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Showing posts from January, 2010

Things that stop you in your tracks

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I was doing an evaluation recently - and I should know better than be shocked at the things that come from the mouths of children...

It is important for therapists to be observant: it is a skill that I drill into my staff and my students on a regular basis. There is always a lot to observe with preschoolers beyond the typical issues of how many blocks they are stacking or how they are holding their pencil.

As is usual my mind was operating on two different levels during a recent evaluation. While we were stacking blocks I noticed the double whorl pattern in the hair of the five year old I was seeing and I was drifting away into some articles I read about the controversy over whether or not this was a phenotypical expression of altered neurological development and hemispheric lateralization or if it was just an incidental finding. I think that I need to read more because of the recent challenges to this concept that I am now aware of.

Anyway, then I looked at the hands of the youngster…

Folk taxonomies and sensory processing disorders

At least once or twice a week I get email or comments on the blog from people asking me if I think they or their children have a sensory processing disorder. The range of concerns most commonly includes one or more of the following: difficulty with attention, difficulty tolerating clothing textures, dislike of certain tastes or smells, or social anxiety.

The problem with diagnosis of these symptoms is that the field of learning disabilities or psychology or even psychiatry has a very poor record of diagnostic stability over time. Diagnosis tends to take on the flavor of 'current thinking' - so for example if you had these problems in Freud's time you would likely come away with a very different diagnosis than what you might receive today. That doesn't instill confidence in a person like me who is looking for a more universal and longstanding point of accuracy about these matters. A compelling example of this is the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder, effectivel…

Revisiting predictions from the past.

I regularly try to find justification to feed my children on why they need to listen to me - so today I will co-opt this space for personal use. Over four years ago I made a prediction and a wish - and today it came screaming to life as I watched CNN in the airport on my way back home from Chicago.

All day they have been focusing their reports on how technology is being used for fundraising and to help connect and reconnect displaced people in Haiti with their families. That reminded me that I wrote about using the technology for this purpose well over four years ago - long before it was ever really used in that way!

After I posted those comments in 2005 I watched social networking for two years and wondered which social networking service would emerge on top, and then I joined Facebook in 2007 - even though it was still primarily a college student phenomenon at the time. I was promptly ridiculed by my son who told me I was 'too old for Facebook!' I remember I showed him th…

Occupational justice, as taught by Mrs. J.

I got an interesting email asking me what my current views of occupational justice were - this blog gets a lot of hits on that term thanks to Google page rankings and the fact that I wrote an article on the topic several years ago. I have been long disappointed that no one ever wanted to dialogue (in public) on what I wrote several years ago but that blog post sure does get a lot of hits and tends to generate 1-2 private email responses a month.

For the most part I have tried to lose the concept of occupational justice from my thinking and practice. The primary reason for my purposeful disconnect is that the term has been somewhat politically co-opted in the last two years and now holds a lot of political connotation along with 'social justice.' I also have been re-thinking the difference between occupational need and occupational right. At this time I am a little more interested in occupational needs. Rights need to be considered alongside responsibilities, but the existi…