2012年7月23日 星期一

Stereotype in Autism and Reality

This article is based on strong theoretical, logical and professional foundation of the Author. Autism has been a special area of concern for many since Dr. Leo Kanner a Psychiatrist at John's Hopkins University, who wrote the first paper using the term "Autism" in 1943 referring a group of Children who exhibited similar kinds of symptoms related to social, communication and behavioural problems.

Basically the term Autism has been referred to a person exhibiting problems in social abilities and communication. Most of the professionals agree that Autism is a life long developmental disabilities resulting due to gross neurological disorder which affects the functioning of the brain. Prevalence of Autism is said to be one in every 500 people and male female ratio is 4:1. In due course of time based upon the group of symptom exhibited by the children it has been grouped into four types;

1) Aspergers syndrome

2) Rett disorder

3) Heller syndrome

4) Pervasive developmental disorder.

The types of Autism are not based on Etiology but on symptomatology. However there are several theories and hypothesis to explain the cause of Autism such as i) Genetics ii) Viral infection iii) Toxins. Other causes have also been explained to be the caused of Autism such as metabolic disorder etc.

Autism is called as spectrum disorder and necessarily it should occur during early childhood. Spectrum refers to a group of characteristics exhibited in the child and the diagnosis of Autism is based upon these characteristics. However the basic criteria is predominately social factors and communication skills i.e. impaired language development. Apart from these other features such as repetitive behaviour, impaired imitation, lack of eye contact, insistence of sameness, absence of social play, lack of social rule, abnormal response to sensori stimulation, impaired ability to perform special skill et.

The treatment or therapy of Autism is directed towards eliminating the symptoms through planned and structured activities by the therapist. Therapy of Autism is always a team work of Speech and Language Pathologist, Special Educators, Occupational Therapist and Psychologist primarily and other experts such as Physician, neurologists etc.

Whenever a therapy is planned on the basis of symptoms rather than the Etiology it is liable to be less effective and may not give desired out come.

My personal experiences of 32 years and theoretical foundation have given me insight about the Autism in a different way. I have encountered with almost 500 cases with Autism and concluded the most acceptable theory of sensory disintegration with a logical explanation and conclusion.

The theory is based on the cognitive factors derived from the sensory organ of the child. God has gifted us with sensory organs to acquire knowledge on the basis of experiences received from them and develop cognition and act through our motor organs on the basis of our knowledge and cognition.

100% of persons with Autism have difficulty in integrating the sensory input i.e. one sensory organ does not talk to other for gaining experience and knowledge which must happen otherwise. There is a disparity in Etiology and explanation about the symptoms. At one end it is said that Autism is basically a disorder of socialization and communication whereas on the other end it is said that family which is the primary units of society is not responsible for Autism. I do not disagree to the hypotheses which are still waiting to be proved for determination of Etiology. I have experienced no. of incidence of Autism which has increased many fold for the last 20 years. Autism is not an epidemic which is caused by virus or toxin neither the Gene of so many people got defective to have so many children with Autism. A logical interpretation is required before we do something for such kind of disorders, specially labeling them with a problem stating that this is life long problem. Therefore through this article I would like to convey the massage to all concerned that we should not victimize such children for our problems. When we probe into the problem of incidence of Autism there is higher tilt of percentage in families with conflict, or nuclear and both working parents.

Such children are born with intact sensory-motor abilities which requires constant training and integration. Parents now a days are very excited and anxious about their new born baby but not at their personal cost. Sacrifice of family and parents is a must for normal rearing and development of a child. Parents have gone towards the modern way of living in terms of reducing the amount and kind of care and attention required. For example Prams and Aya's have replaced the mother and grannies hands for pseudo status and undisturbed sleep of parents and family members. Grandma's stories have been replaced by cartoon films and video games. mud and soil have been replaced by Johnson Baby Powder and Olive oil, teddy bears and toys have replaced the siblings, cousin and neighbour's children. There are many such examples. These were the traditional methods for training the child for sensory training and sensory-motor co-ordinations. Such training leads to knowledge, cognition social development and performance.

Autism can be concurred by reintroduction of age old methods of parenting and socialization. All the therapeutics and training should focus on independent stimulation of sensory in puts along with coordinating one sensory stimuli to other. Labeling the child creates disappointment and disgrace to parents and family. Therefore focus should be on the aspects of the symptoms through systematic planning according to the natural and traditional child rearing system based on theoretical foundation.

Dr. Manoj Kumar
Former Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities
URl: http://www.jminstitute.in

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What the Year Might Hold For Our Young People

January was the time for resolutions and predictions for the upcoming year. So, I gave it a try, but instead of peering into a crystal ball, I worked from some intriguing scientific research as it relates to young people.

Mark J. Penn wrote a book published in 2007 titled: "micro trends: the small forces behind tomorrow's big changes." Using polling data, Penn looks for micro trends that are bubbling in our society which might become very influential in the near future. He looked at 82 groups that are starting to exert an influence on our society, basically groups with at least one percent of the population that might be increasing to become more influential. I picked out those surprising trends he discussed that relate to young people. This might indicate some characteristics we might be seeing more in the future.

Old New Dads: Fathers are becoming increasing older at the birth of their children, with "the proportion of dads over 40 skyrocketing." This will mean that any gathering of parents will become more multi-generational and any generational gap between children and their parents will be even more extreme, at least so far as the difference in age between father and child.

Pampering Parents: Parents have come to believe that while they are strict with their children, most other parents are too permissive. The author concludes that on a strict/permissive scale the whole society has moved drastically to the permissive side and is more "child-centered." Unless there is a reversal of this trend, this suggests children's rights will only increase, with parents blaming "other" parents for not being strict enough.

The Mildly Disordered: The percentage of children with diagnosed disorders is skyrocketing, the author seeing this as partly being driven by affluent parents wanting proof as to why their child is under-performing. A child who 25 years ago might have been seen and treated as "irritable" is now likely to be diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. One result will be an increasing number of children who feel they need outside, and perhaps professional and medication, help in order to be "normal." If this trend expands, we will see in the future a decreasing sense of personal independence and responsibility, and an increasing sense of group dependence and responsibility.

