Does neurofeedback help with autistic learners


Lately I been taking great interest in the study of changing your mindset from negative processing to spiritually uplifting scriptures and outlook on life.  For many years I have had a pessimistic view and am now learning how all this plays a part in my health and functions in the body.  We have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” from a loving Creator who knows how to keep us in tip top shape.  Living in a world full of toxins, poisons and everything trying to make us sick and dying is it possible to change the learning of our loved ones who struggle with autism, ADHD etc.,?

Have you tried neurofeedback with your child and received good results?

https://www.centerforbrain.com/conditions/autism-aspergers/

 What Can You Expect with Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is very effective at stabilizing and regulating brain function, and it helps the brain change itself without medication. Improvements from neurofeedback extend beyond the training period, yielding sustainable results. Once a new brain pattern has been learned, the patient tends not to forget it just like we don’t usually forget how to ride a bike once that skill has been well-learned.

With medication, and even supplements, the benefits usually disappear when the treatment is stopped. Plus, unlike medication, neurofeedback does not have any long-term side effects. As an alternative to medications, neurofeedback can often help people reduce or eliminate drugs for autism and ASD as their brains become more stable.

Neurofeedback has been shown to help in alleviating many of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first thing most parents notice is the calming effect of neurofeedback training. They consistently tell us that their children are able to manage their emotions better and do not get overwhelmed as easily.

Other changes parents observe include:

  • Initiation of touch and contact
  • Reduced emotional outbursts
  • Increased tolerance to change
  • Slower, clearer speech patterns
  • Better responses to parental and teacher instructions
  • Less ritualistic and more imaginative thought
  • Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity, heightened levels of focus
  • Diminished anxiety, more stable and calm
  • Better social skills and enhanced relationships

Why Hasn’t Our Doctor Recommended It?

It’s true that many professionals aren’t aware how effective neurofeedback is for autism. Most healthcare professionals are busy with their own practices and don’t necessarily learn about modalities outside their scope of practice.

We encourage you to keep reading. Some of these case studies may interest you and provide signs of hope and improvement as you learn how other kids, parents, and families have benefited from neurofeedback.

Here is an example of an occupational therapist who referred an autistic boy to neurofeedback, and reported “the benefits outweighed any other therapies we’ve done”:

6-year-old, Autistic Boy Using Neurofeedback

Play VideoInterview with Darlene, his mom who was referred for neurofeedback by his Occupational Therapist. She reports “the benefits outweighed any other therapies we’ve done.” She reported that he’s become more relaxed, more verbal. He’s more social, interacting with others in ways she never thought he could do. And more conversational. Created by EEGinfo.

 

How Long Do We Do Neurofeedback and How Much Does It Cost?

Every person’s situation is different, so it’s difficult to give an exact amount of sessions your child will require. When you call our clinic, we’ll schedule an initial appointment. We recommend you come in for an initial consultation and start with a few sessions. After a handful of sessions, we can assess any changes you notice and discuss if neurofeedback is a good fit for your family.

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Please share your results and experiences; good and bad on this topic. I am interested in learning if skills and academic studies improved with this techniques. If adults can change their mindset and receive better living from it, it seems that a child should be able to do the same.

It is amazing to me how much the human body can endure and still work tirelessly to keep you alive and functioning as best as it can!!

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If you would like to volunteer for Autism Biomarkers Trials


I was asked about volunteering for the trials.  Here is the information that I found if you would like to participate!

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Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials

What is the purpose of this trial?

Currently, autism is diagnosed and treated based on information gathered from clinical assessments and parent questionnaires. ABC-CT will add to this pool of knowledge by developing a more objective battery of tools to measure social function. Using EEG to measure brain function, eye tracking technology to measure visual attention, and automated recording techniques to assess behavior and speech, children aged 4 to 11 will be monitored over a six-month period. In addition to the behavioral measures and biomarker data, this community resource will also include DNA samples from children with ASD and their parents for use in future genetic studies. The consortium will establish a technical and data infrastructure for reliably measuring social function, allowing the collaborating sites to work together as a single unit. The goal is to create a set of measures that can be used in clinical trials to determine which treatments are best for which patients and who will benefit from a particular treatment. The ultimate goal is to validate a set of tools that will enable clinicians to objectively measure and predict how children with ASD respond to treatment.

The Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials (ABC-CT) is seeking families to participate in a study to improve diagnosis and treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are currently recruiting both typically developing children and children with a diagnosis of ASD between the ages of 4 and 11 years old.


Participation Guidelines

Ages: 4 – 11 years

Gender: Both


National Institute of Mental Health

Dates: 12/17/2015 – 11/01/2018

Last Updated: 01/20/2016

Study HIC#: 1509016477

https://medicine.yale.edu/pediatrics/research/810.trial

Researchers identify new functional biomarker for autism in boys


Researchers have developed a new method to map and track the function of brain circuits affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in boys using brain imaging. The technique will provide clinicians and therapists with a physical measure of the progress patients are making with behavioral and/or drug treatments — a tool that has been elusive in autism treatment until this point.

For the first time, doctors would be able to quantify how that brain circuit is working in their patients and assess the effectiveness of an intervention. The research is outlined in a paper, “Quantified Social Perception Circuit Activity as a Neurobiological Marker of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” published inJAMA Psychiatry. The paper focuses on the use of biomarkers, measurable indicators of a biological condition, to measure the function of the social perception circuit of the brain.

“This is significant because biomarkers give us a ‘why’ for understanding autism in boys that we haven’t had before,” said Kevin Pelphrey, a co-author of the paper, who is the Carbonell Family Professor in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at the George Washington University. “We can now use functional biomarkers to identify what treatments will be effective for individual cases and measure progress.”

Researchers analyzed a series of 164 images from each of 114 individuals and discovered the brain scans of the social perception circuits only indicated ASD in boys. This new research has the potential to improve treatment for ASD by measuring changes in the social perception brain circuit in response to different interventions. The researchers found the brain scan data can be an effective indicator of function of the circuit in younger children and older patients alike.

The research is particularly relevant for ASD patients who are difficult to diagnose and treat by providing a more definitive diagnosis and in developing a treatment program when it is not clear if behavioral, drug or a combination of the treatments will be most effective.

“The behavioral symptoms of ASD are so complex and varied it is difficult to determine whether a new treatment is effective, especially within a realistic time frame,” said Malin Björnsdotter, assistant professor at the University of Gothenburg and lead author of the paper. “Brain function markers may provide the specific and objective measures required to bridge this gap.”

A Path to Widespread use of Brain Scans?

In addition to helping to identify the most effective ASD treatment for an individual, this research provides evidence that brain imaging is an important intervention tool. Currently, functional MRI, the type of brain scan used in this study, is not a standard part of ASD treatment, as there is not enough evidence linking the scan to effective treatments. The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at GW aims to make significant contributions toward the establishment of evidence-based therapies for ASD.

“This kind of imaging can help us answer the question, ‘On day one of treatment, will this child benefit from a 16-week behavioral intervention?'” Dr. Pelphrey said. “Answering that question will help parents save time and money on diagnosis and treatments.”

Following the study, Dr. Pelphrey and his colleagues will test their findings at the next level: studying a larger pool of people with autism and other neurological disorders in collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center to see if the scan can successfully distinguish ASD from other disorders and track treatment progress.

The authors emphasized that this research is still in the earliest days, pointing out that doctors’ offices and most hospitals do not have the specialized imaging equipment necessary to carry out the brain scans used by the team involved in this study.

“To really help patients we need to develop inexpensive, easy-to-use techniques that can be applied in any group, including infants and individuals with severe behavioral problems,” said Dr. Björnsdotter. “This study is a first step toward that goal.”

While this method currently only works for boys with autism, the researchers are leading a large-scale, nationwide study of girls with autism to identify equivalent techniques that will work for them. The group expects to have the initial results from that study later this year.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160420120320.htm

Vaccine Detox Plan!


Here is a plan for a gentle vaccine detox.  Many of us know how much a simple vaccine can cause damage to your health and body!

