We had the pleasure of photographing beautiful bride Meghan McCune at Nottoway Plantation in the spring of this year. As you look through this bridal session, you will see the elegance and grace that she carries is quite radiant. We found ivy walls and the white ball room at Nottoway to be perfect. We ended the shoot on top of the levee of the Mississippi river in amazing light.
Sensory processing is a term becoming more and more familiar to parents. However, there are still a number of misconceptions, and sensory processing might look different than you expect. There are often sure fire ways to know your child has sensory issues. However, there are also some behaviors that get overlooked. It took me eight years to really understand that this was an issue for my child, and I wish I had seen the signs earlier.
When looking at sensory processing, parents often assume that their child with sensory needs will become overwhelmed by and shy away from too much stimulus. Loud noises will be challenging. Crowds will lead to melt downs. Tags and socks that aren’t straight will drive a child mad. They often have problems with textures so picky eating can be a symptom. A child with sensory needs may not want to touch slime, foam or other such materials because the feel will agitate them. When working with or parenting kids who respond to sensory experiences in this manner, parents quickly and appropriately turn to exploring the idea of a sensory processing disorder.
However, the paragraph above doesn’t describe my own child at all, and yet we are still exploring sensory issues.
I had a friend recently describe the struggles with her son. She could have been describing my own child. I asked, “Have you considered sensory processing?” She said, “That doesn’t resonate at all.” She continued to explain that he doesn’t have any of the issues I’ve just described above. It took talking to her about how sensory needs look different in different kids for her to say, “Oh my. That might be exactly what we are dealing with.”
I explored some of the common misconceptions about sensory processing, but what I want people to understand is that each child has been created unique. How sensory needs manifest in one child might look extremely different than another child.
While some people think it is all about the child naturally avoiding stimulus due to sensory overload, the opposite can be true. The need for sensory experiences can be great and yet the brain has a hard time regulating the sensory event. Therefore, a child craves and seeks out the experience, but it leads to a negative behavior outcome.
Some sensory experiences can be calming to a child and others might result in an explosion of emotions. This was hard to recognize in my child. The frustration and agitation would be bottled up and the meltdown would often come later than the sensory experience, making it difficult to tie the two together.
Let me describe some of the things we experience just in case you say, “Oh my. That’s my child.”
My child can go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. When things don’t go her way there can be a melt down. I believed that she was just acting spoiled, not recognizing that this might be part of how she was made. What her occupational therapist discovered in testing is that she has a highly developed visual cortex. What an amazing gift, right? But with all positive traits, there can be a struggle that comes alongside it. The sensory struggle that pairs with a strong visual cortex is that often times these individuals have a strong visual movie playing out in their mind. Since they have everything planned out visually, when real life deviates from that plan, the brain has a hard time processing the change. The result can be extreme frustration as their brain is already locked on to what should be happening. The outcome experienced in the home is a melt down or fits of rage.
My child craved sensory experiences. She wanted nothing more than to be around a lot of people and seemed to seek out things that might overstimulate. She was that creative child who wanted to paint, but she didn’t want to just use paper and a brush. There was a desire to touch the paint and perhaps paint the walls rather than just the paper provided. She loved to get into nail polish, glitter, shaving cream or gak. As a mom, I sought to give her a lot of sensory experiences. Frustration as a parent would set in when she would seek out these experiences on her own, getting into the craft closet and exploring what glitter and glue would look like on her dresser or bed sheets. Clothes would be drawn on, often scribbling on her clothes at an older age. The sensory need would consume her, but rather than having a calming effect, it would often escalate hyper or out of control behavior to levels that were unmanageable.
Other sensory experiences were extremely calming to her, as we discovered more in therapy. She had a high need for pressure on her body, which explains the tight and intense hugging that occurred and wasn’t always welcome by the recipients. The desire to wear jeans that were too tight could also be understood. It explains all of the rubber bands stacked on her arms and wrists. It even gives answers to why swaddling was the one way to calm her as a baby. Wrapping her body tightly in a blanket or letting her chill in her lycra swing is now a strategy we use to calm when she becomes overloaded.