High School Moguls: We have talked of the tendency to extend childhood during the last century. During the twentieth century, a child's opportunities to work and make money had been limited to paper routes, baby sitting, lawn care and other low paying, low responsibility jobs. However, largely through the Internet, this is all changing with many teens and even pre-teens creating very successful businesses online. The author estimates about 8 percent of all teens, about 1.6 million young people in the US, were making money on the internet. Contrary to mainstream trends of children remaining dependent for long years, there is this contrary trend of young entrepreneurs coming onto the scene that could change childhood back to where children again have the opportunity to realize their potential as did young people before the 20th century.

Aspiring Snipers: Starting in 2006, polls indicated a small but increasing number of young people with career aspirations to be a sniper/sharpshooter. The author speculates that this might be a beginning trend of respect for the military and law enforcement. It also could be an indication of the desirability to achieve the kind of self control, discipline and patience that is required of a sniper, as opposed to simple bravery in the face of the enemy. He also speculates that it might be a result of interest in shooter video games. If the impulse is to take out the bad guys and develop considerable self-control, then this well might be a good thing if it continues to build.

Vegan Children: The author has data indicating that about 1.5 million children ages 8-18 are vegetarians, something almost unheard of 50 years earlier. He sees this as a beginning trend of children taking on more responsibility for what they eat, with an emphasis on eating more vegetables and less meat. This could well be a trend consistent with greater environmental concerns, and if this trend continues to grow, the changes in our society, and eating habits, and food production could be profound and far reaching.

Social Geeks: As of 2007, technology was changing from something for introverts to something for extroverts. Where technology used to appeal to the brilliant social losers, it is now appealing more to those socially oriented. The computer savvy nerd seems to be disappearing. The Social Media of today is the obvious result of this trend becoming mainstream even since this book was written. All indications are that this will just continue to become even more mainstream.

Video Game Grown-ups: The image of video game players being teens is firmly locked in our consciousness. However, every year the average age of video gamers is increasing-much faster than just the count of years would indicate. The author points out that the average age of gamers was 24 in 2002, but the average age had become 33 by 2006. In just four years, the average age had increased by 9 years. Video gaming will not be just a passing phase for teens, but something they will grow with through the years. It already is being adapted by businesses and the military for training purposes and it seems likely all of us will have to learn at least some basic facility with video gaming.

America's Home Schooled: In just 30 years, home-schooling has gone from illegal in most US jurisdictions to where it is very common and rapidly growing for many different reasons. Homeschooling is not only growing in numbers of students, but it is also expanding to include online courses or degrees, as well as college courses and degrees. It seems to have the potential to totally revise the foundations of our education system as school districts and colleges learn how to adapt to the ability of parents and students to create their own approach to education.

So where does this leave us? Many of the trends are counter to each other, and while some are expanding, others might just be passing fads. However, looking at poll research for the answers gives us more grounded food for thought than just pure speculation.

Lon Woodbury, MA, IECA, CEP, is the owner/founder of Woodbury Reports Inc. and http://www.strugglingteens.com. He has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984 and is the Host of Parent Choices for Struggling Teens at http://www.latalkradio.com/Lon.php on LATalkRadio, Mondays at 12:00 Noon, Pacific Time. He has worked as an Independent Educational Consultant to help parents of teens making poor decisions select a private, parent choice program that would help return the family to normalcy. Through interviews with parents, communication with professionals who know your child well, and then thoroughly researching viable options, we can help parents make the right choices that will help your child get back on the right path. For more information about Woodbury Reports Inc., call 208-267-5550.

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How We Can Lose Direct Control of Our Emotional Process

You have total control of your emotional process up to the point you start trying to take total control of your emotional process.

You may want to read that again.

This paradox is difficult to see by the tired mind of someone who has been at war with their own emotional system for a prolonged period of time.

Have you ever lived or worked with someone who had a desperate need to prove they were what they already were? It can be exhausting.

The moment you see your own emotional energies as a problem is the moment your unconscious mind starts the internal battle of freezing those energies inside your body to prevent the 'bad stuff' from leaking out.

We do this 'freezing' by using the built in organic electrical resistance system - the reticular system - to hold back the electrical signals coming up from the body (starting with the Reticular Formation in your brain stem).

In order to directly control your emotions you must first understand you cannot directly control them. You can delay them - but you should do this in the knowledge the only thing you can control directly is the process by which you manage their appropriate release later. Once an emotional response is produced in the body you have no choice but to find a way to release it or it will make you sick. Let me say that again: the only aspect of the emotional process you have any control over is that of appropriate release.

It is one of those areas in life where doing the opposite of what you think you should do is what gets you where you want to be.

The 'Loss of Control' Tipping Point

There is a tipping point at which the management of an emotional response shifts from being consciously and deliberately managed, by the thinking brain, to being an automated reaction driven by the emotional brain. In the case of someone suffering with an obsession or a phobia this kind of reaction occurs whether you want it to or not and before you can consciously interrupt it.

This tipping point is reached when the management of the emotional signals entering the brain shifts from what is known as the 'long processing route' to the 'short processing route'.

The 'long route' involves incoming sensory signals being sent upwards into the upper thinking brain for processing. Here we have 'association areas'. Incoming sensory signals are mixed and matched with information already known and trusted. After full association has taken place (through good old 'thinking') we have integrated the new information and can make sense and meaning of it. Any emotional energy attached to the issue is discharged through the activity of your right pattern-making brain and any valid data is processed by your left rational brain. The issue is then either forgotten or stored in our long-term memory and we no longer pay attention to it.

It can take some time for this association process to complete. If we are not willing to complete this process, however, and are not willing to think about the sensory information coming in, the denial of the information to the thinking brain can lead to us forcing the new information into the sensory 'short route'.

The 'short route' means the raw signals get sent downwards into the emotional brain for emotional processing instead. There is no 'association and integration' processing going on down there, unless it involves an emotional response being released somewhere along the line. This shift in processing route is very difficult to reverse. Difficult, but not impossible.

At the Centre of Both the Long and Short Routes Sits the Thalamus

Two Thalami, resembling the appearance a half-walnut, sit between the upper thinking brain and the lower emotional (limbic) brain. They act as the centre-point of your Perception - how you 'see' things.

Your Perception is a culmination of all the discussions and relationships going on between several brain parts, all of which have a slightly different way of seeing. Your most powerful brain part in this decisional process is your left neo-cortex - your conscious logical thinking brain. This brain part has the power to refuse permission for an emotional response to be processed by your upper thinking brain.

Problem is, once permission for release 'upstairs' has been refused the logical brain loses the right to influence how the emotional signals are processed by the lower brain. It becomes a question of losing the rights because at some point we refused the responsibilities of engaging with our own emotions.

