Patty Lemer

Prioritizing Therapies

Patty Lemer

Our Chairman of the Board, Patty Lemer, has been involved with recovering children from neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, SPD and learning disabilities for roughly 40 years.  Before she joined us here at Epidemic Answers, she co-founded and ran another non-profit, Developmental Delay Resources, with nutritionist Kelly Dorfman. In 2008, Patty published an excellent book, “Envisioning a Bright Future:  Interventions That Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders“.  The last chapter of the book is the basis for Patty’s upcoming book about prioritizing those interventions and therapies. While we’re waiting for the book to be published, you can watch this YouTube video of Patty’s discussion of these priorities.

Where Do I Begin?

Where Do I Begin?

Where Do I Begin?

Where do I begin?  Should I start with my being pregnant and working at a stressful job in New York City?  Maybe I should first write about my family history of celiac and not knowing that having undiagnosed celiac/gluten intolerance can have major consequences to your unborn child.  Was it the flu shot with mercury that I was convinced to take because I was high risk simply because I was pregnant? Maybe I should begin with my son’s delivery.  I describe the aftermath as being a crime scene, (sorry for the visual).  Let’s just say it was the perfect storm of two injections of an epidural, lots of pitocin and a forceps delivery. As soon as our bundle of joy came home…the crying began.  The doctor diagnosed him with having an awful case of colic, the worst she had ever seen.  He was prescribed a cocktail of Maalox and Zantac for the first year and a half of his life. …

Testing 101

Testing 101

Testing 101

by Patricia S. Lemer, M. Ed., NCC When I was twelve, my mother showed me some vocational tests she used in her volunteer work with seniors.  I was fascinated.  I loved math, puzzles, and analyzing behavior.  I had found my perfect vocation.  Later, I majored in psychological testing at college.  The rest is history. For more than 30 years, I’ve been an educational diagnostician.  Daily, I administer psycho-educational tests to kids and adults.  For me, testing is like playing bridge; instead of using cards, I ask questions, present blocks and problems, pencil and paper.  Every “hand” is a different, new puzzle to solve. Why Test?  Most people want a diagnosis.  The results of diagnostic testing determine placement, access to services such as special education or therapy, and insurance reimbursement (or denial). Rule:  Decide whether you need a diagnosis, or are more interested in what is causing the learning and/or behavioral issues.  While good diagnostic testing is multi-faceted and can pinpoint…

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback

Three years ago Jake’s parents sought out a clinic offering neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback that involves displaying a person’s brain waves on a computer screen and helping him control them. Jake would sit at a monitor with a sensor on his scalp, and whenever his brain achieved the calm, steady rhythms that normally eluded him, a Pac-Man would start gobbling black dots and beeping.  Soon he was controlling the screen action at will, by recognizing the way it feels when the Pac-Man goes to work, and his brain was growing more stable. “It took care of his teeth grinding and sleep problems in two sessions,” says his mother.  Within a week Jake was using scissors and developing a range of other fine motor skills.  The number of seizures dropped.  His schoolwork improved dramatically. Applications. Though biofeedback is best known for stress-reduction, researchers in clinics, universities and even NASA are now working to refine the type that deals with brain…

Sensory Processing Disorder Survey

Sensory Processing Disorder Survey

Sensory Processing Disorder Survey

We’re helping out a Masters student with her thesis on children with Sensory Processing Disorder.  She’s put together an anonymous survey, and we’re asking for your help in filling it out.  Her name is Meghan Bookler, and here’s what she says: “Hello! I am the mother of a 6 y.o. with SMD-SOR (Sensory Modulation Disorder) and I am so happy to have found this site. I sure could have used this site those 1st 3 years!  Though I am thrilled to be here now. I also want to post my biography in case you are interested in participating in the anonymous research survey I have posted on this thread.: http://about.me/meghan_brookler I am currently writing my thesis.  It is about SPD and will contribute to (my – and hopefully others!) understanding of the possible microbiome-gut-brain connection in SPD.  I am happy to share any and all info as this has been a long journey for us, and we are doing so…

