November 20, 2009
Teacher up for national award for special-ed work
Every school day, Anne Fogel draws on more than three decades of teaching experience to find what she calls that "light-bulb moment" in her students.
Fogel, a special education teacher at Spring Ridge Middle School, south of Lexington Park, works with students one-on-one or in small groups to help them learn to read.
"That's my strength and what I enjoy the most, working with students on reading interventions," she said. "You may not see anything for a while, but all of a sudden when that light bulb goes on, boy, that's exciting."
Fogel is the Learning Disabilities Association of Maryland's nominee for the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year award, a national honor given by the Learning Disabilities Association of America, a network of state and local groups that advocate on behalf of and offer support to people with learning disabilities and their families.
For more than 30 years, she has taught special education students in regular classrooms, in special-needs classrooms and at their homes. Most of them have had learning disabilities, though she has also worked with students who have intellectual disabilities, autism, hearing and vision problems, and physical handicaps.
"Kids come with a lot of baggage," Fogel said. "You have to home in on what this kid's motivation is."
Most need multi-sensory techniques, so she will have them touch an object or use music to associate letters and sounds with words.
"They compensate. They learn to do it a slightly different way," she said.
Fogel particularly likes the Wilson Reading Intervention Program, which helps students read words by breaking down letters and sounds.
She started teaching in St. Mary's County in 1976 and has spent the past eight years at Spring Ridge.
"In order to teach the child, you have to be able to reach that child," she said. That includes learning about the child's life; for a time, she made regular visits to Wal-Mart to catch up with a parent working there whom she otherwise could not reach.
The Sam Kirk award goes annually to one educator in the nation who has made outstanding contributions to the education of people with learning disabilities. The award takes its name from an early researcher and writer in the field of learning disabilities who died in 1996.
While earning a master's in special education at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fogel used a textbook Kirk wrote. "I remembered when he died and I thought, 'Wow, what a pioneer,' " she said.
Besides her teaching, Fogel has been the librarian and secretary for the Learning Disabilities Association of St. Mary's County and is now the vice president.
"She has seen a lot of changes in special education and sort of followed its evolution to where it is now," said Missy Alexander of the St. Mary's association.
The Learning Disabilities Association of America enriches the lives of families affected by learning disabilities and works as advocates and to spread awareness in communities, Alexander said. Fogel fits into that mission perfectly, she said.
"She thinks out of the box. Her goal is to meet the child's need," Alexander said. "Anne does what it takes."
Information about learning disabilities and advocacy groups is available ldaamerica.org.
Author: Jesse Yeatman
Visit The Washington Post and reference article : 2009/11/10/AR2009111020175
Date Accessed: Friday, November 20, 2009 at 8:55 am
Toilet training a child with Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) also known as sensory integration dysfunction happens when the children experience information processed by the 5 senses differently than typical children. A child suffering from SPD may experience senses more intensely then the typical child or less intensely. Due to aforementioned children who suffer from SPD may not behave or respond to things in the same manner as typical children.
One of biggest challenges for children with SPD can be toilet training. In order for a child to be toilet trained they most be aware of their own body. This is often a struggle with children with SPD. According to Maria Wheeler, author of Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism and Related Disorder, " The amount of awareness of one's bodily changes related to elimination, sensitivity to tactile stimulation from clothing conditions and environmental stimulation in the bathroom, influence the effectiveness of toilet training."
Many parents can become frustrated due to numerous failed attempts at toilet training. It is important to remember 4 basic concepts when potty training a child with SPD.
1. Avoid getting angry with the child. Toilet training can be a very frustrating process for not only you but your child.
2. Establish a routine. Sit your child on "potty "at the same time everyday, several times a day, find out what motivates your child and use it to help them overcome their anxiety about sitting on the "potty." For example: a cushioned seat with handles can make all difference in the world. Playing the child's favorite song while he/she is sitting on the "potty "can provide some soothing relief.
