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Posts Tagged ‘Child Mind Institute’

Why We Finally Chose A Contained Classroom Setting

September 12, 2013 4 comments

james 6th gradeRead my latest piece on the Child Mind Institute, about inclusive vs. contained classroom settings and our experience in both.

Child Mind Institute: Important Mental Health Info For Kids At Your Fingertips

Toys Your Kids Will Actually Play With

One of my posts about veteran toys was recycled on childmind.org. I highly encourage you to browse their fabulous, resourceful site and keep an eye out for my upcoming review of the organization later this month.

“A Parent’s Guide To Bullying” Talk, Live on Facebook 9/20/12

September 18, 2012 1 comment

 

 

“A Parent’s Guide To Bullying” Talk Live on Facebook
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Time: 12:00 PM — 01:00 PM
Facebook

  • Public Event

On Thursday, September 20 at 12PM ET, Dr. Jamie Howard, Child Mind Institute Clinical Psychologist, will present “A Parent’s Guide to Bullying” followed by a Q&A LIVE on Facebook. We’ll talk about how parents can recognize bullying behaviors and how to prevent them.

Dr. Howard will discuss:

  • Types of bullying
  • Risks for being bullied and bullying others
  • Warning signs a child is being bullied or bullying others
  • What parents can do to stop bullying and cyberbullying

No need to sign up beforehand, the event is free, open to the public and easily accessible.

How to participate:

Visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ChildMindInstitute, click on the “Live Webinars” button, and watch the talk live on the day of the event. Ask questions, chat with fellow talk attendees and enjoy a live talk with Dr. Weder from the comfort of your own computer.

You can watch without a Facebook account, but in order to ask questions and chat, you must be logged in. Go to facebook.com to sign up for an account.

Trouble accessing the live stream?

Please email jessica.wakeman@childmind.org if you have any issues or questions about the talk.

Do Video Games Cause ADHD? (Caroline Miller)

Among his many diagnoses, one of James’s more significant challenges is his attention, or more accurately, lack thereof. Even with medication James regularly needs to be told more than 5 times to do things like put his shoes on, go to the bathroom, turn his light off or come to the table for dinner. Sometimes it even takes squeezing his shoulder or putting my face 6 inches from his. Not to say that he won’t do these things or is being disobedient – he actually doesn’t acknowledge hearing the requests until our voices are raised (sometimes more than others) and then acts confused as to why we are “yelling.”

Now, if I whisper “Has James played any video games today?” to my husband in the dining room you can bet that James will come flying out of his room to answer – the very first time. James is not only attentive to all things electronic, especially video games, he is actually quite competent. I feel confident that James could wipe the floor with me at almost every Wii game we own, and am equally certain that I would have a much, much easier time with him day-to-day if I just let James sit in front of a screen as often as he liked. But, like so many decisions in our family, the easier road is often the one overgrown with weeds. James has to earn every limited moment of plug-in time that he gets, and unplugging after 15 or 30 minutes isn’t always a walk in the park either.

So when I saw Caroline Miller’s article (below) about video games and ADHD I felt compelled to read it. And after reading it I felt compelled to share it with you.

 

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Do Video Games Cause ADHD?

Why kids with attention problems are so focused—even fixated—on the screen

Caroline Miller

Editorial Director
CHILD MIND INSTITUTE

It has the makings of a paradox: Take a first grader who can’t stay in his chair at school, who wears out his caregivers by being in constant motion, who jumps restlessly from one activity to another, who can’t seem to focus on parental directions or finish ordinary tasks like tying his shoes or putting away his toys. In short, you have a child who exhibits all the behaviors that point to ADHD—except that this child can sit in front of a video screen, transfixed, for hours. And when you tell him to turn off the game or the TV and come to dinner, you’d better be prepared for pushback.

Seeing this combination of behaviors prompts parents to wonder several things: Does playing video games, and imbibing digital media in general, actually cause ADHD? If video immersion doesn’t cause ADHD, does it exacerbate it? Or does the intent focus this child brings to video games suggest that he doesn’t have ADHD after all?

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.

