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Friday, May 29, 2009

Casein Free and Gluten Free Diet: Affect on Children with Autism and ADHD




1. What is a casein free diet?
A casein free diet is where dairy (protein) is removed or any other food product containing casein.
Fortified cereals, ice cream, processed meats, salad dressings are just a few of the foods that could contain casein. In order to know for sure if a particular food contains casein be sure to read the label. It sometimes is not obvious that the particular food item contains dairy product or casein.

2. What is a gluten free diet?
A gluten free diet eliminates the wheat, barley, rye, oats, and any products made from these grains.

3. How do these products affect kids with autism?
The most studied theory is that eating or drinking milk protein leads to high levels of protein by-products, called casomorphines, in some children with autism. These by-products may then affect behavior like a drug would. Specifically, in these children, casomorphines could reduce their desire for social interaction, block pain messages, and increase confusion. If milk protein is taken out of the diet, the idea is that this will reduce the level of casomorphines, and behavior will improve as a result.
http://autism.healingthresholds.com/therapy/casein-free-diet

Some children with autism and ADHD experience gastrointestinal difficulties, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, blood toxification and allergic reactions to foods.

4. What may be in dairy that may cause these problems?
About a dozen pesticide residues are commonly found in non-organic cow's milk. (The source of these pesticides, of course, is the food that the cows were given to eat.) Also commonly found are hormonal residues from hormones that were given to the cows prior to milking, as well as antibiotics. Finally, from cow's milk products like cheese, cream, or butter packaged in plastic containers, residues of the plastic itself are found in the dairy products. These residues are called packaging migrants, and they include the substances DEHP and DEHA (diethylhexyl phthalate and diethylhexyl adipate).

5. Research for Casein or Gluten Free Diets?
Autistic Spectrum and Dietary Intervention
http://paleodiet.com/autism/#res -


The most important thing to remember about any intervention is for the child to be examined by a qualified practitioner to ascertain the degree if any of intolerance to casein or gluten. Nutrition must be examined to aid in children's ability to cognitively process and self-regulate but again it depends on the child and their own particular needs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Brain in the Gut - Implications for ADHD and Autism


Reference: Taken from "A contemporary view of selected subjects from the pages of The New York Times, January 23, 1996. Printed in Themes of the Times: General Psychology, Fall 1996. Distributed Exclusively by Prentice-Hall Publishing Company.



The Enteric Nervous System: The Brain in the Gut

The gut has a mind of its own, the "enteric nervous system". Just like the larger brain in the head, researchers say, this system sends and receives impulses, records experiences and respond to emotions. Its nerve cells are bathed and influenced by the same neurotransmitters. The gut can upset the brain just as the brain can upset the gut.

The gut's brain or the "enteric nervous system" is located in the sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Considered a single entity, it is a network of neurons, neurotransmitters and proteins that zap messages between neurons, support cells like those found in the brain proper and a complex circuitry that enables it to act independently, learn, remember and, as the saying goes, produce gut feelings.

The gut's brain is reported to play a major role in human happiness and misery. Many gastrointestinal disorders like colitis and irritable bowel syndrome originate from problems within the gut's brain. Also, it is now known that most ulcers are caused by a bacterium not by hidden anger at one's mother.

Details of how the enteric nervous system mirrors the central nervous system have been emerging in recent years, according to Dr. Michael Gershon, professor of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. He is one of the founders of a new field of medicine called "neurogastroenterology."

The gut contains 100 million neurons - more than the spinal cord. Major neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norephinephrine and nitric oxide are in the gut. Also two dozen small brain proteins, called neuropeptides are there along with the major cells of the immune system. Enkephalins (a member of the endorphins family) are also in the gut. The gut also is a rich source of benzodiazepines - the family of psychoactive chemicals that includes such ever popular drugs as valium and xanax.

In evolutionary terms, it makes sense that the body has two brains, said Dr. David Wingate, a professor of gastrointestinal science at the University of London and a consultant at Royal London Hospital. "The first nervous systems were in tubular animals that stuck to rocks and waited for food to pass by," according to Dr. Wingate. The limbic system is often referred to as the "reptile brain." "As life evolved, animals needed a more complex brain for finding food and sex and so developed a central nervous system. But the gut's nervous system was too important to put inside the newborn head with long connections going down to the body," says Wingate. Offspring need to eat and digest food at birth. Therefore, nature seems to have preserved the enteric nervous system as an independent circuit inside higher animals. It is only loosely connected to the central nervous system and can mostly function alone, without instructions from topside.