The Thalamus is our main sensory signal router - it receives all of your visual, sound and touch signals before either your thinking or emotional brain parts get to see them. The Thalamus filters incoming signals on the basis of what the brain parts around it are telling it they see. They also tell it what kind of signals they are looking for - and it goes hunting for them in the incoming signals.

If your conscious thinking dislikes one of your own emotional responses so much you refuse to accept it as a part of you you may then refuse it permission to enter your thinking brain, this forces those signals downwards.

Your emotional brain now tries to manage your emotional process in regard to this particular stimulus using other emotional responses - as a result your internal emotional system generates a self-perpetuating internal war making you constantly tense and, because your conscious brain is no longer involved in the process, your thinking becomes confused about what is happening. The emotional responses are taking place without your conscious involvement other than your being informed 'you are having an intense emotional response!'.

This confusion further reinforces the idea that something is wrong and the Thalamus will continue to identify your own emotional responses as an urgent, threatening issue requiring further urgent emotional responses - and it will send any and all related signals coming in straight down into your emotional brain for processing.

How Do You Undo This?

In order to resolve the problem you must reverse your approach.

You start to engage with and allow for your emotional energy to come up through your body and enter your thinking brain so you can start the association process. Doing this will allow you to regain a sense of control because it forces the sensory signals back up the 'long process route' and the thinking brain eventually regains the ability to say no to producing the emotional responses in the first place.

Unfortunately by now you will have established a very effective unconscious set of arguments as to why this is a bad idea - and these ideas are absolutely committed to the belief that what you are about to do will kill you. The decision to allow the feelings to come up may now generate panic attacks and strong emotional responses designed to make you change your new direction.

Your unconscious believes you are about to do something the equivalent of going into a cage with an unfed lion.

If you are willing to repeatedly go 'into the cage' step by step, through the process of exposure therapy, you can eventually throw the organic switch in your brain that will lead to the removal of the emotional problem and future incoming signals will automatically be sent through the long route - but the transition involved is a much more intense and painful journey than if you had processed the original signals using your thinking brain in the first place.

The question is: how much do you want control of your emotional process back - even if it is indirect?

Come and start a conversation with me on my blog at http://managemesystems.com or mail me at carl@managemesystems.com.

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2012年7月22日 星期日

Coping With an ADHD Child

Some parents say that dealing with an ADHD child is a nightmare. However, many people have experienced a marked improvement using some behavioral techniques. It is important to distinguish between punishment and behavioral therapy. When a parent becomes impatient with a child who cannot seem to manage basic and acceptable behaviors, the relationship can easily be tarnished.

A loving and supportive relationship is very important between the parent and the ADHD child. If the relationship is compromized, the child will probably become more difficult to handle. By this time, the management of the child will probably consist of punishment, which further damages the relationship. Instead, following a few simple guidelines will help to improve the relationship and in return the child's behavior.

1. Rules and discipline must be consistent. The child must have a clear understanding of the consequences of his or her actions and inactions. This will make certain that the child understands the behaviors that are unacceptable.

2. Anger is a common and understandable emotion for parents of an ADHD child. However, it should be controlled and parents should use a slow and quiet voice. Many of these children have an associated disorder, known as sensory integration dysfunction and shouting and screaming could make them react even worse.

3. Look for good behavior and praise the child for this. When praising the child, avoid bringing any negative behaviors into the equation. Don't say "It is good that you are playing quietly and not jumping around as usual." Rather say "I am proud of you playing so quietly." The child should know that they are loved, even when his or her behavior is not liked.

4. A clear routine helps to build security and confidence into a child's life. A timetable with times for play, homework, eating and relaxation can be placed in a spot where the child can find it. An ADHD child is bound to push the boundaries and sometimes he or she will not complete certain tasks on time. However, the parents should encourage them to stick to the routine as much as possible. ADHD kids are often forgetful and a routine will help him or her to get used to daily tasks and organization.

The organizational and behavioral skills an ADHD child learns will stand him or her in good stead in the future.

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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The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the "ice-flows" have names such a "Sunset Vista" and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment

is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more

to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.


What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.


Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an "ages and stages" theory of human

development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage - conception to birth.

1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years - basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.

2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years - autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.

3. Play age, 5 to 8 years - initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.

4. School age, 9to 12 - industry vs. inferiority. Competence.

5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 - identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.

6. Young adulthood - intimacy vs. isolation. Love.

7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.

8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one's life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one's whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving

integrity means fully accepting one' self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one's life and being able to review

the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer "mature age" we are instead classified as "old", or "senior citizens". How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous - people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted - people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual

source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this

then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male,

(Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:



Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.


Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general

mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we've "bounced back" 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning

the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory

input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly

and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed - old and new may get mixed.


Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer's syndrome and Pick's syndrome. In Pick's syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK'S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer's in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic

aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON'S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson's disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson's where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson's are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson's are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had

psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow's Hierarchy



Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one's interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy - activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.


Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change

in attitude to work.

2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.

3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are

diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage

to self concept, depression.

4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of

activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the

result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in "The fear of death", 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.


Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her "On death and dying", NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

1. Denial and isolation. "No, not me".

2. Anger. "I've lived a good life so why me?"

3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. "If I can live until...I promise to..."

4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.

5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross's typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June '08 a guest of the Sydney writer's festival in relation to his book, "Swimming in a sea of death: a son's memoir" (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th '08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, "I'm dying, I don't like it but there's nothing I can do about it", and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new "Knighthood" replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the "vain glories of the world". This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff's negative assessment of Kubler Ross's theories.


The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings - fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.


The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, "The New Physics of Healing" which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological

conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we've been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn't exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are

expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice's immune system to automatically strengthen

as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or

destroyed the mice's immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our

early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease - family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures - Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are "eavesdropping" on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and

neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of "time" Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in

reality linear time doesn't exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor's work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play "Let's Pretend". They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to

have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor's experiment: "We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging."

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won't let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging - men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness - otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.


Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.


Dr. Victor Barnes is an Adelaide psychologist and hypnotherapist. He has also had three decades of experience in adult education including serving as Dean of a Sri Lankan college (ICBT) teaching several Australian degrees. His overseas experience includes studies and consulting experience in USA, PNG, Poland and Sri Lanka.