3. Use picture cues to get your message across. By using picture icons that depict the steps that your child most accomplish to be successful in toilet training you will able to clearly communicate you message to your child.
4. Praise, Praise, Praise. Let your child know how proud you are them. This will make all worthwhile.
The experience of toilet training a child with SPD may be a difficult one. However, it will create a sense of self worth and independence in your child he/she will carry for a lifetime.
Author: Arlene Rhodenbeck Visit The Examiner and reference article: x-22645-Orlando-Special-Needs-Kids-Examinery~2009m9d3-Tiolet--training-a-child-with-Sensory-Processing-Disorder
Date Accessed: Monday, September 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Children With Autism Use Alternative Keyboard To Communicate
ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2009) — Autism can build a wall of poor communication between those struggling with the condition and their families. While a personal computer can help bridge the divide, the distraction and complexity of a keyboard can be an insurmountable obstacle.
Using a unique keyboard with only two "keys" and a novel curriculum, teachers with Project Blue Skies are giving children with autism the ability to both communicate and to explore the online world.
At the heart of the project is a device called the OrbiTouch. Human-factors engineer Pete McAlindon of BlueOrb in Maitland, Fl., conceived of the concept behind the OrbiTouch more than a decade ago as a way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and provide computer access to people with limited or no use of their fingers.
Developed with the support of two National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research awards (9661259 and 9801506), the concept of representing keyboard strokes with paired movements was critical to the design from the start.
"If you are unable to use a keyboard and mouse effectively or at all because of a physical disability, what chance do you have of using a computer?," asked McAlindon. "The OrbiTouch is designed to keep people with physical or developmental disabilities connected to their computers."
The Project Blue Skies curriculum is based on the functions of the OrbiTouch, which allows a user to input letters, symbols and any other command by independently manipulating two computer-mouse shaped grips forward, back, diagonally and to the sides.
For people with carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as other hand and finger ailments, the motions driving the OrbiTouch are far kinder than those for a keyboard.
With Project Blue Skies, the hardware is matched to lesson plans, training aids such as games, and assessment tools. The two-grip device is ideal for people with autism because it is less distracting than a keyboard and does not require finger motion.
In addition, the various letter and number combinations are created by matching color schemes indicated on the two grips, so the training curriculum matches well to a game-like environment.
Teachers guide the students and monitor their progress, ultimately helping the kids better communicate with their families. While the primary goal of Project Blue Skies is to help people with autism develop stronger social skills, McAlindon is working with partners to start integrating standard coursework into the program.
"I have watched Pete McAlindon grow and change over the last decade," said Sara Nerlove, now program director for NSF's Partnerships for Innovation program. "He has taken the concept that he developed as dissertation research, and using his skills as a human factors engineer, turned it into a very creative device to help people with disabilities. The result of his skill and persistence is the evolution of his technology into an ingenious adaptation, one that makes his goal of providing for persons with disabilities a sustainable effort."
McAlindon continues to work with his colleagues to find applications for his approach, most recently applying the system to video game controllers, allowing hundreds of thousands of online gamers to say goodbye to their keyboards using BlueOrb's Switchblade software. The gaming approach grew exponentially last year when it was paired to the launch of one of the largest online multiplayer games in the world.
Author: National Science Foundation
Visit Science Daily and reference article:releases/2009/08/090831080957.htm
Date Accessed: Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
When parents receive the news that their child is on the autism spectrum, the first instinct is to gather as much information as possible. The internet provides a plethora of information, but it's easy to become overwhelmed. I sure did.
To my rescue came the book, "Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew", by Ellen Notbohm. In a clear, concise voice, the author gives the reader awareness into the minds and hearts of children on the autism spectrum.
Below is the essay, reprinted in its entirety with gracious permission of the author, that inspired the best selling book:
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
by Ellen Notbohm (from the book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew (2005, Future Horizons, Inc.)
Reprinted in its entirety with permission of author
Some days it seems the only predictable thing about it is the unpredictability. The only consistent attribute -- the inconsistency. There is little argument on any level but that autism is baffling, even to those who spend their lives around it. The child who lives with autism may look “normal” but his behavior can be perplexing and downright difficult.
