On the Horizon – 09/25/12

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 199: I Have A Problem!

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: Traveling to Montana
  • Feature Article:
    I Have A Problem!
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I’m headed off to Montana this week for 3 days of speaking to medical and education professionals. Always exciting to visit new places and meet people invested in learning about innovative strategies to support individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders! Everyone has told me that it is beautiful in Montana; one of my Facebook friends told me to "breathe and look" while I’m there. I’ll make sure to do that! Speaking of Facebook, have you joined us on our Facebook page? If not you can check it out here.

The feature article this week from Erin is about problem solving. It doesn’t matter whether your child is 2 or 20 or has special needs or not – this article is for all of us who parent and teach! She provides some excellent information about why problem solving is so important and how we can instill it in our children.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

Looking to the horizon,

I Have A Problem!

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

I just finished reading a blog post about teaching kids problem solving skills. The author started her post with a series of pictures showing how her daughter had solved a problem. The mom asked her daughter about her solution and why she hadn’t tried some different ideas. Although the mom felt that the solution wasn’t necessarily the way she would have solved the problem, it was working for the daughter and she left her to it. This mom then went on to describe how she and her husband have been working on problem solving skills with their children from an early age. She described another scene in which her husband used his communication to help her daughter work through the process of how to ask for what she needed, rather than just making a statement and waiting for something to happen.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My 9-year-old daughter has a major issue with pulling/chewing her hair. She does it so much that I’m not even sure she is aware when she is doing it. It has become such a problem in recent weeks that I am starting to see small patches on her scalp that are almost bare. She is really defensive when I bring up the issue, but I feel like I have to say something. Do you have any suggestions?

Isabelle in Caledonia, MI


Hi Isabelle,

Thanks for writing and I can certainly understand your concern about this. There are a few things to consider, keeping in mind that I don’t have any specific information about your daughter. My first thought is to see what happens if you give her something more appropriate to chew on. One thing that is popular with some of the pre-teen girls at our clinic is "chewelry" – jewelry that can be chewed. There are a variety of brands and styles available online. Wearing a necklace or bracelet that she can chew might help keep her mouth busy instead of chewing her hair. You could also try providing her with any other safe appropriate object that she can keep with her to chew on when she needs to.

Another idea is to draw awareness to the behavior in a non-confrontational way. Simply making a statement such as, "you are chewing on your hair" can suffice. I would encourage you to avoid making judgments or telling her to stop. You can simply comment on what you notice and then hand her something (like chewelry) to use instead of her hair.

There are many other strategies that could be helpful. However, the other important thing that needs to be considered here is the possibility of an underlying disorder that is causing this behavior. You don’t mention whether she has any type of diagnosis, but it is possible there is underlying anxiety or another issue causing her to engage in hair chewing/pulling. The fact that she has been doing this to the extent that you are noticing bare patches on her scalp means that it has become a chronic issue. I would recommend seeing a professional who can provide appropriate consultation and/or evaluation of conditions that may be present. We would be happy to do an evaluation for you here or you can find another psychologist in the area who specializes in evaluation and treatment of children.

Good luck as you search for answers to this problem!

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Upcoming Events


Looking for an opportunity designed for SIBLINGS of children with autism or other developmental disorders?

Siblings of children with autism or other disabilities have their own unique needs and experiences, and we use the renowned Sibshop model designed to provide them with support, education, and fun.

October 13, 2012 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Cost is $20 per child – Sibshop is a world-renowned model for providing education and support to siblings of children with special needs. Our Sibshop is held at Horizons in our sensory room. We include a combination of movement and discussion activities, arts and crafts, and games. Children will need to bring a lunch, but snack is provided.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY by clicking here, emailing our office info@horizonsdrc.com, or by calling us at (616) 698-0306.


Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

September 26, 2012 in Missoula, Montana

September 27, 2012 in Butte, Montana

September 28, 2012 in Billings, Montana

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Learn as we grow

This long-awaited book is written for parents and professionals who want to be more effective in their work with students who have neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

More Information >>