This is indeed the picture seen by developmental biologists. A clump of tissue called the neural crest forms early in embryo genesis. One section turns into the central nervous system. Another piece migrates to become the enteric nervous system. According to Dr. Gershon, it is only later that the two systems are connected via a cable called the vagus nerve.

The brain sends signals to the gut by talking to a small number of "command neurons," which in turn send signals to gut interneurons that carry messages up and down the pike. Both command neurons and interneurons are spread throughout two layers of gut tissue called the "myenteric plexus and the submuscosal plexus." Command neurons control the pattern of activity in the gut. The vagus nerve only alters the volume by changing its rates of firing.

The plexuses also contain glial cells that nourish neurons, mast cells involved in immune responses, and a "blood brain barrier" that keeps harmful substances away from important neurons. They have sensors for sugar, protein, acidity and other chemical factors that might monitor the progress of digestions, determining how the gut mixes and propels its contents.

As light is shed on the circuitry between the two brains, researchers are beginning to understand why people act and feel the way they do. When the central brain encounters a frightening situation, it releases stress hormones that prepare the body to fight or flee. The stomach contains many sensory nerves that are stimulated by this chemical surge - hence the "butterflies." On the battlefield, the higher brain tells the gut brain to shut down. A frightened running animal does not stop to defecate, according to Dr. Gershon.

Fear also causes the vagus nerve to "turn up the volume" on serotonin circuits in the gut. Thus over stimulated, the gut goes into higher gear and diarrhea results. Similarly, people sometimes "choke" with emotion. When nerves in the esophagus are highly stimulated, people have trouble swallowing.

Even the so-called "Maalox moment" of advertising can be explained by the interaction of the two brains, according to Dr. Jackie D. Wood, chairman of the department of physiology at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Stress signals from the head's brain can alter nerve function between the stomach and esophagus, resulting in heartburn.

In cases of extreme stress, Dr. Wood say that the higher brain seems to protect the gut by sending signals to immunological mast cells in the plexus. The mast cells secrete histamine, prostaglandin and other agents that help produce inflammation. This is protective. By inflaming the gut, the brain is priming the gut for surveillance. If the barrier breaks then the gut is ready to do repairs. Unfortunately, the chemicals that get released also cause diarrhea and cramping.

There also is an interaction between the gut brain and drugs. According to Dr. Gershon, "when you make a drug to have psychic effects on the brain, it's very likely to have an effect on the gut that you didn't think about." He also believes that some drugs developed for the brain could have uses in the gut. For example, the gut is loaded with the neurotransmitter serotonin. According to Gershon, when pressure receptors in the gut's lining are stimulated, serotonin is released and starts the reflexive motion of peristalsis. A quarter of the people taking Prozac or similar antidepressants have gastrointestinal problems like nausea, diarrhea and constipation. These drugs act on serotonin, preventing its uptake by target cells so that it remains more abundant in the central nervous system.

Gershon also is conducting a study of the side effects of Prozac on the gut. Prozac in small doses can treat chronic constipation. Prozac in larger doses can cause constipation - where the colon actually freezes up. Moreover, because Prozac stimulates sensory nerves, it also can cause nausea.

Some antibiotics like erythromycin act on gut receptors to produce ascillations. People experience cramps and nausea. Drugs like morphine and heroin attach to the gut's opiate receptors, producing constipation. Both brains can be addicted to opiates.

Victims of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases suffer from constipation. The nerves in their gut are as sick as the nerve cells in their brains. Just as the central brain affects the gut, the gut's brain can talk back to the head. Most of the gut sensations that enter conscious awareness are negative things like pain and bloatedness.

The question has been raised: Why does the human gut contain receptors for benzodiazepine, a drug that relieves anxiety? This suggests that the body produces its own internal source of the drug. According to Dr. Anthony Basile, a neurochemist in the Neuroscience Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, an Italian scientist made a startling discovery. Patients with liver failure fall into a deep coma. The coma can be reversed, in minutes, by giving the patient a drug that blocks benzodiazepine. When the liver fails, substances usually broken down by the liver get to the brain. Some are bad, like ammonia and mercaptan, which are "smelly compounds that skunks spray on you," says Dr. Basile. But a series of compounds are also identical to benzodiazepine. "We don't know if they come from the gut itself, from bacteria in the gut or from food, but when the liver fails, the gut's benzodiazepine goes straight to the brain, knocking the patient unconscious, says Dr. Basile.