Some of the more commonly thought of sensory issues apply to her too: a desire to chew everything, a need to move and have vestibular input, and the fact that she easily becomes agitated.
One reason it was hard to identify a need in my child is that she is extremely bright. She performs high academically and has never had obvious behavioral issues in school. She is well liked by teachers and peers. What we didn’t realize is that she had developed coping strategies at school for the areas in which her body was screaming against her. When she felt overwhelmed, she would push her feet intensely into the ground. She would keep her hands in her desk to bend the corners of a notebook over and over again. Her water bottle would be chewed on throughout the day. The stress experienced by any over-stimulus would also build up throughout the school day, and she would let out all that tension at home. This made the after-school experience challenging for our family.
Identifying sensory processing as a need is not an excuse for allowing negative behavior to continue, but it’s a recognition that I, as the parent, might need to seek out different tools and try different parenting strategies to teach each of my children in a unique way – just as they are each uniquely made. In therapy, I am reminded that our goal is to give my child and myself the strategies to positively handle the challenges that may come. Further, the occupational therapy is aimed, not to pacify, but to actually create new pathways in the brain.
I am hoping our story might give you some of the tools, answers and understanding about sensory processing. It may have caught you off guard that sensory processing might look different than you expected. Light bulbs might be going off in your own brain about some of the behaviors you see in your child. I know that the description of my child is only one snapshot into a sensory kid, and that there are many other stories that deviate from my own and yet fall under the same category. The goal is to become educated and equipped while loving and parenting your child well. I would encourage you to seek more information if this describes your child.
You also might find these 35 sensory aids and ideas to help with SPD a great resource.
The post Sensory Processing Might Look Different Than You Expect appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.
An empty box is so much more than just trash. You can turn it into so many incredible things! I love showing my kids how to put their imagination to work by turning trash into treasure.
Get out the scissors and glue and make some of these incredible DIY\’s all from an empty box.
16 Toys You Can Make with an Empty Box
Millennium Falcon – Yes, your very own Star Wars vehicle! via All For The Boys
Cat and Kittens – These little cats are adorable. Make them and tiny juice box kittens!
Homemade Light Brite – Wow, kids will love this fun homemade toy. So cool! via Toddler Approved
Marble Run – This would keep my little ones busy for quite a while! via Frugal Fun for Boys
Aquarium – This just might be one of my most favorite crafts of all time. It looks just like an aquarium! via Molly Moo
Doll Bed – Make a sweet little bed for your dolls to snooze in. via PopSugar
Toy Car Garage – Park all those toy cars in this super fun garage made from a shoe box! via Mommo Design
Pirate Ship – This is so much fun! All you need for a pirate ship is an empty box. via Molly Moo
Mailbox – Have a fun day of playing pretend with this postal box! via Little Red Window
Wheelbarrow – How adorable is this? Kids will love playing with this. via Makenzie
Traffic Light – Perfect for playing cars or the game red light, green light! via Ikat Bag
Dollhouse – A real, functioning doll house! This would save a ton of money. via My Cakies
Noahs Ark – Fill this up with your stuffed animals. So sweet. via The Craft Train
Barbie Couch – Make a super cute couch for Barbie and her friends! via Kids Kubby
Dinosaur – This riding dino would be a blast to play with. via Mood Kids
Camera – Pretend to be a photographer for the day and make your own DIY camera! via Molly Moo Crafts
Race Car – Make a pretend Lighting McQueen car your kids will adore! via Krokotak
By Robert Mann
Does anyone know how state Treasurer John Kennedy got on our TV screens on Thursday night to deliver the official Republican response to Gov. John Bel Edwards\’ statewide message on the state\’s fiscal crisis? I\’m told by Republican sources in the Legislature that Kennedy wasn\’t tapped by House leaders. In fact, some House Republicans were apparently quite displeased that Kennedy hijacked their message and purported to speak for them.
Whatever Kennedy said to persuade the state\’s TV stations to give him airtime, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate clearly did not promise them a specific plan to counter Edwards\’ proposal to raise various taxes and cut spending where possible to address the state\’s fiscal crisis. Kennedy, instead, delivered a demagogic campaign speech, short on details but long on folksy rhetoric and thinly veiled dog whistles aimed at vilifying poor.
