Is it Sensory or Behavior?

I am over at the SPD Blogger Network giving my take on how to determine the cause of your child's behavior challenges (Sensory vs. Behavior) - including the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum - important info for parents with kids who have ANY challenges - so stop by and leave me a comment! :)

Enjoy your week!

WIN a Custom Weighted Blanket!

The SPD Blogger Network is giving away a custom weighted blanket of YOUR CHOICE from DreamCatcher!  Check out the review and enter to win! :)

Enjoy your week!

What is Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)?

I have been inundated by questions about Integrated Listening Systems, and a number of other programs on Twitter, Facebook and through email lately.  For that reason, I wanted to point out a handful of things and share this interview with you again from Dr. Ronald Minson.

Quick tips:

When you are looking for a program for your child, always look for research.  Science.  Doctors.  Therapists.  Determine that it is a SOUND treatment before going further.

Don't get so excited about the testimonials that you forget to actually do your own due diligence.

Remember this basic rule of special needs parenting:  The plural of 'antecdote' is NOT 'data'.  That means that 10 people saying it works doesn't make it a fact.  It makes it their experience.  Each child is different, each family is different.  Do your own research.

Now onto this interview - with tons of information - to help in the never-ending-quest for helping our kids. :)


As many of you know, I am starting Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) program with Matthew. When I posted about it over the holiday break on my Facebook page, it stirred up a great deal of questions, curiosity and of course, confusion.

Although I was inspired by Dr. Minson’s presentation at the SPD Symposium, and had the pleasure of speaking with iLS CEO Randall Redfield as well, I am by no means an expert on this system. Like most parents with children on the Spectrum, I know exactly what Matthew struggles with, but when it comes to being able to break down all of the “therapy” options out there, some of the details get lost in translation.

I do know what Matthew needs help with. He needs help managing self-regulation, controlling his movement through space (stop crashing, tripping, falling, clumsiness, core strengthening, all will help him stay seated at circle time), writing (spatial awareness on the page), and voice intonation (helping him use correct inflection when speaking – less ‘monotone’ and ‘scripted’). These are my biggest concerns for starting Kindergarten, and my greatest motivation to begin this program now – before summer.  (Update on Matthew's progress at the end of the interview!)

And those challenges are exactly what iLs has the possibility of helping. So, for those of you who have an amazingly gifted and awesome kiddo like Matthew, who just happens to be on the spectrum or have sensory issues, and might benefit from some help in those areas (and others), I wanted to interview Dr. Ronald Minson. And imagine how incredibly honored I was to have him say yes! Woo Hoo!

So, with that, please welcome Dr. Ronald Minson to HLW3B!

Thank you for joining me here today. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about the questions that my readers are asking!  Can you start by telling me about yourself? Specifically your background, education and experiences that has led you to be such a supporter of the Integrated Listening System?

My journey with this therapy began almost 30 years ago. It has taught me to have a great deal of empathy for the parents, teachers and therapists whose best efforts to help children learn sometimes fall on deaf ears and the children do not make gains nor improve as anticipated. My lesson in empathy came from my daughter. She was diagnosed early on with dyslexia, and our family immediately entered into the world of recommended therapies with the understanding that these interventions would help her to read, to improve her memory and math skills. After three years of speech and language therapy, special education, and private tutors, my daughter was no further along in her ability to read than she had been at the time of the original diagnosis. In fact, things begin to deteriorate significantly. She could not keep up academically with her peers and she began to label herself as dumb and stupid. On the heels of continued academic failures, she developed low self-esteem, loss of hope from failed interventions, and eventually, life-threatening depression. Antidepressants, the gold standard of treatment for depression, were ineffective.

I was in a full-time psychiatry practice at the time. Nothing in my medical experience had prepared me for this degree of failure. All the experts and specialists were unable to effect any significant improvement in Erica’s learning disability and her depression. I was at a total loss as to how to help my daughter. The frustration and despair from repeated failures to help her were only exceeded by my fear for her life. During a time when my daughter was having a significantly severe bout of depression (she was 19), I heard about listening therapy. As a doctor, this approach did not make any sense to me given my medical training. However as a parent who was watching his daughter fail at every turn, I was determined to try once again one more therapy. My daughter was willing as well. So we, father and daughter, started the listening therapy program together.