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The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn't require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved... a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today's families are different. Technology's impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV's in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the "big screen" and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today's young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children's developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today's technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child's motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today's parents perceive outdoor play is 'unsafe', further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the "killing machine" seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most...connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 - 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child's sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in "overload". This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain's anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall "shaking", increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of "unease". This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still "on alert" for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a "hard wiring" of the child's sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child's ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don't, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all "baby TV" due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today's families have been pulled into the "Virtual Reality Dream", where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It's important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society "wake up" and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child's physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today's world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV's in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed 'Balanced Technology Management' (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan's company Zone'in Programs Inc. http://www.zonein.ca has developed a 'System of Solutions' for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone'in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.

Cris Rowan is an impassioned occupational therapist who has first-hand understanding and knowledge of how technology can cause profound changes in a child's development, behavior and their ability to learn. Cris has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and is a SIPT certified sensory integration specialist. Cris is a member in good standing with the BC College of Occupational Therapists, and an approved provider with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and Autism Community Training. For the past fifteen years, Cris has specialized in pediatric rehabilitation, working for over a decade in the Sunshine Coast School District in British Columbia.

Cris is CEO of Zone'in Programs Inc. offering products, workshops and training to improve child health and enhance academic performance. Cris designed Zone'in, Move'in, Unplug'in and Live'in educational products for elementary children to address the rise in developmental delays, behavior disorders, and technology overuse. Cris has performed over 200 Foundation Series Workshops on topics such as sensory integration and attention, motor development and literacy, attachment formation and addictions, early intervention, technology overuse, media literacy programs, and school environmental design for the 21st century for teachers, parents and health professionals throughout North America. Cris has recently created Zone'in Training Programs to train other pediatric occupational therapists to deliver these integral workshops in their own community. Cris is an expert reviewer for the Canadian Family Physician Journal, authors the monthly Zone'in Development Series Newsletter and is author of the following initiatives: Unplug - Don't Drug, Creating Sustainable Futures Program, and Linking Corporations to Community. Cris is author of a forthcoming book Disconnect to Reconnect - How to manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use.

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How To Teach A Child With Learning Disabilities

Education is very important and when a child suffers from learning disabilities it is still vital that you influence his or her learning experience in a positive way in order to make a difference in how they interpret things. Every child sees and hears things differently but if your child has been diagnosed with learning disabilities, don't worry you can still encourage your child and help them to learn just in different ways.

Sometimes disabilities in learning can be misdiagnosed as ADHD. While they may have similar symptoms, they may be completely different in the end. ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects more people than you realize. Learning can be more difficult because the individual cannot keep their attention on any one thing for too long.

There are seven types of learning disabilities according to the American Medical Association. These are:

* Dyslexia, or special impairment

* Dyscalculia or the inability to understand basic math concepts

* Dysgraphia or the inability to write correctly

* Language problems

* Time and space management problems

* Memory complications

* Sensory integration complications

When someone suffers from disabilities in learning they are challenged in some way or several ways while trying to perform a simple job or task that wouldn't normally be a problem. In fact, learning disabilities may not be diagnosed until later on in the school year. You may be able to pick up on it if your child is good in one subject such as science but cannot comprehend basic math problems.

If you have been told that your child suffers from one or more learning disabilities you may first blame yourself for not picking up on symptoms or clues earlier. You may continuously blame yourself while you try to back up in time figuring out when your child started showing signs that something wasn't being understood.

Attention deficit disorder is different from other learning disabilities in several ways. When someone suffers from ADHD all normal cognitive reactions are affected instead of only one or two like in the example above. ADHD is more of a medical condition then it is a learning disability and therefore it is picked up during an examination from a medical professional and not during a test given by the school.

If you feel that your child may suffer from a disability such as the ones listed below, these learning disabilities your child's school will know how to further test your child in order to determine which disability he or she may suffer from. Once it has been diagnosed, your child can receive special help and counseling in order to learn how to deal with their learning disabilities and how to better help themselves. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from a disability contact your school to set up a test that can determine if this is correct or if something else may be wrong. A child should be able to learn without any disabilities however when a disability exists a child can still learn.

For the latest videos and training information on child development as well as books and curricula please visit www.childdevelopmentmedia.com.

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2012年7月21日 星期六

Autism - Matching Vibration, and Entrainment of Brain Wave Frequency

It is time that individuals with autism are listened to, even if we do not fully understand. Our typical sensory experiences and perceptions differ from their experiences. Thus our basic concept of reality also differs. Trying to get individuals with autism to fit the parameters of our reality has left them at odds with themselves. Let's begin to examine how they might feel. I will use the question and answer format. My responses will be guided by my inner knowing. Much of which has been influenced by my friends with autism.

What do want me to share with the world?

We want you to share all that you know. The information would not have been given to you if you were meant to hoard it.

Who should I contact and what should I say?

Know your audience and proceed accordingly - advance and retreat as needed. The dance has begun, but realize that you are not dancing alone. The movement is completely choreographed to raise consciousness. It needs to be done without inflicting casualties upon these incredible vessels. Through their service they have attained a godliness not often matched by more integrated souls. Know that nothing comes without vision and fortitude.

What would you like the medical profession to know?

We would like them to use their diagnostic tools to test our brain wave patterns and those of yours. We have told you that you and many others like you send out radio-like waves. Brain imaging technology could be used to measure brain waves during the exchange. Some doctors may be ready to acknowledge the possibility that knowledge is in the soul. We have easier access to that knowledge, since our filtering devices, sensory system and brains are not functioning properly.

What would you like them to know about your sensory system that is not currently being explored?

It is not only that our sensory systems are not working simultaneously or are in sync, but also that our sensory experiences may not be integrated. An object that we see, and an identical one that we feel, may not automatically be perceived as the same object. To further complicate issues, two-dimensional representations (pictures) may not be correlated to three-dimensional counterparts (objects). It is this massive disruption that alters our basic conception of reality. This lack of integration goes beyond the basic five senses: for example, vestibular nerves and proprioceptors may be affected in a similar manner.

What would you like parents to know?

Those of us with regressive autism had intact sensory systems for the first 18 months, and then everything went haywire. That is the time to hold your child close. Talk to his soul and tell him that you are willing to be his bridge. Be your child's Annie Sullivan, for no one will do it better. Invite him into your consciousness and let him become one with the rhythm and flow of your body. Rhythm is the undervalued piece of the puzzle.