Autism was once thought an “incurable disorder,” but that notion is crumbling in the face knowledge and understanding that is increasing even as you read this. Every day, individuals with autism are showing us that they can overcome, compensate for and otherwise manage many of autism’s most challenging characteristics. Equipping those around our children with simple understanding of autism’s most basic elements has a tremendous impact on their ability to journey towards productive, independent adulthood.
Autism is an extremely complex disorder but for purposes of this one article, we can distill its myriad characteristics into four fundamental areas: sensory processing challenges, speech/language delays and impairments, the elusive social interaction skills and whole child/self-esteem issues. And though these four elements may be common to many children, keep front-of-mind the fact that autism is a spectrum disorder: no two (or ten or twenty) children with autism will be completely alike. Every child will be at a different point on the spectrum. And, just as importantly – every parent, teacher and caregiver will be at a different point on the spectrum. Child or adult, each will have a unique set of needs.
Here are ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:
1. I am first and foremost a child. My autism is only one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? Those may be things that I see first when I meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about.
As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you don’t think I “can do it,” my natural response will be: Why try?
2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to understand, but it is arguably the most critical. It his means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you but I am really just trying to defend myself. Here is why a “simple” trip to the grocery store may be hell for me:
My hearing may be hyper-acute. Dozens of people are talking at once. The loudspeaker booms today’s special. Musak whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and cough, a coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent lighting hums. My brain can’t filter all the input and I’m in overload!
My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter isn’t quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn’t showered today, the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us has a poopy diaper, they’re mopping up pickles on aisle 3 with ammonia….I can’t sort it all out. I am dangerously nauseated.
Because I am visually oriented (see more on this below), this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is not only too bright, it buzzes and hums. The room seems to pulsate and it hurts my eyes. The pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing -- the space seems to be constantly changing. There’s glare from windows, too many items for me to be able to focus (I may compensate with "tunnel vision"), moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion. All this affects my vestibular and proprioceptive senses, and now I can’t even tell where my body is in space.
3. Please remember to distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to).
Receptive and expressive language and vocabulary can be major challenges for me. It isn’t that I don’t listen to instructions. It’s that I can’t understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: “*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*………” Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: “Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It’s time to go to lunch.” This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it is much easier for me to comply.
4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very literally. It’s very confusing for me when you say, “Hold your horses, cowboy!” when what you really mean is “Please stop running.” Don’t tell me something is a “piece of cake” when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is “this will be easy for you to do.” When you say “Jamie really burned up the track,” I see a kid playing with matches. Please just tell me “Jamie ran very fast.”
Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres, inference, metaphors, allusions and sarcasm are lost on me.
5. Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.
Or, there’s a flip side to this: I may sound like a “little professor” or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, TV, the speech of other people. It is called “echolalia.” I don’t necessarily understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.
6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Please show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps me learn.
A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your day-timer, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities, helps me manage my time and meet your expectations.
I won’t lose the need for a visual schedule as I get older, but my “level of representation” may change. Before I can read, I need a visual schedule with photographs or simple drawings. As I get older, a combination of words and pictures may work, and later still, just words.
7. Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do. Like any other human, I can’t learn in an environment where I’m constantly made to feel that I’m not good enough and that I need “fixing.” Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however “constructive,” becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one “right” way to do most things.
8. Please help me with social interactions. It may look like I don’t want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it’s just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, it may be that I’m delighted to be included.
I do best in structured play activities that have a clear beginning and end. I don’t know how to “read” facial expressions, body language or the emotions of others, so I appreciate ongoing coaching in proper social responses. For example, if I laugh when Emily falls off the slide, it’s not that I think it’s funny. It’s that I don’t know the proper response. Teach me to say “Are you OK?”
9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. Meltdowns, blow-ups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people, activities. A pattern may emerge.