My Baby is on the Cover of ASQ!!

My baby is on the cover of Autism Spectrum Quarterly!  Woo Hoo!!

I cannot believe how grown up he is now - time moves by faster than we think.  :)

Take a minute to check out the new issue of ASQ.  An amazing and informative magazine that truly covers all aspects of Autism. 

"Gabriel's" issue includes....

When Your Child with Autism Wanders: Preventing a Parent's Worst Nightmare

Mike Frandsen delivers a timely and critically important article about the all-too-common phenomenon of wandering by individuals with ASD. Told against the backdrop of the tragic death of five-year-old Mason Medlam, Mike highlights the tireless efforts of Mason's mother to protect other children from a similar fate, and he discusses ways for families to keep their children safe.

Co-Regulation: The Basis for All Social Interaction

Linda Murphy, M.S., CCC-SLP, brings her speech-language pathology background and RDI® training to bear on the important subject of establishing a strong social-interactive framework for language learning.

STeP: Structured and experience-based Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Clinical psychologist and BCBA, Dr. Vera Bernard-Opitz, discusses an innovative intervention program that is tailored to the specific needs of each individual child.

Getting the Most Out of an Orlando and Disney Theme Park Experience

Journalist and dad to a daughter with autism, Ken Black has well-researched and important advice for families who are planning a Disney adventure.

Quirks and Perks: Perspectives on ASD — Running with a "Torch"

The QUIRKS are not quite as challenging when viewed alongside the PERKS!

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Adriana Loes Schuler, Ph.D.

Doctors Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Pamela Wolfberg, Ph.D., pay tribute to this true pioneer in the field of autism spectrum disorders.


A big thank you to Diane and the entire staff at ASQ - you are all doing such great work and I am thrilled to be a part of ASQ!


Hiring a Special Needs Babysitter

I am over at the SPD Blogger Network today giving my advice on how how to find, prepare and hire a special needs babysitter that you will LOVE and more importantly, you kids will want to come back time and time again!  Check it out! :)

Enjoy your week!

"Love Poem" By Jennie Linthorst (Happy Mother's Day!)

Love Poem
by Jennie Linthorst

I want to write a love poem
for the mother I am today.

I want to tell her it’s okay to have those days
when it hurts
as in the park today,
when she watched other three-year-old boys
move their bodies with ease,
his parents unaware
of brainpower the body must use
to accomplish such tasks.

I want to write a love poem to this mother
who is the very light in her son’s eyes.
I want her to notice how he leans his body closer to her lap,
one arm always attached,
held on to, protected.

I want her to witness the bond of mother to son,
to witness the perfection
of just that simple thing.

I want her to know that no one in this world
can alter, judge, assess, label,
or destroy that miracle.

I want to write a love poem to this mother
who sits in a chair tonight,
tired and frustrated.

I want her to remember these moments with clarity,
to remember that each day comes and goes.

To remember that the big things and little things
have turned out okay.

Thank you to Jennie Linthorst (mom to Graham from the movie Autisic Like: Graham's Story) for allowing me to reprint this poem.  Her entire collection of 61 poems (which are amazing), will be available for purchase this summer.

Happy Mother's Day my friends,

How to Tell Your Child He/She Has SPD

I am over at the SPD Blogger Network today giving my advice on how to tell your child he/she has Sensory Processing Disorder. Ideas to help you start this conversation with your child, explain SPD and empower your child to be a self-advocate and self-regulate.

Enjoy your week!

Chynna Laird's Birthday (and I've almost missed!)

One of the MOST amazing and impressively awesome women I know, Chynna Laird, is celebrating her birthday today!! If you are RINGO, please go visit her, if you are NOT Ringo, then please visit her blog!

Do you like to win?  You like free? You like HLW3B?  Then sign up to follow Chynna's blog, then leave a comment here on HLW3B!   If 50+ people follow Chynna's blog through Google by tomorrow at 12 midnight PST (and leave a comment on this post so I know you did!) I'll giveaway a copy of my new book Sensational Journeys - due out Fall 2011 from Future Horizons (and it will be SIGNED! 1st EVER!) - and for bonus, if she gets 100 new followers, I'll giveaway TWO BOOKS!

Happy B-day My Friend!!

The Gift Blog

Happy Birthday my friend, I hope the Vodka was good - but *not* too good!  LOL