“We need to start saying no, as the law allows us to, to our friends on Medicaid who go to emergency rooms – expensive emergency rooms – to be treated for things like acne, to get a pregnancy test, to have a wart removed, to talk to someone about losing weight, to see if they need glasses,” Kennedy said. “It costs five times as much to treat them in an ER than it does in a private clinic.”
Kennedy was counting on his viewers knowing virtually nothing about the state\’s budget process (in other words, that lawmakers have three weeks to find more than $900 million in revenue or savings for the current fiscal year).
Rather, he seemed to rely on his viewers\’ predisposition to believe that millions of shiftless poor people are robbing them blind by seeking treatment for warts in emergency rooms.
Kennedy\’s speech, in other words, wasn\’t about budgeting. It was about fomenting resentment against the poor.
The thrust of Kennedy\’s message was that the state doesn\’t need a new dime in revenue – in other words, that this fiscal year\’s $900 million shortfall and next year\’s $2 billion shortfall can be eliminated by budget cuts alone.
“Basically, what the governor is saying,” Kennedy said, “he\’s telling Louisiana families and Louisiana businesses that they have to cut their budgets so that Louisiana state government doesn\’t have to cut its budget.”
To bolster his claim that budget cuts can do the trick, Kennedy said he had “sent the governor and each legislator over 400 different ideas and suggestions about how they an reduce spending without hurting anyone.”
On Friday, I asked Kennedy\’s office to share that list of 400 ideas. Here is what I received:
That\’s right, Kennedy\’s brief letter merely provided hyperlinks to a series of reports, one of which was more than 20 years old. Another was dated March 20, 2001. The most recent report in Kennedy\’s letter was from 2010. (And, by the way, he apparently did not send the list to every member of the Legislature, as he claimed; he just cc\’d “Louisiana State Legislature” at the bottom of his brief letter.)
Contrary to what Kennedy implied in his speech on Thursday night, these were not 400 ideas that he had developed. They were, instead, just a dusty compilation of the work of others.
“I guess I shouldn\’t be shocked, but it\’s extremely disappointing that someone who knows better should use 20-year-old recommendations to make the case for budget cuts,” Jan Moller, who heads the Louisiana Budget Project, told me. “John Kennedy was a top aide to Buddy Roemer the last time Louisiana faced a similar budget crisis. He, more than most, should understand that our current problems won\’t be solved without new revenues. The fact that Kennedy uses data from the Edwin Edwards administration to make the case for more cuts only provides more evidence that John Bel Edwards is right.”
It\’s also worth noting that most of the recommendations in these reports (suggestions for various budget and managerial reforms) were accepted and made by previous administrations. The reports contain most of the low-hanging fruit — and it\’s been picked. That\’s another reason Kennedy\’s lazy recycling is so disappointing.
While Kennedy has built a reputation as a straight shooter firmly in command of the state\’s fiscal matters, what stood out to me, beyond his shameless fear mongering, was that he missed his chance to present a detailed plan for the kind of budget cuts he demands.
Wouldn\’t you think that a man who claims to have spent the last eight years fighting former Gov. Bobby Jindal\’s reckless fiscal policies might be able to produce a four- or five-page plan that lists all the cuts Gov. Edwards should enact in the place of budget cuts? Kennedy has several web sites at his disposal and, presumably, the email addresses of all the state\’s political reporters. He could share his plan easily with voters. (I wonder why he didn\’t post his pitiful letter to Edwards on his website?)
Could it be that Kennedy did not present a plan on Thursday night for the same reason Republican House leaders refuse to do the same? And the reason?
Such a budget-cutting plan would spark a revolt among their constituents. Instead of offering specifics, Kennedy instead offered viewers resentment against Louisiana residents living in poverty who depend on Medicaid for their health care.