 

New on childmind.org: Customizing games for your kids, spanking and mental illness, coming of age on medication

THIS WEEK ON CHILDMIND.ORG
July 3, 2012
I’m pleased to tell you about a rather delightful piece on childmind.org (just in time for summer vacation) about games—how to make them work for children of different ages and abilities. It’s delightful because the writer, Michaela Searfoorce, brings such insight and humor to the role of being a mother of three kids. A passionate game-player, Michaela has customized five popular games for her brood, which includes, as she puts it, “a special needs pre-teen, a competitive 3-year-old and a copycat 20-month-old. What’s the secret? We make up our own rules.”What makes her reinvented games irresistible is her acuity in creating fun and engaging experiences for kids. My particular favorite is what she calls “Trivial Pursuit – Dinnertime Edition,” in which she writes questions on cards for each child and deploys them to energize dragging dinner table talk. “This little game has saved many a dinner alone with the kids while Ryan works late and I am out of ideas. The cards make it an ‘official game’ so they will answer anything I ask—pretty genius, right?”——

If you haven’t read her blog, thefoorce.com, I recommend that you check it out. I’m hooked on her weekly installments of conversations with James, her 11-year-old son with multiple disabilities. James is unpredictable, imaginative, perceptive, and occasionally infuriating. In one recent post from the Long Island Rail Road, his little sister points out a train yard and asks him what it is.  “It’s kind of like a nursing home for trains,” says James. “When trains stop working or when they get old they go to train yards.” Here’s another one in which Michaela captures the humor in James’s bad mood on a very rocky morning—something we all need to do on those kind of days.

 —Caroline Miller, Editorial Director

Special Needs Events in NYC – May 2012

Seminars, concerts, workouts, conferences, even yoga sessions – don’t say you were bored this month! Sorry for the last minute posting on some of these – it took forever to combine all of the May event emails (which is kind of a good thing).

MAY 2012 EVENTS:

Ongoing, every Sunday in May (and June): WSLL, Challenger’s division. Special needs baseball at Riverside Park. Late registration available – email me for details.

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Tuesday, May 8, 6:30PM

Managing Your Child’s Behavior: Tools and Strategies for Parents, with Dominick Auciello, PsyD, Child Mind Institute

PS 163 Auditorium, 163 W. 97th St. (Amsterdam/Columbus)
 
Dominick Auciello, PsyD, is a leading neuropsychologist with extensive expertise providing neuropsychological assessments to children, teens, and young adults with learning and psychiatric issues. He is widely respected for his knowledge of how neuropsychological evaluations relate to a child’s school and home environments.  Among Dr. Auciello areas of expertise are dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental language disorders, and concussions.
To attend, you must RSVP to Andi Velasquez by stopping by the P.S. 163 main office, calling (212) 678-2854, ext. 0, or emailing ps163pc@yahoo.com. Spots will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
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WEDNESDAY MAY 9

Dr. Ravitz, “Raising Resilient Children” in partnership with Tuesday’s Children @ The Conference Center, 130 East 59th Street  New York, NY 10022, 6-8pm in NYC

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THURSDAY MAY 10

Dr. Dickstein, “Raising Healthy Children in a Digital World” @ 92nd Street Y: 6:30 – 8pm

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FRIDAY MAY 11, 12:00-1:00PM

Live Speak Up for Kids Facebook Event: Dr.Fernandez, “Managing Problem Behavior: Strategies for Parents and Educators”, 

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May 12 in Central Park, Achilles Kids Workout – call 212-354-0300. ext. 305 for more info.

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Tuesday
May 15th
10AM – 1PM
Understanding the New IEP Lori Podvesker, M.S. Ed., Family and Community Educator, Resources for Children with Special Needs
  • Pre-registration is required by calling YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.
  • Parents and caregivers only! No children please.
  • Location: 460 West 34th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10001
  • Structure: 1st half (Presentation), 2nd half (Support)
  • Fee: None!

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May 18, 9:00AM at PS 163 (W. 97th and Amsterdam) – final meeting of The Foorce, “Special Needs Summer Activities and Programs”

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May 19 at JCC – Achilles Kids Workout – call 212-354-0300. ext. 305 for more info.

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May 20

DMF Spring Concert – “We Will Rock You – A Musical Celebration.” It will be a high energy performance and will have you singing, dancing and “rockin out” in your seats with performances like – I Love Rock N Roll, Aquarius, This Love, a song medley from Elvis, Born To Be Wild, Bohemian Rhapsody, among many others!

