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

benefits-of-letting-people-know-about-your-disability-1

Source: pixabay.com

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

benefits-of-letting-people-know-about-your-disability-2

Source: pixabay.com

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

benefits-of-letting-people-know-about-your-disability-3

Source: pixabay.com

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

going-to-a-theme-park-with-your-sensory-challenged-child-1

Source: pixabay.com

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

going-to-a-theme-park-with-your-sensory-challenged-child-2

Source: pixabay.com

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

going-to-a-theme-park-with-your-sensory-challenged-child-3

Source: pixabay.com

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

learning-about-curtis-hixon-waterfront-park-and-the-sensory-benefits-of-going-there-1

Source: pixabay.com

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?

learning-about-curtis-hixon-waterfront-park-and-the-sensory-benefits-of-going-there-2

Source: pixabay.com

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

learning-about-curtis-hixon-waterfront-park-and-the-sensory-benefits-of-going-there-3

Source: pixabay.com

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

everything-you-need-to-know-about-custom-farm-toys-1

Source: pixabay.com

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

everything-you-need-to-know-about-custom-farm-toys-2

Source: pixabay.com

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.

everything-you-need-to-know-about-custom-farm-toys-3

Source: pixabay.com

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.

5 Tips To Observe In Dealing With A Therapist

Have you decided to start looking for a therapist as soon as possible? Do you think that it is time for you to confront your mental health issues and seek the help of a professional? Are you afraid of how this professional engagement may turn out, especially if you are not aware of how to do it right? In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips and tricks on how you can deal with a therapist during your first few sessions.

 

 

Before anything else, the first step that you must do is to look for an excellent mental health professional who has a good record in your industry. As much as possible, find someone that you can trust so that you will not have a hard time dealing with him. Otherwise, you will only regret your decision of getting therapy. The sessions or meetings may not be fruitful as expected if you fail to select the best therapist in your local community. Because of this, it is best if you will take all the time you need for the selection process to ensure that you will not commit any mistake.

“A good therapist, however you find them, is gold,” shares Don Turner, MD, a private practice psychiatrist in Atlanta. “A good therapist is non judgemental, accepting, and patient. Otherwise, our patients are just getting what they grew up with.”

Check the rest of the article to find out the different ways on how you can deal with a therapist in the right manner. Here are some of the things that you must know:

Talk About The Terms

The first step that you must never forget to settle is to discuss the terms and conditions of your engagement with the therapist. Do not hesitate to ask questions in availing of the professional services. As much as possible, learn about the fees necessary as well as the payment terms available. Aside from this, you must also be able to discuss the frequency of your meetings. Take note that it is best to avail of the trial services provided by some therapists so that you can make the an informed and correct decision. The terms of your contract with the said professional matters a lot.

 

 

Be Honest At All Times

If you want to make your relationship with a therapist work, it is crucial on your part to remain honest no matter what happens. Keep in mind that all communications made to a therapist are highly confidential. This means that you can tell anything you want to the said professional without the risk of disclosure.

“I indicated why some people tell the particular stories they do: to make themselves more interesting in general and, in particular, to have interesting symptoms; to make themselves seem better: more intelligent and more capable; to explain away and justify failures, to put one over the psychiatrist, who may present himself as preternaturally wise; to gossip about others; and to distract from the ordinary business of life which is usually the source of most patients’ distress, but which is painful to contemplate because it is so intractable. In sum, people lie to cover up an unpleasant picture that they have of themselves,” Fredric Neuman, MD, shares.

Under the state laws, a therapist is prohibited from revealing any form of information that it derives during therapy sessions. Failure to observe this law can cause for the revocation of their license. These laws were enacted to ensure that clients or patients could confide freely to the therapist. However, the rules also mandate that any confession regarding the commission of a future crime will not be included in the privileged communication. Aside from this, the notes of therapists may not be brought as evidence in any case, unless a court issues a subpoena.

Ask For Clarifications

There are many things that you can learn from a therapist during your sessions. Some of these items may not be clear to you, which is why you must never have second thoughts in asking for clarifications. Keep in mind that it is absolutely okay to request your mental health professional expert to explain some terms clearly to you. Stop thinking that you are always helpless. If something is bothering you, bring it up, and have a truthful communication with a therapist. Once you can do all these things, you will be surprised to find out that attending therapy is not as difficult as what other people say. All you have to do is to ask the right questions.

 

Be Responsible

Just because you are a client does not mean that everything will go according to what you plan or intend to do. Keep in mind that a therapist has many things to do on his plate. As such, you cannot expect him to give you a lot of time in a given day. Make sure that you respect the allotted time given to you. Check your calendar and see if you have a meeting with a therapist. It is highly recommended that you go to the therapist’s clinic ahead of time. At the same time, be courteous enough to call the office to inform the front desk office if you wish to cancel your meeting or appointment. It is best to do it ahead of time so that you will not encounter any problem at all.

“You know therapy is working if you are doing the skills you have learned in session outside of session and seeing that it works or helps. There might be working if you are able to set better boundaries, trust yourself and your decisions without reassurance seeking, validate yourself and others, or prioritize your needs and demands in a more balanced way,” Jessica Dyer, LCSW, staff counselor at Washington University in St. Louis, says.

What are you waiting for? Start your search for the best therapist now, and remember the items mentioned above.