Entries by Jennifer Cassell

(2012) The In-Sync Homeschooler

Co-authored with Joye Newman and published in July on the blog of Home-Educating Family 

No matter what their ages, children learn best when they move. Pediatricians, teachers and other specialists now recognize that motor skills are vital to a child’s physical, emotional, academic, and overall success. Yet, some educators and parents believe that sitting still is the best way to absorb information. We know that just the opposite is true.

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(2000) Music and Movement Bring Together Children of Differing Abilities

Published in Child Care Information Exchange magazine (May 2000), and in Curriculum: Art, Music, Movement, Drama – A Beginnings Workshop Book (Exchange Press, 2006)

Typically-developing children are usually adaptable. They sing and dance, play rhythm instruments, and willingly try traditional preschool experiences. Children with special needs, however, may prefer sticking to the same-old-same-old activities that make them feel successful.

Whatever the skill level of your preschoolers, a variety of sensory-motor activities in your curriculum can satisfy most children’s needs. Music and movement activities, with their flexible structure, can foster every child’s creativity and competence.

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(2004) In Praise of Mud

Published in S.I. Focus (Winter issue), and adapted from a 1990 article originally in Carol’s column, “Gentle Reminders,” in Parent and Child magazine

A child comes to school on a soggy day. Tentatively approaching a puddle, she sticks in one spotless boot, watching with interest as her foot sinks into the mud. She puts in the other boot. She is entranced. Looking up, she says to her teacher, “Is this mud? It’s fun! Is it okay?”

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(2005) Indoor Obstacle Courses for Parents and Teachers

Published in Sensations, Volume 3, Issue 2, September, a newsletter for the benefactors and friends of The KID Foundation (now STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder)

 
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and kids gotta climb, jump, and balance. While dangling from banisters, scooting under turnstiles, teetering on curbs, and jumping into puddles may dismay grown-ups, children persist with good reason.

How do kids learn to think and relate to the world around them? By scanning their surroundings; touching wooden, metal, rubber, or concrete surfaces; grasping and releasing handholds; changing body positions; maintaining equilibrium; and experimenting with different movement patterns. Furthermore, they are having fun, and “fun,” Dr. Ayres wrote, “is the child’s word for sensory integration.”

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(2010) Revelation from a Paper Plate

Published in S.I. Focus, Summer issue

Imagine coming to one of my “Getting Kids in Sync” presentations. You are here to learn new strategies for supporting children with SPD. At the door, you receive a warm welcome, a hefty handout, and two paper plates.

Get a cup of coffee and snack, but please, do not put food on the plates. We’ll use them in many different ways — just not for bagels and berries!

During our synergetic day, one activity is drawing on a paper plate.

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(2010) Two “Look-Alikes”: Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder

Published in National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Beginnings — A publication dedicated to the young minds of America from the NAMI Child & Adolescent Action Center, Summer issue

Brian is inattentive, impulsive, and fidgety. Does he have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – or Sensory Processing Disorder? Recognizing the differences between these two disorders and providing appropriate treatment can greatly benefit children and adults like Brian.

Like ADHD, SPD is a neurological problem affecting behavior and learning. Unlike ADHD, SPD is not treated with medicine. Instead, occupational therapy using a sensory integration framework (“OT-SI”) helps most. This therapy addresses underlying difficulties in processing sensations that cause inattention and hyperactivity.

 

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(2012) Growing In-Sync Children

Co-authored with Joye Newman and published in TYC – Teaching Young Children/Preschool, Vol. 6, No. 1, October/November

Between birth and about six, children learn about their world by feeling it and moving their body through it. The more opportunities children have to move, the more they will feel comfortable in their bodies — and “In Sync” with the world.

Are your students In Sync? Consider them as you look at the quiz below. The more checks, the more likely your classroom is filled with “In-Sync” children.

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(2012) Three Children Get ‘In Sync’

Co-authored with Joye Newman and published in The Educational Therapist, Vol. 33, No. 2, October

Imagine what it is like for children who are expected to do more than their bodies are ready to do.  Any one of the In-Sync components that is immature or lacking can significantly compromise a child’s ability to succeed in the world.  (“In-Sync” components are the three interrelated sensory, perceptual-motor, and visual systems, described in Growing an In-Sync Child, Perigee, 2010.)

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(2010) Help Your Child Develop Motor Skills, by Amy Phelps

Published April 29, online at MOVParent.com, and in the May issue of Mid-Ohio Valley Parent Magazine: Your Partner in Parenting

Child development occurs at different stages, but what can you do to help your child if he or she is a little behind, or “out of sync”? Based on the authors’ experiences working with children, this book gives you many different, fun activities to do with your children to help fine-tune their development skills.

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