“Regardless of what your stance on vaccines is, you should know that the ingredients in vaccines are toxic to the human body. Vaccine ingredients  include: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, potassium phosphate,  aluminum potassium sulfate, peptone, bovine extract, formaldehyde,FD&C Yellow #6, aluminum lake dye, fetal bovine serum, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, aluminum hydroxide, benzethonium chloride, lactose  thimerosal, ammonium sulfate, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, bovine extract), calf serum, aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxphosphate sulfate, and ethanol. Unfortunately, most of these ingredients accumulate in our bodies and will not leave the body without assistance.

 

A Gentle Vaccine Detox For Children and Adults

Here are some gentle detox ideas to help your body detoxify from heavy metals and other vaccine toxins and recover your health.

Detox Bath

A detox bath helps strengthen the immune system and flush out toxins that have built up in our body.

Add 6 drops of Zendocrine to your child’s bath with a few pinches of Epsom salt.

This powerful blend combines Rosemary, Cilantro, and Juniper Berry, known for their detoxifying properties and ability to support healthy liver function, while Tangerine and Geranium have purifying effects against unhealthy substances.

 

Garlic

After eating a crushed clove of garlic, a chain of metabolic events results in the release of allicin in the small intestine. Allicin  eliminates pathogens, while leaving the beneficial bacteria alone. Allicin, provides the primary healing aspects of garlic. It also binds heavy metals and helps us todetox. It’s best effects come from eating 3 or more cloves each day.

Silica

Silicic acid is an antidote for aluminum poisoning and silica as a detox agent for heavy metals.When a person consumes silica, the aluminum and the other heavy metals present in the body are passed in the urine and eliminated with it.

 

Horsetail is a great and inexpensive herbal source of silica. Additionally, foods that help keep your silica levels high are: Unrefined whole grains such as rye, barley, oats, and wheat. Alfalfa sprouts nuts, and other seeds will boost your silica levels and let you experience silica health benefits.

Chlorella

According to several strong scientific studies, chlorella helps support healthy detoxification of heavy metals from the body because it naturally binds to heavy metals which are carried out of the body through natural processes of elimination. You can take chlorella in capsule form, or just add it to smoothies.

Probiotics

Since heavy metals and other toxins tend to alter bacterial balance within the gut, supplementing with probiotic-rich foods such as organic yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut,  kombucha, fermented vegetables is very important  for detoxing and protecting against the harmful effects of vaccines.

Omega 3 Cod Liver Oil

Omega 3 fatty acids also block excitoxins while repairing cellular damage.  I give my child  one teaspoon of the Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil  daily, which needs to be refrigerated and used quickly in order to maintain its optimal capacity to help the body.

Cilantro 

Cilantro binds to heavy metals, pulling them from blood and body tissues, and eliminates them from the body. It  is one of the most effective and gentle detoxifiers of heavy metals and other toxic contaminants. It is excellent for extracting mercury from your body’s organs. This herb is believed to cross the blood-brain barrier and remove heavy metals from the brain.

You can juice with cilantro, add it to your smoothies, or eat it raw. Consume at least 1 teaspoon daily for 2-3 weeks or add 6-7 drops cilantro essential oil to your  bath.

References:

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/10/1/2

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/b/excipient-table-2.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11535365

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8686573

Vitamins & Autism


I wanted to share this blog post with you.  I have written articles in the past about the effects of our diet on health and well-being.  All of the chemicals and additives put into the vaccinations now are causing more health problems than previously thought. Many children are struggling to maintain good health and progress than ever before.

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Autism, Vitamin A and Vaccinations

Toy CarsA few weeks ago, I blogged about Vitamin D and how the rise in Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the rise in autism, but vitamin D is not the only deficiency that has been linked to autism and some people are suggesting that a deficiency in vitamin A may be responsible.

As I have said before, the Standard American Diet is not healthy and, although we may be eating a lot and filling ourselves up, many of us are actually malnourished because our diet does not contain enough of the essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly and for our children to develop and grow correctly. Instead our diets are high in sugar, fats, salt and empty calories. However, low fat diets can also be bad for us because by not eating an adequate amount of fat we may actually be causing our bodies to be deficient in vitamin A, which is found in foods like full fat dairy foods, liver and cod liver oil.