The Dalton School
108 East 89th St. (between Lexington and Park Ave.)
1:00PM-2:30PM and/or 4:00PM-5:30PM.

Please RSVP if you will be able to attend by using Eventbrite – http://dmf-rock-and-roll.eventbrite.com/ or if you prefer, contact us at daniel@danielsmusic.org or 212-289-8912.

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Wednesday, May 23

Resources for Children With Special Needs presents: Friendship, Dating, & Sexuality: A Free Symposium for Parents and Professionals

Where: Credit Suisse , 11 Madison Avenue (24th Street) Entrance on Park Avenue South at 24th Street

Panel:

Dr. Michelle S. Ballan, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Columbia University, Leading researcher, writer, professor, mentor, and advocate, disability studies and sexuality; recipient of numerous awards, including the Columbia University Presidential Teaching Award, Services for Students with Disabilities Faculty Award, Association on Higher Education and Disability Recognition Award, and others.

Dr. Chris Rosa, PhD, Dean of Students at CUNY, Serves on several local and national committees on disabilities, is a published disability studies scholar, and a faculty member at CUNY’s MA program in Disabilitiy Studies. A product of New York City public education, Chris was born, raised in, and presently resides in Flushing, Queens.  

Brian Schwanwede, Student, Sophomore at Fairleigh Dickinson University (Honors List), English Major, Film Studies Minor, FDU Equinox Newspaper, National Society of Leadership and Success, The National Society of Collegiate ScholarsCOMPASS:  College-based Support for Students with Asperger Syndrome

5pm Coffee Reception with Panelists, 5:30pm Program

Please do not hesitate to call RCSN with any questions: 212-677-4650

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Thursday
May 24th
10AM – 12:30PM
Yoga and Relaxation Laura Mitchell, LMSW, LMT, YAI LINK, Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor
  • Pre-registration is required by calling YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.
  • Parents and caregivers only! No children please.
  • Location: 460 West 34th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10001
  • Structure: 1st half (Presentation), 2nd half (Support)
  • Fee: None!

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May 26 at JCC – Achilles Kids Workout – call 212-354-0300. ext. 305 for more info.

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Thursday
May 31st
10AM – 12:30PM
“Hey! Get Back Here!” Learning to Manage Wandering and Elopement in the Community Lana Small, MSW, Coordinator, Project A.S.S.I.S.T.

Mary Downing, BA, Senior Supervisor, Project A.S.S.I.S.T.

  • Pre-registration is required by calling YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.
  • Parents and caregivers only! No children please.
  • Location: 460 West 34th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10001
  • Structure: 1st half (Presentation), 2nd half (Support)
  • Fee: None!

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June 2 – Central Park Challenge – CLICK HERE TO JOIN The Foorce!!

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Feel free to email me if you need more information or if there are typos regarding any of the above events. Or, you can add your own events in the comments section below. I’m also collecting event emails for June now through the last week of May so keep them coming!

Sensory Processing Issues Explained: Tantrums, clumsiness, ‘immaturity’ all could point to problems taking in the world

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Beth Arky is a writer at the Child Mind Institute, with a focus on autism spectrum disorder.  She has written extensively about the Asperger’s storyline on Parenthood andAmerican Idol’s James Durbin, diagnosed with both Asperger’s and Tourette’s syndrome.

Before writing for CMI, Arky was an editor at Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide. She has also written for People, the New York Daily News and USA Weekend, which featured her roundtable with the late Dr.Stanley Greenspan and singer Laurie Berkner on the importance of music in child development.

It looks as though I have finally met my match when it comes to word count! Don’t let the length intimidate you, though – every word is worth reading. My sincere thanks to Beth for sharing with us her fantastic gift and this comprehensive overview of SPD!

Sensory Processing Issues Explained: Tantrums, clumsiness, ‘immaturity’ all could point to problems taking in the world

When Jill went hunting for new shoes for her 6-year-old daughter, Katie, it wasn’t a simple question of finding the cutest pair in her size. While the second-grader doesn’t have wide feet, Jill learned the hard way that Katie needs a really wide toe box because “if she feels things are constricting at all, we’re done.” And because her daughter has balance issues that make her prone to tripping and falling, Jill looks for soles that aren’t too smooth, thick or clunky, with a rubber toe that won’t wear out quickly. 

