SENSORY SENSE

The JumpTherapy Blog:
Sensory Processing, Motor and Social Skills Resources
for Parents of Special Needs Children

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WELCOME TO SENSORY SENSE,

YOUR SOURCE FOR INFORMATION AND ADVICE

Miriam

Welcome to the JumpTherapy blog!
My name is Miriam Skydell and I’m an occupational therapist with 30 years experience helping make a positive difference in the lives of special needs children and their families. My goal is to help you build your own backpack of sensory strategies to use whenever you need them.

I’ll post articles aimed at helping you improve your child’s motor and social skills development. This blog will be full of tips and tricks, strategies and modifications, to keep your sensory children not just functioning, but succeeding, in all aspects of everyday life.

Who will benefit from following the JumpTherapy blog?
Parents, educational, and medical personnel involved with children with:

  • Sensory processing, motor and social skills difficulties
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Genetic disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Behavioral challenges

What is sensory processing?
Sensory processing is the way in which our brain takes in information from all our senses and organizes it in order to produce a functional and productive response. Efficient sensory processing is a necessity in order for a child to successfully navigate all areas of his/her academic, home and social life.

How can poor sensory processing affect my child?
Poor sensory processing can interfere with a child’s ability to develop motor, academic, social/emotional, language and self-care skills. This makes it difficult to learn, handle everyday situations and build appropriate peer relationships.

What skills can I help my special needs child develop?
Sensory motor skills are very important. Your child needs to strengthen his/her:

  • Balance
  • Core control coordination
  • Body in space awareness
  • Motor planning
  • Bilateral integration

Social skills are crucial too. You can help your child learn:

  • Eye contact
  • Language
  • Impulse control
  • Turn taking
  • Frustration tolerance
  • Team building
  • Sportsmanship

What will this blog cover?
Everything that can help you help your child, from new ideas in research to practical ways to get your child to eat. We’ll explore many different approaches to improvement, such as foods, sensory and therapeutic activities, calming activities, engaging your child, adapting his/her environment, easing transitions, and much more. Autism and other sensory processing disorders don’t just affect a single child; they affect the entire family. We’ll discuss ways to combat the stress put on the family.

I will be sharing and summarizing current studies and articles on everyday problems that you struggle with, so you’re always up to date on the latest theories on everything from feeding, dressing and transitioning to managing everyone’s expectations (including your own!).

What do I need to know?
If you’re new to the sensory processing world, I’ll help you make sense of all the unfamiliar — and, probably, overwhelming — terminology that’s most likely being thrown at you.

And if you’re a veteran, I’ll keep you current on new resources, ideas, research and studies constantly becoming available. Great strides are being made now that autism and other sensory processing disorders are receiving more attention and research funding.

Here are just a few of the topics I plan on discussing and providing “tips and tricks” for:

  • How developing sensory processing, gross motor and social skills can be fun
  • The role of an occupational therapist in your child’s life
  • Why school-based occupational therapy isn’t enough
  • Why ABA alone won’t help your child develop skills
  • The process of sensory integration
  • Integrating goal-oriented therapy and play
  • Whom to enlist on your child’s team
  • Including special needs children in the same areas as their typically developing peers
  • Incorporating behavior plans and strategies to achieve success
  • Dealing with change
  • Easing transitions
  • Managing meltdowns
  • Developing self-care skills
  • Fostering independence
  • Helping your child focus
  • Learning to take turns
  • Getting your picky eater to try new foods
  • Coping with food and smell aversions
  • Minimizing sensitivity to clothes and touch
  • Hand flapping, eye contact
  • The most effective ways to lessen symptoms
  • How a sensory child affects siblings and how you can promote family harmony
  • Keeping your marriage and your relationship strong
  • Carving out time for yourself
  • How to keep your cool when people think your child is just difficult
  • What to do when your family isn’t supportive
  • The importance of parent support groups

Before I close
I’d especially like to cover topics you have a particular interest in — please let me know via email or in the comments section what you would like to discuss or hear more about.

Also, feel free to share or quote anything from this blog (with attribution, please, and if possible, a link), and please repost on social media.

I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Miriam

About Miriam:
Miriam Skydell MS, OTR/L is a pediatric OT with 30 years experience and a strong commitment to empowering every child and every family with the skills, confidence and emotional stability necessary for a meaningful, independent life. In addition to her Masters degree from NYU (1986) and membership in the AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association), Miriam is a licensed Interactive Metronome®,  HWT (Handwriting Without Tears®), and TLP (The Listening Program®) provider.

Miriam performs preschool screenings, contracts experienced OTs, PTs and STs to schools, helped implement the HWT curriculum, and lectures extensively for parent and support groups and at teacher conferences for public and private schools throughout New Jersey. Through her private practice in Fair Lawn, Miriam Skydell and Associates, established in 1995, Miriam has helped countless children with a wide range of diagnoses improve functional living skills, manage the impact of sensory processing dysfunction, and meet their individual potentials.

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