Discrete Trial Teaching

Discrete Trial Teaching

Discrete Trial Teaching

By Amy Zier, M.S., OTR/L and Kimberly Garvey Hoehne, M.A. What is Discrete Trial Teaching? Discrete trial teaching (DTT), often used in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs, is a methodology aiming to help children learn developmentally appropriate skills of imitation, receptive/expressive language, pre-academic concepts, social relations, toy/peer play, and self-help/adaptive abilities. A discrete trial consists of an instruction or question to the child, the child’s response, reinforcement or consequences, and prompting, followed by fading prompts, as necessary. Skills are broken down into small, manageable tasks according to the child¹s level of ability.  The method promotes natural learning by teaching children how to learn from their environment. What does sensory processing have to do with DTT? Children who have difficulty processing sensory information often cannot efficiently utilize the range of learning activities used in discrete trial teaching. They may respond to the daily experience of touch, movement, sight and sound with a variety of negative behaviors and be unable to sustain…

Vision Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Such as Autism

Vision Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Vision Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Such as Autism

by Maria Rickert Hong, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, AADP I am fortunate to have Dr. Randy Schulman, MS, OD, FCOVD, as my sons’ behavioral optometrist.  Dr. Schulman wrote the chapters on the role of vision therapy and optometry in Patty Lemer’s book, “Envisioning a Bright Future:  Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders“, which I reviewed earlier.  Patty was the one who recommended Dr. Schulman to me, and she practices in my area. Patty has always talked about the importance of vision therapy for people with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder (SPD), learning disabilities and other neurological disorders.  Now I know why.  In fact, Patty’s book was published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, which should give you a clue as to the importance of vision in neurodevelopmental disorders. Vision Problems a Cause of Many ASD Symptoms I was astounded to learn that vision problems are a CAUSE of, not a by-product of, many ASD symptoms. …

Sensory Processing Order Early Intervention

Sensory Processing Disorder Early Intervention

Sensory Processing Order Early Intervention

by Carol S. Kranowitz, MA Every day, Sensory Processing Disorder receives new recognition as a common problem among children.  Recognition is good, but those of us who know about it and see the benefits of a healthy sensory diet want more.  To prevent sensory integration dysfunction from hindering our children’s development, we want Sensory Processing Disorder early intervention and identification. One way to encourage parents, teachers, and other early childhood professionals to address SI dysfunction is to help them see it as a developmental problem.  Kids don’t grow out of Sensory Processing Disorder; they grow into it, unless we spot it and treat it — the sooner, the better. Early identification is often possible if children attend a center with an occupational therapist (OT) or a savvy teacher on staff, who can observe their behavior over time. Sensory Processing Disorder can also be detected by a pediatric team using a multidisciplinary approach.  Another avenue is a screening.  A screening is…

How Sensory Integration and Nutrition Interact

How Sensory Integration and Nutrition Interact

How Sensory Integration and Nutrition Interact

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND, co-founder, Developmental Delay Resources Sensory integration (SI) is a complex process that makes it possible for a person to take in, organize and interpret information from our bodies and the world.  (Is the soup hot or cold?  Did the bee sting hurt?  Where are my arms and legs?  Do I need to go to the bathroom?)  Using sensory information efficiently enables us to function smoothly in daily life. Most people naturally get a good “sensory diet,” which nourishes the nervous system and creates healthy circuits capable of relaying accurate information.  For children, ordinary touch and movement experiences, such as swinging, climbing, digging, and molding playdough, are “food” for the brain. Children with SI dysfunction, however, misread sensory input, often under- or over-reacting to it.  If a child’s sensory processing is disorganized, he may be hypo- or hypersensitive to temperature, pain, and the way his body works. If behavior becomes out of sync with life, therapy…

Hippotherapy:  Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Hippotherapy: Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Hippotherapy:  Therapeutic Horseback Riding

By Donna M Warfield, Co-Executive DirectorCircle of Hope Therapeutic Riding, www.chtr.org Equine assisted therapeutic (hippotherapy) riding provides therapy to children and adults with disabilities including, but not limited to attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and head trauma. Therapeutic riding is a special training program in which individuals with disabilities learn horse-riding skills. Medical doctors, physical therapists, educators, psychotherapists. and other professionals have come to recognize the numerous physical, psychological, and social benefits of riding therapy. Physical benefits can include improved balance, strength, coordination, and endurance.  Especially for the physically handicapped, the warmth and movement of the horse stimulates unused muscles. Individuals with emotional and developmental disabilities benefit in language development (there are stories of children who spoke their first words ever on horseback) and concentration.  In many children and adults, riding therapy can boost confidence and self-esteem and foster greater independence. Because learning riding skills provides multi-task learning, there can…