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Why Are Transitions So Difficult For My Child?

What is it about change that is so problematic for some children (and for us)?

The stories are familiar:

  • The child who can’t make it down the hallway in school without causing a disruption.
  • The child who has seemingly had a good day at school and then whines incessantly before dinnertime.
  • The bedtime routine that takes forever and is not enjoyable for anyone.
  • The child who does fine in the classroom for major subjects but falls apart in the lunchroom or during specials.
  • The child who acts out whenever there is a substitute teacher or a new babysitter.
  • Those nightmarish car rides that we have all experienced.

 

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Why Can’t Johnny Sit Still? ADHD and How it Affects Your Child’s Classroom Behavior

 

A parent asked me this the other day:  She and the teachers were so frustrated with her son’s behavior.  It turns out that “Johnny”, as he is known in this blog, is a bright child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Luckily for him, his parents, and his teachers, he is not alone and there are many well-validated interventions to get him to “sit still”. Johnny is just one of the estimated 8-10% of school aged children who have a diagnosis of ADHD.  The DSM-IV, which is the diagnostic manual for all mental health disorders, indicates that there are several symptoms of ADHD including:  inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

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Does Your Child Have Bad Behavior at School, or Is it Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory integration (SI) is the organization of sensory input and sensations (touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, movement, body awareness, and the pull of gravity) in order to produce appropriate responses to situations, events, emotions, and expectations throughout the day. Sensory input flows constantly into our brain from our body and from the environment at a very rapid rate. The brain takes in information from our sensory systems and forms a combined picture of this information so that the body can make sense of its surroundings and react to them appropriately. This sensory information needs to be processed, organized and co-coordinated, and acted upon if a person is to behave appropriately and learn efficiently. If these sensations can be well managed, the brain can form perceptions, then concepts, and then derive meanings which results in acquiring skills and learning. Sensory integration provides a crucial foundation for more complex learning and behavior to develop.

While the process of SI occurs automatically and without effort for most of us, for some, the process is inefficient and is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD is a neurological problem, which affects behavior, learning, and Read more

Alternative Therapy: If it sounds too good to be true…. guess what?

Several weeks ago I attended a library lecture at which a gentleman was discussing his therapeutic company.  The individual was describing how his intervention can “miraculously improve” learning disabilities, ADHD, and Autism.  I found myself thinking, “Wow, this guys is good.”  And what I mean is that he was good at being a salesman.  Parents all too often are looking for a quick cure- an instant fix for whatever condition their children have.  We as clinicians all too often get mad at these parents for trying alternative therapies instead of what we know to be scientifically sound interventions.  However, who can seriously blame these parents?  They want the best for their children.  These parents desperately want their children to behave and appear like a neurotypical child.  They want quick fixes and lasting change. 

A relatively recent book, Snake Oil Science ,by R. Barker Bausell, explains the fallacy behind many alternative interventions.  In the book he explains how patients and physicians are often sold into the benefits of alternative therapies with no real rhyme or reason as to the proposed mechanisms for improvement.  Bausell’s main arguments against alternative interventions are two-fold: 

1) there is no explanation behind the reason for change and

2) the research behind the therapies is often quite lousy

This is a great read for any clinician who provides recommendations for parents or patients in general. 

Dr. Teri Hull wrote a blog article a few weeks ago describing the limitations of Developmental Vision Therapy as an intervention.  This is a touchy subject for many people, as there are numerous practitioners and patients who have either prescribed or benefited from vision therapy or some other alternative intervention.  I would admit that there are certain people who benefit from such interventions.  However, what we know from sound scientific research is that these studies do not benefit a sample at the population level.

I am curious as to everyone’s thoughts on alternative interventions.

What do you as parents think? 

Therapists who are reading this blog, what are your opinions? 

Do you ever refer parents to such alternative therapies? 

What have your results been?

Behavior Vision Therapy? Do your Homework!

Vision

Here’s an excerpt from the Abstract:

Learning disabilities are complex problems that require complex solutions. Early recognition and referral to qualified educational professionals for evidence based evaluations and treatments seem necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Most experts believe that dyslexia is a language based disorder. Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning; however, vision problems are not the cause of primary dyslexia or learning disabilities. Scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses for improving the long-term educational performance in these complex pediatric neurocognitive conditions. Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.

Download Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision here.

This speaks to the importance and necessity of providing parents with information about what treatments and interventions are supported by research.  There is quite a bit of misinformation out there and it may seem overwhelming for parents to try to tease apart what is good for their kids.  As clinicians , It is our job to help parents by stressing the importance of only using treatments that have been found to be effective through research.  Many of these so-called treatments that have been found to not be effective are very costly, it is a disservice to allow parents to spend valuable resources (time, money, energy) on such treatments.