Is my child a brat?: See what Playapy Founder, Amy Baez, has to say?
As the number of
children diagnosed in the United States increases each year, so does the
public’s awareness of autism and its symptoms. Sensory processing problems,
also referred to as “sensory issues,” are one of the most common symptoms of
autism. They, however, can be experienced in children without the other
criteria required for an autism diagnosis, which include communication
difficulties, social challenges, and repetitive behaviors.
processing is defined as the way the nervous system receives information from
the senses and interprets it into motor and behavioral responses. Sensory
issues occur when the body has a response that is considered to be outside of
the normal range. For example, a child may be overly sensitive to light and may
not be able to tolerate brightly lit supermarket. This may cause the child to
act out or have “issues.” When a child has responses that seriously affect or
interfere with everyday life, a diagnosis such as Sensory Processing Disorder may
Everybody knows the
five senses of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. Yet, sensory input also
can be received from the sense of balance and spatial orientation in movement
(vestibular sense) and the sense of position and strength needed in movement
(proprioceptive sense). When a child is hyper-responsive, that means he or she
demonstrates a low or hyposensitivity. When a child is hypo-responsive, that
means he or she demonstrates a high or hypersensitivity.
Examples of hyposensitivity
Touches people or things excessively or when
Craves movement and/or has difficulty
May harm others by not recognizing his or
her own strength
Does not respond to requests or name being
Examples of hypersensitivity
Easily distracted or annoyed by background
Avoids or is fearful of playground
equipment like swings or monkey bars
Walks on tiptoes or is hesitant to walk on
sand or grass
Very particular about clothing or food textures
therapists (OTs) specialize in helping children regulate the sensory system
through sensory integration therapy. If your child has disruptive sensory
issues, consider consulting with your pediatrician about prescribing an evaluation
with an OT who can create and implement a plan specific to your child. I hope
you find this information helpful. Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play
Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational
therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more
information about Playapy services and products, visit www.playapy.com or email email@example.com.
It’s summer, and it’s no big
surprise that tempers can rise just as easily as the temperature when children
are hot, tired, and exhausted from the heat. Parents can find themselves in
situations when they feel their blood boiling as well. So it helps to be
mentally prepared for those special moments when your child tests your tolerance.
As a therapist, I have worked with hundreds of children, and I have found that
5 main strategies are most effective when I need to turn a tantrum moment into
something more tolerable. Here are my suggestions:
#1 Ignore it. It is
often best to not draw attention to negative behaviors. For example, if a child
throws a toy, continue the current task but also make sure that the child picks
up the toy later. If the child is abusive, you may need to restrain them for a
few seconds to prevent any harm, but resist lecturing in the moment.
#2 Change the scene.
Sometimes, drawing attention to something else will distract a child enough to
create a shift in their emotional state. This can include changing locations,
suggesting another option, or introducing something novel like a new phone app
they haven’t seen. Keep in mind, using technology as a strategy is not advised for extended periods of time.
#3 Keep calm. If you
raise your voice and heighten your stress level, the child’s behavior may
escalate to match yours. Remember to use a soft voice, breathe slowly, and if
possible offer your child a firm hug to give them a sense of security.
#4 Find the source…and
remove it. Just like adults, children want to be understood. Try to get your
child to communicate what is causing them stress. Removing the person or object
temporarily can decrease the tension momentarily.
#5 Provide incentives.
Call it bribery or creative strategizing or motivation, but children will do
amazing and challenging things for a “treat” they find valuable. The trick is
to determine if it’s a sticker, free play, food, rest, toys, money, quality
time, or something else. Figure out what motivates them, and follow through
with the delivery of it but only if its not what has caused the tantrum.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If your child consistently has tantrums you are unable to tame, consider consulting with your pediatrician about the possible need of occupational therapy services. Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play Curator
Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist,
award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more information
about Playapy services and products, visit www.playapy.com
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Loren Shlaes, OTR/L Certified Teacher of the Alexander TechniquePhoto Credit:Â Rolf Sachs DesignThe child does not get enough exercise. Children require huge amounts of movement, preferably outside, every single day. Movement and exercise is as essential as food for children in order to stay organized, develop and mature their nervous systems, improve their coordination, strength and motor planning, and to be healthy! So many of us live in cities now and have just forgotten how vital it is for a child’s health and development to go outside and play. Have parents bring the child to the playground for half an hour before school starts, and let him play on the equipment, or have a game of touch football, statues, or tag. And if his teacher takes away recess as a punishment, you must insist that she find another…