child Who Has Sensory Processing Issues

There's something up with a child you know. He's clumsy, picky, always on the move, or flopped in a chair like a wet noodle. He's impulsive, intense, and quirky. Maybe he has a learning disability, ADHD, or autism, or maybe not, but his behavior and responses to everyday sensations are puzzling. Why does he withdraw or act out? Why are transitions so difficult? Can he really hear the fluorescent lights that he claims are distracting him?

It's very likely that this child you're concerned about has sensory processing disorder, also known as SPD or sensory integration dysfunction. An estimated 1 in 20 children and almost all children with autism have SPD.

The nervous system of a child with sensory processing disorder is wired atypically, causing her body to process everyday sensations differently. Unable to rely on her senses to give her an accurate picture of what is going on in her body and her world, she is prone to anxiety, distractibility, impulsivity, and frustration. A child with SPD will tune out or act out when overstimulated. The need for sensory input such as movement and touch can be so overpowering that the child truly can't control her need to seek it out. An everyday sound or sensation may be experienced as so intense that it sets off a primitive fear response, also known as a fight-or-flight response. Many of us have difficulty tuning out background noise, or prefer clothes that fit a certain way. These are sensory preferences. When a child's sensory issues interfere significantly with learning and playing, he needs the help of an occupational therapist and a sensory smart adult who can teach him how to feel more comfortable in his body and environment.

Fortunately, many of the accommodations that can make a huge difference in the life of a child who has sensory issues are simple and inexpensive. Here are just a few:

Cut out clothing tags, turn socks inside out or buy seamless ones, and avoid clothing with embroidery and elastic that will touch the skin and create distracting, irritating sensations.
To tolerate the intense sensation of having his teeth brushed, the child with SPD may need to use nonfoaming toothpaste and have his mouth and lips desensitized by using a vibrating toothbrush or even just gently pressing a hand-held vibrator against his cheek, jaws, and lips before attempting to brush.
To calm and focus a child with sensory issues, you can try applying deep pressure against the skin as you compress her joints. Hugging, or pressing pillows against her body or rolling her up in a blanket to play "burrito" are often enjoyable ways for a child to get input. Always pay close attention to what a child is telling you, in words or body language, about her response to sensory input. Do not upset her with unwanted touch.
In school or at home, allow him to sit on an exercise ball or an inflatable cushion, with a smooth or bumpy surface. This will meet the movement needs of a child who just has to be able to squirm and help the child with poor body awareness to better sense where his body is when he's seated. When these needs for movement and body awareness are met, the sensory child will focus better on listening, eating, or doing schoolwork.
Provide a quiet retreat when she's overwhelmed by the sensory onslaught of everyday life. Whether she sits alone with you in a car outside of a party or restaurant, or in a quiet, darkened room, listening to relaxing music on a personal music player with headphones, a sensory break can do wonders for a child's ability to tolerate her environment.

A pediatric occupational therapist who is both trained and experienced in helping children with sensory issues can work with parents and teachers to plan and carry out activities for the child that can help him or her function better at home, at school, and away. She can also help problem solve and discover accommodations that will ease the child's discomfort, and set up a "sensory diet" of activities that will help him. Whether working on a consultation basis, in a sensory gym nearby, at home or at school, the right sensory smart OT can make a huge difference for a child with sensory processing disorder.

copyright (c) 2012 Nancy Peske

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. She is coauthor of the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues. You can learn more about sensory issues at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com

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2012年5月25日 星期五

Autism Sensory Integration - Why Does a Child With Autism Need Physical Therapy?

There are many reasons a child with Autism may need physical therapy. Physical therapy helps develop strength, develop balance, possibly provides sensory integration, and for many children is just plain fun. Physical therapists have well defined goals for the work they do with a child though.

Children with Autism are sometimes tight, sometimes floppy, and sometimes a combination of the two. Most parents see this in their child's trunk or core of their body. It later is evident in their arms and legs but we see it first in their body.

A babies body strengthens from the inside or core to the limbs. It is a similar process for a child with Autism to develop strength in the right areas. It is also a similar pattern to develop flexibility if that is part of the problem

Physical therapists work with large muscles. They can uniquely work with a child with a disability to help develop flexibility or strength. Physical therapists can manipulate your child's body. They also can help parents problem solve situations at home or in other environments parents go with their child.

