In a general population the prevalence of sensory processing disorders is 1 in 20 according to literature by Lucy Miller OT. When you talk about the autism spectrum disorders, this number goes to much higher levels although an actual prevalence rate has not been determined due to the controversy about the reality of the disorder.
While not everyone believes in a sensory processing disorder (also known as a sensory integration disorder), their is belief that there can be significant sensory processing deficits for individuals in the autism spectrum and ADHD. This is important because sensory issues can and do affect how well these children and adolescents tolerate their environments. The more overwhelmed they feel, the less they will be able to interact with their environment. Some may run away, some may lash out, and others will just shut down where they are.
When I talk about Never Assume, like in my book, I am referencing the need to really find out what is behind the behaviors we notice. We need to take the time to think about various possible reasons that are triggering a fight or flight response in the child or adolescent. By truly understanding the source(s) of the behaviors, we can begin to develop empathy and interventions to improve the quality of life for him.
Next time you find yourself getting upset at a child for inappropriate behavior, please take a moment to consider a why other than “Because he is a brat” or “He is just trying to ruin my day.” You will be surprised by what you come up with and how that changes your response/reaction.
Have you ever come upon someone who needed help that you didn’t know? Or even someone you knew but felt was somehow different? Did you stop to help? Or did you avert your eyes as you veered away?
This video shows what happened as a social experiment using two individuals: What would you do? One looked like a businessman who fell while trying to use his crutches along a busy street. The other was a homeless man who also fell while trying to use his crutches on a busy street. How did it make you feel to see the difference?
Did you know that this same type of scenario occurs in schools every day with students who are seen as lazy, unmotivated, disrespectful, etc. Having talked with over 3000 of these students in the last 30 years, I have heard their frustration of feeling like they are not being listened to. That they are discounted by teachers and sometimes parents because they are judged on appearances. They feel that no one actually tries to understand how they are struggling, how they are trying but not succeeding academically, socially, or in everything they try to do.
Next time you see a child, adolescent, or student not achieving, will you take a minute to just stop and ask how you can help. Assume that they don’t want to fail, but rather need support to succeed.
I always enjoying reading Robert Whipple’s blogs because our views on how to lead are so similar. And those that know me know that I refer to Detective Columbo frequently as a model of how to work with children and adolescents, rather than the way today’s TV cops interrogate suspects. So much more information is gained by softly leading others to insights, than by trying to ram it down their throats. And believe it or not, sometimes others, including our children and adolescents do have good reasons and ideas.
In his famous program, “Effective Negotiating,” Chester A. Karrass, makes the observation that, in negotiations, often appearing dumb is a great strategy.
The idea is that acting naïve causes the other party to fill in some blanks with information that may ultimately be helpful to you in the negotiation.
Conversely, acting as if you know everything is usually a bad strategy, because you end up supplying too much information too early in the conversation. This habit gives your opponent in the negotiation a significant advantage.
As I work with leaders in organizations of all sizes, a similar observation could be made about leadership. Being dumb is sometimes smart, and being too smart is often dumb. Let’s examine some examples of why this dichotomy is a helpful concept.
To make enlightened decisions, leaders need good information. It sounds simple, but in the chaos of every day organizational issues, it is sometimes…
Over the decades I have read constantly and taken courses to improve myself so that I would be of the most service I could to my patients, their parents, and the organizations who work with challenging children and adolescents.
I have found some of the most useful information outside of the medical and psychological fields. Business courses, especially leadership courses have helped me understand the needs of my community. It also informed me that some of what we are doing as adults with and to children is counterproductive to what they will need to be able to do as adults.
Because of this I am going to begin sharing with you links of experts I have grown to respect so that you too can heighten your awareness and skills, with children but also with others you work and live with in your lives. If we adults can feel better about ourselves, and therefore less stressed, we will be there even more for the children/teens that need us.
Here is a link on Brian Tracy, who has increased the productivity of companies around the world over the last several decades. I hope you gain from him as much as I have – Eat the Frog, 2nd Edition, by Brian Tracy.
As a child I spent a great deal of time considering the possibilities of the world. I asked “what if” and then followed up with trial and error to achieve what I was working for.
My children and I played “what if” frequently when they were small. It helped them to think of the world as a place of adventures and creations waiting to be developed.
My grandchildren experience that with their mother, who has a degree in art.
But in my practice, I see too many children who don’t know how to ask “what if” except for fearfully. They don’t know how to ask with curiosity and anticipation. In school they are presented with worksheet after worksheet. They are losing recess time to complete these worksheets, sometimes because they can’t get them done fast enough and other times because they need to reach a certain goal of materials covered.
This article on creativity is a major red flag about how the current focus on teaching to the test is causing our children to lose their creativity. Creativity is so important for innovation and problem solving. Let’s begin a conversation with “what if” looking at ways to bring creativity back into the classroom and see what that does for test scores. I am sure it will improve useful life scores when they go to get jobs and start careers.
I have a colleague in the National Speakers Association who has C4-5 quadriplegia. He has an active speaking career, traveling around the country on his own. He has had to learn many strategies in order to be independent. It was not fast or easy.
He filmed himself doing the task of undressing (not to the explicit level so still rated G) to point out what allowing individuals the time and skills could allow them to achieve.
This is a message I would like all of you to consider as you work with your children or your students and feel that time has run out and you can no longer provide the time to get them to the mastery level of a task. Many of these children can already complete the task but need more time to use their cognitive skills to figure it out.
I have just found an article that provides 10 reasons why spanking is not effective. The reasons are all well thought out and are backed by the latest research on child development, especially brain development. I would like to hear what you think about the article and also about my insights.