Not long ago, mothers in Jill’s shoes might have been frustrated by what they’d likely have perceived as a “difficult, clumsy” little girl. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, Jill posted a distress signal on Facebook: “help! kid with sensory issues!” She also enlisted a friend who blogs about special needs and her 8-year-old son. The pair got a total of 43 responses. When Jill made her final online purchase, she shared her triumph as if it she’d snagged the Golden Fleece.

All the moms who answered Jill’s call are well-versed in sensory issues like Katie’s, which often are recognized during the toddler years, as parents observe an unusual aversion to noise, light, shoes that are deemed too tight and clothes that are irritating. They may notice clumsiness and trouble climbing stairs; and difficulty with fine motor skills like wielding a pencil and fastening buttons.

More baffling—and alarming—to parents are children who exhibit extreme behaviors: screaming if their faces get wet, throwing violent tantrums whenever you try to get them dressed, having an unusually high or low pain threshold, crashing into walls and even people, and putting inedible things, including rocks and paint, into their mouths. These and myriad other atypical behaviors may reflect sensory processing issues—children who are overwhelmed because of their difficulty integrating information from their senses. It’s often called Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, although it’s not recognized by the psychiatrists’ bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Sensory issues received widespread attention earlier this month with the autism- and sensory-friendly staging of Broadway’s The Lion King, in which potentially over-stimulating and distressing lights were dimmed and noise subdued. As one mom noted, after her son froze at the door to the theater—even though he’d been preparing for weeks—”My husband equates it to excitement times 100, so that it is no longer exciting but becomes incredibly overwhelming to the point of being a nightmare for him.”

In fact, SPD and autism spectrum disorder are often thought of in tandem because the majority of children and adults on the autism spectrum also have significant sensory issues. However, most children with SPD are not on the spectrum. It can also be found in those with ADHD, OCD and other developmental delays—or with no other diagnosis at all. In fact, a 2009 research study suggests that 1 in every 6 children has sensory issues that impede their daily functioning, socialization and learning. It isn’t hard to see how these types of challenges could lead to a child feeling anxious and depressed.

A toddler who covers her ears at the sound of a fire truck’s siren or a second-grader who insists that all the tags be cut out of his clothes may have auditory or tactile sensitivities. But unless these sensitivities seriously interfere with their lives, they don’t have SPD.

What parents often notice first is odd behaviors and wild mood swings, strange at best, upsetting at worst. Often it’s an outsized reaction to a change in environment—a radical, inexplicable shift in the child’s behavior. For instance, a first-grader may do fine in a quiet setting with a calm adult. But place that child in a grocery store filled with an overload of visual and auditory stimulation and you might have the makings of an extreme tantrum, one that’s terrifying for both the child and parent.

“These kids’ tantrums are so intense, so prolonged, so impossible to stop once they’ve started, you just can’t ignore it,” notes Nancy Peske, whose son Cole, now 12, was diagnosed at 3 with SPD and developmental delays. Peske is coauthor with occupational therapist Lindsey Biel, who worked with Cole, of Raising a Sensory Smart Child.

Another response to being overwhelmed is to flee. If a child dashes out across the playground or parking lot, oblivious to the danger, Peske says that’s a big red flag that he may be heading away from something upsetting, which may not be apparent to the rest of us, or toward an environment or sensation that will calm his system. This “fight-or-flight response is why someone with SPD will shut down, escape the situation quickly, or become aggressive when in sensory overload,” she says. “They’re actually having a neurological ‘panic’ response to everyday sensations the rest of us take for granted.”

There are some theories that kids on the spectrum who wander are often attracted to water because it offers input they crave, too often with deadly results. “Not all sensory kids do this,” Peske says, “but most gravitate toward the sensations and environments they find calming or stimulating. Their self-regulation is not great, so safety takes a back seat to their need to get that input or that calming experience of being in water.”

The tendency of children on the autism spectrum to wander off impulsively is a huge safety issue for parents. A new medical code may improve understanding and handling of this high-risk behavior. READ MORE

Children, teens and adults with SPD experience either over-sensitivity (hypersensitivity) or under-sensitivity (hyposensitivity) to an impairing or overwhelming degree. The theory behind SPD is based on the work of occupational therapist Dr. A. Jean Ayres. In the 1970s, Dr. Ayres introduced the idea that certain people’s brains can’t do what most people take for granted: process all the information coming in through seven—not the traditional five—senses to provide a clear picture of what’s happening both internally and externally.