The payoff for exploring gut and head brain interactions is enormous, according to Dr. Wood. Many people are allergic to certain foods like shellfish. This is because mast cells in the gut mysteriously become sensitized to antigens in the food. The next time the antigen shows up in the gut, the mast cells call up a program, releasing chemical modulators that try to eliminate the threat. The allergic person gets diarrhea and cramps.

Many autoimmune diseases like Krohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may involve the gut's brain, according to Dr. Wood. The consequences can be horrible, as in "Chagas disease," which is caused by a parasite found in South America. Those infected develop an autoimmune response to neurons in their gut. Their immune systems slowly destroy their own gut neurons. When enough neurons die, the intestines literally explode.

A big question remains. Can the gut's brain learn? Does it "think" for itself? Dr. Gershon tells a story about an old Army sergeant, a male nurse in charge of a group of paraplegics. With their lower spinal cords destroyed, the patients would get impacted. "At 10am every morning, the patients got enemas. Then the sergeant was rotated off the ward. His replacement decided to give enemas only after compactions occurred. But at 10 the next morning everyone on the ward had a bowel movement at the same time, without enemas." Had the sergeant trained those colons?

The human gut has long been seen as a repository of good and bad feelings. Perhaps emotional states from the head's brain are mirrored in the gut's brain, where they are felt by those who pay attention to them.

How does this affect our children with Autism, ADHD and oppositional behaviour when they have increased anxiety in social situations?? Does the food children ingest that they may be sensitive to, create a condition in the gut that influences the cognition in the brain or vice versa?? Allergic reactions to food and the increased use of medications may create an imbalance in the gut, which effect the neurotransmitters to the brain as well as increase in hormonal release in the gut causing increased pain. The emotional highs and lows for ADHD children and Autistic children may be influenced by the "gut brain" responding to the "head brain". Getting a full and complete physical should be required for all children diagnosed with a disability. That means all bloods, feces, urine, swabs and any other medical/psychological/developmental/emotional//social assessments for complete and holistic intervention.

Keep researching...
http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/09/27/autism-study.html

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Learning Organizations and Shared Leadership


Acknowledging the transformations that are occurring in understanding leadership and how organizations are structured is a continuing dilemma within the field of education. Schools have found themselves in an environment experiencing discontinuous change and the expectation that they re-evaluate their core business in order to achieve the most beneficial outcomes for their students. The business of education is undergoing a shift in leadership paradigms as learning organizations and multiple leadership roles evolve as prominent models to structure public education in the 21st century.

The reality of establishing a learning organization and shared leadership may be daunting for educators for some believe that the operation of a school is very different from running or managing a corporation or private business. However, the devolution of education from large district control to the individual school system has required leaders to re-evaluate their purpose within the school. The ability of the school to sustain itself over the long term is paramount to the survival of the system. Therefore, leaders within education must find ways to not only sustain their futures but also provide the necessary cultivation of knowledge for all the members within their school community to be able to compete within a global market and cope with the discontinuous change that the 21st century is experiencing (Sabah & Orthner, 2007).

The analysis of business management models is essential for helping schools transform their traditional hierarchical system to a system that understands that organizations can benefit from the creation of a learning organization that shares leadership among its participants. Senge (1997) explains that an organization creates a vision that empowers all participants within an organization to strive to embody new capabilities and learn new skills through practice and performance. He also notes that leadership is collective and leaders serve because they choose to serve, the notion that the way people think, act and view the world are inseparable, and that learning can be dangerous, as learning must become “transformational” in order to meet the needs of a changing society (Senge, 1997; pg.18).