In addition to accusing Medicaid recipients of abusing emergency rooms to obtain routine care, Kennedy made this dubious claim: “According to the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 10 percent of the $9 billion taxpayer dollars that we spend every year on Medicaid is attributable to fraud. That\’s $900 million a year. Even if CMS is half wrong, that\’s $450 million a year. We need to embed about 15 auditors from the Legislative Auditor\’s Office in DHH, root out the fraud and prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.”
In other words, just balance the budget by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.
Moller correctly noted “the fraud issue is an old canard. It exists in Medicaid, as in the rest of the budget, but writing it out on the kind of timetable we\’re talking about is almost impossible and there is no evidence that it\’s more prevalent in Louisiana than anywhere else.”
“Treasurer Kennedy is correct about Medicaid fraud, but he grossly overestimates the possible savings,” Bob Johannessen, press secretary for Louisiana\’s Department of Health and Hospitals, said. “The 10 percent fraud figure that he attributes to CMS includes not only fraud but also waste and abuse. Waste is the overutilization of services or the misuse of resources that directly or indirectly adds unnecessary costs. To suggest that auditors could easily ferret out wasteful health care practices as easily as they can identify fraud is wrong. Nonetheless, fighting fraud is a key initiative of this administration. Over the past eight years, as the former administration downsized government, DHH lost a substantial number of our fraud-fighting staff. We are now working to rebuild this critical function.”
Moller, however, observed “the groups with the most incentive to root out fraud are the private Bayou Health providers that get paid a monthly managed-care fee to treat patients. That\’s the whole point of these reforms – to give the market an incentive to ration care and control costs.”
In his speech, Kennedy argued “we need to embed about 15 auditors from the Louisiana Legislator\’s Office in DHH, root out the fraud and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Kennedy leads citizens to believe that money can be recovered quickly with the addition of 15 auditors,” Johannessen responded. “In reality, when the auditors discover possible fraud, their evidence is sent to the Attorney General who then builds the case. Allowing for due process, the resolution of any one case could take years, and there is never a guarantee the guilty party will pay restitution.”
In other words, attacking fraud is a good idea but not if you need to squeeze out a billion dollars in savings in four months\’ time.
As for Kennedy\’s allegations about improper or overuse of the state\’s emergency rooms, Johannessen told me: “[Kennedy] fails to point out that DHH has already adopted the industry best practice of managed care when we introduced the Bayou Health program. By adopting managed care, just like private insurance companies, DHH has taken a critical step to stop the improper use of emergency room care.
“For the high-cost Medicaid users,” he added, “Kennedy suggests that better managing their care will reduce Medicaid spending substantially. He doesn\’t tell you, or he doesn\’t understand, that a majority of this population are seniors in nursing homes, fragile newborn babies or people with disabilities who require long-term care. This is expensive care and the costs are not easily reduced without putting lives at risk.”
But better to issue some meaningless rhetoric about Medicaid “fraud” and improper use of emergency care than offer up a detailed list of reasonable cuts. Developing a detailed plan for balancing the budget with specific cuts only would mean that Republicans would be sharing some of the responsibility for governing the state. That\’s clearly not the role that Kennedy and the most conservative Republican members of the House want to play.
In Kennedy\’s case, he\’s content to try and demagogue his way to the U.S. Senate. But he needs a new foil. Now that Jindal is gone, that will be Edwards.
As for House Republican leaders, they are hoping Edwards is a one-term governor. Sharing responsibility for governing might complicate things when blame is assigned. Better to put it all on Edwards by just saying, like Kennedy, “We don\’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”
That\’s not true, of course. Louisiana is one of the lowest taxed states in the country, but it rings true because that\’s what people want to hear.
“There is certainly plenty of room for debate about which taxes to raise and by how much,” Moller said. “How much of the burden should fall on business vs. individuals vs. local government? How much should fall on rich families vs. poor families?
“People of goodwill can, should and will disagree on those questions,” he added. “But to pretend that we can get out of this mess without raising revenues is not a serious position to take in February 2016 – and Mr. Kennedy\’s letter to the governor only proves that.”
By Robert Mann
After eight years of enabling then-Gov. Bobby Jindal as he mismanaged Louisiana\’s budget process, isn\’t it remarkable that some prominent Republicans in the Legislature have suddenly grown a backbone? Apparently, the gestation period for valor among certain Louisiana lawmakers is precisely eight years – and birth occurs only when a Democrat is governor.
