Special needs and the maze of sleep issues! How to navigate?

Did you know with special needs you have sleep issues lurking as a co-morbidity?  Yes, while a parent/caregiver is so soaked up dealing with other delays their child has, it seems inevitable to glide over or just simple live through the sleep disturbances your child is presenting. In the vast schema of things like speech, adaptive milestones, I was exhausted to look at sleep as a separate issue to deal with.  My son with ASD had both – delayed sleep onset and sleep awakenings.  After taking hours to fall asleep, he would wake up at random times and stay awake

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Sound healing therapy. Did you know about it?

Do you have a child who is good at certain things but struggles with executive functioning and focus in general?  Do you find your kid fidgety, lacking attention and emotional regulation has a diagnosis of ASD, ADD, ADHD, or auditory processing disorder?  Does your child suffer in day-to-day life or school due to learning and communication disorders? Then keep reading… I have always been on the lookout for multisensory approaches to support learning.  Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being.  My son is minimally verbal(has delayed echolalia) and possesses a great liking

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Aquatic poster

Aquatic occupational therapy, heard of it?

Have you struggled with a child with gross motor delays?  Did they trip and fall often, could not hop, skip and jump as their peers did?  There is certainly something you can do to help along while supporting their skill development in other areas. Heard of Aquatic occupational therapy (Aquatic OT)?  What is it? It is a unique, yet evidence-based, type of therapy practice where water is used as a therapy tool.  It is not common to see occupational therapy for children in the aquatic environment.  You will see kids in the sessions that look a lot like traditional therapy

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Using flashcards to teach language- Visual Memory Enhancers.

Piecing language for a gestalt language learner has been quite an interesting and exhaustive task.  While you have to retain your focus on core words one has to teach them as practically as possible.  Do you find yourself in a scenario where you are stuck with therapists doing random words that are hard to generalize?  Is the language not progressing beyond words/phrases used for requesting needs and wants.  Then, read on – how to build vocabulary and help language acquisition.  Picture flashcards are my first choice to work on speech and language goals. So why use flashcards?  Flashcards improve your

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Time concepts-“Understanding” passage of day.

In this post, I elaborate on how to extend time concepts to understand the passage of a day. Follow-up post in continuation to my earlier post on –  “passage of time” concepts. My son is who is speech delayed(on the spectrum) loves structure and has shown a strong preference for written schedules.  I have always used such schedules to curate his day and make it predictable. However, I did experience issues as my son would keep requesting an activity on the schedule, while it was not the time for that yet!  I had taught him elapsed time concepts using visual timers,

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Core vocabulary and communication.

The Power of Core Vocabulary Core vocabulary refers to the small number of words that make up >70-90% of what we say daily. These words are relevant across contexts and can have many meanings. They are a specific set of pronouns, words, descriptors, prepositions and very few nouns that apply across settings. Some examples of core vocabulary include: stop, go, get, more, turn, mine, on, off, up, down, that.  They are classified as:- Tier 1- Most basic words. Tier 2- High-frequency words. Tier 3- Low-frequency words. They are also the words that are on the AAC device(Augmentative and Alternative Communication)

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They are analytic and gestalt language modes of acquisition.  For a long time, I had no answer for my son’s delayed echolalia and every therapist simply was working “around it”.  He had limited speech and until I stumbled on this article, I did not figure out that my child checked all boxes of a “gestalt language processor”.  Read on to understand and ensure you are using the right approach for such a kid. Please see the chart below for quick reference.  Originally published here, for more details.   Gestalt language acquisition is a style of language development with predictable stages

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“Understanding” the passage of time- Time concepts.

Teaching time concepts becomes the key to several aspects when you have a child with special needs.  I am not referring to telling time alone, however subtle concepts like waiting, turn-taking tie-up closely with “elapsed time”. Elapsed time is the amount of time that passes from the start of an event to its finish. In simplest terms, the elapsed time is how much time goes by from one time to another. An important tool that goes hand and hand with elapsed time is the timer. Consider teaching elapsed time as a concept consistently in various scenarios.  Waiting for preferred items, nonpreferred items, offering a choice of minutes to wait. Please

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Special needs and comprehension skills.

Teaching a special needs child is a completely different art that can get complex and demanding, needing a lot of patience.  That is when one will realize that the right tools can lend you a hand.  I am talking about materials and resources to target a specific skill! I want to touch a bit on the theory of mind and its relevance to autism.  Theory of mind is impaired in people with autism. One of the earliest tests for the theory of mind is the false-belief test developed by Simon Baron-Cohen and Uta Frith1. In the classic version of the test, a

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Fine motor tools- under $10.

Often you will find that a parent with special needs child will have to tackle fine motor skills on and off. Well, it does not really matter much in the array of issues a parent is firefighting during the initial years. Eventually, as you are inching towards school readiness, this skill holds your child down in ways that you did not anticipate. Ever heard that a child is cognitively ahead however, handwriting holding him/her down in a way that makes them repeat the tracing, legibility goals for a long time! Sometimes to the extent of getting aversive/mislabeled! Well, I may

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