As all the participants become accountable and responsible for achieving the vision of the organization, a learning community forms and is sustainable only by the continued involvement of the people in the organization. Bowen, Ware, Rose, & Powers (2007) cite Hiatt-Michael (2001) who states that a learning community has members who accept responsibility for acquiring new ideas that develop and maintain the environment. The learning community requires working together to harness member’s existing knowledge and experiences and focus on understanding and respecting other member’s diversity within the organization (Bowen, Ware, Rose, & Powers, 2007). Utilizing this definition of learning organizations the willingness of members to embrace innovations becomes paramount to the change that schools need to undergo to face new challenges and improve student outcomes (Bowen, Ware, Rose, & Powers, 2007).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Neurotherapy for ADHD and Autism


The issues that were identified by the two educators were the increasing number of students displaying symptoms of or being diagnosed with oppositional behaviour, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the schools ability or inability to adapt to accommodate the unique needs of today’s children. This paper will define these disorders and explore innovative approaches like neurotherapy and biofeedback to improve various cognitive skills related to attention and memory and to improve the negative behaviours that may be associated with each disorder.

Stanovich and Jordan (1998) have stated that “today’s teachers must deal, as never before, with heterogeneity in their classroom”. Students in the classroom who are severely disruptive may have a variety of mental health issues including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance and Conduct Disorder (Cook, 2005) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The American Psychiatric Association (1994) estimates that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder effect between 3-5% of the school aged population. The prevalence for Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Conduct Disorder may lie somewhere between 4 – 15% of the school aged population (Cook, 2005). Children who have been diagnosed ADHD may have a co-morbid diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Conduct Disorder (Jensen, Martin & Cantwell, 1997).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neuropsychological disorder that has a strong genetic link within families (Barkley, 1998). Children with ADHD may exhibit behaviour such as a lack of self-control, impulsiveness, inattentiveness and restlessness (Barkley, 1998). They can also be oppositional, disorganized, and verbally or physically abusive to peers and teachers and may have difficulty sitting in their seats (Campbell, 1994). Children with ADHD have difficulty moderating their behaviour in response to certain stimuli (Abikoff, 1985; Barkley, 1998). They are also at a greater risk of school failure and a later diagnosis of a disruptive behaviour disorder (ODD or CD) due to their impulsiveness and actions within a classroom setting (Campbell, 1994).

Evidence is showing that people who have ADHD have difficulties in their frontal lobe which is responsible for executive functioning; attention and impulse control (Chamberlain & Sahakian, 2006). Research using EEG (Electroencephalograph) measurements of brain wave activity in many individuals with ADHD show reduced activity in the prefrontal region and frontal lobes (i.e. cortical slowing) (Gottfried, 2006, Monastra et. al 1999). Niika Quistgard-Devivo (2006) in her article Scatterbrain includes a reference from Dr. Daniel Amen (Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour at the University of California) that ADHD may be due to “a lack of blood flow and electrical stimulation to the frontal cortex – the area of the brain involved in prioritizing and focusing. Scans usually show reduced activity in the decision making area of the brain”.

Autism is the most recognized form of a group of disorders referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Development Disorders (Seigal, 1996). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (1994), Autism is diagnosed in reference to three categories: Qualitative Impairments in Reciprocal Social Interaction, Qualitative Impairments in Communication and Restricted, Repetitive and Stereotyped Patterns of Behaviour. Diagnosis can occur as early as 18 months or by the age of three (Seigal, 1996). Claudia Wallis in her article for Time Magazine (May 2006), Inside the Autistic Mind, refers to a statistic from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention that 1 in every 166 children born in the United States will fall “somewhere on the Autistic Spectrum”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that Autism effects the brain in many areas as well as the wiring that connects one part of the brain with another. Autism is a “global disorder that affects reasoning, memory, balance, multi-tasking, and other skills (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006; Williams, Goldstein & Minshew, 2006). Darling (2004) has also noted that children with autism may have problems with gut function that inhibit neurotransmitters to the brain that may effect brainwave activity.

Neurotherapy and biofeedback are innovative treatments being offered to help improve the symptoms of ADHD, Oppositional Behaviour and Autism (Jaruseiwicz, 2002; Perl, 2002). Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback based on operant conditioning and can be used as a non-pharmacological treatment for ADHD (Butnick, 2005, Alhambra et al, 1995). The client is given information in relation to their state of arousal exactly as it is occurring as measured by the Electroencephalograph (EEG) machine (Gottfried, 2005, Butnick, 2005). The use of EEG feedback has been found to strengthen brain function and regulation of brain wave activity (Robbins, 2000).

