Saturday, 21 July 2012

We've moved.

To our wonderful and faithful followers: we have moved!

You can find us at our new home

Looking forward to continuing to support your families, and classrooms!

Warm regards,

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Summer Fun

We are 3 steps ahead of your typical day camp experience, with some important modifications to suit our learners.
From arts and crafts to sensory science, from sports to water works we participate in all your favorite camp-time games. Understanding the social skill development is the goal of a successful camp experience--it was important for us to hand-pick a team of qualified professionals to lead the troops.
With a 4:1 ratio our camp, with on average 12 children on site, we find exactly the right balance for our campers. Our campers are a dynamic mix including peer mentors who participate in inclusive cabin groups alongside their peers with a variety of social-considerations from Autism to Down's Syndrome.Whether typically developing or exception, there are distinction at our camp. Everyone is here to learn, have fun, and make friends. With enough hands on deck to provide every camper with a 1:1 as needed, we ensure safety and security while providing an authentic camp experience..."Let me see you're funky chicken...
What's that you say?
I said let me see your funky chicken...
What's that you say?
I said Ooooh Ah Funky Chicken Ooooh Ah One more time!"

Music is such a huge part of the camp experience; we use music to teach social skills from greetings to social rules, from echoics to intraverbals (those are verbal behaviour terms that mean increased communication). With specialty activities chosen to suit the age of the campers in the group, our campers experience the real-deal camp experience (from boondoggle to camp-wide meetings), with a few minor adjustment to meet the unique needs of children with special considerations like allergies, neurological impairment, sensitivities, behavioural, emotional or social concerns.

Having a quiet place to take a break is so important for kids with social challenges. Socialization is hard-work even for the extroverted, so for introverted kids, a calm space to recharge is essential. In each class we have a tent like this one, and/or other options for relaxing quietly in your own space; we have pillow-reading areas, huge floor pillows to curl up on, or quiet sensory games to play on the floor like digging in corn flour, sandboxes, or bean buckets. Especially in the summer, when the schedule is go-go-go and transitions are every 30 minutest, we need to make sure that our campers have enough down time, and enough time to recharge so that they are at their best when it comes time for activities. We love to take a break from the fluorescent lights by switching to a black-light-only atmosphere or soaking up the sun on our fantastic property. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

1 down...lots to go

A reflection on biopsychology, and the  biopsychosocial as a whole.

A Bigger Picture Perspective
This course has impacted my counseling style by giving me a deeper understanding of the characteristics associated with a wide variety of diagnoses from depression to anorexia (Pinel, 2012); uncovering the complexities of each condition has been fascinating. This course has given me insight into characteristics, coping mechanism and behaviour patterns associated with clients from infant to elderly.
Coming from a strictly behavioural background, it has become increasingly clear to me that the connection between mind and body is very powerful. I found Sigelman and Rider (2012) to be particularly insightful when it came to depicting the holistic perspective and cyclical relationship between mind and body.
Sigelman and Rider’s concept of social norms as a contributing factor to parenting style was insightful and relevant for me as a child-behaviour therapist; understanding the various perspectives has allowed me to be an active part of trouble-shooting, and parental support. A large part of my role is the education and training of parents; gaining insight into the various styles of attachment, and parenting was both relevant and informative.
As before I find myself learning towards alternative therapies (that is, alternative to medication) like diet, exercise, conversational therapy, behavioural intervention and so on; but after having taken this course, I appreciate that though medication should be a last resort, it is the missing piece of the puzzle for some individuals. The ability to know when to make a referral, is a very valuable (actually, an essential) skill.

Pinel, J.P. (2012). Basics of biopsychology. Boston: Pearson
Sigelman and Rider. (2012) Life span and human development (7e) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Woolfson, L. L., & Grant, E. E. (2006). Authoritative parenting and parental stress in parents of
pre-school and older children with developmental disabilities. Child: Care, Health & Development32(2), 177-184. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00603.x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sleep Issues

Discussion 8: Sleep Issues in Adults
By: Alley Dezenhouse, BA ABS
Sleep is an essential part of healthy development and functioning.  A good sleep is essential to proper executive functioning, and diagnosis of sleep disorders is essential to facilitate the process. Takahashi (1999) as cited in Pinel (2012) notes that it could take an insomniac over one hour fall sleep; this provides a good framework for assessing normal sleep issues, from sleep disorders.
Sleeping disturbances impact nearly every aspect of functioning, whether it’s insomnia or narcolepsy too much or too little sleep can be debilitating (Pinel, 2012). Sleep apnea impact the sleeping process by causing recurrent night waking, due to lack of airflow which causes the individual to stop breathing and awaken. Interestingly, many do not know that they have sleep apnea (Pinel, 2012); but rather, complain of sleeping poorly and describe symptoms of insomnia (Pinel, 2012). Not surprisingly, sleep apnea can be linked to comorbid asthma, which symptomatically worsens at night (Nihat Annakkaya, Akin, Balbay, Arbak, Toru, 2012). 
Restless leg syndrome is described as a build-up of tension that presents itself in the individual’s legs (Pinel, 2012); the individual complains about tension, anxiety and restlessness at bed time that is hard to shake. Interestingly, one of the primary interventions, or therapies, for sleep disturbances like insomnia, is “sleep restriction” (Pinel, 2012, p.393). In the process of sleep restriction, systematic teaching is used to slowly increase the time spend in bed; this intervention calls for a very behavioural approach to treatment (Pinel, 2012).
Annakkaya, A., Akɩn, N., Balbay, E., Arbak, P., & Toru, Ü. (2012). Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome
in Adult Patients with Asthma. Healthmed, 6(1), 53-64.
Pinel, J.P. (2012) Basics of biopsychology. Wadsworth; Allyn & Bacon