To briefly recap, Jindal slashed taxes on upper-income taxpayers and gave away generous tax exemptions to various industries. He shifted the burden for much of that lost revenue onto college students by cutting their schools\’ budgets and raising their tuition. Faced with enormous deficits, Jindal wouldn\’t consider the slightest tax hike. Instead, he stuffed his budgets with embarrassing amounts of one-time money from every trust fund he could pilfer or every state asset he could peddle.
In 2008, Jindal inherited a budget surplus of almost a billion dollars. Eight years later, he left his successor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, a mid-year budget shortfall of about $750 million and a shortfall of almost $2 billion for the next fiscal year.
For much of Jindal\’s two terms, GOP lawmakers rarely opposed Jindal – and when they did, their protests were often halfhearted and brief. Most legislators knew Jindal and his aides were selling them phony numbers, but they passed his budgets anyway. As he decimated funding for universities, they did little beyond approving tuition increases (by 66 percent since 2008).
Last year, Jindal\’s budget mess threatened Louisiana higher education and public health care. So, legislators sensibly did what they could to raise revenue to keep Louisiana\’s schools and hospitals open (for only half the fiscal year, it turns out).
Now, many of these lawmakers have not only found their voice and independent spirit; they have also been born again as unrelenting fiscal conservatives. Many of these intrepid souls insist the problem can be – must be – solved with budget cuts alone.
Although he offers no specifics about what should be should cut, Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, said recently that he would reject “a budget that raises taxes on Louisiana families or businesses. Despite what some in Baton Rouge may think, we cannot tax our way out of this hole.” Hollis arrived in the Legislature in 2012, so he may have missed the news that almost $1 billion in income tax cuts(bipartisan legislation that his party supported in 2007 and 2008) is partly, if not largely, responsible for Louisiana\’s revenue shortfall.
Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, is even more pugnacious – and arrogant – in her determination to resist tax increases. “We don\’t need concessions,” she told a gathering in Baton Rouge recently. “We won.”
Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, also opposes any tax increases. Unlike Hollis and Hodges, however, Henry has an idea about where lawmakers should cut – higher education. “Though higher ed general fund dollars have been cut a little bit,” Henry said recently, “they\’ve matched those with self-generated tuition increases and some fees.”
Henry is badly misinformed. He and his colleagues cut higher education substantially. For example, in 2009, the total of direct state appropriations and tuition to LSU was $797 million. In 2016, it is $691 million. At LSU alone, 363 teaching jobs (almost 8 percent of the faculty) were eliminated; another 1,561 staff members were laid off or not replaced. But Henry thinks LSU and other universities need deeper cuts?
Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.
Filed under: Bobby Jindal, Education, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Politics, LSU, Politics Tagged: Bobby Jindal, Cameron Henry, higher education, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana budget, Louisiana politics, Louisiana Republicans, Louisiana State University, Paul Hollis
Who doesn’t love a date night?!? A nice, quiet meal, adult conversation – the perfect way to reconnect, celebrate, fill your tummy with deliciousness all while not having to do the dishes. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching our contributors are here to help with our best suggestions for date night restaurants in the Baton Rouge […]
By Robert Mann
Okay, Democrats and other passionate supporters of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. It’s time to take a deep breath. The election of New Iberia Republican Taylor Barras as Louisiana House speaker is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of a new world in Louisiana politics.
Long term, that is not bad for democracy and separation of powers in Louisiana. I mean, it’s 2016. Shouldn’t we try majority rule and co-equal branches of government for a couple of years to see if that might work in the Bayou State? I’m sure if he were alive, James Madison would urge us to give it a shot.
Do I wish the Legislature had mustered the courage to try majority rule in 2008, when then-Gov. Bobby Jindal coerced lawmakers to install his choice for speaker, Republican Rep. Jim Tucker, in spite of a Democratic majority in the House? Of course, I do.
And, I wish the current Republican House majority would acknowledge the fact that what it would never have accepted in 2008 (a speaker from the majority party) is now expected as a natural right.
