I’m Writing For Hudson Valley Parent Magazine!

I recently started blogging for Hudson Valley Parent about our journey with Simon, Sailing The Spectrum. I’ll  be posting weekly about what we’ve learned in Early Intervention as well as sharing personal stories about the very true side of Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. I also have a few articles featured in upcoming HV Parent print magazines!

Here’s a few of  posts from the site :

Autism Used To Mean “We Can’t,” Now It Means “We Adjust.”

Jul 12, 2017

Even before my son received the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis, life was very challenging. Way more challenging than it should be for first time parents and a new baby.

Not All Stims Are Created Equal (Part 1)

Jul 20, 2017

Based on portrayals of Autistic children on TV and in movies, I thought stims were always either hand flapping or spinning in circles.

Teaching Feelings To Children On The Spectrum

Sep 8, 2017

Children on the spectrum often have challenges expressing and understanding emotions. The subtle social cues, that we take for granted, can be met with confusion or missed entirely. Using multiple reinforcements through play and social stories is the approach that helped my son.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sep 14, 2017

SPD is so much more than just an “over sensitivity”. For some children on the spectrum, it can also mean that their bodies aren’t sensitive enough and may even get hurt because they don’t feel pain. Sensory Processing Disorder, in the very basic of terms, really means that there’s a breakdown of how the person is receiving and filtering stimulation.

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I’m Not Sensory, You Are.

sensory-beans Most of my sons major challenges have to do with his sensory processing: he’s both sensory defensive and seeking. Some things are just too much for him to handle; such as super busy public places, most foods, and anything that sticks to his hands (defensive). And some days, his body and mind just need more input so he’ll do quirky things like walk on his tip toes all day, hyper-focus on spinning the wheels of his toy bus, or constantly put toys in his mouth (seeking).

Actually “mouthing objects” was a huge concern for us. He was past the point of teething, but would put anything and everything in his mouth. A remote control, toys, water bottle, cell phones, sides of furniture…literally anything that he could get into his mouth, he would try to chew on. Except for food. For some reason, any and all textures of food was just too much to process and he would even gag at the site of food. Our EI teachers explained he had sensory processing so we started daily activities to desensitize as well as provide the appropriate input he needed. Continue reading

If You Can’t Say It, Sign It

sign-language-babies

this is the sign for nom nom piggies…jk

When we got pregnant, my husband and I decided we were going to teach our child sign language. We learned that before a child is able to physically speak, as in having developed muscle tone and coordination to move the mouth, tongue and breath, they have the hand coordination to sign. And since their little brains are working hard on thoughts and feelings from the get-go, signing gives them the opportunity to express their needs. It also provides a level of confidence and patience since they know you will understand them, while preventing a lot of frustrating moments. Continue reading

Early Intervention Is My Village

“It takes a village..” and the teachers we have through the Early Intervention program are my village.

early-intervention

As a first time mom, I read a ton of books about child development and although doctors say “every child develops at different paces” I constantly checked to make sure my son was reaching his milestones every month.

He always seemed to meet his milestones, but just differently. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and since we didn’t know anyone else with newborns at the time, we just chalked it up to his uniqueness. Looking back, however, there were several early signs of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), but it wasn’t until a severe adverse reaction to baby puree that realized we needed help. Continue reading

Using YouTube Videos To Encourage Imitation

Imitation was a super hard skill for us to learn. I’m not sure why but anytime I sang or made a funny face, my son would just look at me puzzled and then get bored and walk away. Like “Mom…you look weird…is that it…okbai.” I just couldn’t figure out how to help him learn to imitate. I memorized every nursery rhyme I forgot since childhood (because it had been replaced by all the lyrics to every Queen and Tom Petty song), but to no avail.

Then I found a wonderful video series on YouTube called Super Simple Songs. Each video segment lasts about an hour and showcases the best nursery rhymes accompanied by colorful cartoons or puppets.

row-your-boat-imitation Continue reading