Some of our children with Autism walk on their tip toes and could work with a physical therapist on this issue. Other children have problems with balance when they walk and somewhere someone will suggest physical therapy. The physical therapist can work with our children on going up and down stairs.

Usually an occupational therapist is the person to go to for help with sensory integration. Occasionally a physical therapist is interested in sensory integration issues and will provide a unique perspective. When looking for this type of therapy for a child with any disability you have to ask for sensory integration specifically. There are some teams that work on sensory integration that include physical therapists.

As parents it is just easier when our child likes to go to therapy. Some children with Autism are sensitive to touch and the therapist will have to work out those issues first. After that our children seem to like it though.

My child would also come out of the session tired. They had worked and played hard. Physical therapists may also give you 'homework' to do with your child between sessions.

Since parents want to see their child use skills over a variety of settings it is always a good idea to at least try the homework. Siblings and grandparents were always a good source of hands to try some of this homework.

Would you like more free information? Please register here:

Mylinda Elliott is the parent of five children. The third of the five has Autism which was diagnosed early on. The fourth of the five children has Aspergers. She is a self taught expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mylinda Elliott has also worked professionally in the disability world for the past fifteen years. She is considered the "Go To" woman for advice or resources on disabilities.

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Bean Bag Chairs Used As Sensory Integration Products

For children with sensory processing disorders, bean bag chairs can be a lifesaver. Most sensory integration products are designed to help children better process sensory information and let them enjoy life safely. Bean chairs are a great sensory integration product that gives children with sensory processing disorders the sensory input they need without costing a lot of money.

These chairs work as sensory integration products by providing a child with the sensory input they need to stay calm. Instead of sitting on a typical hard chair, they can be enveloped by a soft bean bag chair that provides deep pressure sensory input over the whole body. This supportive pressure helps keep the child calm while they do relaxing tasks like reading or watching television. Children can even curl up and nap on beanbag chairs because this deep pressure input is relaxing to them. But these chairs aren't just useful for relaxing children with sensory processing disorders. They can also be used in activities.

Some children with sensory processing disorders need to run and crash into things to provide stimulation. Bean bag chairs are perfect for this because they are soft enough to crash into without hurting the child while still providing the sensory input the child craves. Many children also enjoy being squished by soft materials. Parents or caregivers can place a bean bag on the child's back and apply gentle pressure to give the deep sensory input the child needs. Caregivers can also turn this activity into a game where the child pretends to be a turtle with the bag chair on his or her back. Because of the deep pressure sensory input they provide, bag chairs are perfect for children with sensory processing disorders.

Think that bean bag chairs are right for your child's sensory processing disorders, or want to see some large bean bags? Then check out the beanbags at ComfySacks.com

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2012年5月24日 星期四

A Personal Overview of Sensory Integration Dysfunction

My young son, Joseph, was born in September 2006. I was delighted to know he'd be joining our family, but we needed to have an emergency C-section. I had been pushing for two hours and he was starting to show signs of distress. He was born at 2:11 am, nice and pink with a "Harry Potter" scar on his forehead that went away after a few days. Unfortunately, what might have occurred during his birth was some neurological damage which left him with Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

I didn't notice something was wrong until Joe was about eighteen months. He met all his physical milestones - in fact, he made them earlier than my first son. At eighteen months though, Joe wasn't talking. He didn't seem to know "Mommy" or "Daddy." He threw toys for no reason, as if he needed to throw them. He also covered his ears with his hands often, which we didn't understand. He hardly got sick or had ear infections. We knew he wasn't autistic, but we also knew something wasn't quite right. Our pediatrician recommended us to our Regional Center, in charge of Early Childhood Intervention. (Every state should have an Early Childhood Intervention Program.) Joseph was evaluated with severe cognitive and speech delays. He was twenty-months-old at the time of the evaluation, but presented with the cognitive skills of an eight-month-old. My husband and I were stunned. Joe began receiving child development, speech, and occupational therapies. At twenty-seven months, he began group therapy.