Autism and Vaccines

In a study entitled “Is Autism a G-Alpha Protein Defect Reversible with Natural Vitamin A?”, Mary Megson, MD, a developmental pediatrician, argues that “Autism may be a disorder linked to the disruption of the G-alpha protein, affecting retinoid receptors in the brain” and that some cases of autism may be caused by “inserting a G-alpha protein defect, the pertussis toxin found in the D.P.T. vaccine, into genetically at-risk children”. This study also argues that the live viral measles vaccine (MMR) depletes a child’s existing supply of vitamin A and so has a negative impact on the retinoid receptors in the brain.

Megson, in an article entitled “Autism and Vaccinations”, reports that this G-Alpha protein defect causes:-

  • Night blindness
  • Problems seeing light-to-dark shading
  • Problems perceiving what they are seeing – Children try to make sense of things by lining up toys, sorting objects by color etc.
  • Avoidance of eye contact – Megson believes that this is because the child is trying to get light to “land off center in the retina”.
  • Hypersensitivity – A gentle touch can feel rough, common sounds can sound harsh.

Is Vitamin A the Answer?

Megson writes of how she has been treating autistic children effectively with cod liver oil, a source of vitamin A retinol, to “bypass blocked G protein pathways and turn on these central retinoid receptors”. She reports that there were marked improvements in the children in just a few days, including improved eye contact and better vision and perception. After two months of this vitamin A treatment, the children were given a single dose of a drug called bethanechol, to stimulate pathways. These children were then able to talk, laugh, focus and concentrate – a huge improvement!

Research like this really does emphasize the need to give our children a nutrient rich diet and to make sure that we make up for any potential deficiencies with supplements. Cod liver oil is great for children because it is a great source of vitamins D and A (deficiencies have been linked to autism), omega 3 essential fatty acids, and it also offers us the following benefits:-

  • Improved blood flow
  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
  • Stronger bones and teeth
  • Better vision
  • Healthier skin
  • Healthy joints
  • Healthy brain development

There are many different types of cod liver oil supplements available for children – syrups, capsules, chewy tablets etc., so you’re bound to find one that your child likes and will take without any problem.

You can read Dr Megson’s article and study at:-

http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndiseases/autism.html

http://www.whale.to/vaccines/autism35.html

http://www.newautism.com/autism-vitamin-a-and-vaccinations/479/

How things are going


I haven’t written in a while, but things are going well in our journey.  Nathan has made some progression in the last few months and there are other areas where he still hasn’t moved forward but he hasn’t gone backwards either.

His cognition seems to be getting better at understanding his academic teachings and he seems more aware of his surroundings than before.

With the summer months we are trying to enjoy being outside when it is not raining and he has discovered the seed spreader.  Now one of his favorite pastimes is to push it around the yard and stopping to investigate things he finds of interest.  He will put his hat in the area where the seeds go and pull it out when he gets to where he wants to investigate.  It is very cute! 🙂

Also, some days I think he knows more than he lets on.  He will listen to our conversations and then follow through on them.  For example: if we are practicing our music and we list a page number or song, he will turn to it without prompting!

A week ago our cat had come up to the door and I mentioned to my daughters that she looked like she needed some love.  My son walked out the door picked up the cat and brought her inside for us to pet….  🙂   A few days later he went out to the porch picked up the cat again and brought her inside and said “surprise”!!

An important lesson I am learning is that just because your child may not be academically where his/her peers are doesn’t mean they don’t pick up what you are teaching or training them. Their learning comes in different ways than we have been taught.  Just like normal functioning children may learn by textbooks while others learn from hands-on experiences a child with learning disabilities is the same way.

Enjoy the journey and rejoice in each lesson, whether it is big or small!

Missourians: Please call Senators today!!!


HB 557, a bill protecting the rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children, is still NOT on the calendar.  If it doesn’t get on today the calendar today then it is guaranteed to NOT become law this year, and we NEED this protection!

If you have called Senator Dempsey, thank you.  I am asking that you call again.  If you have not called him, NOW is your chance.

