How Children Can Help During The Aging Of Parents

One certainty in life is that we will all grow old. We will lose our youthful glow and have dull and wrinkly skin with fine lines and grey hair too. A lot of physical changes happen when a person grows old, but these are prominent and obvious changes that one notices. More than the changed in physical appearance is the continued deterioration of our internal body system. Our body system is like an engine that needs to be maintained and repaired to function well, but over time, it will eventually weaken and can never be repaired anymore.

Just as Ben Martin, PsyD, says, “you will reach a point in life where you may ask yourself what you’re currently looking your best. You may also say that this is the best you’ll ever feel or be able to do. Such a feeling may indicate some midlife crisis.” There is nothing wrong with aging. We cannot stop our body from going in that direction. Some cosmetic procedures can extend the normal process of deterioration, but our digital age will continue no matter what.  

Psychiatry Focus: Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a relatively new condition first described by an occupational therapist named Anna Jean Ayres in 1972. She described the state as the inability of the neurological process to organize sensation from one’s own body and the environment, makes it impossible to use the body effectively within the context (Midgley, 2014).  

From Online Counseling: How To Date A Person With SPD

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects children to become overly sensitive or under sensitive towards different stimuli affecting the senses. This disorder is commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder but it can affect children and even through adulthood with accompanying co-morbidities. It is frequently diagnosed in preschool age.

Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly.”

“These kids are not breaking down in school because their parents are doing a bad job or because they are bad kids. Their brains are wired differently,” says Elysa Marco, MD, a cognitive and behavioral pediatric neurologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

Different Types Of Sensory Aids

If you personally know someone who has an impairment and you want to help them in any way possible, be sure to understand that there are different ways that you can do.

First of all, make sure that you understand their condition. Some of the impairments that individuals have are congenital, which means that they were born with their specific kind of condition, while others have acquired them, meaning that they developed a certain impairment due to an accident or a disease. You must be very sensitive about tackling these impairments with them because some may not have accepted their conditions yet. Luckily, if the impairment is not too severe, there are different types of sensory aids depending on their needs.

How To Start A Conversation With The Hearing Impaired

Hearing loss can impact a person’s quality of life. Imagine how difficult it is to respond to people or join a conversation when you can’t hear anything. Your circle becomes limited because you can only interact with individuals who know how to communicate with you.

“Individuals who are deaf face challenges both similar and unique from those faced by hearing individuals when a family member is dying,” Karen A. Kehl, PhD, RN, ACHPN says.

Benefits Of Letting People Know About Your Disability

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Becoming disabled after an accident is more complicated than being born with a disability. The reason is that you have had a taste of a “normal” life already. You have been able to do whatever you want without worrying about any part of your body failing after an hour or two. You can ride a motorcycle or even go up the steps in your house without asking for assistance from anyone. Then, all of a sudden, you find yourself in a helpless situation, and there is nothing that you or the doctors can do about it.

Because of that, most disabled individuals try to hide what’s wrong with them as much as possible. “There are feelings of shame, embarrassment, vulnerability, paranoia. Disclosing your illness can make you feel isolated and less valuable,” said psychotherapist Katie Willard Virant, JD, MSW, LCSW.

If someone ends up hearing about their problem, they get mad at the person who talked about it without their consent. In their mind, the people who already see them in their new state will mock or pity them. Understandably, it will not sit well with them.

However, the truth is that there are a few benefits that come with letting people know about your disability.

1. You Will Realize Who Genuinely Care For You

Persons with disabilities are one of the last groups whose equal rights have been recognized, said Jody Heymann, MD, PhD.

Thus, the first thing that you can accomplish by announcing your situation is that you will realize who genuinely care for you. If we stick to honesty here, we are all aware that the perception of people about us can change when something terrible happens to us. Some of your friends may decide to stay away from you, thinking that you are now a liability. Others may talk negatively behind your back, too. Despite that, there will undoubtedly be several sweet souls who will come forward and lend you a helping hand, no strings attached.

2. They Will Go Out Of Their Way To Accommodate You

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When you tell your loved ones or acquaintances that you already have a permanent disability, you are not robbing them of their chance to plan gatherings that will not be uncomfortable for you.

According to Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT, “Part of not being lonely is not taking for granted the people that are already in your life.” It’ll help you keep friends in your life.

For instance, in case you cannot get out of your wheelchair, they can decide to do a staycation instead of going on a hike. If you cannot see anymore, they will not prepare games that require the use of your sense of sight.

