Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

If any sense is inefficient, the integration process can be disrupted, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) – a term coined by A. Jean Ayres PhD – occurs.  However, because of the possibility of confusing it with the unrelated disorder Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in the 1980s, those in the field informally began using the term DSI for dysfunction in sensory integration. Ayres Sensory Integration Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) is now trademarked, and includes the original theory, assessment, patterns of dysfunction, and intervention concepts, principles, and techniques articulated by Dr. Ayres and applied by therapists trained in this approach worldwide. Some of Dr. Ayres’ colleagues and students, headed by Susanne Smith Roley OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA and Zoe Mailloux, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, founded a new organization called The Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI). CLASI provides continuing education opportunities for mastering, applying and advancing knowledge in ASI theory and practice, culminating in a certificate of certification.  CLASI is a…

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

A sensory diet can help many individuals with autism, whose sensory processing is compromised, because they may find it hard to achieve and maintain an appropriate arousal level. In addition, a sensory diet can help those with Sensory Processing Disorder, as well as those with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities; sensory issues may be playing a large, undetected role in these disorders. Children with these disorders may move from sensory-seeking to sensory-avoidance behaviors, which can be problematic for authority figures even though they serve a purpose for the individual. But what if kids with autism were given opportunities to rock, touch, move, and jump? Maybe they would be satiated and not act out inappropriately. What Is a Sensory Diet? This is the stance taken by many occupational therapists who show parents how to use a sensory diet. Just as a nutritionist recommends certain foods and supplements, the occupational therapist may recommend readily available opportunities to be physical, and supplements them with…

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN, discusses how a good neurological diet and healing the gut may stave off Sensory Processing Disorder in a high-risk infant. Three year old Charlie was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and his parents were relieved to finally have an explanation for his extreme fussiness, poor sleep, and developmental delays.  What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?  Previously labeled Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Sensory Processing Disorder relates to the commonly known senses of touch (including pressure), taste, smell, vision and sound as well as other senses such as: Proprioceptive sense:  This sense helps a person determine where they are in space in relation to other things and people. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often feel disconnected from their bodies and thus often have poor coordination, which can often lead to delays in social development. Vestibular sense:  Proprioception is intertwined with the vestibular sense, which is controlled by the movement of fluid within the inner ear. Because the vestibular…

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

A genetic mutation called MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase, otherwise known as an MTHFR mutation or methylation defect, may be one reason why some children develop autism or other neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many contributing factors involved in this “perfect storm” situation which may accurately describe your child. The MTHFR mutation may explain why some children survive the overload of environmental toxicity whatever the triggers may be, whereas others, at some point during their early stages of neurological development, regress and remain somewhere on the vast spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. MTHFR is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid, which is synthetic, does not) needed to make the brain methylate; put simply, methylation is a method of detoxification. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD) which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.    What Is Methylation?  Defects in the methylation process can affect: Speech Language Auditory…

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium can stop an asthma attack, pull toxins out of the body, increase circulation, remove age spots, decrease joint pain and relieve constipation. It is the eighth most plentiful element on the planet and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for a very wide gamut of critical body functions, affecting virtually every organ system.  Why Is Magnesium Important in Developmental Delays?  This mineral is directly responsible for over 300 biochemical bodily reactions, many of which have gone awry in individuals with autism, attention issues, Sensory Processing Disorder and other developmental delays. It is extremely important in the metabolism of fellow elements: cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lead, sulfur and zinc. It is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of it is that of stabilizing cell membranes. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

Prism Lenses

The use of prism lenses for behavioral and learning problems goes back to the 1970’s when optometric pioneers began using these tools at the Gesell Institute. Prism lenses can be powerful temporary tools for individuals with autism and other developmental delays because they alter neural processing of the brain, creating an unconscious change in posture or attention.  How Prism Lenses Are Prescribed Counter to what many believe, lens prescribing is an art, not a science. While a machine might indicate one Rx, that prescription might make a patient dizzy or nauseous. Lenses are for particular purposes: to do a specific job, such as reading in the sun, or driving a truck in the rain at night. Unfortunately, for most people, one lens cannot solve both problems. Different prescriptions are thus necessary, depending upon the task.    Ophthalmologists use compensatory lenses to improve eyesight for specific purposes, such as those just described. Most people reading this post are wearing compensatory lenses. Optometrists,…

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Learning-Related Vision Problems

An estimated 25% of school-age children have vision problems affecting learning. Students can have difficulties in any of a number of areas. Maybe their two eyes don’t work together to track or focus. These and other problems can have a profound effect on how they learn. What Are Learning-Related Vision Problems?   Symptoms of vision problems include:  Eyes that are red or tear when stressed   Poor hand-eye coordination Avoidance of academics Decreased comprehension Slow reading/writing   Losing place Omitting words Skipping lines Confusion of similar words    Discomfort Fatigue Headaches Short attention span when doing schoolwork Vision Problems and/or Disabilities?   Because vision and learning are intimately connected, vision problems can be easily mistaken for learning or attention problems. Undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to: ADD ADHD Learning disabilities Dyslexia Impulsivity Hyperactivity Distractibility Poor reading Trouble learning math Illegible handwriting In some instances these conditions co-exist and treating one aspect of the…

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

Many children with developmental delays have low muscle tone, or hypotonia, because external factors that impact the nervous system can also affect the muscles. Premature birth, heavy antibiotic use, and exposure to toxins damage all types of cells, causing generalized low tone or low tone in specific areas such as the hands or mouth. In severe cases of hypotonia, the muscles may be so weak that a child has difficulty sitting up for extended periods, chewing, or pushing out bowel movements. Milder cases, affecting the finger or eye muscles, cause fine motor delays or visual processing disorders. All children with hypotonia have reduced stamina.   Symptoms Associated with Hypotonia Fatigue/low arousal:  The body’s inefficient processing of nutrients results in reduced available energy overall.   Reflux/constipation:  Poor or reduced trunk tone can cause stomach flaps to flop, thus impeding food movement.    Poor sitting posture or “slumping” can be a result of soft trunk muscles.   Weak chewing and poor/picky eating:  Low tone in the…

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP This article addresses the symptoms, causes, testing and standard and alternative treatments of Lyme disease in children. If your child has sudden and continued uncharacteristic behaviors, outbursts and mood swings, you may want to suspect Lyme disease. If your child has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Sensory Processing Disorder or mood disorders, you may also want to rule out Lyme. Many of these disorders have symptoms that are co-morbid with Lyme disease. Just because you live in an area that’s not “Lyme central” (Connecticut and the northeast United States), don’t think that Lyme disease isn’t possible. People, pets and ticks travel and carry the disease with them. The disease can also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders. Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease in Children Following are common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease in children: Fatigue Sleeping problems Headaches Nausea Abdominal pain Impaired concentration Poor short-term memory…