Sound-Based Therapies

Sound-Based Therapies

Sound-Based Therapies

This excerpt is provided with permission from the book “Outsmarting Autism: The Ultimate Guide to Management, Healing and Prevention” by Patricia S. Lemer Many individuals with developmental and learning issues demonstrate problems with sound sensitivities.  Both under- and over-responsivity to sound are common. Those who are hypo-responsive may “tune out,” and appear deaf at times. Others may be under-responsive and experience certain environmental sounds such as the humming of a fluorescent bulb as intolerable or even painful. Birthday parties, shopping malls, restaurants, sporting events and other gatherings can be particularly troublesome for them, because of the unpredictability of sound. Distorted processing of auditory signals impairs the brain’s ability to focus on and give meaning to that which is heard. Inconsistencies in hearing the various frequencies of sound, or lack of synchronicity of the two ears, can result in behavior that is distractible, avoidant, hyperactive, inattentive or bizarre. Utilizing sound to facilitate bodily change is not new. For centuries, almost every culture on earth…

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children diagnosed with developmental delays have a high rate of digestive pathology. Studies suggest between 58% and 93% of children with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms, and slightly less than half of those without noticeable symptoms, have low digestive enzymes. While special diets, supplemental nutrients, good bacteria replacement and yeast treatment are all needed to heal these children’s guts, adding digestive enzymes may be necessary for the complete restoration of digestive function. What Are Enzymes? Enzymes are special proteins that catalyze essential biochemical reactions. There are two main types of enzymes: metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes facilitate activity in the immune, endocrine and other systems. Our focus is on digestive enzymes, which are necessary to break down food. Where Do Enzymes Come from? Fresh, raw food is a natural source of enzymes. The gut lining in healthy digestive tracts also produces enzymes. Efficient digestion requires enzymes from both sources. The guts of picky eaters, damaged by the…

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

by Mary Rentschler, M. Ed., Brain Gym consultant and instructor Editing articles about occupational therapy (OT) and sensory integration (SI), I have often thought to myself , “OT, SI and Brain Gym are totally compatible and complimentary.” I signed up immediately last spring when the Educational Kinesiology Foundation offered a new workshop, “In Sync: Integrating the Senses through Movement”. Taught by Rita Edwards, Dip. OT, D.T.S.E., Brain Gym Consultant, and Edu-K International Faculty member, the course demonstrates how to combine OT, Brain Gym and sensory integration. Rita acknowledges Paul and Gail Dennison, Carla Hannaford, Jean Ayres, and Carol Kranowitz as providing conceptual and practical support for her work. She has developed balances (a process for putting interventions into the context of a specific goal) for integration of the cranial-sacral, vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory systems. A Balance for Vestibular Integration Lisa, a seven-year-old with low muscle tone, wants to ride her bike around corners and stop easily….

Nonverbal Learning Disability

by Patricia S. Lemer, M. Ed., Chairman of the Board What Is a Nonverbal Learning Disability? First appearing in the literature in the late sixties, when I was finishing graduate school, non-verbal learning disabilities (NLD or NVLD) are now diagnosed frequently. A nonverbal learning disability describes a cluster of deficits in motor, visual-spatial, social and sensory arenas combined with strengths in vocabulary, rote memory, and attention to detail. This syndrome causes sensory overload and profound difficulty with cognition, academics, and relationships. NLD is easily confused with Asperger syndrome and sometimes used synonymously with the dual diagnosis of gifted/learning disabled. While most psychologists agree on the etiology and treatment of language-based learning disability (LD), vision-based LD or NLD is poorly understood. Compensate or Remediate? Traditional approaches to NLD focus on diagnosis and compensatory techniques, without addressing the motor, sensory and visual deficits. While teaching strategies can be beneficial, ameliorating deficits makes more sense. In How to Develop Your Child’s Intelligence, Getman…

Improving Picky Eating by Changing Adult Behavior

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Parenting a child who refuses to eat is distressing. Hours can be wasted on creative dishes that are spit out. Help is on the way! Treating underlying biomedical and sensory problems is always the top priority when trying to improve the diet. Ruling out digestive and oral motor issues are important first steps. Positive change also occurs when parents take charge of their own behavior. Psychotherapists insist that you cannot change another person but you can affect the dynamics of the relationship by changing yourself. This article looks at how adult behavior can contribute to picky eating, and devising a workable plan that encourages a wider choice of foods without resistance. Accidental Negative Reinforcement Frustration with a child’s rigidity often leads to fruitless negotiations and bribes. When inducements fail, yelling is next. Yet this inordinate amount of focused attention “accidentally” reinforces the very conduct that needs changing. Children need attention and they will accept it…