Senator Dempsey will not be in Jefferson City for the last two days of this legislative session, Thursday and Friday.  He is the one in charge of deciding what goes onto the Senate Calendar, so we must act right away!

Please make a brief and polite phone call to Senator Dempsey, the president pro tem, urging him to get this bill onto the senate calendarTODAY for a third read and a vote.  His office number is (573) 751-1141.  You don’t need to necessarily speak to the senator.  A message with his staff would be sufficient.

I would also encourage you to contact your own senator and encourage him to speak to Senator Dempsey about the importance of getting this bill on the calendar.  You can look up your senator here.

Here are some ideas of what you could say to Senator Dempsey and to your senator…

Families are counting on you to get HB 557 onto the Senate calendar!  Please place this bill on the Senate calendar so that there is an opportunity to protect parental rights in statute this session!

OR

Families are the backbone of the state of Missouri!  Please put HB 557 on the Senate calendar today to move the protection of parental rights forward.

Thank you,

Jill Johnson

Missouri Coordinator for ParentalRights.org

Could autism be an autoimmune disorder?


Interesting article, what are your thoughts???

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When a woman is pregnant, the baby is protected by the womb as well as the placental barrier. As an additional level of protection, immune proteins from the mother will cross over the placental barrier to shield the baby from foreign bacteria and infections.

Sometimes, however these immune proteins do their job a little too much and begin to not only attack bacteria and viruses, but also the  brain tissue in the unborn baby’s head, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry in 2013. (1)

A second study also found that the immune system proteins in attacking the brain can cause some of the symptoms of autism; most commonly the inability to communicate as well as repetitive behaviors.

Researchers believe that they have identified a type of Autism that can account for over 20% of children on the spectrum. They’re calling it MAR, or “Maternal Antibody Related”. (2)

Right now, Pediatric Bioscience is working with researchers to possibly release a test that will be able to detect whether or not the mother has the antibodies. If she does, it would be almost certain that the child will be born with Autism. If she does not have the antibodies, the child could still have autism, but it would be for other reasons.

If this is found to be accurate, which is seems to be at this point, we could be one step closer to finding out more about the cause of autism.

A cause is one step closer to a cure.

Sources:
(1) (2) http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v3/n7/full/tp201347a.html

“Calming Stormy behaviors” tips


As I have been homeschooling my children for 11 years we have come to learn that each child is different.  With my youngest being autistic and struggles with learning these suggestions have now been taken into consideration.  My older children didn’t have the problems my son has such as environmental (easily distracted, difficulty with holding pencils, (texture), being scared of common objects (eyesight issues).

A few months back I had a discussion with my son’s eye doctor about him not keeping on his glasses. The doctor informed me that he has found if the glasses are helping a child to see they will keep them on no matter how much they don’t like them.  If they are not helping his eyesight he won’t, which could be why we were fighting him to keep them on.  This can make your schooling environment more difficult!

Little things such as textures, surroundings, and auditory sounds are now something to be taken into consideration now more than ever thanks to allergies, functioning disorders, ADHD, and autism. Objects and surroundings that didn’t affect students in previous years are now becoming top priority in a child’s academic success.

I have found that my son will do better with a bigger shaped pencil then a skinny, regular #2 pencil that I used to use.  Maybe he can hold it better I don’t know but it is something to consider in trying to get him to write.  Sometimes a certain flashcard will scare him and then we have to spend time determining what the issue is.

The article below from HSLDA member Krisa Winn may give you more suggestions on ways to make things a little simpler and a more productive learning environment for your child!  I really liked the suggestion of giving your child a few worksheets instead of a workbook to go through because for them it might feel insurmountable, keep it simple.

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Calming Stormy Behavior

By Krisa Winn
HSLDA Special Needs Consultant

Are you anxious and exhausted because of your child’s frequent behavior meltdowns? Have you concluded that something has to change because what worked with your other children is not working now? If so, this newsletter is for you.

About the Author

Learn more about our special needs consultants.

