January 2018 Edition
Content Submitted By: Cheryl Case & Cheryl Mulligan
Mini In stitute:
Sensory Processing
    We all have different voices, hair color, thoughts, and opinions. Each of us also has our own unique sensory makeup, known as our sensory preferences.  Our sensory preferences vary depending on the time of day, how much sleep we've had, our current mood, our health status, and many other reasons.
  Sensory preferences are the way the body analyzes and responds to the signals it receives from its environment.  Children who are experiencing sensory processing difficulties have trouble making sense of the information their brains are receiving from the sensory systems.  Some children need more input in one or more of the sensory systems to get them ready to learn. Other children  are more sensitive and need less input in one or more of the sensory systems to be able to learn.  Read more about the 8 sensory systems.

Reference Books

Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration : Forms, Checklists, and Practical Tools for Teachers and Parents by:  Jane Koomar (Author),  Carol Kranowitz (Author),  Stacey Szklut (Author),

The Out-of-Sync Child : Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder (The Out-of-Sync Child Series) by:  Carol Kranowitz (Author),  Lucy Jane Miller (Preface)

The Out-of Sync Child Grows Up : Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years by:  Carol Kranowitz (Author),  Lucy Jane Miller (Forward)

Raising a Sensory Smart Child : The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues by:  Lindsey Biel  (Author),  Nancy Peske (Author), & 1 more

Sensational Kids : Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), by Lucy Jane Miller
Tool Box
Target Audience: Special education teachers, therapists, paraprofessionals, behavior specialists, intervention specialists, social workers, and psychiatrists 
Date and Time: Thursday, February 8, 2018 @ 3:00 pm

   Mood disorder symptoms can occur in children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Identification and treatment of these symptoms can often be challenging. 
This webinar will define diagnosis of mood disorders as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and identify symptoms in people with ASD. Attendees will learn about differential diagnosis of mood disorders (i.e., how to distinguish a particular disorder or condition from others that present similar clinical features).

Target Audience: Parents, guardians, teachers, paraprofessionals, coaches, and community members
Date and Time: Thursdays March 1, 8,15, and 29th from 6:00-7:30 P.M

In this workshop you will discuss topics such as: Autism Spectrum Disorder, theory of mind, & executive functioning, visual strategies (communication, academic, daily living skills, social skills), discrete trial training and behavior modification strategies and supports, autism resources, and parent support and networking.
Useful Links
How to Be Your Own Best Advocate: A Guide on How to Navigate Managed Care in Iowa

5 Tips for Writing IEPS in Language ArtsWriting effective language arts IEP goals is easier than you think. Check out these free tips and IEP goal formula infographic to make your IEP goal-writing a breeze.

Navigating Iowa's System of Care: A Caregiver's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder
Check Your Knowledge
Q & A 

What could I do for a student who is mouthing everything?
When students place items in their mouth it can be due to a child seeking out oral sensory input.  They often need input in their mouth through chewing or taste to help them regulate their system or attend to tasks. Finding appropriate sensory chewing tools can help a child find the input they need without mouthing classroom objects. Chew toppers for pencils can help save on pencil erasers, bands cut off from a t-shirt and worn around the neck can be a chew necklace to save on clothing. (Cut and then velcro the band to avoid choking dangers.) Wearable, chewable jewelry with break away necklaces can save on wrist bands and be both accessible and age appropriate. Gum can also be used to avoid items taken in and out of their mouth. Remember that kids may need a visual cue with rules on how to use their chewable tool or use of gum in the classroom.

What could I do for a student who is climbing on chairs? 
Kids who climb may also be seeking input for their vestibular system. They may like the jumping sensation. They may also do it to activate their visual system or to look at the room in a new way.  For kids who crave vestibular input, encourage them to play on playground equipment or give them a small obstacle course to climb over a chair built into their routine. Be proactive to allow them time to get some vestibular input into their day. Jumping, fast swinging, and spinning all activate your vestibular system and help excite your system. While rocking and slow swinging are more calming.   

What could I do for a student who is falling and crawling on the floor?
Kids who are on the floor often have poor proprioceptive input. They may not have a good feeling of "where their body" is in space, but when your body is on the floor you have input throughout your body and limbs and then you know where you are for sure. Increasing a child's opportunity for "heavy work" can help them activate their proprioceptive system. Activities such as carrying heavy books in the classroom, putting chairs up and down on the desk, using a weighted lap pad, digging in sand or rocks, or doing wall or seat pushups can help add proprioceptive input into their school day.

These are only a few of many possible strategies, contact your occupational therapist for more student-specific ideas.
Stay Connected
Meet the Team:
Julie Stessman            Kristi Minnick          Sarah Girres          Lori Durand        
Kellie Peterson           Mary Carstens         Trisha Payne           Jill Clayton      
Jasmine Zeitner         Michelle Hicks         Catelyn Buck         Cheryl Case
Cheryl Mulligan         Nancy Boswell         Joann Farmer        Carissa Otto  
Melanie VanDyke      Laurie Peterson        Beth Torneten       

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