Tag Archives: Behavioral Challenges

Sensitivity to Lights and Sounds in Vehicles

Children with sensory integration disorder or sensitivities to light and sound, can resist going out for a walk, playing on the playground, and even going for a ride in the car. Sensory integration disorder is when the brain doesn’t understand the information it is receiving from the senses and misinterprets it.

When a child is sensitive to the brightness of light or sound that it is either too loud or high-pitched, they may overreact and exhibit a variety of behavioral challenges, such as crying, screaming, having headaches or stomachaches. As onlookers, we interpret this child as being temperamental or having a bad day. The way the parents respond, if they are not aware of this sensitivity, is to do a number of things to calm or stop the child’s behavior. Most people have not heard of sensory integration disorder, although it is on the rise, primarily due to the frequency of diagnosis and quantity of people having the same or similar sensory issues.

Sensory integration disorder can coexist with Autism spectrum disorders, other learning disabilities or disorders. The book, “The Out of Sync Child,” by Carol Stock Kranowitz, discusses and explains what this disorder is and how to adjust events in your child’s life so that your child can be more comfortable. Checklists on the web do not fully understand the disorder, and try to attest their validity by making blanket statements, with black and white conclusions. Many children exhibit sensory issues, but parents and therapists may not recognize all the symptoms. Symptoms may occur one day and not the next two days or new ones may surface. Some days a child may be overly sensitive to sound or light, and other days they may be under sensitive.

Some children are okay with having sunglasses on, to protect their eyes from the light. Those who do not like to have things on their face or who are too young to wear eye protection, can typically shield their eyes with a hood or cover. Vehicles that have darkly tinted windows in the backseat are perfect for these children. Some people find that tires that do not have a specific expiration mileage will produce more sound and noise than tires that that last for just 50,000 or 100,000 miles, for example. These types of tires are firmer due to the amount of rubber that is spun tighter around the tire.

Some of the newer vehicles, have features that auto adjust mirrors so light is either reflected or muted and won’t glare or bounce off other reflective objects in the car. Additionally, there are muted colored lights throughout the car that given an amber, blue or red glow to light the console or dashboard.

If you are unable to purchase a newer vehicle, there are ways to adjust the interior of your car to reduce the glare or brightness. Private investigators use black curtains hung near or around the windows to prevent the light from glaring in. The same curtain can be used to hang from the inside of the car’s window, using the window to hold it up. Using white noise machines, video games, or soft music helps with irritating or aversive sounds.

Observe your child’s behavior on a daily basis to see how or if the amount of light is bothersome. Ask your child questions and help them become more comfortable. Traveling in a car with your child in car can be a pleasant experience; most importantly, it needs to be safe so the driver is not distracted and the passengers are safe.

Julie Callicutt is the owner of Ferko Therapeutic Group, a company specializing in providing intensive rehabilitation therapy to children with disabilities, specifically those on the Autism Spectrum. Julie’s services include 1:1 intensive therapy, coaching/mentoring of caregivers and making herself available to speak at local and national early childhood conferences. If you would like more information, please visit, http://www.ferkotherapy.com/.

View the original article here

Benefits of Small Class Size for Students With Disabilities

One of the students referred to us spent a whole year sitting and staring before he was even referred. Another used to scream at a high pitch for hours before he was referred. Still another used to run around the room an not focus on anything. Another used to beat up his mother and get away with it before he was referred. Because we had a small classroom size and support we were able to deal with the behavioral challenges these children have with learning. It is extremely important to have a child’s attention and focus to learn. Also, distractions should be kept to a minimum. This simply does not happen in the average American classroom, which is busy, noisy, bright and overwhelming to a lot of children with learning challenges.

The importance of relationship building for children with autism can not be overstressed. Social skills building needs to be a priority and children need much help in learning proper social skills and behavior. Because the behavior is challenging and difficult and learning and change does not happen rapidly, teachers without the understanding, experience and training just often give up. Believing the child can learn and will learn if one is persistent and does not give up is a necessity. The individual child has to be a priority. This simply does not happen in the mass production concept of American education.

Another difficulty in American education is that children with the same problems are dumped together but not given anymore help than if they were in the average American classroom. Thus, inappropriate behaviors are reinforced by children seeing other inappropriate behaviors. The Lord of the Flies concept happens with children leading the classroom rather than a strong adult leader. This is not a teacher’s fault. If a teacher has to spend all of their day correcting behavior, it leads to very little time for learning. That is why I am against classroom sizes of fifteen to twenty for children with autism. Even eight students is too many. I as a teacher have had my greatest success with children with autism in a classroom with no more than four students and one aide.

As you can imagine, education can get very expensive when one does the right thing by a child. I have not even included the therapy and other services that autistic children can benefit from. Moreover, the special schools that autistic children need are often denied as school districts often refuse to pay for the private non-public schools that autistic children benefit most from. Thus, policy has to change and doors have to be opened for parents to be able to pick what works best for their child. Small class size is a start. And parents being allowed to pick non-public schools that work well is also a great start.

Give children a chance to learn and enroll them in a school that insists on a small student to teacher ratio.
The way you learned is not the way your child with autism will learn. They will be lost in the shuffle in most classrooms and then be blamed for not learning or their behavior. I have seen what children can accomplish when given what they need and I hope you will veto the mass education high number classroom that is usually the American way.

View the original article here