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Assessing the Efficacy of Sensory Diets on Latent Responding and Frequency of Inappropriate Behavior

January 7, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Typically developing people can take in all sensory input (i.e.: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, etc) and regulate their sensory systems to remain at a state of homeostasis (i.e.: sensory integration). However, people with Autism do not have the same ability. It has been described by people that are on the Autism Spectrum (e.g.: Temple Grandin) as an experience that leads them to seek out sensory input that allows them to regulate their behavior (i.e.: sensory seeking-squeezing themselves into small places, stereotypic behavior-hand flapping, toe walking, visual “stimming” [self-stimulation], etc.). Read the rest of this entry →

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Preventing Meltdowns: Outsmarting the Explosive Behavior of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

August 22, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Meltdown behavior is quite common for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And, indeed, the most frequently asked question by parents and educators is: “What do I do when my child has meltdowns?”

When the meltdown is occurring, the best reaction is to ensure the safety of all concerned. Know that explosive behavior is not planned but instead is most often caused by subtle and perplexing triggers. When the behavior happens, everyone in its path feels pain, especially the child.

Stages of Explosive Behavior

So, what exactly is explosive behavior? In my book Outsmarting Explosive Behavior: A Visual System of Support and Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum (Endow, 2009), explosive behavior is defined as having four distinct stages, followed by a clearly defined recovery period. In addition, the physiological fight/flight mechanism is triggered immediately prior to the explosion. Read the rest of this entry →

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What Are You Wearing?

July 31, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Dennise Goldberg

Another day of, “what do I wear?” You check the day’s weather, consider how you feel, what your plans are and what mood you’re in. All that contemplation in less than 2 minutes in most cases, for others, it’s a never ending question without a clear consistent answer.

Now, let’s consider your kids. Many of them waiting for the moment they get to pick out their ensembles for their day at school. However, all the aforementioned questions you deal with now become theirs in one overall question, “what’s everyone else wearing” OR depending on their age, how different can I be from everyone else? Who am I? How do I want to express myself? Read the rest of this entry →

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Occupational Therapy: More than just handwriting!

July 24, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many children who have an IEP receive Occupational Therapy (OT) as a related service to address poor handwriting.  While handwriting referrals are an appropriate use of Occupational Therapy services and OT’s are well equipped to address handwriting challenges that impact learning, illegible or sloppy handwriting can be a symptom of more significant processing or motor challenges and poor handwriting is not the only type of symptom that educators and parents should be considering when determining the need for OT services.  Occupational Therapy is an underutilized and often misunderstood discipline, that can serve as a valuable resource to address many IEP related goals.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Soothing the Sensory Soul: Is your child horrible or horribly upset?

June 25, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Chad has been known to me since he was a toddler and his older sister would come to OT and he would wait in the Clinic area with his mom. Having had the opportunity to observe him casually over time, it was not a surprise to me that he was also now participating in an OT program.

What did surprise me was the report from school that he was the “meanest” and the “worst” child they have ever had in their (public) school.

Sensory sensitive to movement with poor figure-ground discrimination, Chad is easily confused in large classrooms. The noise the movement, the rapid changes from one task to another are very unsettling for him to the point of frustration. Read the rest of this entry →

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Top 10 Most Important Sensory Environment Tips

June 7, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Jess

10. Be clear about what you want your child’s room to inspire. Identify what the goals and challenges they presently have as well as in any and every space in your home.

9. Always be decisive about who will be using the room, if it’s going to be shared by more than one person or be utilized for more than one function. Read the rest of this entry →

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