Invisible Disabilities: Advantage or Disadvantage?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014


Blogger Paddy-Jo Moran’s post Autism Myths and Misconceptions … Autism is Always Visible  resonated with me on numerous levels. My waiting room is filled with children, some with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder who look just like any group of typically developing children. However, when their behavior or speech patterns do not meet the expectations of those around them (teachers, neighbors, kids on the playground, the guy at the check-out counter) they and their parents are frequently met with castigating stares or pity, with observers eager to lay the blame on bad parenting, lack of discipline or spoiled-brat behavior. Often even the parents of those children with invisible handicaps find themselves playing the blame game, as on some level they too expect the same behavior from their child with handicaps as they do from their neuro-typical children.

I believe that exposure and education  are the most effective ways of effecting a (non-judgmental) attitude adjustment to support kids who appear to be typical, but suffer handicapping conditions.  The high profile of autism and ADHD in the media, the inclusion of children with handicapping conditions in public and private schools, daycare, after-school programs, organizations like the Friendship Circle and summer camps (kudos to Camp Morasha, for being the the first to host a Yachad program) are essential. But to be maximally effective, they need to be supplemented by explicit programming that focuses children and adults on an appreciation of the uniqueness of every individual, in a non-judgmental way.

Check out  a new musical about disability, friendship and kindness with cool Muppet-like characters, created by Nava R. Silton, the sister-in-law of someone near and dear to my heart, playing this week on Thursday night at BPY. Get your tickets here.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 and is filed under ADHD, Autism, Parenting, Sensory Processing.

Infographic: “Autism and SPD… How it feels” A laundry list by POTSOT.com

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Click on the image to see the full sized version.






This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.

Travel Tips: “My Child Needs To Move!”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


Road trips with children are challenging. Road trips with children who seek movement can be even more challenging because they need to sit still and stay belted during the car ride. Use rest stops to your advantage. Whether you’re breaking to fill up on gas or to use the restroom, allow your child/ren to get out of the car and encourage them to move.  Here are some movement ideas:

  • Stretching
  • Jogging around the building (if there is a sidewalk)
  • Running in place to a fast-paced sound
  • Jumping jacks
  • Hop, skip or gallop back to the car

Consider making a pack of “Get up, get out and move” cards before your trip with funky movement activities, including yoga poses, animal walks, races and break dancing. Shuffle the deck of cards and let each child pick up 1 card per rest stop.

Submitted By: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L, and Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPR, OTR/L

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Infants & Toddler Tips, Parenting, Seasonal Tips, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Do Weighted Blankets Improve Sleep in Children and Teens with Autism?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


In this article, Autism Speaks discusses a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, that concludes that weighted blankets do not significantly impact in sleep in children with autism.

Here’s what we think!

A weighted blanket, like any isolated sensory strategy is not a magic pill. Difficulty falling asleep is often the result of over-responsiveness to sensation THROUGHOUT THE DAY. 

​Weighted blankets ​will only be truly ​effective as part of a comprehensive sensory diet. A sensory diet is proactive, and includes consistent sensory input throughout the day, not only at the time that the challenge arises (in this case, bed time). Think of a typical diet. Eating an apple for snack might be a healthy, nutritional choice, but you will only achieve a healthy lifestyle, and start to see a difference, if you choose healthy foods (and eliminate unhealthy foods) throughout the day. It would be silly to eat one apple in the evening, and potato chips the rest of the day, and then conclude that eating apples has no positive impact on weight loss.

So, don’t throw out your weighted blankets so quickly. If your child prefers it, this is a good sign that you chose an appropriate sensory diet activity for him/her. Work with your occupational therapist to combine it with additional sensory activities, such as Therapeutic Listening and heavy work, and you might start to see some real changes.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child, Therapeutic Listening.

Dyspraxia Infographic

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Check out our new infographic: Dyspraxia

Click on the image to see it full size. Dyspraxia_infographic

This entry was posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Infographic: Triggers for Kids with Autism and SPD

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Check out our new infographic: Triggers for Kids with Autism and SPD


This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing.

Sensory Friendly Dental Environments?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014



For children with Sensory Integration challenges, going to the dentist is particularly daunting.  However, research on “Sensory Adapted Dental Environments” may help soften the experience in the future. Click here to learn more.

While it is rare to find a pediatric dentist with a sensory friendly environment who is keenly attuned to the needs of children with SPD and those on the autistic spectrum, in Bergen County we are fortunate enough to  have a dentist with an environment replete with spa music, nature sounds, smells and tactile toys to calm the senses of parents, employees and doctors. A shout out to Purnima Hernandez who has been an advocate, sensory star and recently became a BCBA. Check out her practice here: www.Bergenpediatricdentistry.com.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Getting Ready for School, Navigating the system, Parenting, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, The Special Needs Child.

11 Things Never to Say to Parents of a Child with Autism

Sunday, April 20th, 2014


You mean well, and you want to support your friend who has a a child with autism. Click here to learn what to say and what to avoid saying.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2014 and is filed under Autism.

Biomarkers Enable Screening for Autism at 9 Months

Sunday, April 20th, 2014


A simple screening tool for autism using that can be done in a pediatrician’s office shows promise for early identification of ASD.  Click here to learn more.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Infants & Toddlers, Parenting, The Special Needs Child.

Cruising with Autism

Thursday, April 17th, 2014



Kudos to  Royal Caribbean, my favorite cruise line, for becoming one of the first vacation destinations to embrace families with autistic individuals. I am not surprised that the RC, who has been so graciously accommodating to kosher people, has stepped up to the plate.

Click here for the 2014 announcement and check out this link to learn about the wide variety of autism services available.



This entry was posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 and is filed under Autism, Parenting, Seasonal Tips, The Special Needs Child.