Perl (2002) found improvements in impulsiveness, activity level, attention, completing tasks, and fewer aggressive outbursts as shown by the post TOVA (Test of Variables of Attention). Monastra (2002) has also found a decrease in the symptoms of ADHD with neurofeedback as shown by results using the TOVA and the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale. Monastra (2002) also notes that children using Ritalin benefited from the Neurofeedback but those who were taken off the medication and had not completed the Neurofeedback sessions showed no retention of improvement. Those that were taken off the medication and completed the Neurofeedback training retained the improvement in symptoms of ADHD (Monastra, 2002).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jason McElwain

This young man is so inspirational. The support that the other students also give him is fantastic.

Rory

This young man can teach us so much about how he needs to learn.

EXPECTANCY-VALUE THEORY



Expectancy-Value Theory investigates the individual’s expectation that they can succeed at a particular task and the value they place in engaging and completing the task (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Individuals must place value in a particular activity, as they may not be motivated to complete the activity even if they know they can succeed (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Students may experience this within a classroom where they do not value the particular subject even if they are capable of completing the tasks assigned. Therefore, it is the schools responsibility to investigate the areas the student values, which may increase the student’s motivation to stay in school to complete the topic of value.

Studies have found that teacher’s expectations and behaviours influenced student’s achievement expectations and course taking (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Expectations by school staff of defeated and discouraged students may affect learning outcomes of those students depending on whether the expectations were of a positive or negative nature. Staff perceptions also effect the student’s expectations and value of school (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Increasing the positive perceptions by staff toward defeated and discouraged learners may encourage these students to become re-engaged as positive relationships with staff can lead to positive outcomes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

DIR MODEL: DR. Stanley Greenspan


THIS IS A RESPONSE FOR A TEACHER WITH A DIFFICULT CHILD - SUMMARY OF THE DIR MODEL FOR INTERVENTION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE ENTIRE RESPONSE PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST A COMMENT OR EMAIL. crdconsulting@bigpond.com


It sounds like he is quite a challenge. My approach is not to tell you what to do but to offer you a process that may be helpful in determining your course of intervention. Since I do not know the process you have undertaken so far I will present some information as a precursor to a comprehensive intervention.
The DIR model may be appropriate for this child. DIR stands for Developmental, Individual, Relationship model. The D stands for the developmental functional capacities of the child which I will explain to you. The “I” stands for Individual differences such as motor planning, auditory processing etc... and the “R” stands for the Learning relationships the child has access to, parents, teachers, siblings.
The first thing that needs to be investigated is his Functional Emotional Capacities in relation to his development and his individual needs.

There are 9 stages of Emotional development that need to be addressed: Through observation and interaction a reasonable prediction of his level can be attained. The key here is to observe him to bring out the best in him. So in the classroom at this point probably would not be appropriate.

Do you have a guidance officer or a behaviour specialist that can carry out observations as the child is in play with his caregiver?? Is there someone that does home visits that can observe the interaction between the caregiver and the child if the caregiver is prompted to initiate play activities with the child?

1. FUNCTIONAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENTAL CAPACITIES: The core capacities that integrate all areas of functioning into one milestone. Affect is the “team leader” that orchestrates the mental team or mental health of the child. Does the child integrate appropriately his abilities (emotional, language, spatial, sensory modulation, motor skills and planning) to relate to the world in a purposeful and emotionally meaningful way?

The child requires a comprehensive assessment that focuses on where the child is having difficulty but also where the child is excelling (I will explain further). The assessment will determine if the basic foundations for development are present in the child in order to move them from one level to the next. The core capacities progress through the following stages:

1. Stage 1: Shared attention and regulation (purposeful movement, sensory affect motor pattern links sensation coming in with the coordinated motor pattern, experienced based – without pleasurable affect there is no purposeful looking, listening, etc...
2. Stage 2: Engagement: Special interest in the human world, warm smiles and interactions with caregivers, broadening of emotional range, emerging attachments and relationships.
3. Stage 3: Affective reciprocity and gestural communication: Learns cause and effect, social reciprocity, responds to emotional signals, self-regulation, purposeful communication.
4. Stage 4: Complex presymbolic, shared social communication and problem solving, including imitation, social referencing, and joint attention. Increased ability to utilize circles of communication, back and forth communication, sense of self forming, interacting with environment and getting feedback, learning to operate in terms of patterns, forms the ability to have a symbolic world, fixed perceptions and actions are separated and replaced by problem solving, creates images that are multi-sensory and acquires meaning of symbols through many different interactions.
5. Stage 5: Symbolic and creative use of ideas: Use of symbols in pretend play, meaningful use of language, learns new words in problem solving, full engagement through back and forth communication and emotional investment.
6. Stage 6: Logical and abstract use of ideas and thinking, including the capacity for expressing and reflecting on feelings and having insights into self and others.
7. Stage 7-9: Higher level critical thinking, comparative thinking, and internal sense of self.

