Author Archives: Natasha D'Souza

Brain Games at the Ontario Science Centre

Zeely AdventuresTM in partnership with the Ontario Brain Institute will be participating with Brain Games at the Ontario Science Centre on Sat. Dec. 6th and Sun. Dec. 7th 2014.

Get your hands on some of exciting and interactive technology where your body and brain meet through gameplay.  From brain-training programs to games that get you movin’ and groovin’, try out apps, puzzles and other activities that neuroscientists use in their cutting-edge research.

See the latest developments taking place in Ontario and learn how neuroscience is revolutionizing the gaming experience for entertainment, health, education and wellness.

You can find out more about the application by visiting the Ontario Science Centre.

 

Georgia – Special Needs Services

Parent to Parent of Georgia have put together an excellent database for special needs. Searches can be by categories, provider name or more specific by age, hours of operation and accessibility.

Special Needs Database - Georgia

Special Needs Database – Georgia

Fragile Kids Foundation – provides healthcare grants for equipment, ramps etc. They meet several times a year to review applications so check their website to deadlines.

Brain Injury Association of Georgia – Resources and events

National Down Syndrome Congress – Resources and events

gTrade – is an online database where people may list assistive technology items for sale, donation, or things they need. It is for Georgians with disabilities and their families.

DSM-5 and Social Communication Disorder

Way back in 1840 there was a need by the government to classify mental health which lead to the census including the categories; mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia, dipsomania and epilepsy. Further developments evolved to the publication of the DSM in 1917, which was embraced by the Bureau of the Census. It was called the Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane and was created by the Committee on Statistics of the American Medico-Psychological Association (now the American Psychiatric Association) and the National Commission on Mental Hygiene. The committees separated mental illness into 22 groups. The manual went through 10 editions until 1942.

Today the DSM-5 is short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. It is a classification and diagnostic tool by the American Psychiatric Association which is widely used by various organizations, clinicians etc. in the field to aid in the diagnosis of mental disorders, health care payments, insurance, policy and more. Although this has been developed in the U.S.A. it is very influential around the world, therefore the update from version 4 to 5 was highly criticized.

DSM-5

DSM-5

The diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – NOS, and Asperger’s Disorder has been replaced by a single category entitled Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The DSM-5 includes a new diagnosis, Social Communication Disorder which refers to impairment of pragmatics and is diagnosed based upon difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in a natural context and low social communication abilities which result in functional limitations.

The DSM-5 does have a large impact on the healthcare and educational system and if you are a parent or caregiver that has been impacted by this version do connect with us and share your story, you are not alone.

Autism Speaks does answer some questions about DSM-5 and they have an Autism Response Team if you need further help.

Although the current version is not perfect we do have to keep in mind that we still have a lot more to learn about the human mind, it’s connection to the rest of the body, geography, environment and more.

Criticism leads to debate which in turn leads us better understanding. So although the experts are divided about the DSM-5, lets continue the dialogue.

 

 

 

 

 

Common Sense Media

Kids learn feelings with cute characters, familiar settings.

Ease of play

Simply open the app, and you’re ready to go. There are four settings for kids to choose from. Each setting is led by “Obo,” the main character. He speaks the directions, and a text box appears with written directions.

Common Sense Media Review

Common Sense Media ReviewQUALITY

Quality

DISCOVERING EMOTIONS WITH ZEELY lets kids independently manipulate real faces with real emotions. Using repetition is beneficial for kids who need practice with understanding emotions and facial expressions. Kids will enjoy moving facial stickers onto real faces to create a feeling face. Having a distracter built in helps kids who may struggle with attentional issues. Parents will appreciate the easy-to-read data with clear graphics displaying accuracy and the time it took the child to complete the task. Discovering Emotions with Zeely combines realistic facial expressions, adorable characters, and guided instruction to give kids an engaging way to learn about emotions.

Read Full Review

 

Special Needs Roadmap

If you are a parent reading this post, you can relate to this scenario very well. You get the psycho-education evaluation for your child and then what? You turn to your doctor and the school for help.

Your child’s doctor can only recommend drugs as a solution to the problem however you know that in most cases that is not the only solution. There is some thing more however you don’t know what it is.

You are not sure how to articulate the problem to the school as you don’t have the right words.

You don’t know where and how to get help for your child.

It then becomes this crazy, time confusing and frustrating journey to find out who, what and where. This could take several years and those years are often the most crucial ones, as that is when your child needs the interventions and therapies to develop those lagging skills.

A few mothers gave up their valuable time and have put together this great special needs roadmap for schools. Read it, it will give you the information you need so that you can focus on getting the right help and advocating for your child.

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

This is focused on Ontario, Canada however if you are a parent from another region read it as it will give you an idea of the process and you might have something similar in your region. Better still if something like this does not exist, get a group of parents together and build one.

Either way connect with us and we will spread the word.

 

Canadian Healthcare Technology – Jerry Zeidenberg – July 2014

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) is nurturing 15 brain technology entrepreneurs from around the province, and will soon announce several more. Another of OBI’s entrepreneurs, Natasha D’Souza, also showcased her innovation at the recent Discovery conference in Toronto. D’Souza, an electrical engineer by training, has produced Zeely Adventures, a game-like software system that teaches kids with special needs how to recognize emotions in others – something that most children pick up naturally, but which kids with autism, Down’s, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disorders must be taught.

Canadian Healthcare Technology

Canadian Healthcare Technology – Jerry Zeidenberg

 

 

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Autism Plugged In

Getting Emotional

Have you ever told a joke and NO ONE laughed? That might be similar to how children with special needs, especially autism, feel when they just don’t “get” emotions and the appropriate times to express them.

Autism Plugged In

Autism Plugged In

Virtual EyeSee joined forces with speech pathologists and child psychologists to create the app Discovering Emotions with Zeely for children who find emotions challenging.

The app’s main character, Zeely, is a friendly and fun guy who uses games to help children learn about emotions. Along with the ease of use and bright graphics, children will learn how to recognize different emotions in no time!

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