3. You Can Avoid Shocking New Acquaintances

Letting people know about your disability allows them to process how they feel about the situation. After all, if your positions have been reversed, and you find out that a colleague is now a PWD when you face them, you may not know how to react as well. Various expressions may be evident on your face, such as shock, pity, sadness, and other negativities. However, if you inform them beforehand, you are allowing them to avoid making a mess in front of you.

Final Thoughts

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It is not a bad idea to tell everyone in your circle about your disability. It does not turn you into an attention-seeking person either who has to have everyone at their beck and call. Doing so will be convenient not only for you but also for the people around you.

Going To A Theme Park With Your Sensory-Challenged Child

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Going to a theme park like Disneyland is a fun activity that my husband and I thought we had to give up. We found out before James, our firstborn, turned one year old, that he has Asperger’s Syndrome. From what the psychiatrist has told us, we know that it is a high-functioning form of autism. It entails that he will most likely be able to go to a regular school and do a lot of things that non-disabled kids do. However, noises and visuals can overwhelm him, so it is a challenge to take our son to crowded places.

Laurent Mottron, MD, PhD, and Jacob Ari Burack, PhD, noted, “In contrast to the common notion of autism as simply a disorder of social development with one or more specific impairments related to understanding and participating in reciprocal social interactions, more current conceptualizations are based on the notion of a condition that involves complex patterns of atypical processes, especially in the areas of perception, attention and motor development.”

While James was watching cartoons on TV one time, though, he showed an interest in theme parks. He was mesmerized by the colors on the screen, as well as the rides that other kids were riding. I asked his doctor if James could go to Disneyland, and I was glad to know that it could happen. What made me happier, though, was learning that the said theme park has sensory support services in place for guests with disabilities. The simple explanation about it is that they will give your child a Disney’s disability card, which will act like a Fastpass and keep you from waiting in lines for hours.

Still, before allocating one weekend to a theme park adventure with the entire family, there are a few things that you should remember.

Prepare Your Sensory-Challenged Kid Beforehand

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Your primary agenda is to make sure that going to Disneyland will not be the first time that your child will be around a lot of people. As a test, you may take them to a natural park near your house. If they don’t react adversely to it, you can try bringing them to a mall. Though the sensory-challenged kid may not get used to the setting entirely, they will not freak out when they see a crowd at least.

Learn About Every Attraction Early

Knowledge is power, especially when we are talking about the rides that your child can try. Most theme parks have websites that you can visit these days, and they provide information about every attraction that they have. You should read about all of them to figure out which ones to avoid.

Pick The Least Busy Time

It is always best to be at the theme park as soon as it open. The benefit of doing so is that you can ascertain that a guest assistant will be available to help you throughout the day. You can also make sure that the entire staff knows about your child’s disability. This way, no one will try to shake their hand or talk to them, regardless of how friendly the characters may be.

In her book, “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight,” Sharon Heller, PhD, tackled the sensory processing disorder experience. She wrote, “People with a severe case suffer hair-rising sensitivity to barely noticeable stimuli. A gentle hand on their shoulder can feel like a claw if you suddenly pat their back.”

Take Your Child’s “Must-Haves” With You

Going to a theme park can make your child susceptible to different trigger factors. Not to mention, their exhaustion can increase their crankiness over time.

As explained by Aimee Piller, PhD, OTR/L and Joseph Barimo, EdD, MBA, CCC-SLP, “When the nervous system is in a state of high alert, attention is difficult, and a child’s frustration tolerance tends to be lower.”

To prevent an episode, therefore, you should bring noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to shield them from the sounds. If their sense of sight gets overwhelmed easily, feel free to bring sunglasses, too.

Final Thoughts

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You are not a bad mom or dad for allowing your disabled child to do what they want, even if it is technically against protocol. As long as the doctor allows it, then there is no reason for you not to take your beloved son or daughter anywhere.

Good luck!

Learning About Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park And The Sensory Benefits Of Going There

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After years of planning how to make the available space more conducive to Tampa’s inhabitants and the tourists who come to the place, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park was launched to the public in the year 2010 as an integral part of the Riverwalk project. Tampa already had a park before the latter’s conception. However, it was a bit isolated from the rest of the city and sort of restricted access to the river. For this reason, its administrators decided to do a major reconstruction. The square is close to where the demolished Curtis Hixon Hall was located. It also leads down to the serene river that is the main highlight of the grounds.