After six months, Joe had closed some rather daunting developmental gaps. A re-evaluation at twenty-nine months showed him at twenty-two months cognitively. Still, we had no idea what was the cause. Joe's occupational therapist review had the clues we needed to determine what he had - Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Known as SID or DSI, (so as not to confuse it with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS) Sensory Integration Dysfunction is where the brain perceives sensory input normally, but misinterprets the information. This misinterpretation leaves the child in a hypo or hyper-active state. Hypoactive is an under stimulation to sensory input and hyperactive is an over stimulation to sensory input. In Joe's case, he's more hypo than hyper-active.

There are multiple causes for DSI, and in fact, it often presents with autism, but it can also present by itself. In my son's case, it was presenting with cognitive and speech delays.

Joe's occupational therapist report documented several sensory seeking behaviors. (As opposed to sensory avoiding/hyper-active behaviors.) He loved to jump, spin, and swing over the norm that children with no sensory issues do. He had a high tolerance for pain and had a high activity level. Joe is also easily distracted by other things. I did a Google search on sensory seeking behaviors and it led me right to Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

To my surprise, I discovered there are seven senses - yes, seven! Hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, we all know, but there is also the vestibular sense and proprioception sense. The vestibular sense refers to the sense of balance and gravity. Without that sense, we'd be clumsy or awkward in our movements. Proprioception refers to the impacting/compacting of joints. Signs that your child might be sensory seeking in these areas are running, jumping, spinning more than normal (vestibular) and throwing toys just for the sensation of the impacting/compacting of the joints. (proprioception) This was Joe to a "tee."

Other signs of DSI include covering one's hands over their ears, (something Joe used to do a lot, but now rarely does. It was his one sign of sensory avoiding, hyper-active behavior) unusually high or low activity, and very picky eating. (In Joe's case, he needs crunchy, chewy foods to help provide the stimulation he needs to get the proprioception sensation of the jaw's joints impacting and compacting.) More signs involve tip-toe walking (because their feet are highly sensitive to touch), hand flapping (for the proprioception effect) speech delays, cognitive delays, poor balance, unusually high or low tolerance for pain, acting impulsively, and an unusually high or low activity level. There are many other symptoms which you can research online. There's also a wealth of information on the Internet regarding DSI and there are several well written books on the subject alone.

An occupational therapist is essential in helping the family with a DSI child. They can help identify DSI behaviors and establish a "sensory diet" for a family to use when their child shows signs of sensory seeking or avoiding behaviors. In fact, A. Jean Ayers, an occupational therapist, was the one to identify the dysfunction.

DSI is a dysfunction, not a disease. It can't be cured, but managed. Though early childhood services, my son is thriving and we're managing his DSI now. It's still an adventure for us, but recognizing DSI symptoms early will help your child get the services he or she needs.

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

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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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Autism Sensory Integration - Where Do Parents Start?

Unfortunately in this day and age there are still people who do not see Sensory Integration as a treatment therapy for children with Autism. Unfortunately many people do not see it as a therapy in its own right.

It is a therapy so intense that is can be puzzling and daunting to people. It is also a therapy so simple with gains that are so important and significant. Whether working with a child who is over sensitive or under sensitive there is help to be had.

The first thing for a parent to think about when considering Sensory Integration is being able to suspend their thoughts and feelings. They have to be able to do that to acquire the empathy of thought and feeling needed to figure out what to do to help their child.

If a child is screaming because they are over sensitive to their environment they will not be able to learn. If a child is so under stimulated that they can not work up the energy to engage they will not be able to learn.

Parents can help a child with Autism that has these characteristics. There are several areas associated with Sensory Integration. These areas are oral, tactile, aural, visual, and proprioceptive. Another way to say this is mouthing, touching, hearing, seeing, and being able to tell where your body is in relation to people and things.

Early consistent speech therapy is critical to a child with Autism. Some children with and without Autism may not need speech therapy or as much speech therapy if they get it early. The same theory works with Sensory Integration.

Early consistent Sensory Integration in all areas may help a child to the extent is may not be needed or needed to that level later. It is not voodoo or magic. It is a consistent application of techniques that work.

Would you like more free information? Please register here: http://autismonabudget.blogspot.com/2009/12/free-information.html

Mylinda Elliott is the parent of five children. The third of the five has Autism which was diagnosed early on. The fourth of the five children has Aspergers. She is a self taught expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mylinda Elliott has also worked professionally in the disability world for the past fifteen years. She is considered the "Go To" woman for advice or resources on disabilities.

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