Try to remember that all behavior is a form of communication. It tells you, when my words cannot, how I perceive something that is happening in my environment.
Parents, keep in mind as well: persistent behavior may have an underlying medical cause. Food allergies and sensitivities, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems can all have profound effects on behavior.
10. Love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts like, “If he would just……” and “Why can’t she…..” You did not fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you and you wouldn’t like being constantly reminded of it. I did not choose to have autism. But remember that it is happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you – I am worth it.
And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. It may be true that I’m not good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don’t lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates or pass judgment on other people? Also true that I probably won’t be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.
They may have had autism too.
The answer to Alzheimer’s, the enigma of extraterrestrial life -- what future achievements from today’s children with autism, children like me, lie ahead?
All that I might become won’t happen without you as my foundation. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we’ll see just how far I can go.
Author: Brenda Anderson
Visit The Examiner and reference article: x-17910-Jacksonville-Autism--Parenting-Examiner~y2009m8d5-Ten-things-every-child-with-autism-wishes-you-knew
Date Accessed: Thursday, August 06, 2009 at 9:20 am
Baby cuddlers: Infants benefit -- but so do hospital volunteers
Holding a baby barely larger than her hand, Barbara Whitfield coos to the infant, his translucent eyelids fluttering slightly before surrendering to sleep.
But in the neonatal intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center, it would be difficult to tell just who in this duo is more serene.
"How many people get to surround themselves with this kind of peace?" she asked, tightly wrapping a receiving blanket around the 4-pounder. "A few hours here will carry me for the rest of the week."
Forget yoga class, massage or meditation. Whitfield, 62, has discovered tranquility as a "cuddler" -- a volunteer who helps babies born too soon thrive in those first scary weeks.
The civilians say the enforced solitude is the perfect antidote to these uncertain times and that it is they who receive far more benefit than they give.
Volunteerism is up everywhere -- one of the few silver linings to a grim economic and employment picture. While cuddler programs have been popular, nearly all venues are seeing longer waiting lists. Other hospitals, including University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital and Mt. Sinai, have cuddler programs. Mt. Sinai this month will train 10 new neonatal ICU cuddlers, all professionals, including two lawyers, an insurance broker, an epidemiologist and managers and directors from non-profits and corporations.
Administrators say it's tough to resist a gig where the job description can be summed up as: "To soothe."
And while a couple of hours of snuggling won't boost your 401(k), it can do wonders for your perspective. Newborns are a tangible sign of optimism, a pristine canvas on which to project an unwavering belief in the future.
"It's about as pure a relationship as you can get," said Steve Kubiczky, one of Rush's few male huggers. "You just have to leave your baggage at the door."
Rush's program started in 1990, a response to the neonatal nursery's plea for more help. The unit cares for 600 to 700 critically ill newborns a year (out of 2,100 births). Some of the infants -- tethered to IVs, heart monitors and ventilators -- are so fragile that their stay here can stretch into six months or more. So even with a ratio of one nurse for every two babies, there are never enough arms to go around.
Cuddlers don't just assist medical personnel but often pinch-hit for parents, who must return to work or are at home caring for other children. And human contact is too essential an ingredient to overlook, according to a 2001 study at Rush, which showed infants who received sensory intervention exhibited better mental and motor skills than those who were not held.
"We know the importance of tactile stimulation to an infant's overall health and well-being," said Dr. Robert Kimura, chair of neonatology. "These folks are invaluable members of the health-care team."
The past year brought a spike in the number of volunteers at Rush, which has now passed the 900 mark -- up from about 700 a year ago. Of those, only about 25 to 30 tend to the tiniest patients -- and since people rarely leave, the wait can be one year or more. Because of the level of interest in working in the neonatal ICU, the hospital will start a Patient Ambassador Program this fall. The initiative, which will assign volunteers to assist the infant's family, is being touted as a "steppingstone" to cuddlers.
