Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Sound Affects Your Child

Everywhere that we go, we are constantly bombarded by sound. As our lives have become faster-paced, and we each try to cram more into each day, the opportunities to find and enjoy simple silence are few and far between. Most of us have become so busy, and so used to the constant sound that we no longer notice it; it’s just faded into the backdrop of our lives. Just because we don’t notice the noise does not mean that we are unaffected by it.

According to Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency, there are numerous studies that indicate that excessive exposure to sound affects our ability to learn, to work, and even to live. He cites a 1998 study published in the British Journal of Psychology that states that exposure to sound while reading or writing causes a 66% drop in productivity. Treasure also cites a German study that shows that not only is a children’s ability to learn affected by noise, but that many children suffer from permanent hearing loss as most classrooms have a noise rating of 65 decibels, nearly twice the recommended level and just 10 decibels shy of levels proven to cause permanent damage to one’s hearing. The trend towards open classrooms and workspaces has only contributed to increases in the volume of ambient sound that we all now experience.

Other studies link the excessive exposure to noise in our everyday environment to additional developmental delays in our children, an increase in crime rates, damage to the human voice, and delays in healing and in some instances can contribute to an increase in death.

These revelations about sound are troubling indeed.

As many of us who have children that are along the autism spectrum know, many of our kids are more sensitive to a wide variety of stimulus in the environment, particularly sound. With this new understanding of the effect of sound on each of us, it should come as no surprise when our children experience difficulties both in the classroom and at home from receiving too much stimulation from sound.

Treasure offers parents and others ways to cope with this unending assault on our senses in this video, where he gives some tips on how we can each cope with the excessive sounds in our lives. Some of these tips include steps to take to cultivate silence and how to give our ears a break by changing the types of sound to which we are exposed, which can be helpful to all parents wherever their children may be along the autism spectrum.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sensory Overload

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be so overloaded with sounds, movement and colour that it all becomes too much to cope with?

Watch this clip and find out exactly what it’s like.

This was created as part of Mark Jonathan Harris' and Marhsa Kinder's "Interacting with Autism" project which is working to build an interactive, video intensive website that will focus on the best available treatments for autism.

I won’t keep talking about the video.  Just watch it.  Make sure you tell me how it made you feel as I’d love to read your comments.

Sensory Overload (Interacting with Autism Project) from Miguel Jiron on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Is It Really ADHD – Or A Sleeping Disorder?

Most parents who have a child with ADHD are familiar with its common symptoms: easy distractibility and an inability to focus, putting things off until the last minute, being forgetful and even losing things. What many do not realise, even in the health care community, is that these same symptoms often accompany some sort of sleeping disorder in children and even in some adults.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, there is both anecdotal evidence as well as solid research that seem to suggest that part of the reason why more children and adults are being diagnosed with ADHD may be that they are being misdiagnosed and actually have a sleeping disorder.  It is also possible that there may be a connection between the two disorders.

Our lives are simply busier than they were just a few decades ago. All of us try to cram more activities into each day, and more is expected of us at work, school and home. Add to that the steady influx of technological advances that make it hard to “unplug” such as video games, smartphones and more and it’s easy to see why most people don’t get the amount of sleep that they wish or need.
All of this constant “busy-ness” can make it hard to turn off our minds and achieve a good night’s sleep. Physical issues such as breathing problems caused by sleep apnea and other conditions can also interfere with achieving the periods of deep, interrupted sleep that all of us need to function in top form. 

While lack of restful sleep often manifests itself with feeling lethargic and sleepy through the day, other individuals, particularly children, may display the same symptoms that are common among those with ADHD.

While more research is needed, information that is currently available suggests that helping children with ADHD to achieve a restful night’s sleep may be a tool that parents can use to help reduce the ADHD symptoms that their child may experience throughout the day. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When Wrapping Helps

Whether or not your child has autism, there may be times that you need to comfort your child without words. Many times a child might become stressed from too much stimulation and may even act out when this occurs. Overstimulation can be very upsetting for both the child as well as others if the stress has pushed the child into a meltdown. When overstimulation occurs, it can help your child if they receive comfort and support while their nervous system recovers and has a chance to balance itself.

Wrapping is just one technique that can help to soothe your child and be a safe way to help your child receive comfort and support without the use of words.

What is wrapping? Wrapping is very similar to swaddling a baby. Wrapping is taking a piece of cloth, such as a blanket or sheet, and covering your child with it. As very young children, most of us drew security and comfort from wrapping up and getting to snuggle in a favorite blanket. As a child grows older, they may still find comfort from being swaddled.

To see if this technique might help to calm your child and soothe their worries and frustration you can start by helping them to sit down and then draping them with the material. As you arrange the clothing over their shoulders, draw them close to you, as you would in a big hug and gently begin to rock back and forth with them. Continue to do so for about 10 minutes or so. While you are rocking them, you can try alternating the pressure of your hugs, or you can even give your child their own pillow or blanket to hold as you hug and rock them in the covering.

Since the idea is to help comfort and soothe your child in a nonverbal manner, you will want to practice this method of helping them to feel safe and secure before they are acting out from having too much stimulation. Try this technique during a quiet time when they are not stressed and if they are not resistant to it, you can then use this technique to let them know that everything is going to be okay when they have simply been through too much. In this way you can help them to feel safe and know that they are loved, without using words.
Welcome to The Toy Bug Blog!

Here you will find all sorts of useful information about The Toy Bug including sneak peeks at new products coming into the store, profiles on toys and information and stories about our Autism Journey.

We hope you'll check back often to see whats new :-)
Cheers Jo xo