Krisa Winn

Obviously, there is much that can be said on this subject. My intent is to present general suggestions to get you thinking and exploring. Yes, maybe your child has autism or some other diagnosis, but why does he cry when it’s time to start math?

Does the texture of the workbook pages bother him? Is he hungry? Is there something going on outside (a daily siren or other environmental noise) that bothers him just as math begins each day? Was he engaged in a much-loved activity and doesn’t know any other way to describe his disappointment in having to stop?

These are all things to consider. I hope that what follows will help bring some calm to otherwise stormy behavior.

Be Pro-Active

I know it is exhausting and discouraging to weather those behavior meltdowns. It’s emotionally draining for everyone. Not only that, but meltdowns are huge time stealers—which adds to your worries: “How will we ever finish geometry if this continues?”

Sometimes it takes hours for things to get back to normal. That’s why it is so important to take the time before the storm to help your child learn to regulate his or her emotions and behavior. At first, your child may need your help in this, much like he or she needed your help in order to fall to sleep as a baby. In time, you will move to a less supportive role, and your child will be able to regulate himself independently. It’s all a process.

Here’s a very practical calming activity to teach a younger child. When I taught kindergarteners, I always had a STAR sign (a star glued to a large craft stick) near my chair. I taught my students what to do when they saw that sign: S-Stop, T-Take a deep breath, A-And, R-Relax. We practiced it a lot, so that when one or more of my students was melting down, they knew what to do when I raised the sign.

Dr. Karyn Purvis, director of the institute of child development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of the book, The Connected Child, offers many intervention activities to use with children of all ages. For instance, you may help your teen devise a plan for what he will do when a certain situation triggers an emotional outburst. You do this when things are peaceful, not in the heat of the moment. It could be as simple as having him write out: “When _______ happens, I will ________.”

Even with older children, Dr. Purvis plays and has fun as she helps them learn healthy ways to relate to others. She encourages families to teach strategies for handling stressful situations through a playful, peaceful, joyful manner. She notes that it’s hard to be mean when you’ve played with someone.

Dr. Purvis’ passion is to help families who have adopted children from “hard places,” but the principles she presents are applicable to most, if not all children. Her website is here.

Rethink the Environment

Simple changes in the physical environment of your learning space could make a huge impact in your child’s behavior.

• Some people use a tension rod and simple curtain to hide shelves containing school materials such as notebooks, textbooks, and supplies. It reduces clutter some children may find overwhelming and distracting.

• Look at your child’s workspace. Are her feet dangling from the kitchen chair? Or is she bent over a table that is too small? Providing a chair and table the appropriate size for your student is best and will most likely help him or her stay focused.

• If you are conducting an activity on the floor, consider defining the space. In other words, help your child see and possibly even feel where the activity is taking place. To do this, you could use a rug, carpet squares, carpet samples, or even a blanket.

• Along those same lines, your student may do better sitting on a therapy ball or t-seat or using a foot fidget device. You can find these and similar products on website such as School Specialty or Special Needs Toys.

• If noises are troublesome, have your student wear headphones when he needs to concentrate. I’m thinking of the big, cushiony headphones, not earbuds; so that environmental noises are greatly reduced.

• Sometimes using a tri-fold stand (such as a science fair presentation board) helps to limit visual distractions. Using two folders on end is another option for creating a private “office” for your child. Open each folder to a 90-degree angle, and then bring the two ends together to form a “U” shape. Voila! A smaller, easy-to-stow tri-fold stand is created!

• Perhaps your child is actually over-stimulated by the movement, songs and sounds, smells, and teaching aids you use throughout the day. If you have a lot of posters and other things to look at, try taking those down and see if that helps. If you’re using CDs for music, try singing the songs without accompaniment.

• For students who shut down immediately upon eyeing the size of a textbook, Sue Patrick suggests simplifying textbooks by removing the spine and hole-punching the pages. This way, individual chapters or sections of the book are presented instead of the entire book at once. Sue also encourages parents to modify worksheets so that they are less cluttered and more “to the point.” This takes extra time, energy and planning, but the results could be well worth it.