In this case, Republicans aren’t really wedded to the idea of separation of powers. They are wedded to the idea of power – and, of course, they have every right to be.
If Republican lawmakers were honest, however, they’d admit that they would have never settled for a Democratic majority exerting its right to defy Jindal and elect a Democratic speaker. Imagine the howls of protest and the punishment Jindal and his allies would have meted out to those who defied them. (Well, we don’t have to imagine what happened to those who defied Jindal. It was called “unemployment.”)
That said, I fault Democrats in the House and Senate in 2008 for not asserting their rights. Many were cowards, too easily intimated by the imperial governor. If they had mustered the courage to try majority rule in 2008, the result might have been messy, but does anyone doubt the state would be better off today if Jindal hadn’t had his way in almost every respect the first five years of his governorship?
So, let’s move on and acknowledge that running our business like every other state is probably not a bad idea. Louisiana governors – Republican or Democrat – should never again have as much power as lawmakers and others gave them over the decades. Our unique arrangement (the governor naming the House speaker and Senate president) bred corruption, excess and abuse of power. It gave us corrupt, too-powerful governors like Bobby Jindal and Edwin Edwards.
But there is another reason supporters of John Bel Edwards shouldn’t despair over the election of Barras as speaker. First, if we’re going to have a GOP speaker, and his name isn’t Chris Broadwater, it might as well be someone like Barras. By all accounts, the term-limited Barras is not a right-wing ideologue like Rep. Cameron Henry, once the leading GOP candidate for speaker. A former Democrat, Barras is well liked by his colleagues on both sides. He seems like a decent sort who will try to make the House work as it should.
I don’t get the sense – at least yet – that Barras wants to be only the Republican leader of the House. Rather, I hope I’m right in suspecting that he wants to serve as leader of the entire House.
Of course, I’m well aware that Barras is appointing Republicans to chair committees who will not be friendly to all of Edwards’ legislative proposals. But, guess what? That’s the way it works in almost every legislative body in the United States. If you want democracy, you take it, warts and all.
In fact, let’s admit that not everything Edwards proposes should be enacted as is. At the very least, it won’t hurt that a loyal opposition – I know, I’m naïve for calling them “loyal” – might improve some of the legislation Edwards offers.
More important, however, is the fact that whatever emerges from the Legislature in the special session in February, and in the regular session that begins in March, will be viewed as bipartisan products. Whatever tax increases or budget cuts are imposed will be the product of compromises among Democrats and Republicans. It will not be “the Edwards plan” that the governor and his allies have rammed through a House and a Senate governed by his handpicked leaders. It will probably be a plan approved by a dozen or more Republicans who rule the House and Senate independent of Edwards.
Whatever tax increases or budget cuts are imposed will be the product of compromises among Democrats and Republicans. It will not be “the Edwards plan” that the governor and his allies have rammed through a House and a Senate governed by Edwards’ handpicked leaders. It will probably be a plan approved by a dozen or more Republicans who rule the House and Senate independent of Edwards.
If the Legislature does produce some grand compromise that saves the state (a guy can dream, right?), then Edwards won’t get all the credit. But it’s also true that it will be more difficult for Republicans to credibly attack Edwards for ramming through tax increases when at least a dozen or so Republicans also supported those proposals after the bills cleared committees chaired by Republicans (although it’s possible Barras will appoint a nominal “Democrat,” New Orleans Rep. Neil Abramson, to chair the House Ways and Means Committee).
However, if Edwards and his legislative allies develop a plan that the Legislature rejects and disaster ensues (universities are shuttered, DMV offices are closed and massive layoffs of state workers occur), the Democratic governor can point to the GOP-controlled House and Senate and we’ll know whom to blame for much of the mayhem.
Power sharing is not only right and democratic; in this case, it could be quite useful in driving lawmakers to make government work. Republicans, because they rightly insisted on sharing power, surely know they will also share the blame – maybe even most of it – if the upcoming special and regular sessions end in disaster.
If that happens, Republicans may soon wish that Rep. Walt Leger had won the speakership after all.