What would you like scientists to know?

We would like them to use us as an example of what they already know. Energy and vibration constitute principles of our universe and everything in it, the higher the frequency, the easier the access. Thoughts travel faster than light. Light travels faster than sound. Thus it is easiest for us to receive information in that order. From an educator's standpoint, that is why abstract thought is easier to pick up than concrete thought. It also explains why words and pictures - two-dimensional communications - are easier to pick up than concrete objects. Three-dimensional objects are of a lower vibration and are perceived differently by us than by the more fully integrated sender. Therefore, we break down at that level.

What would you like me to pass on to theologians and physicists?

That they should just reintegrate what they already know and preach that the spirit IS. There is a physical world and a spiritual world. The latter exists before conception and after death. It exists within the physical body and without it. It is omnipotent and lies within energy fields of all people and all things. Communication between the physical and the spiritual world is attainable through intent and frequency adjustment. We do live in two worlds. We experience the spiritual and the natural simultaneously. One without the other is beyond our comprehension and is thus not part of our reality. We see spirits as we see you. We can travel in and out of our bodies at will. We have experienced both Nirvana and the depths of pain. Yet we would have it no other way.

What do you want to share with educators?

We want to let them know that we already know many things. It is just our access and organization of language based thought that causes difficulty. To keep us grounded, you can ensure that being in our bodies is a pleasant experience. Long nature walks helps us assimilate, for it is less painful to be among God's creation than those of man. We receive information from the universe that centers, guides and attunes us to the rhythm of the earth. When in tune with that frequency, we are better able to understand why it so likes to live within the physical body. Music can be used as an entrainment tool. A strong rhythm of agents ready to assist us is particularly effective.

What is the biggest mistake educators make?

The mistake they make is comparing us to them. Coming from a higher vibration, where communication is instantaneous, is our reality. To expect us to conform to the norm of your reality limits both. Expand your perceptions; expand both our realities.

What would you suggest parents and educators do to assist you in functioning in sensory-based reality?

Engage us to join with you in thoughts and vibration. Explain to us at a soul level what you are trying to do. Ask our permission. Be trustworthy and consistent. Let us know if the parameters of the activity changes. Tell us. Tell us that you are here to willingly serve as our bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. Remind us to focus and attend during sessions geared to helping us gain access.

To master the physical plane is as difficult for us as accessing the astral or spiritual planes is for you. It is a process of raising and lowering vibrations and brain waves. Meet us at a higher vibration and then lower yours by being present, and expect us to follow. Practice, patience, love, and acceptance provide an atmosphere of safety and calm. Without trust, we fear to descend further. We must feel safe in your hands.

What would you like politicians to know?

Individual egos cause separation. We are all entwined within the same energy field. What affects one, affects another. This is true for all matter. Learn to live in harmony by moving toward the center. See each other's perspective and realize that we are all interdependent. Know that might is not always right. There are spiritual laws to abide by. All ideas that bring us together are of love. Love is of God. All things that force us apart come about from fear, and create imbalance. Strive for unity of all people and all things. Our future depends on it.

I have served as a teacher of individuals with autism for many years. What they have taught me was to be sure of nothing, and open myself to the extraordinary. Comments are appreciated. let's get the dialogue going!

Mary Ann Harrington MS


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Autism: India Has an Offering for Parents

Most of the Information we filter comes to us from the United States. Europe also has many on-going programs that are of interest to people internationally. However, little is discussed about autism in India - considered to be one of the developing countries.

One of the leading organizations in India is Action for Autism (AFA). This is a multi-service agency which also provides research. They have written that, "...of all the developing countries, India has by far the greatest wealth of research articles...interestingly, much of this literature appears to go unnoticed..."

AFA explains that they have a "longstanding commitment to research in the field of autism." Their energy has focused on development, language, socialization, family functioning, and diagnosis. They also have devoted research to genetics, functional magnetic resonance imaging as well as other areas that are of interest to some people dealing with autism.

One of the recent studies I found to be very interesting is entitled, Parents of Children with Autism: Stresses and Strategies. The study was completed by Dr. Nidhi Singhal. Basically the study involved the stress levels, coping, support systems, and the focus of control in mothers and fathers. The study involved parents of children with autism compared with parents of typically developing children.

Dr. Singhal used a pretest and a post-test design. He investigated how participation in an intervention program might bring about reduction in the levels of stress while increasing the use or problem solving ways of coping. The coping mechanism dealt with seeking social support as well as helping mothers and fathers of autistic children to have a greater internal understanding to deal with the various situations.

The research was conducted over a period of one year. The focus group received knowledge in regards to the various aspects of autism. This included basic information on the disability; sensory integration therapy, different teaching techniques; legal and advocacy programs. During the year the parents met as a group for a total of 84 hours. Seventy two of these hours they participated in a group session; twelve hours they participated in individual couple sessions.

The autistic children indicated the adaptive and language and learning skills were below those (significantly) of typically developing children. It revealed that parents of children with the disability were in agreement with each other although they were unable to identify significantly less features of autism in the child. These parents, according to the report, "...perceived lesser resources, report high stress levels, low social support; and greater external focus of control. The results reveal that mothers and fathers experience the impact of their child's autism differently and consequently cope differently with emotional distress."

Once these parents completed an intervention program both the mother and the father reported they experienced a major decrease in stress levels. They also reported a greater internal focus of control. The mother continued to be more depressed than the fathers. The parents revealed an increase in several areas including social support, problem solving, and positive reappraisal. This is in contrast to a decrease in the use of confrontive, distancing, self-controlling, and escape-avoidance ways of coping.

The research indicated that parent training programs can be an effective tool to help parents of children with an autistic child. The doctor determined that with adequate intervention the "parental stress levels can be reduced and the parents can be taught to use effective coping strategies to deal with their situation."

The point of my article is that parents, in the United States, face a divorce rate rising - while at the upper 80 percentile - for parents of an autistic child. There are a variety of services available to all autistic children in the United States - some areas provide more services while other areas provide less; however, how many services are provided for the parents? They can often receive respite care, an hour or two away from the home to run errands, additional child care services, and so forth. However, if more government dollars were offered to help parents to cope - this might help to reduce the divorce rate and, in so doing, it might also help people to realize that the mother and father, both being in the home, offers for a stronger support system. This might actually help the autistic child to improve and develop in a number of areas in a positive way.