• Along with furniture and room accessories, consider these factors: noises, smells, lighting, color, clothing, temperature, and food as other potential triggers to meltdowns. However, certain sounds, smells, lights, and colors can have a calming and positive effect. It’s important to provide a solid sensory diet based on your child’s needs. Weighted blankets, a rocking chair, a mini-trampoline, essential oils, are examples of items that might be found in a calming corner or sensory section of your homeschool.

In addition to the physical environment, take into account the less tangible aspects of your child’s environment. Dr. Purvis teaches parents to create an environment of predictability and control. I’ll address predictability in the next section. For now, I’d like to focus on creating an environment of control.

I once heard someone say that stress can be boiled down to one problem—a perceived lack of control. Sometimes giving a child appropriate levels of control can be as simple as offering meaningful choices: “Do you want to wear your tennis shoes or sandals?” “Do you want to complete your reading assignment first or work on English?”

Offering these types of choices goes a long way in making relational connections with your child. You’re creating an atmosphere that reduces stress which in turn reduces the fighting, the melting down, and avoidance.

Be Predictable

Sometimes children have difficulty changing gears. They feel a need to continue in the activity that they are currently engaged in, even when it’s in their best interest not to do so.

One way to help with this is to give verbal reminders of what is about to happen next. I mentioned this before in my “Tools for your Teaching Tool Box” newsletter, but it bears repeating. Starting at five minutes, you could say, “In five minutes we are going to meet at the couch for story time.” Do it again in three minutes, then one minute. If verbal reminders aren’t enough, you might invest in a Time Timer clock,(available at most school supply stores/catalogs) for a very visual reminder of how much time remains before a new activity begins.

Most children on the autism spectrum function better with a predictable schedule. Depending on your child’s age and development, a visual schedule may be in order as well. I’ve heard of some moms adding a “?” card to the daily schedule to represent those times of the day that don’t go exactly as planned. You can find resources for creating a visual schedule online.

Like environment, there is another aspect to being predictable. It’s important for YOU to be predictable—as much as possible. Your child needs to know that she can count on you to be consistent, even when she lashes out. If you lose your temper or display aggravation, model humility and ask for forgiveness. Especially for children who have attachment disorders, your consistent demonstration of unconditional love is huge!”

A little tidbit from my journey


It has been at least four years ago that I started writing about my journey with autism that somewhere my beginning is buried in the many posts I have done.  I didn’t suspect that I would be on a journey dealing with the affects of autism (which I am told) can have varying degrees.  According to medical specialists my son does not only suffer from autism but from a genetic problem leading to learning disabilities. This can be frustrating as he struggles with sensory overload and some of the other symptoms of autism but not being able to remember and retain what he is being taught is a challenge of its own.

I started out with a very difficult and trying pregnancy which we thought at 9 weeks gestation he would not survive.  We prayed and asked many others to join us and he was able to make it to 36 weeks.  Before we left the hospital he did not pass the normal newborn tests and was referred to our school for the deaf.  It was assumed our son had a hearing problem. After several hearing tests were done he was referred to a specialist for his speech.  We spent many days and weeks at the doctors office, specialists office, the hospital running tests and back home for therapy.  He received; physical, occupational and speech therapies. It wasn’t until he was about 3 years old that we finally had a diagnosis for autism.  His first diagnosis was cerebral palsy.

Looking back after many days and months reading every book I could get my hands on I finally realized that many of the tests and procedures that were done was most likely a symptom of autism.

We struggled with swallowing, stiff muscles (too much tension/tone), hand flapping, tip-toe walking, licking furniture and other items, putting on shoes – this was a major obstacle as he didn’t like shoes, his or anyone else’s.  I remember one time that I was at the store getting new shoes for myself and I put the ones I was going to purchase in the bottom of the cart and he started screaming.  If I removed the shoes from the cart he would stop but if I put them back in he freaked out. Where most children like new clothes or toys he didn’t like it at all, it took more time to get him used to the toy than to just keep the old one until it wore out. The majority of our struggles have been over sensory problems.  I have now learned there is a word and definition to sensory overload. Which is common in children with neurological disorders. For my son he has too much sensory and does not know how to relax in a proper way.

To be continued…..