Bal-A-Vis-X

Adapted from Bal-A-Vis-X by Bill Hubert Imagine a room full of eager 7th graders in pairs all performing the same bounce-catch pass exercises to a steady unhurried “thub, dub, dub” rhythm as the balls hit the floor and then the palms of their hands. The students are processing vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory and tactile experience simultaneously. Their confidence grows as they master Bal-A-Vis-X sequences of ever increasing difficulty. With enhanced ability to focus attention, success builds on success. The activities are so engaging that students want to learn them, like to practice during lunch and recess, and enjoy becoming the envy of high achievers whose disabilities don’t entitle them to such a “fun” intervention. What Is Bal-A-Vis-X? Bal-A-Vis-X is a series of Balance/Auditory/Vision eXercises, of varied complexity, most of them deeply rooted in rhythm. Appropriate for grades K -12, the program utilizes beanbags, racquetballs, balance boards, and multiple principles and activities from Educational Kinesiology. This highly motivating program develops full-body…

Tips to Stimulate Language Development

by Bobbi Wade, Speech-Language Therapist Working with children with mild to severe developmental delays, I frequently use movement and humor to stimulate language development. Here are some games I created that my patients enjoy, and anyone can do at home or school. The activities are generally in order from lowest to highest developmental level, but can be adapted for all. Whenever possible, use a large therapy ball. Chipmunk Kisses Goals: Body awareness, oral motor development, social interaction Instead of “Hi,” and “Goodbye,’ I start and end each session with a chipmunk kiss. The child puffs out his/her cheeks; I do the same; then we tap our cheeks together to release the air. This activity has become a favorite ritual for many of my kids. Tactile Sequencing Goals: Spontaneous language and gestures, sensory integration (Great first thing in the morning.) One at a time, pat each leg gently with a cupped hand from foot to thigh, saying pat-pat-pat in rhythm. Use…

Neurological Symptoms

The following symptoms indicate that a child may be impacted neurologically. Gut dysbiosis and immune dysregulation commonly result in neurological symptoms. Many of these neurological symptoms are common to children on the autism spectrum; however, they can also be displayed by children who do not have autism, but who are affected by the same environmental and biological factors as children with ASD. Children who display the following symptoms should be evaluated for underlying gut dysbiosis and immune dysregulation by an integrative pediatrician or holistic practitioner. Persistent toe-walking (always walking on tip-toes) Delays in crawling, walking, talking Large motor delays–difficulties completing age-appropriate physical tasks Sideways glancing Sensory defensiveness or sensory-seeking behavior Pressure-seeking behavior Obsessive or compulsive type behaviors Persistent aggressive behavior Persistent non-compliant or oppositional behavior Tics (verbal or physical) Frequent temper tantrums (multiple times a day) Frequent crying, sadness, anger (multiple times a day) Learn more about “soft signs” and symptoms.

Where Do I Begin?

Where do I begin? Should I start with my being pregnant and working at a stressful job in New York City? Maybe I should first write about my family history of celiac and not knowing that having undiagnosed celiac/gluten intolerance can have major consequences to your unborn child. Maybe I should begin with my son’s delivery. I describe the aftermath as being a crime scene, (sorry for the visual). Let’s just say it was the perfect storm of two injections of an epidural, lots of pitocin and a forceps delivery. The Crying Began As soon as our bundle of joy came home…the crying began. The doctor diagnosed him with having an awful case of colic, the worst she had ever seen. He was prescribed a cocktail of Maalox and Zantac for the first year and a half of his life. No other suggestion was made other than medicine and changing his formula. Throughout all of this I was trying to…

Special Needs Siblings

With all of its chaotic ups and downs, joys and sorrows, love and rivalry, family life (referred to by Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek as “the whole catastrophe”) can be a challenge for everyone. Special needs siblings experience both additional enrichment and extra challenges. As a parent, or a concerned provider, you know how important these siblings are. They are the family members who will probably be involved with their brothers and sisters longer than anyone, even their parents. What are the extra challenges for siblings of children with special needs, and how can we best support them? Emotional Balance The most effective way to address emotionally charged issues is with open communication, honesty, and warmth. Emotional turmoil related to developmentally delayed brothers or sisters can be overwhelming for some siblings. Parents who share their own feelings in appropriate ways, and listen and respond without judgment create a loving atmosphere. Confidence can then prevail over turmoil and scary fantasy….