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Here we bring to you information on various topics of mental illness and disability. We often include links to other websites or contact information for other resources. However, we do not express or promote the views other organizations may have. If interested in our mission, click here.

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Understanding Colin, Behavior is Communication

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in From Our Team- Blog | Comments Off on Understanding Colin, Behavior is Communication

Understanding Colin, Behavior is Communication

Contributed by: A Total Approach
www.atotalapproach.com

Though cautious, his mother’s voice spoke of pain and anxiety for her child. “His behaviors rule our house, we lock our doors, he destroys everything”. Her love for her child palpable, seeking a hope to find a place of peace for him and their family.

We started seeing Colin for a summer program of three hours daily. He received a multidisciplinary approach of occupational, speech-language therapy, DIR/Floortime services and Tomatis Sound Therapy. At first Colin were eased into accepting this new place with new therapists surrounding him. Through using Floortime principles, we gained his acceptance and trust. Some days the therapists had to work through bites and scratches, yet the unwavering approach of accepting him as he is, respecting his need to lash out, giving him the space to simply be, settled Colin over the course of the summer. We followed his interest and gently scaffolded different layers of success in small enough increments, and Colin started feeling safe. We focused on empowering him, letting him know that his thoughts and ideas matter. Colin needed to disorganize a room to gain the essence of all that is present in a room. Colin’s idea of being
purposeful was being destructive, because he could not plan a next sequence to achieve constructive play.

Through using Tomatis Sound Therapy, we were able to gradually calm his nervous system. His vocabulary increased, his engagement in activity lengthened and his need for destruction decreased. Colin needed us to hear his voice. He needed people to look beyond his extreme behaviors and to find him. He was lost in his own pervasive needs. When Colin experienced illness in his body, his pain was so severe that he would scream out for long periods of time. We had to reassure his mother that we would never consider him unfit for therapy, that Colin will always be accepted here.

In August of that summer, an inscription in the therapist log: “Mom told me today: “I didn’t know”….and said this several times. I asked her what she meant by “I didn’t know” and she said “I did not know that Colin was going to make all of these changes”. She further stated that they have brought him to many places and never seen changes like this before.

Colin speaks for many others. He needed to be understood, accepted and embraced by relationships in his life. The journey is far from over, but Colin has found a place of peace upon which he can now grow and become all he was meant to be.

Inside Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in From Our Team- Blog | Comments Off on Inside Autism Spectrum Disorder

Contributor: Abby Connor, MS, NCC, LPC
Outpatient Supervisor,
Southwest Philadelphia Autism Center of Excellence

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities characterized by social impairments, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The severity of symptoms varies widely across three core areas and affects each individual in different ways. ASD includes
autistic disorder, Rett Syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, and Asperger syndrome. According to estimates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD affects 1 in 88 children in America.

Symptoms often first present between 12 and 18 months. Parents may notice their child showing unusual behaviors or not meeting developmental milestones. Pediatricians should also screen for developmental milestones during routine well visits from birth to 36 months. If a question arises regarding the child’s development, a referral should be
made to a specialist in developmental evaluations and early intervention.

There is no known single cause for autism; however it is believed that genetics and environment play a role. Some babies are thought to have a genetic vulnerability to autism that then can be triggered by something in the external environment, either while still in the womb or after birth. Despite controversy on the subject, no reliable study has
shown a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Research studies have identified rare gene changes and mutations, as well as irregularities in several areas of the brain that are associated with the disorder.

While there is no cure for autism, intensive early intervention can bring substantial improvement in symptoms. There is a wide range of treatment available that can be tailored to meet the individual’s needs. Some treatment options include behavioral, educational, social skills therapies and family counseling.

There remain many unknowns regarding autism, but what we do know is that people on the autism spectrum can and do lead productive, meaningful and fulfilling lives when given appropriate support and opportunities.

Long Distance Caregivers

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in From Our Team- Blog | Comments Off on Long Distance Caregivers

Long Distance Caregivers

There are many questions and issues that can arise when trying to give care to an aging loved one from far away. The National Institute on aging has many resources to help with the transition and continuing care. They created an information packet filled with questions from other long distance care givers and helpful tips (Click Here).  Check out their website: http://www.nia.nih.gov/

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in From Our Team- Blog | Comments Off on Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This time of year is difficult for some people because the changing of seasons brings darker days. The below blog explains the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and possible treatments.

http://blog.truehope.com/seasonal-affective-disorder-what-it-is-and-what-to-do/

Bring Change 2 Mind

Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in From Our Team- Blog | Comments Off on Bring Change 2 Mind

Bring Change 2 Mind

We see celebrities in the newspapers, tabloids and on TV when they have been affected by a mental illness. We see the pictures that they would rather keep private. However, we rarely see the work that many celebrities are doing to advocate for those with a mental illness and fight for better mental health care. Glenn Close has a sister who is diagnosed with having bipolar disorder and Glenn has created a non-profit, Bring Change 2 Mind. Their website has tons of information, personal stories and materials to download. Check it out: www.bringchange2mind.org/

Here is one of the posters: bring change 2 mind.