School Recess for Body Regulation and Sensory Input

Here is an interesting article from the Council On School Health about the importance of recess for all students in school — not just students in special education. The Council writes because recess for students generally is being reduced in many districts throughout the nation.   He notes cognitive, academic, social emotional and physical benefits.   Here is the link:  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/183.full

For those of you with children who have special needs, especially those on the autistic spectrum, you likely have learned how important body regulation and sensory input can be for a student to have success at school.  Recess can be a utilized with support from the school OT to provide such benefits, in addition to those discussed in the article.

Indeed some of the ideas discussed in the article about recess for all students should be considered for possible IEP programming specific to your child.

Finally, for all of the above reasons, it can be important for children with special needs that access to recess not be used as a disciplinary tool,  and that they are not pulled out from recess for other forms of supplemental or related services.  When you sit with your IEP Teams in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you may want to give some thought to these issues.

All the best,  Jerry Tanenbaum

Child With Autism Entitled to Service Dog in School

The Unites States Justice Department recently brought suit on behalf of an 8 year old boy with special needs — autism and encephalopathy — against a New Jersey school district.  The suit alleged that the School District discriminated against the child by first requiring him to provide an inordinate amount of paper work to support his request to use a service dog, and then by denying his request. 

The case is a good reminder that service dogs are now being used effectively for all sorts of disabilities — not simply for people with blindness as we might be accustomed to.  In this case, the dog was there to keep the child from wandering off; to reduce the child’s anxiety and increase attentiveness; and to alert adults if the child started to have a seizure.  They are increasingly being used for people with other special needs, such as mental health issues, deafness, and mobility issues. 

This case shows that children in special education settings may under the right circumstances require their schools to accommodate the use of service animals during the school day. 

Here is a link to the news report:   http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2014/06/24/delran-schools-pay-k-refusing-students-service-dog/11318031/