21 January, 2015 21:05

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Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Our mind and body are superbly interwoven to meet the demands of today’s world. The feelings, thoughts and actions we experience occur through the complex actions of our brain. How we process environmental and internal information has a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and actions. The slightest change in our brain processes can influence how we manage daily living skills, academic progress and social interaction. Sensory integration dysfunction is one example of what can go wrong in the processes of the brain. This paper will explain sensory integration dysfunction to the point of understanding the nature of this unseen (and often misdiagnosed) disability, as well as its psychological, emotional, learning and social effects on the individual.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) is a neurological disorder pioneered 40 years ago by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR. Dr. Ayres developed the sensory integration theory to explain the relationship between behavior and brain functioning. As described in Williams & Shellenberger’s work entitled, How Does Your Engine Run? A Leader’s Guide to The Alert Program for Self-Regulation, “Countless bits of sensory information enter our brain at every moment, not only from our eyes and ears, but also from every place in our bodies” (1-2). The brain must organize and integrate all of these sensations if a person is to move and learn normally.

via Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

What Causes the Rise of ADHD in Children?

One in 10 American children now has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—a 22 percent increase from 2003. Boys are twice more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls

ADHD involves a cluster of symptoms that include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviors. Often, children with ADHD struggle in school and have difficulty managing interpersonal relationships

The cause of ADHD remains elusive, although there are many contending culprits, including poor nutrition and environmental toxins ranging from food and vaccine additives to agricultural chemicals

Five dietary factors that tend to have a detrimental effect on ADHD and behavior in general are reviewed. Optimizing your child’s gut flora is also crucial. A key step is to avoid processed foods

Glyphosate-contaminated food has recently been implicated in the dramatic rise of ADHD and autism. Both problems tend to involve abnormal gut flora, and this is where glyphosate begins its path of destruction

via What Causes the Rise of ADHD in Children?.

Sensory Side Effects – A Sensory Life!

The Side Effects of Sensory Processing Difficulties

Written By: Angie Voss, OTR

The Most Common Side Effect: ANXIETY

Three reasons why anxiety is almost always a factor, especially for those who over-register and demonstrate sensory sensitivities and sensory defensiveness:

The brain switches to the sympathetic nervous system at a greater frequency than a neurotypical brain for NO EXPLAINED reason, so therefore the brain will naturally feel “anxious” when it switches to fight or flight all of the time. And the cumulative result of this releases more and more of the stress hormones throughout the body.

Wouldn’t you be anxious if at any given moment you had no idea how something was going to feel? Wondering if a sound, or touch, or movement, etc was going to be accepted and pleasant…or hurt or cause nausea or make your heart race and hands sweat? What a scary feeling to have something be fun and pleasant one minute (for example swinging at the park) and the next moment for it to cause extreme nausea and a fever. This is where sensory modulation comes in to play.

When a child is over-responding (sensory defensive) all of the time to one or more types of sensory input, anxiety is sure to be present…think of touch…when light touch feels like you are being given a shot, wouldn’t you be anxious to be around a bunch of people accidentally brushing against you? What about circle time, or standing in line, or a trip to the park…and then add in possible auditory sensitivity or olfactory sensitivity. Anxiety is a side effect, and a big one at that.

via Sensory Side Effects – A Sensory Life!.

8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science | The Mind Unleashed

The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.

Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.

Read the entire article via 8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science | The Mind Unleashed.

Letting go of Cultural Fear

It became clear that for my children to thrive, we would have to let go of the fears associated with being “different” and to explore an alternative value system that celebrate and embrace our uniqueness.

As R. D. Laing wrote in the book “Politics of Experience and the bird of paradise”:

What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical ‘mechanisms.’ There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically ‘normal’ forms of alienation. The ‘normally’ alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the ‘formal’ majority as bad or mad.”[i]

For Laing, instead of unconsciously leaving in a negative perspective within which we blame the world and others for what is happening to us, we must examine life and understand what triggers our negative impulses. If we look deeply enough, we will find the fears that drive these behaviours. While fear and anxiety evolved to keep us from physical danger, our brains use the same mechanisms to emotional danger. Depending on the upbringing we have, we can find that we expend a lot of energy each day dealing with fear.  Such work is difficult as:

“This underlying fear is not easy to work with; however, acknowledging it and becoming aware of our instinct to run away or cover it up with distractions, relationships and busyness, is a necessary starting point. We practice looking at what scares us and opening to all that life offers. We develop a greater compassion towards ourselves and our confidence can grow.”[ii]

With these ideas in mind, having a sabbatical leave, I decided to take us away from our regular life style to experiment with a different sensorial reality. I began to think that maybe, as Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that we live out our lives in an ocean of fear. [iii] Learning to live without fear is difficult to do so I decided that a change of context was essential to get us started in this process of change.

<< Digital Native Learning    Next to Changing Our Sensory Context>>


[i] Laing, R.D. (1967) The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

[ii] Laing, R.D. (1967) The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

[iii] Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1990). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Delta; First Edition edition (May 1, 1990)

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New version of common antibiotic could eliminate risk of hearing loss — ScienceDaily

A commonly used antibiotic can be modified to eliminate the risk that it will cause hearing loss, a study in mice has demonstrated. The newly patented antibiotic, N1MS, cured urinary tract infection in mice just as well as sisomcicin, but did not cause deafness, study results show. The study presents a promising new approach to generating a new class of novel, nontoxic antibiotics, researchers say.

via New version of common antibiotic could eliminate risk of hearing loss — ScienceDaily.

