Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Behavioral Conference

Today I attended a conference that was actually local
Nice lady married to and sister of ASD individuals ( 2 separate people )
While factors that contribute to the difficult behaviors are a function of a ASD.
But severity of ASD does not mean severe behaviors – certainly true in the case of R who is fully affected by ASD while still being mild and gentle
All the limitations of ASD are dependent on each other – though the key one is social
Social skills must be taught through some scripts and social stories ( wouldn’t that be hard to do with children with severe language problems like R )
On Stress
She talked a LOT about stress –
When an ASD person experiences stress – all the communication can falls apart as survival instincts kick in
She talked a lot about Stress being sensory related - over stimulated
How Aspies are prone to panic attacks and how the MUST be taught deep breathing techniques ( lie on floor , book on diaphragm book must rise and fall )
Stress can lead to Control freak behavior
On Sensory
Sensory strategies need to be employed carefully – example swinging is great – but may be disorganizing unless followed by deep pressure ( this was a BIG AHA to me ) .
She also said that kids will crave some sensory stuff – sometimes it’s a sign that tells you that sensory diets must be crafted around that- as this activity will help organize them
HOWEVER some times they will crave sensory input that actually will DISORGANIZE them . R’s side roll certainly has turned into a stim that is addictive and disorganizing for him
Sensory Support MUST be reflected in the schedules of the child
As these kids mature – the sensory support for them will look more like what NT’s use to organize themselves
Overstimulation can build up over time – usually the reasons for the mid school year “ regression” in school kids. They would not have this regression if they had had appropriate sensory support throughout the year
Overall most of her focus was on OVERSTIMULATION and its prevention ( wear white clothes, low stimulation house , neutral colors , low voice, no perfume, no bleach etc )
I asked her what about a sensation craver like my son
She said his sleep area should be low stimlation but he could have a play area that was High stimulation
On co diagnosis like ASD+ ADHD or Bipolar
In her opinion it was all plain ASD
Example - she does not see ASD kids as having a lack of attention – when they are interested they are VERY interested
But she said it was not their lack of attention - but rather their distraction with irrelevant stimulus
So the solution would be to direct their attention to what is relevant
She talked about a boy who would keep losing his way on the way to the bathroom and how the solution was to give him a visual prompt to hold that told him to go to the bathroom
On Bipolar and ASD
Just a manifestation of communication problems
Gave example of child who said that they heard a voice in their head telling them to do something – was simply describing a “thought’
As in the child saw her own thinking process as a voice in her head
Social Stories
Apart from Sensory strategies her main this was visual cues and SOCIAL Stories
Other interesting things
Our job is to not always keep them in their comfort zone . If we do this then their comfort zone will narrow over time and they will become more rigid
We have to widen the comfort zone
She also said that the magic times for a ritual to set is is 2 times – example – if on the ay back from Wal-Mart – you stopped at Mc D’s – on two trips … this will become the rule
The importance of Sleep and food
She said one should look into Neuroacoustics and relaxation CD
Overall she talked a lot about being a behavior detective and figuring out what really caused the behavior – usually bad behavior was the result of overstress and the person being in survival mode
She also talked about t the ASD brain being different
And how many ASD people share characteristics of High IQ people and will not understand the importance of social stuff


danette said...

Sounds like a very insightful conference, I can relate to so much of this!

She hit the nail on the head with the comfort zones and routines... we learned the hard way early on that if we did something more than once, it became a carved-in-stone routine that could not be broken without a huge meltdown ensuing. So we have gone out of our way to change things up to avoid unintentionally creating a "routine" and at the same time, tried to carefully choose things that would be a routine so they'd have that as a comfort. A tough balance sometimes between accomodating our kids and trying to stretch them.

Laura said...

That's interesting! Unfortunately, Hutton seems to think something is routine after one time -- if it's something he likes. For instance, last week we went to Red Robin after his soccer class, and this week he was expecting it again. Uh, no. Sorry bud! Fortunately, he was OK with going home, but routine is hard to change, sometimes!

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