Interoception: The Eighth Sense and Autism

Amy explains what interoception is and how to help children who have autism better develop interoceptive awareness.

I had never heard the term, but I knew exactly what it was.  My 3 1/2 year old son has ADHD and ASD.  I recently jotted down on a piece of paper several things I was noticing in him.  Things that didn’t seem related, but at the same time seemed to have a connection.  Things like “never seems hungry, never seems thirsty, never seems sleepy, under responsive to painful stimuli, overly responsive to temperature of food, under responsive to physical touch, seems unable to recognize emotional changes in people,” and the list goes on.
Continue reading “Interoception: The Eighth Sense and Autism”

Podcast 04: Defining Your New Norm

Amy shares how having a child with a developmental disability, such as ADHD or Autism, means that you more than likely will have to redefine what normal looks like for you family.

A Christmas Meltdown Turns Into Christmas Miracle

Amy shares how a holiday meltdown turned into a holiday miracle.

Christmas came and went.  It was a little overwhelming for my ADHD/ASD child.  He is 3 1/2 and it took him a while to understand that gifts were for opening.  He’d open one and just want to play with it.  Then once he understood the concept it was as if he had to open every gift in overdrive.  It was chaotic at times.  He is used to not having access to many toys as we keep them in bins in a closet.  We attempt the one bin in, one bin out rule.  So having toys everywhere for a few days did dysregulate him.  However, had a little dysregulation been our only holiday challenge, we could have easily managed that.  What happened to my son over the holiday was nothing short of a complete meltdown.  Thank goodness, we figured out why. Continue reading “A Christmas Meltdown Turns Into Christmas Miracle”

Genetic Testing Using “Genesight”

Amy shares a genetic test her son with ADHD and ASD had done by his developmental pediatrician and how the results have helped shape her son’s treatment.

My son is 3 1/2 years old and diagnosed with a severe communication disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

For the last six months he has been on a roller coaster of medication trials to help get some of the ADHD symptoms under control.   He’s gone from Focalin, to Dyanavel, to Guanfacine with nothing seeming to be the right fit.  The Guanfacine offered the least side effects, but also the least results.  He is in a full-time Applied Behavior Analysis program and was so wired during the first half of the day that therapy was becoming a challenge.  He would then crash mid-morning and fall asleep which meant he was then missing several hours of therapy.

I called his developmental pediatrician and asked if we could discuss trying yet another medication.  She said she first wanted me to bring him in for a test called the “Genesight“. Continue reading “Genetic Testing Using “Genesight””

Planning & Preparing for Excursions

Using real-world examples, Amy shares tips on how to prepare for a family outing with a child who has ADHD or ASD.

A few days ago we took our 3 1/2 year old son to the North Pole!  Well, not really but he certainly thought we did!  His current favorite movie is the Polar Express. A local train station puts on a holiday Polar Express themed event.  It begins with a live action show inside the station, followed by a very entertaining train ride complete with singers, dancers, and the big man himself, Santa!

My son has ADHD and ASD. As a result, outings for our family require a lot of planning and preparation.  For a long time we didn’t go out often, and that wasn’t good for any of us. It’s important for our family to be able to enjoy events in our community, going out to dinner as a family and visiting parks and zoos.  If you have a child with ASD or ADHD and have had difficulty in the past with family outings, don’t give up!  The following guidelines can help you and your child enjoy these special family moments again! Continue reading “Planning & Preparing for Excursions”

It Takes a Village: Get Your Hands Dirty and Build It From the Ground Up

Amy shares how important it is for families of special needs children to have a support system and offers practical tips on how to accomplish this.

Raising a child with developmental disabilities is often overwhelming for parents and they need all the help they can get.  I know.  I am one of them. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Get Your Hands Dirty and Build It From the Ground Up”

An Apology Letter to My Former Students

Amy shares a letter she has written to her former special needs students sharing with them a heartfelt apology for not understanding how to reach their individual needs and her promise that going forward she will be an advocate for children like them.

Dear Former Students,

I am so sorry.  I didn’t understand that your little body needed to move and that it actually helped you learn.  When you kept getting out of your seat during a test and I took away your recess I didn’t realize what that did to you.  I took away something that you NEEDED to be successful.  Please forgive me.

I am so sorry. I didn’t understand that a side effect of your medication meant you weren’t hungry at lunch time, but by the afternoon you were starving.  No wonder you had difficulty concentrating.  I wish I would have let you have an afternoon snack.  Please forgive me. Continue reading “An Apology Letter to My Former Students”