Along with touch, hearing, taste, smell and sight, Dr. Ayres added the “internal” senses of body awareness (proprioception) and movement (vestibular). When the brain can’t synthesize all this information coming in simultaneously, “It’s like a traffic jam in your head,” Peske says, “with conflicting signals quickly coming from all directions, so that you don’t know how to make sense of it all.”

What are these two “extra” senses in Dr. Ayres’ work?

Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints and ligaments, allowing for motor control and posture. The proprioceptive system tells the brain where the body is in relation to other objects and how to move. Those who are hyposensitive crave input; they love jumping, bumping and crashing activities, as well as deep pressure such as that provided by tight bear hugs. If they’re hypersensitive, they have difficulty understanding where their body is in relation to other objects and may bump into things and appear clumsy; because they have trouble sensing the amount of force they’re applying, they may rip the paper when erasing, pinch too hard or slam objects down.

The vestibular receptors, located in the inner ear; tell the brain where the body is in space by providing the information related to movement and head position. These are key elements of balance and coordination, among other things. Those with hyposensitivity are in constant motion; crave fast, spinning and/or intense movement, and love being tossed in the air and jumping on furniture and trampolines. Those who are hypersensitive may be fearful of activities that require good balance, including climbing on playground equipment, riding a bike, or balancing on one foot, especially with eyes closed. They, too, may appear clumsy.

To help parents determine if their child’s behavior indicates possible SPD, Peske and Biel have created a detailed sensory checklist that covers responses to all types of input, from walking barefoot to smelling objects that aren’t food, as well as questions involving fine and gross motor function, such as using scissors (fine) and catching a ball (gross). The SPD Foundation also offers a litany of “red flags.” The list for infants and toddlers includes a resistance to cuddling, to the point of arching away when held, which may be attributed to feeling actual pain when being touched. By preschool, over-stimulated children’s anxiety may lead to frequent or long temper tantrums. Grade-schoolers who are hyposensitive may display “negative behaviors” including what looks like hyperactivity, when in fact they’re seeking input.

At first, SPD parent blogger Hartley Steiner couldn’t understand why her son Gabriel’s psychologist suggested that he had SPD; after all, he didn’t fit the avoidance profile most people think of when they hear “sensory issues”—kids who cover their ears or won’t try new foods. As she wrote in her blog, Gabriel was “fine with loud noises, loved water, mud, hot salsa,” Steiner says. “He would climb to the tippity top of a play structure—and stand on top of it. No, my kid was not at all adverse to sensory stimuli—as a matter of fact, he couldn’t get enough.”

It took a year, and reading Carol Stock Kranowitz’s seminal book, The Out-of-Sync Child, for Steiner to realize there are two types of kids with SPD: sensory seekers and sensory avoiders. Those like Gabriel, who seek input, “are often considered ‘behavior problems,’ ‘hyperactive,’ ‘difficult,’ ‘stubborn,’ ‘coddled.’ Many of us parents have been blamed, told our kids need more discipline, or that they are ‘in need of a good spanking.'” Those who perceive things too intensely are avoiders; this can translate into refusing to brush their teeth or have their faces painted. To make things even more complicated, kids can be both seekers and avoiders and have both proprioceptive and vestibular challenges, along with issues relating to the traditional five senses.

Peske sums up the way sensory issues can affect kids this way: “If you’re a child who is oversensitive to certain sensations, you are not only likely to be anxious or irritable, even angry or fearful, you’re likely to be called ‘picky’ and ‘oversensitive.’ If you rush away because you’re anxious or you’re over-stimulated and not using your executive function well because your body has such a powerful need to get away, you’re ‘impulsive.’ If you have trouble with planning and executing your movements due to poor body awareness and poor organization in the motor areas of the brain, you’re ‘clumsy.’ Because you’re distracted by your sensory issues and trying to make sense of it all, you may be developmentally delayed in some ways, making you a bit ‘immature’ or young for your age.”

Amid this confusion, there may be relief for more than a few parents in recognizing what maybe causing otherwise inexplicable behavior. “When I describe sensory issues to parents whose kids have it,” Peske says, “the usual reaction is ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s it!’ They’ve been trying to put a finger on ‘it’ for many months, even years! The sense of relief that they finally know what ‘it’ is is humongous.”