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Early Intervention: An Occupational Therapists Point of View

May 25, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

To correctly begin this article we have to start with, ” ONCE UPON A TIME”. You may new be sitting with a puzzled look on your face, but let me explain. Lets look at students A, B, and C:

Student A is a 15 year old student who’s teacher is ready to fail him because of his poor handwriting.

ONCE UPON A TIME…….when the same student was 4, he was unable to keep his alphabet aligned on his wide ruled paper nor was he able to complete simple mazes. His visual motor integrational skills were not addressed when he was young and is now a hindrance to his progress.  Read the rest of this entry →

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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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XXX Syndrome: early learning and sensory developmental implications

August 15, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

This rare but potentially devastating condition affects girls born to older mothers.  And as we as OT’s working in schools and preschools have already observed, many of our “first time moms” are often in their late thirties and early forties.

It is not a given that all older moms give birth to children with issues.  But in the case of XXX Syndrome that is one of the prominent factors.  XXX Syndrome is characterized by the presence of an additional X chromosome in each cell of female children/fetus.  If the extra X chromosome occurs only in some of the cells it is called a mosaic, and has less developmental impact.  It is not an inherited condition and usually occurs during conception and is related to a delayed or incomplete splitting of the egg during fertilization.  Occurrence is about 1 in 1,000. 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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The Search for the Elusive Chicken Tender

July 27, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

I’m sure we are not the only parents who struggle to find the foods your child eats while on vacation.  As many of you, we will do what it takes to find something for our son to eat at a restaurant or hotel.  We usually stay at hotel with a timeshare so that we have a kitchen for breakfast and lunch.  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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Feeding Therapy: Treating the Whole Child

July 23, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I have the fun of meeting a LOT of cute kids in my practice as a feeding therapist and  likewise, the honor of meeting some great parents.  Sometimes the kiddos have Down syndrome or a gastrointestinal tube for liquid tube feedings or autism or for one reason or another are just darn-picky eaters.  Know what the common denominator is among all these families, regardless of a child’s diagnosis?  STRESS.  Parenting a child who does not eat well is STRESSFUL and it’s a very unexpected problem to have in a family.  I have never met a new mom who cradled her brand new baby and said,  “Gosh, I hope he eats his broccoli.”  It never occurs to a new parent that their child will have difficulty eating.  Read the rest of this entry →

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In-Sync Activity Cards to address Sensory, Motor and Visual Skills

July 5, 2012 in Book Review by Dennise Goldberg

Now that we are in the dog days of summer, for those parents who are looking for a fun and educational way to improve your child’s sensory, motor and visual skills, the “In-Sync Activity Cards” might just be the way to go!  The Authors of “Growing an In-Sync Child” Joye Newman, MA and Carol Kranowitz, MA, have developed fun activity cards to assist parents with their child’s sensory, motor or visual processing needs. Read the rest of this entry →

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Throwing a Party for Children on the Autism Spectrum

July 2, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

There are two children lying on the floor, one picking up debris and shovelling it into his mouth, one with a baseball cap over her face. Another girl sits at the table repeating “Anyone for chocolate cake?” in monotones, while a boy sticks two fingers in his ears and makes a moaning noise. Several other kids sit and gawp at the scene. The child at the head of table has a cake covered in lit candles in front of her, sucking in air.  Read the rest of this entry →

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