There are many things an individual or a family can do in the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Fountains have been strategically built all over the gardens, for one. They are refreshing to look at, especially when you are resting on the terraces or pavilions situated in the vicinity. If you have come to the park with your kids or dog(s), the municipality has made sure that there will be playgrounds created for both humans and animals to attract a higher number of visitors.

In their research on the vital psychological role that nature plays in our lives, Rachel Kaplan, Ph.D., and Stephen Kaplan, Ph.D.,  finds that, “[d]esign can also encourage learning and exploration by creating spaces that are not immediately interpreted but allow discovery through sensory exploration.”

Because of the vastness of the greenspace, it is no longer surprising either that it has become an event location for leisurely activities. In truth, it is now a venue for art shows, live musical performances, yoga classes, and many more.

In just a short period, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park’s reputation has changed positively. It is now even known as Tampa’s very own town square since a lot of folks love to experience a bit of nature in the city.

How Can A Visit To Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park Provide Sensory Support?

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The basic idea is that everyone has to develop their five senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. It comes naturally for most individuals, but for some, they need a little help in that department. That is one of the main reasons why going to a park like Curtis Hixon’s in Tampa, Florida is a great thing.

“It helps to be well-versed about the benefits of exposure to natural light, the mood benefits of moderate exercise and the fact that we’re not built to be sedentary,” Jennifer Lager, PsyD, says.

While some trees and pavilions offer shade, you can sit or lie down on the grass. In truth, you may even run around and not be afraid of getting bruised because of the cushioning that the soil provides. You can also feel the wind and the sunlight against your skin. Of course, since it is an open ground, you will be able to see what other park-goers are doing, as well as hear the songs that they may be playing or singing. If you go there during a special event, you may even join in the festivities.

“Like many business people, my job is sedentary and indoors. I try to step outside even for just a few minutes to take some deep breaths of fresh air and feel the sun on my skin,” Dr. Jamie Long, PsyD, says.

To Sum Things Up

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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a gift in so many ways. Not only does it offer a new cool hangout for the citizens of Tampa, but it can also cater to individuals who have sensory-processing issues. Anytime you visit Florida. Therefore, you should not miss a chance to spend a day in this park.

Cheers!

Everything You Need To Know About Custom Farm Toys

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Custom farm toys are starting to take over the particular spot that robots, trains, and stuffed animals used to fill the hearts of autistic children. This is a fact that has surprised the parents, especially the city slickers who may have never seen real-life farming equipment in person, and admittedly dismayed the manufacturers that produce the other kinds of toys in bulk as the existence of the custom-made ones means lesser sales for them.

Why Do Kids Prefer Custom Farm Toys?

Aside from their cute size that is perfect for the young kiddos, the 1/64 farm displays look quite different from the cars or buildings that they see in the metro. And because children are born curious, when they are asked to choose between the miniature versions of the vehicles that they are used to and the ones that they have seen for the first time, they immediately go for the latter.

How To Find Great Customized Sensory Toys?

Of course, as a wise consumer, you need to check a list of things before hitting that Buy button as soon as you notice that they are on sale.

Design

There are farming cars and structures that look realistic in terms of the colors painted on them. It may be best to get such toys to familiarize your kids with different colors and objects.

Quality

The items are mostly hand-crafted, and they are to be played with by children who have not developed a good perception of what is edible and what is not. Hence, you have to ensure that the toys you will purchase are going to stay in one piece even if the kid drops it.

Affordability

You can find several toy developers virtually or hire the services of the company that offers them at the most reasonable rate.

What Kind Of Personalized Toys Are Worth Looking For?

Farm Trucks

These four-wheelers are necessary for the mini-farm that the kids are building. After all, they are utilized to transport the hays, produces, and sometimes even animals from one location to another. In addition to that, the tractors should be well-structured to teach them how it moves without the adults teaching them.

Farm Buildings

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Along with the cars are the edifices which are a staple when you think of farm life. We are talking about anything from chicken coups to barns for the cows and horses. There can also be a shed for all the machinery that the farmers use to plow the fields and perform other activities in the land.

Custom Farm Toys Sizes

The sizes of the toys that the makers offer vary, but the typical scales that the clients ask for are 1/64 and 1/16. Such measurements are suitable for people who plan on making a complete farm setting but do not want it to cover the entire living room. You can still add that every piece of character, automobile, or building in it, after all.

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Final Thoughts

Using customized farm toys as a sensory aid is an excellent choice for every parent out there. Granted, it is not the most conventional idea, but it can distract a fussy child and teach them a thing or two about farming, animals, and arts in general.