Been There, Done That

by Patricia S. Lemer, M.Ed., NCC, M.S. Bus. Annette and Tom were stunned by an article they read in “Parents’ Magazine”.  A boy just like their Skyler had improved markedly on a special diet for children with autism.  When his family removed foods containing gluten (protein found in grains) and casein (protein found in dairy products) from his diet, he had begun speaking and was now considered “typical.” At first, Annette and Tom were skeptical and apprehensive about taking away Skyler’s cereal and milk.  He could starve!  But the immediate differences they saw were encouraging.  He looked at them now, spoke in sentences and slept better.  He still hated those tags and twiddled his fingers in front of his eyes when he was tired.  They contacted me for suggestions. Debbie called from Maine.  She’d read The Out-of-Sync Child.  “It was as if Carol Kranowitz had spent a day with my Sarah.  I found a good OT nearby who knew about…

Vision Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

by Maria Rickert Hong, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, AADP I am fortunate to have Dr. Randy Schulman, MS, OD, FCOVD, as my sons’ behavioral optometrist.  Dr. Schulman wrote the chapters on the role of vision therapy and optometry in Patty Lemer’s book, “Envisioning a Bright Future:  Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders“, which I reviewed earlier.  Patty was the one who recommended Dr. Schulman to me, and she practices in my area. Patty has always talked about the importance of vision therapy for people with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder (SPD), learning disabilities and other neurological disorders.  Now I know why.  In fact, Patty’s book was published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, which should give you a clue as to the importance of vision in neurodevelopmental disorders. Vision Problems a Cause of Many ASD Symptoms I was astounded to learn that vision problems are a CAUSE of, not a by-product of, many ASD symptoms. …

Screentime Guidelines for Children with Autism, ADHD and Other Developmental Delays

Screentime Guidelines for Children

Screentime Guidelines for Children with Autism, ADHD and Other Developmental Delays

Sanford R. Cohen, OD, FCOVD, discusses screentime guidelines for children using video devices (computers, smartphones, tablets and TVs) in this blog post. Video devices enrich our lives; experts, however, are expressing concerns about children’s usage of them. When kids play video games or surf the net, we must address some important health-related issues. Basic Visual Abilities Necessary for Video Device Usage By preschool, children have acquired the basic visual abilities needed for simple video device operation. These abilities include focusing, tracking, fixation, eye-hand coordination and binocularity. They develop as children interact with their environment and integrate visual experiences with other sensations. When a child has developmental delays, such as autism, ADHD, PDD-NOS or Sensory Processing Disorder, visual abilities are often delayed, too. Delays may also affect trunk, neck and head control; fine motor coordination of the eyes; and sensory integration – all essential for any visual activity. How Devices Affect Vision Video images are comprised of pixels – dots of…

Prioritizing Interventions for Autism, PDD-NOS, SPD and ADHD

by Patricia S Lemer, M.S. Bus., NCC, Chairman of the Board, Epidemic Answers Families sometimes share that they are confused about the order in which to pursue interventions for their child. They hear from well-meaning friends, parents and teachers about the benefits of various treatments. Which should they try? B6 and Magnesium? Auditory training? Special glasses? Tutoring? If only a sequence were available to guide them…. My editorial attempts to grant your wish. I have devised the following chart to clarify how to prioritize interventions for autism, PDD-NOS, SPD and ADHD. OPTIMUM THERAPIES AT EACH AGE LEVEL Age Primary Therapies Secondary Therapies Extra Fun Therapies 0-3 SI-based OT/PTNutrition Speech/LanguageOsteopathic Movement 4-7 SI-based OT/PTSpeech/Language Speech/LanguagePlay Therapy Music Therapy 8-12 Vision TherapyAcademic Speech/LanguagePsychological Martial ArtsPerceptual-Motor 13-18 PsychologicalAcademic Vision TherapyNutrition Hippotherapy 19-Adult Social-EmotionalVocational AcademicNutrition Hobbies Remember that every child is unique. Find experienced professionals within each specialty who will take a very thorough developmental history before suggesting an individual protocol. Then, get a…

Choosing a Developmental Optometrist

by Patricia S. Lemer, MEd., NCC  A parent recently asked why I recommended that her child be examined by an optometrist rather than an ophthalmologist.  The answer comes from my understanding of these two eye care professions and my personal experience. Both types of eye doctors examine and prescribe glasses, diagnose and treat eye disease, and can evaluate how well a person uses the eyes together.  However, each profession is unique. Ophthalmologists are trained to do surgery.  I credit one with saving the eyesight of my daughter, who at age five, sustained an eye injury. Optometrists are schooled in the behavioral (or functional) aspects of vision.  They are more apt to use lenses, prisms and vision therapy to enhance and improve function.  These interventions often improve children’s academic and other abilities. Eyesight vs. Vision Eyesight and vision are not synonymous.  Eyesight is the sharpness of the image seen by the eye.  Vision is the ability to focus on and comprehend…

Vision Therapy from a Developmental Optometrist

by Sally Brockett, M.S., Director, Innovative Developments for Educational Achievements, Inc. (IDEA) Just like language and motor skills, vision follows a sequence of developmental stages. Infants are not born with the visual abilities they will need in order to function successfully in the world. These abilities must develop through a variety of experiences. At any point during this process, visual development may be hindered, altered or completely stopped, by injury, illness, emotional trauma, lack of appropriate stimulation, or other unidentified causes. When language and/or motor skill development is interrupted, parents and teachers seek to identify the problem and intervene with therapy or training activities designed to assist the child in overcoming the delay. A similar approach is available to parents of children who have inadequately developed visual abilities. When we speak of vision, we are referring to the ability of the brain to organize and interpret the information seen so it becomes understandable or meaningful. Even indi­viduals with good eyesight…

ADHD Causes

ADHD Causes

ADHD Causes

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN, discusses ADD and ADHD causes. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), with or without hyperactivity, is a subjective diagnosis that physicians apply to a standardized cluster of behaviors and symptoms. ADD/ADHD is on the “less severe” extreme the autistic spectrum, with PDD (pervasive developmental delay) and autism on the “most severe” end. Doctors sometimes “upgrade” autism or PDD to ADD or ADHD as sensory and cognitive function improve. Identifying ADD and ADHD causes assists in determining effective treatments. Attention deficits can result when one or more of the following areas is affected. Biochemical/Nutritional Nutritional Culprits Nutrition alters brain chemistry. When nutrition is compromised, the body is more likely to absorb toxins, causing further distress. Keeping a record of your child’s nutritional intake over several days can be enlightening. Look for these commonalities: A high carbohydrate or sugary diet; Over two cups of juice or sweetened drinks per day; Limited or no vegetables- especially  green leafy ones; Picky eating….