Educational Alternatives

by Patricia S. Lemer, Ms.Bus., NCC, Chairman of the Board, Epidemic Answers Imagine — a ten year old boy attending his fifth school in six years!  His mother consulted me last spring, hopeful that I knew about a special place where her son with Asperger’s syndrome would thrive, not just be tolerated. Unfortunately, there is no such place, I told her.  She described a wish to start a new school for her son and others like him.  She wanted a challenging cognitive curriculum, an art room, computers, hands-on science, and other experiential activities that respected her son’s sensory needs to touch and move, and his interest in technology. Today, he and a peer work together in a close-to-ideal classroom. Although many other families expressed interest in such a project and came to preliminary meetings, they all made other arrangements for fall. Some returned to public schools, determined to fight harder for their children’s rights.  A few found places in forgiving…

Using a Multidisciplinary Approach for Autism and Other Spectrum Disorders

by Patricia S. Lemer, M.Ed., NCC, Chairman of the Board, Epidemic Answers Recently I returned to Boston for my 30th college reunion.  I was disappointed to find that some of my old haunts had vanished, but thrilled to find that others were still there. A visit to what was once Kennedy Hospital for Children, where I began my first job in 1969 as a staff psychologist, resulted in my reminiscing about my career odyssey. It was here that the dream that was to become Developmental Delay Resources, my former non-profit, began to percolate.  This remarkable institution was the genesis of my focus on the concept of a multi-disciplinary team.  How fortunate I  was to have worked with the best doctors and therapists. Every Monday a group of five children entered the hospital as inpatients. Each department did a comprehensive evaluation and on Friday met to discuss findings.  An overall treatment plan included such innovative techniques as a ketogenic nutrition diet,…

Sensory Processing Disorder Early Intervention

by Carol S. Kranowitz, MA Every day, Sensory Processing Disorder receives new recognition as a common problem among children.  Recognition is good, but those of us who know about it and see the benefits of a healthy sensory diet want more.  To prevent sensory integration dysfunction from hindering our children’s development, we want Sensory Processing Disorder early intervention and identification. One way to encourage parents, teachers, and other early childhood professionals to address SI dysfunction is to help them see it as a developmental problem.  Kids don’t grow out of Sensory Processing Disorder; they grow into it, unless we spot it and treat it — the sooner, the better. Early identification is often possible if children attend a center with an occupational therapist (OT) or a savvy teacher on staff, who can observe their behavior over time. Sensory Processing Disorder can also be detected by a pediatric team using a multidisciplinary approach.  Another avenue is a screening.  A screening is…