Digital Native Learning

As a socio-economic focused on studying the changes brought by new media to our social lives, I understood networks as a space of knowledge production that could give me and my children access to informal communities of interest and practices focused on similar issues. In my mind, the internet has a become a sort of “Living library” where peers share their lived experiences and knowledge, potentially giving each other new perspective and ideas to apply to their own context.

I knew that the emerging digital learners are going to have drastically different learning needs than analog children.

For one, they have or are learning to find what they want in terms of information and content, when they need it. Their learning is out of the classroom for many things such as dancing, media making, etc.

Secondly, their social world is rapidly becoming embedded in mobile technologies. They exist in hybrid spaces where the distinction between space social/ institutional /personal boundaries are being eroded. They learn and live in real time. Their notion of is going to be radically different and a lot more based on a hybrid between virtual and physical space and time continuum.

Thirdly, their future success will be defined less in terms of a competitive edge and educational degrees but much more in terms of diy survival abilities defined by varying sustainable, local, cultural needs as well as appropriate solutions to problems, that we as adults can barely imagine, let alone prepare them for, if our teaching methods and our approaches to what learning is don’t change.

Our global crisis will not go away and my dream is that the solutions out of self-destruction will be in new cultural, economy and social frameworks that nurture life in all its forms instead of abusing power. As a European who grew up in an Atheist home and a catholic country, the only models to education and life I have been exposed and conditioned to are lacking traditional (as in indigenous wisdom) understanding. Europe has no natural world left, it is all man remade, so are all the belief systems.

<< Back to DIY HSP well-being  Letting go of fear>>

DIY HSP Well-Being

Unfortunately information on the subject was limited to a few books so I began to search the Internet for all material that seemed related to sensory processing and HSP health. This is where my professional training became very useful. As a university researcher, I had been studying the use of digital technology by young children for some time and one thing became very evident to me.

I have been part of a group of Ryerson new media researchers[i] involved in the creation of a new research lab called EDGE. EDGE (Experience Design and Gaming Environments)[ii] lab research projects focus on the studying, fostering and/or developing new media practices such as serious gaming, trans-media, adaptive design and socio-economic designs.

EDGE researchers explore the aesthetics of current “making” culture and peer-to-peer culture. My own research focuses on studying and developing informal-learning communal practices that promote self-determination and the physical autonomy of marginalized individuals and communities in order to enhance social integration.

What we noticed is that objects all have a bias implied in their design, which often isolates individuals from other potential aspects of social life. Institutional aesthetics such as those of the medical community or other “expert” communities often disregard the experience (sensorial, social, mental and/or physical) that these objects create in their users. Within a new media perspective, this experience has to become key, which implies a co-design approach that involves the user community as much as the “expert” in the creation of artifacts.

In recent years, I have witnessed mesmerizing new realities made possible by new media co-designs such as the emergent digital lives of people normally marginalised, if not oppressed, by dominant communication infrastructures. Much self-determination has developed in virtual worlds: Paraplegics dancing, people meeting virtually and marrying in real life, autistic children expressing themselves with ease, physically disabled children learning about the body through gaming, communities of people helping each other cope with depression and cancer by creating art and spaces to share experiences, poor communities developing sustainable economies and virtual protesters influencing governments’ decision making.

Key to all these activities has been an incredible sense of community where people share experiences, care and help each other in order to enhance their social lives. In the physical world, I have witnessed a little girl called Zoe become an active social actor in Ryerson’s Early Learning Centre through the use of a cardboard chair build for her. The thing is, Zoe cannot move easily, nor can she talk. She had to sit in a baby chair with a caregiver constantly by her side.  The semantics of this experience were tacitly excluding her from the possibility of a social life with the other children.  By acquiring some physical independence from her caregiver, she became a peer and began to be integrated in other children’s social lives. Her chair is a new media object, through which Zoe acquired a new social dimension.

<< Nurturing Sensitivities     Digital Native Learning>>


[ii] The EDGE Lab is funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. Research projects in the lab are funded by: SSHRC, MITACS, The School of Early Childhood Education’s SRC Committee, Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, the OCE Interact program, NCE and GRAND.

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Balancing the Ions : Aromatherapy and essential oils articles : Suzanne Bovenizer

We are now moving into spring, the energies are rising and the desire to get back outside is palpable. As soon as the sun begins to warm and buds begin to poke out, we all just want to shed the winter layers and feel the sun on our skin. The lengthening rays of evening light and the earth starting to awaken also seems to waken us up out of our hibernation. It seems we always feel better when we can kick off our shoes and run barefoot in the newly resurgent grass or plunge our fingers into the garden soil, breaking up the clumps of dirt as if we could break up the stagnant energies within us from the winter. It is a well-known fact that any physical contact with the earth can bring us to a better state if health, both mentally and physically. We can literally heal ourselves by increasing our direct connection to the earth.

via Balancing the Ions : Aromatherapy and essential oils articles : Suzanne Bovenizer.