By Jack E. George


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Are Alternative Methods For Treating ADHD Valid? - Getting The Facts

You would be amazed to find so many references to diet when researching ADHD. Now diet may not be the key or even the best one of alternative methods for treating ADHD. But it is certainly getting more attention and it deserves to because food does affect how our brain works! Just think how that cup of coffee will immediately make you feel more alert or how carbohydrates can give you more energy.

Research studies on how food affects our brain function.

A UCLA professor of neurosurgery, Prof. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla has no doubt at all that food is vital and is rather like a pharmaceutical compound. The research that this professor has done has appeared in the an issue of the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Those studies were published after surveying over 150 other research papers on how food affects our brains. It also affects the way we sleep and carry out our daily grind.

Food and ADHD

It does not take a great leap of the imagination to realize that the neurotransmitters in the brain are also going to be affected one way or the other by what we eat. The neurotransmitters which are involved in brain function are dopamine, norepinephrine and also to a certain extent adrenaline. The one essential food element that affects our brain function is the omega- 3 fatty acid which is found in certain foods. As these are usually out of sync in ADHD, we can see the relevance of diet and food when considering alternative methods for treating ADHD.

Australian study.

Over 400 school children in Australian were given a rather special drink which contained not only Omega -3 fatty acids but also essential elements such as zinc, iron, vitamin B mix and also vitamin C. After only six months, these children were displaying better cognitive function and were doing better at learning and memory tests than the control group who were on a normal diet. There are numerous other studies which all point to the increasing importance of food when looking at all the alternative methods of treating ADHD.

Best foods to eat which support better brain function.

Ramping up on foods which contain the vital Omega-3 fatty acids can easily be done. Here is a list of the most common ones:-

• kiwi fruit

• nuts

• salmon

• green leafy vegetables

Other alternative methods for treating ADHD

There are several alternative methods which are now receiving a lot of attention. These range from:-

• neurofeedback

• yoga

• play therapy

• pet therapy

• sensory integration

• chiropractic

• sports and exercise.

• homeopathic remedies

At the end of the day I believe that diet and food will become central to any alternative methods for treating ADHD while the others I have mentioned above will become secondary. Why not check out my website to get some more facts before deciding what is right for your child.

Robert Locke is a Health enthusiast who specializes in children's health. He has written extensively on ADHD. Discover what Natural ADHD Therapy is available. Find out about ADHD natural cures.

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2012年7月20日 星期五

How to Help Your Child Develop Good Handwriting

Postural alignment, shoulder stability and strength are all necessary components in order for your child to sit at desk and produce handwriting. We don't normally think about how many elements need to be in place for handwriting to emerge. But when one or more of those elements is absent, your child can have a miserable time learning to write and keeping up with written class assignments.

It is amazing that there are so many discrete parts that form the foundation of handwriting skills. In addition to the above mentioned components, a child also needs good motor planning, good visual motor skills, good spatial awareness, good perceptual skills, good sensory integration and good executive functioning. It is important that they be able to use their hands independently or together, and be able to cross midline (go from right to left or vice-versa). A vital element of handwriting is the creation of hand arches.

In order to hold a crayon, pencil or pen correctly, the hand arches have to be well formed. The arches are defined by the creases/lines in the palm of the hands. These are the lines that fortune tellers claim determine love, marriage and life expectancy. When you look at your hand, you see three major creases - one across the palm about midway, one curving along the pad of the hand by the thumb, and the other by the pad near the wrist on the pinky finger side. They form a triangle which enables us to bring our fingertips together, cup our hands and move objects around within the hand.

Good muscle development contributes to the formation of the arches. The muscles of the hands are either extrinsic, or intrinsic. The extrinsic muscles originate at the forearm and the tendons of these muscles cross the wrist and insert in the hand. You can see the tendons move when you wiggle your fingers. The intrinsic muscles are contained within the hand. These muscles all work together with the bones, tendons and ligaments to provide us with hand skills.

Now as babies develop, the framework for hand skills happens as a natural function of development. Babies initially prop on their forearms, then push up to prop on hands and finally transition to crawling on all fours. All these positions and developmental milestones require weight bearing. Weight bearing on the hands improves arch development by strengthening muscles and tightening tendons and ligaments.

Interestingly, most of the tasks we do require only the thumb and first two fingers of the hand. These three form the skill side of the hand. The ring and pinky fingers are basically used for grasp and power, such as when we carry heavy objects like a bucket. The skill side of the hand is responsible for holding a pencil, tying laces, buttoning clothes, zipping zippers, etc. We are able to do these things with the thumb and first two fingers because the hand arch enables us to bring finger tip to thumb tip and create a pincer grasp.

If your baby or toddler has missed some of the developmental stages, or has achieved them later than the norm, it is possible that they will need some extra help when it comes to pre-writing and writing tasks. Children with developmental delays and those with low-tone often miss the weight bearing positions which are so important to good hand development. Additionally, missing these developmental milestones can result in poor muscle strength and tone. Your child may have trouble maintaining good posture at a desk, or may become easily fatigued. Poorly developed hand arches and low tone can also mean that they will have a hard time developing a pencil grasp. Children with these issues often press too hard, resulting in hand and arm discomfort, or do not press hard enough.

The best thing you can do as a parent or caregiver to ensure your child has an easy time developing good handwriting skills is to prepare them by getting them strong. Get them involved in an exercise program, or have them evaluated for physical and/or occupational therapy. The time you spend now helping them to get strong will pay off once they are in school.

My name is Nancy Konigsberg. I have a master's in Occupational Therapy and have provided child development treatment for the past sixteen years. I have worked in schools, clinics, hospitals and homes. I have also worked with a wide spectrum of diagnoses from mild delay to severe genetic disorder. Currently I write a blog called Milestone Mom. In my posts I offer tips and strategies so that caregivers can work with their child at home. There are video demonstrations, step-by-step directions and descriptions of what to look for.

Please visit me at Milestone Mom. http://www.milestonemom.com

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Where is Somatics Headed?


A tendency exists among somatic educators to categorize somatic education as if it were about the body - an understandable tendency, given the use of the term, "clinical somatic education" in Thomas Hanna's definitive article, Clinical Somatic Education - a New Discipline in the Field of Health Care. However, such a strictly clinical interpretation overlooks the larger meaning of the term, "somatic" (which Thomas Hanna briefly touches upon in that article and discusses more extensively in his books, Bodies in Revolt and Letters from Fred -- see bibiography at the end of this piece). This present article, Where is Somatics Headed?, puts clinical somatic education into a larger context: that of somatic education (without the "clinical"). As we will see, that larger context makes for a more complete understanding of clinical somatic education and opens the potential for a more comprehensive and effective discipline-and also a transcendent one.