To qualify for this elite group, participants are required to attend an orientation -- held just once or twice a year -- where they learn about everything from burping to bottle-feeding. In addition, they must submit to a rigorous background check and start by shadowing a veteran. Only then are they deemed cuddler-worthy.
For Whitfield, the catalyst to get involved was an unruptured aneurysm five years ago. ("I believe I was spared for a reason.") It is the calmness of the nursery -- with its low lighting and hushed voices -- that has kept her coming back for more. She is struck by the skill she can bring to this task compared with when her own son was born 33 years ago.
"You don't have the same anxiety and fear you have as a first-time mom ... now I just get to spread love and peace around, which the world certainly needs."
Kubiczky and his wife, Ann, are regulars. Before retirement, he was a tax attorney and she was a paralegal. They do not have children and concede that snuggling tiny babies may fill a void. But the larger reason they're here, week in and week out, is the overall feeling of contentment.
"There's nothing like it," he said of the ability to comfort a wailing infant. The only other place he gets a similar high is serving Communion to Catholic patients, which he also does every Sunday, right before his cuddler shift.
While the traditional volunteer ranks have always been dominated by retirees, the new interest has brought younger people, including 23-year-old Allison Lukens, who became a cuddler last year. The experience has allowed her to view life from a different angle.
"You look at these babies ... their fight, their resilience, and you realize that whatever problems are weighing on your mind are not that bad," said the nursing student. "So, when you walk in here, you quickly learn to be in the moment ... and let it all go."
Author: Bonnie Miller Rubin
Visit The Chicago Tribune and reference article: news/local/chi-baby-cuddlersjul14,0,2979227.story
Date Accessed: Monday, July 20, 2009 5:31 pm
Room at Providence Center Provides Sensory Stimulation for Medically Fragile Children
Bubble tubes, fiber optic strands, flashing colors, mirrors, sound, lights and vibration – put it all together and what do you have? A Snoezelen room! This multi-sensory environment was built specifically for the residents at Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children.
A combination of lighting effects, shapes, textures, music and colors are strategically placed in the room to stimulate the senses for people with severe sensory impairment or neurological challenges.
The new room is empowering for the 58 children at the center with severe medical needs, who cannot speak or move on their own.
The Snoezelen room allows them to absorb what’s going on around them and create their own experience.
The word “snoezelen” is a contraction of two Dutch verbs: “snuffelen,” meaning “to seek out or explore,” and “doezelen,” which means “to relax.”
The snoezelen concept was defined in the late 70s by two Dutch therapists, Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul.
Through their creation of a sensory environment, they learned that hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch were enhanced in people who had intellectual disabilities.
Karen Nagao, occupational therapist at Providence Child Center, had previously worked in a facility that housed a multi-sensory environment and saw the benefits.
Nagao teamed up with the center’s recreation therapist, Elizabeth Sullivan to plan and develop grants to fund a Snoezelen room at Providence Child Center.
After more than two years of work, the elements recently have been installed in an area off the center’s multipurpose room and staff members are incorporating this activity into therapy programs.
“The Snoezelen room can offer new ways to reach these kids,” said Nagao. “It can calm them, teach them how to use assistive devices, and give them a place to just be and explore.”
Snoezelen rooms are used widely in education and care settings for children with disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.
Encouraging results have also been shown with people suffering from dementia such as Alzheimer's, as well as for those in chronic pain, acquired brain injury and other conditions.
In addition, Snoezelen is gaining momentum in the mainstream population as an antidote to stress.
The Snoezelen room at Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children was made possible with help from the Stimson Miller Foundation.
The room will be open for viewing during a special tour of the child center at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14th.
Visit Salem News and reference article: /articles/july032009/providence_kids_7-3-09.php
Accessed: Monday, July 6, 2009 12:43 pm
Helping Hypersensitive Children
Many of us suffer with hypersensitivities of one sort and another and they are particularly common amongst children with neurological issues. Firstly, it is most important that you listen to your child when he says what is happening and believe him. Sometimes the symptoms are hard to understand.
