Thursday, March 7, 2013

Early Interventions

March 7th, 2013

Early intervention is crucially important when your child has special needs. Working with challenged children for over 20 years, I can first-hand testify that the difference can provide a better quality of life for you and your child (children).  Many parent's really do a disservice to their families when they do not seek help within that time period when they are still questioning their child's development (meanwhile also questioning themselves at the same time). As aggravating as it may be for a parent to feel the pressures from the politics of school systems and specialists; it is equally as aggravating working with children that could have had better odds if they were given the chance for early intervention without prejudices from any party involved. Think of your child's care, education, and anything else - everyone is a member on your child/student's team, and everyone needs to work together to benefit the child.  The student/child should always be the priority. If you have questions, ask. If you disagree, find the facts and have documentation.

This also applies to sensory integration. Introducing sensory at an early age can be beneficial especially if your child is tactile defensive. There are great ways to incorporate sensory into any child's early development.
Here are just a few:
3.) Make shaking bottles. Take a used (see through) plastic bottle. Kids seem to like any size from 2 litter to a smaller bottle to do this with. Then have them fill the bottle. Popular items include beans, bells, and small decorative erasers. This will also help hand and eye coordination as well as occupational therapy. Another great spin on this concept is water bottles. Use water and oil (food coloring to add color) and it creates that contrast that can be therapeutic for both child and parent. Make sure the tops on the bottles are securely closed.  If you have a child that is able to open the top, then you may want to clue the top on to avoid choking hazards or possible poisoning.
2.) If you do have a child that is very sensitive to touch (which is associated to many different disorders, syndromes, or other classifications). A way to help your child work toward increasing tolerance is to create a feel box. Decorate the box so that it is appealing for the child to explore and play with. Add different sensory items such as sand paper, bubble wrap, scents, and lotions (just to name a few). Once they are more comfortable discovering and using the items in the box, you can also cut a hole in the box and let them discover what is inside without actually looking (it's fun when they have to guess what they are feeling). This is not going to work for every child. It is really important not to beat yourself up (or your child) when something doesn't work out how it should. You can always give it a break and then try to reincorporate it again. I have to do this with my own son - sometimes he doesn't like something the first time, then the more I present it to him, he's like "yeah, whatever."
1.) This is a great sensory activity, just be warned that it can be very messy. Make sure you have a sheet ready to lay down on the floor before. Have a couple different larger Tupperware containers. Fill each one with a different sensory (beans, noodles, sand, water). You can add their favorite toys in the containers to promote the child to play within the ingredients (however, this could highly upset some children - never do something if it is going to be traumatizing. Start small and work up toward a goal - baby steps). This is why I said to put the sheet down to cut down on the clean-up time (don't freak out - there will be spills!) To add consistency to your child's daily routines you can have a set time to do these activities or a certain day.  This will also cut-down on any behavioral issues that could arise.

Speaking of behavior, early intervention is crucial with behavioral management as well. It is one thing for it to be age appropriate, it is another thing when the child is a repeated offender (especially if they are physically hurting others). Seek counseling and help right away if your child is hurting their self or others. It might be time to seek professional help and create a behavioral plan.  These are put in the place for the benefit of everyone in the child's life, including the child.  Consistency is another very crucial aspect, if you do not have consistency then the child will understand that the rules can be broken and could take advantage of this (to their benefit, no one else's). Make sure you follow-through with what you are telling your child. If you do not follow-through, it is sending mixed messages, it can be confusing and only agitate an already delicate behavioral scenario.
 
Remember that every single child is different, what could work with one child and one situation, could not work with any other. Don't give up on your child or yourself. If you feel like it is too much, seek help for yourself as well. A couple key factors hat I have learnt through my 10 years within my own son's life, it isn't easy. I have cried, screamed, and have even been hospitalized. Make sure to take care of yourself, you can't take care of other's if you yourself are not taken care of.  Go to therapy for yourself, if you can't go to a counselor then try to join an on-line community (there are a lot of them) and they are wonderful. It is a great resource as well, you can read what other's have experienced and gone through. You also can ask questions if you have them and want an opinion of another parent. Make sure to participate and share, someone could learn something from you as well.
Feel free to ask me questions by posting below.

Until next time or the next... dream
K.E.Nowinsky