The term, "somatic", comes from Thomas Hanna's definition of the term, "soma", which he defined in the pages of the periodical he founded, Somatics - the Magazine-Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences, as "the body experienced from within."

I have to lay the groundwork for what I have to say by making this point. As a practitioner of the methods he developed and as a student of his somatological philosophy (I shall try to minimize the use of ten-dollars words, from now on), I see two deficiencies in his formal definition.

It neglects the "mind" or subjective side of experience - counterpart to "body" or the objective side.
It neglects "control", or action, which is the counterpart of "experience", or sensing.

I maintain not only that these two aspects ought to be included in the definition of "soma," but that Thomas Hanna, himself, included them implicitly, explicitly and at length in his writings throughout the years of his publishing the Somaticsjournal and in his seminal books, Bodies in Revolt, The Body of Life, Letters from Fred, and of course, Somatics - ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health, which all alluded to or spoke at length of awareness and self-regulation, which involve learning, adaptation, and control. It's just his definition of soma that was oversimplified.

I would modify his definition of soma to be:

the body-mind experienced and controlled from within

not much of a change of his wording, but more explicit, and more in keeping with its spirit than his oversimplified definition.

I have conceived my own wording for a definition of soma:

living, aware, bodily person

which is closer to the original, Greek meaning of the word, soma.

Thus, we rule out dead, unaware, or discarnate entities, such as Elvis Presley. I admit, that's a bias, but it's very hard to say anything about anyone or anything that lacks form and so make it part of a purported field of knowledge. Elvis has left the field of somatics, although he had something to say about somatic experience (as did Jesus, Moses, Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni Buddha, Lao Tzu, Hui Neng, Adi Da, The Dalai Lama, etc.).

So, "somatic" has to do with movement and sensation, body and mind, intention and attention, awareness and will - each of the pairs of aspects seeming different only because of the different viewpoints we take to perceive (or apperceive) each (but the "we" who does that is the same, "we" - oui? - so the different aspects are one, but divided by the operation of attention as it takes limited viewpoints).

Each of these pairs (e.g., "body" and "mind") is the opposite side of the same coin, different aspects of the same process -- ourselves. We never have an experience of ourselves as "body" and "mind", two things experienced at the same time; there is no "two." We have one experience of our own process at a time because we can put our attention only on one thing at a time. (Multitasking is simply rapid alternation of where we place attention, with the ability to pick up where we left off provided by memory.) We may adopt different points of view - an emotional point of view, a mental point of view, a sensory point of view -- to tune in to different ways of experiencing our process, but all those parts belong to and together constitute a greater whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. I know that the different aspects to somas suggest the "and", but I'm suggesting that we lose the "and' by a more correct understanding.

Just to be clearer, what makes the whole more than the mere sum of its parts is the role each of those parts plays with and for the others -- said another way, the organization of the parts together makes a whole. They are functionally inseparable. (In Buddhism, this view is called, The Doctrine of Dependent Origination; Ken Wilber calls this inter-relationality, "holarchy" - a hierarchy of nested wholes. I explain: All identifiable things are wholes made of parts, and all identifiable things are parts of still greater wholes - sub-atomic particles organize as atoms, which organize as molecules, which organize as cellular organelles, which organize as cells, which organize as tissues, which organize as organs, which organize as organ systems, which organize as organisms... ) Each identifiable level of organization is a whole composed of smaller parts and a part of a larger whole. That's what's meant by "holarchy."

A soma is composed of parts that are aspects of its (our) wholeness. (An aspect is anything you can "look at" or identify.) These aspects fall into "bands" of experience that we call, "body," "emotions," "mind," "intuition", and "formless awareness," that correspond to our waking state, our dream state, and our formless sleep state, and which the Eastern traditions call, "gross" (or dense), "subtle," and "causal" (or most subtle/supramental), and which fit together the way different colors of light fit together to constitute a rainbow. Try to separate the colors! You no longer have a rainbow.

Somas, being living process, are a bit more dynamic than a rainbow. The different bands have special unique functions that show up as "reflections" in the other bands. Mental or emotional states show up in the body as physiological changes. To change one changes the others. Somas are totalities of identifiable, seemingly different, but inter-related aspects that are what they are because of their interplay with other aspects. Their apparent "aspectness" (distinct separateness) results from their interactions, not from their "unique self-ness".

All we somas have memories and maintain ourselves by memory (either conscious memory, subconscious memory, or unconscious memory e.g., genetic memory), which gives us cohesiveness and persistence through time. These memories are "seated" at any and all of the levels of being, from gross-to-subtle, and they shape how the other levels function. Emotions affect physiology; physiological memories (e.g., neural connections, tension patterns, body chemistry) "maintain" emotional memories. Sensory-motor memories (e.g., of the physical traumas) color our emotional life and emotional traumas show up in our physiology as habituation of patterns of muscular tension: nervous tension.

As a practical matter, we can't deal with emotional memories strictly through physiological means. We may provoke or evoke awareness of emotional memories through physiological means (touch or movement), and we may provoke or evoke emotional discharge through physiological means, but the formation of new emotional behavior requires new emotional learning and that makes catharisis an incomplete means of new adaptation - a first step, at best.

My point: because of the interrelatedness of different layers of our being, and because each of these layers has memory and is organized (by memory) into patterns of memory, "the experience and control of the body-mind from within" must technically take into account all of these layers of the being to be most effective. Because of the interrelation of body "and" mind and the related layers of being, the field of somatics properly encompasses the full spectrum of experience available to the attention of living beings and should be able to intelligently address each layer on its own terms. This view is evident in Thomas Hanna's description of the Somatics journal as a nexus or meeting point of mind-body disciplines.

That means that the field of somatics is necessarily a multidisciplinary field that integrates the findings and methods of disciplines that address memory patterns at each of the layers of the being. More than that, disciplines that have evolved apparently separately and in parallel can be understood in relation to each other by means of functional principles that they share.