For instance my daughter feels dizzy when she goes in the cookery room at school. Potentially this could be stress related, but I don’t think it is, it is something to do with the smell. Also, while hypersensitivities often run in the family, the exact details may differ considerably. One person may not like loud noises while another may find colors more of a problem.
When younger children behave strangely, it can be the result of a hypersensitivity. For instance they may refuse to go into a particular room because of the color of something or the feel of the carpet. However if they are unable to communicate this it is difficult to understand what is happening.
Eating problems can also be hypersensitivity-related. I remember very clearly how I felt as a young child when I was expected to eat mushy food such as mashed potato with gravy. Even now I feel very uncomfortable at the thought of it and try to avoid watching anyone eat anything like that. If possible, try to get to the root of the problem and there may be an easy way to avoid it. For instance my mother stopped giving me gravy and it wasn’t really a problem after that.
Explaining to the child that hypersensitivities are not uncommon also helps, and helping friends, family and school understand and to know what to do. Hypersensitivities are worse when under stress so, reducing the stress levels, where possible, is important. Some sort of relaxation method that is appropriate is a good start. Meditation, relaxation, yoga, listening to music, sitting by the river and so on are good. Mozart Effect CDs are especially good, there are a set of them including some specifically for babies and some for children (http://www.mozarteffect.com/). It is also important that the parents get some relaxation. If a parent is stressed, then the child usually become stressed. Yoga can be very helpful, there are now books and classes available that teach yoga to the parent and child together (http://www.wordpool.co.uk/pc/yogawithchildren.htm).
Sound Therapy can be very useful especially for those who are sensitive to noise. It involves listening to specially treated music for about 15 minutes a day with special headphones. Sound therapy can help to create stronger sensory pathways in the brain and so its ability to process sound correctly improves. There are various forms of sound therapy the most popular being The Listening Program, Tomatis, Samonas, Johansen Sound Therapy and Auditory Integration Therapy. (http://www.listeningcentre.co.uk/autism.php)
For those who are visually sensitive sunglasses or a baseball cap type hat can help. Vision Therapy is also very useful and you will need to track down a local vision therapist. This can help the coordination between the two eyes and the brain, it has been used with dyslexia and similar problems. (http://www.visiontherapy.org/)
A diet avoiding stimulants will be good, this includes sugar and sweets, chemical additives, coffee, tea and fizzy drinks. These can all increase the stress levels in the body and therefore increase sensitivities. Try to ensure a healthy varied diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. Check out any potential allergies and food intolerances because these can be a strain on the body and can have a significant effect on how the brain deals with sensory input (http://www.ctds.info/multiple_chemical_sensitivity.html). Visit your local nutritionist or allergy therapist.
Skin brushing is also popular. You can get a brush specifically for the job in most health shops. Brushing stimulates the skin and lymph system just below it and improves blood circulation. This enables the body to eliminate toxins better. You may find that the child finds this unpleasant since it is bit scratchy but he may also find it enjoyable. Allowing the child to brush himself, however young he is, will help him to feel that he has some control over it and it may be easier for him. (http://lightworkers.org/blog/45198/dry-skin-brushing-for-health-well-being)
Breathing exercises may also help (http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Cohen29.html) along with ensuring a healthy circulation of air. An air filter or use of plants that clear the air can be good (http://www.houseofplants.co.uk/healthytop10.htm). Many of us are not getting sufficient oxygen in our body and we are unaware of this, improving this can make a big difference to our general health.
It may also be interesting to work out if the hypersensitivities occur at a specific time of day, and what triggers them. For instance, they could be more pronounced when the child is hungry or tired, or when he has just eaten. From here it may be possible to minimize times when it happens.
Generally there are many issues which increase hypersensitivities and it may be necessary to try many things to find which is most appropriate for your child.
This is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please contact your medical professional if you are concerned about health issues.
Author: Caroline Collard
Visit Type A Mom. net and reference article: helping-hypersensitive-children.html
Accessed: Monday, July 6, 2009 12:21 pm