As you can see the progress through these stages does not necessarily happen according to a chronological age as your student may not have passed through the initial stage of shared attention and regulation and he is in grade 3. The assessment then determines the stage he is functioning in and the intervention targets those core capacities that can move him along the developmental stages.

2. INDIVIDUAL PROCESSING DIFFICULTIES
How does the child comprehend what he sees, hears, smells etc....The ability of the child to process the sensations that are coming in to the central nervous system. Some examples of individual differences could be: over sensory, under sensitive, auditory/visual processing, tactile, motor planning and sequencing. Are there biological factors that may influence the child’s ability to progress typically through the functional emotional capacities?

3. RELATIONSHIPS
Learning relationships are those relationships where experiences the child has, leads them through the core functional emotional capacities. These relationships are caregiver, teacher, sibling, therapist etc... The learning relationships should be tailored to meet the child at their functional emotional level. Critical foundations may be missing if the child is not met at their level because “the thinking capacity” comes from back and forth emotional signalling and meaningful use of language. The first academic skill is to think not necessarily how to spell or do math tasks. The first foundation for academic work is social and emotional capacities that force thinking. It may not be beneficial at this time for your student to focus on literacy and numeracy but on the ability to engage and interact experiencing pleasurable affect rather than negative.



1.SEMI-STRUCTURED PROBLEM SOLVING INTERACTIONS INVOLVING COGNITIVE, LANGUAGE, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS:
•If child is able to imitate and use complex problem solving gestures, then semi-structured learning should focus on dynamic problem solving interactions orchestrated by the educator to enable the child to master specific cognitive, social or educational goals
•If child is not yet able to imitate and use complex problem solving gestures, consider more structured exercises to teach specific cognitive, language and social and emotional skills. The initial goal should be mastery of gestural problem-solving interactions and complex imitation
•A cognitive curriculum should involve pragmatic conversations groups, cooperative learning and social stories

2.SPONTANEOUS DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE INTERACTIONS MOBILIZING THE SIX FUNCTIONAL EMOTIONAL CAPACITIES
•Includes social interactions with teachers and peers, social games and play dates with “expert peers” ( peers that can function appropriately around the child)

3.MOTOR SENSORY AND VISUAL- SPATIAL ACTIVITIES
•Often recommended: three or more 20 minute sessions per day.
•Sensory integration occupational therapy exercises such as running, jumping, and spinning.
•Perceptual-motor exercises eg. Looking/doing games such as throwing, catching, kicking, tracking
•Visual spatial problem solving such as hide and seek, treasure hunt, flashlight games
•Once child can answer “why” questions consider adding visual – spatial thinking activities
•Once child is pre-academic work, consider adding pre-academic conceptual reasoning, reading and math exercises.

The point is to implement a comprehensive intervention program that involves the areas that I have discussed. The engagement of the student creates an environment where he feels he is competent and can master the tasks he is given. If he feels safe and secure and receives some pleasure in his accomplishments he will probably be willing to exert an effort to continue to achieve the pleasurable affect. The family relationships as you have mentioned are not stable and would eventually hinder the emotional development of this child. A holistic intervention is required to help this family and child attain his greatest potential. If your school is not ready to intervene in this capacity it may be a very difficult process as this child continues down the negative pathway and never develop emotionally. My suggestion to you as well would be to try to develop a relationship with this child before he comes to your class and to remember not to take his non-compliance personally. Find out his strengths, likes, passions, and try to engage him through those things. Use your personality to bring him into an environment where he actually feels that he is competent and happy. I know, not an easy task but remember at the end of the day you can only do what you can do with the resources you have. I hope this helps. If you need more information the DIR/Floortime Model was developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and there are many more activities in the book “Engaging Autism”. I know your student is probably not autistic but this approach can be utilized for all children with special needs.

FIVE Tips to Maintain Classroom Sanity

The number one difficulty that teachers talk about is behavior in the classroom and the ability to teach when things get chaotic.  It is no ...