Here's one principle, just so I can make more concrete what I have just said: All identifiable processes operate and maintain their organization within a stable range of conditions. (examples: livable temperatures, altitudes, diet, social conditions) When some persistent influence (whether a physical action or the directing of attention and exercise of intention) pushes a process (whether a physical process or a psychological or subjective process) beyond its stable range of conditions, it first disintegrates and then coalesces into a new pattern compatible with that influence - or it just disintegrates (dies). (If the influence is temporary, the process may re-coalesce into its old form - a good reason for practice of somatic exercises until the new pattern is well-established in memory.)

This article is an influence that pushes a certain understanding of somatics past a certain restricted scope so that it can coalesce into a new, more comprehensive, more functional form.


In the process of human growth and development, we see a general developmental trend from gross to subtle. The first stages of incarnation involve sensory-motor development, followed by emotional development, followed by mental-intentional development, followed by higher mental developments of various sorts, each with a corresponding refinement of sensory-motor behavior.

These stages of development involve progressive subtlety of expression and increasing complexity. They "boot up" or self-activate according to a blueprint resident in the potentialities of the individual (genetic or otherwise) and according to the milieu in which the individual matures - family and social. During development, liabilities built in to those developmental potentialities and also immaturity leave the person vulnerable to traumas or failures of various sorts, each of which inflicts a kind of memory impression that affects personal functioning thereafter (or until deliberately modified).

Sensory-motor memory impressions, we recognize as the three reflexes of stress Thomas Hanna described: the Landau Reaction, The Startle Reflex, and the Trauma Reflex (See Somatics -- ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health by Thomas Hanna, available from amazon.com or at libraries).

Equivalent memory impressions and the equivalent to sensory-motor amnesia (S-M-A) at the subtler levels of the being - emotional, mental intentional, and higher-mental or intuitive may and commonly do form. It's also true that the potentialities of these higher levels may never develop due either to lack of demand by life or due to traumas at earlier stages, which impede growth by trapping attention and intention in dysfunctional patterns, robbing a person of the resources needed to mature. Different levels of the being may mature unevenly. I discuss some of these variations of S-M-A in another article: "Beyond the Three Reflexes of Stress - or - We Become How We Live," and so I'll not discuss them, here. But you may know what I mean.

These memory impressions constitute what, in certain psychological circles, is called "The Shadow Personality" - repressed, dissociated functional/behavioral patterns that, like S-M-A, disturb, limit function, and run on automatic. (I call this parallel form of S-M-A, "Attentional-Intentional Amnesia" and the "lack of development" form, "Attentional-Intentional Obliviousness".)

As I have said, these memory impressions at subtler levels of the being show up at the densest level as habituated muscular tension patterns (and tissue changes) that may or may not look like Landau Reaction, or Startle Reflex; they may look like inexplicable patterns of Trauma Reflex or just weird posture and movement (and weirdness is so common that it seems normal, while beauty and grace are considered extraordinary).

Just so, somatic education proceeds from the gross, sensory-motor level, to the emotional level, to the cognitive level, to the intuitive level (subtle perceptions and forms of self-identification). At first, somatic education addresses habituated sensory-motor patterns, generally the residue of past injury or emotional trauma that has since passed, experienced as pain and changes to posture and movement. Eventually, these residual patterns are exhausted in the process of somatic education at the sensory-motor level, but problems remain. They remain because they are expressions of habituation at subtler levels of the being - emotional memory, cognitive memory (which goes along with behavior patterns), intuitive memory (which consists of rudimentary patterns of self-identification) - habituation that is not "residual", but actively in use. Until these patterns are recognized and released, they run on automatic and show up as sensory-motor tension patterns.

What's interesting is that when a person attempts to deal with these habituated motor patterns by means of somatic exercises, the "person" who is doing the exercises is made up of these habituated memory-action patterns and so brings those habituated patterns into the somatic exercises without awareness of them - a little impediment to progress, we might say. The limitation of a strictly sensory-motor approach, via somatic exercises, is that the one doing the somatic exercises is the habit-pattern, him- or herself. "The habit-pattern" is doing somatic exercises (or meditating, or engaging in some other transformative practice).

Another perspective, such as that provided by complementary transformative practices, often yields access to otherwise invisible patterns; they deal with such patterns at the level at which these conditioning memories exist (emotional, mental, subtle mental/psychic/karmic). For that reason, they are helpful, if not necessary. Ken Wilber calls application of complementary approaches, "Integral Spiritual Practice" (ISP) and gives access to various complementary approaches through Integral Institute (I-I.org) and so I won't discuss sources, here.

From another perspective, it's quite helpful if somatic educators be as free of unconscious, habituated patterns as possible on as many levels as possible, so that they can, in working with others, transmit and enliven freely functioning consciousness at as many levels as possible, during sessions. This is a "back-door" approach to transformation through the vehicle of somatic education.

At this point, I'm going to stop this discussion with a mention of another article, called "The Zone of Incomprehensibility", which is about the common phenomenon encountered by participants in such growth processes as these - or any learning process, for that matter.

For now, I'll leave it at that.


Gold, Lawrence. "Why Somatic Education is a Body-Mind Thing". The Guidebook of Somatic Transformational Exercises. self-published (1999) available through Somatics on the Web. You may "Google" this article to locate it.

Gold, Lawrence, An Expanded View of the Three Reflexes of Stress - We Become How We Live. Somatics, Magazine-Journal of the Bodily Arts & Sciences, summer/fall 2000, Vol. XII, no. 4, pg. 12

Gold, Lawrence. The Zone of Incomprehensibility. self-published (2009) You may also Google this article.

Hanna, Thomas L. Bodies in Revolt. Dell Publishing Co., 1970.

Hanna, Thomas L. The Body of Life. Knopf, 1980.

Hanna, Thomas L. Letters from Fred. Freeperson Press, 1991.

Hanna, Thomas L. Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement,

Flexibility, and Health.
Reading, MA: Perseus Publishing Co., 1988.

Read more about clinical somatic education and see VIDEO

Lawrence Gold is a long-time practicing clinical somatic educator certified in The Rolf Method of Structural Integration and in Hanna Somatic Education, with two years' hospital rehab center experience (Watsonville Community Hospital Wellness and Rehabilitation Center: 1997-1999) and articles published in The American Journal of Pain Management (Pain Relief through Movement Education: January, 1996, Vol. 6, no. 1, pg. 30) and in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (A Functional Look at Back Pain and Treatment Methods: November, 1994, #136, pg. 1186 ).

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