Published by: The Baltimore Sun
Written by: Mary Carole McCauley
Four-year-old Daniel Smith zoomed by, seated on a child-sized zip line, his dark curls bouncing. Daniel flew until he was above the cushiony crash pit. Off Daniel tumbled into the pillows, with a delighted screech.
Daniel’s mom, Jessica Smith of Bel Air, laughed with him.
“Daniel has so much energy,” she said. “I go to the gym every day, and I’ve been thinking, ‘I have to find someplace for my son.’ I love that this gym is completely kid-friendly and that it is for everybody.”
We Rock the Spectrum Gym’s Forest Hill branch opened in June 2020. The national organization includes nearly 100 sites in 25 states and eight countries and aims to provide therapeutic play for kids with disabilities.
“Everybody who comes through this door knows they will be accepted,” said Nikki Wooton, the former elementary school teacher who owns the Forest Hill franchise with her husband, Trey Wooton, a church youth minister. She estimates that about half their young customers are neurotypical, like her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa. About half are not, including her 16-year-old son, Connor, who has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Click here to read the rest of the story
Signs and symptoms of Down syndrome is fairly easy to detect especially since there are specific physical characteristics of the disorder. But what if there is also a diagnosis of autism?
Studies show that 5 to 39% of children with Down syndrome are also on the autism spectrum. There are overlaps in some of the symptoms which delays the signs and symptoms of autism. This observation is slowly growing and informing parents and educators to observe for specific signs and symptoms.
It is possible that educators and therapist may be the first to notice that children with Down syndrome also display characteristics that are similar to autism.
Why is it important?
According to authors Margaret Froehlke and Robin Zaborek from the book, When Down Syndrome and Autism Intersect, The education approach in both Down syndrome and autism will be different than for children with a single diagnosis of Down syndrome including accommodations and writing the IEP. Teaching strategies will also differ. Teaching a student with Down syndrome who require tactile demonstrations, simple directions, and immediate feedback will now require concrete language, social stories, the use of few choices and the use of concrete language.
The importance of getting the diagnosis
Most often children with Down syndrome are treated for the characteristics of having Down syndrome which overlooks giving children the appropriate treatment for Autism such as social skills and sensory issues. A child or young adult with both diagnosis will likely experience aggressive behaviors, meltdowns, and show signs of regression during their early development. The following are signs and symptoms to look for in your child, or student:
Fascination with lights
Staring at ceiling fans
History of regression
Signs of overlap include:
As the student gets older, there may be ongoing issues with sensory disorders and transitions leading to meltdowns
June 20th mark the first day of summer. In many places with Covid-19 still looming around, summer fun may be limited but still there is always an opportunity to create sensory activities. the following links below are some suggestions. Some of the links show ways to create sensory bins using different themes. Enjoy and stay safe.
It seems like every category of bedding is getting an upgrade these days, whether it’s in the form of memory foam mattresses or custom pillows.
Chances are you’ve heard friends or family discussing these new product types, or maybe even saw someone receive one as a gift this past holiday season. But while weighted blankets have exploded in popularity in recent years, this innovative product isn’t necessarily new — it’s long been used in the special needs community, helping individuals on the autism spectrum, among others. Still, it wasn’t until companies like Gravity Blanket brought their flagship designs to the broader public that people began thinking of it not as a niche medical device, but a general sleep aid for the wider community.
Want to learn what all the hype is about? Here’s everything you need to know about weighted blankets, from their many benefits to how you can find one that perfectly complements your style of sleeping. Click here to read the rest of the story.
A day at the Dollywood Family Amusement Park is filled with enough sights, sounds and colors to overstimulate anyone — especially those with autism.
That’s why Dollywood safety manager Judy Toth, who noticed an influx of families with children on the spectrum at the Tennessee park, decided to take action to help make their trip all the more memorable.
The result? A first-of-its-kind calming room that serves as a refuge of sorts for families seeking a break from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the 150-acre theme park.
“[It’s] sensory overload when you come to a theme park,” Toth tells PEOPLE. “And I couldn’t quite grasp at the beginning, you know, why are they coming? Knowing that something could potentially trigger their child. But realistically, it was just that they want their child to do what any other child does.”
The calming room first opened in the spring of 2016 after Toth observed that families with children on the spectrum were having to either end their trip early or slip someplace quieter, like a bathroom or a first-aid tent. Click here to read the rest of the story