On the Horizon – 2/29/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 178: Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities

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: End of February, Beginning of March
  • Feature Article:
    Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe March is right around the corner.  It feels like February just began!  For our family the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of band and orchestra concerts, school conferences, and all the usual activities.  We’ve also had some exciting activities here at the clinic, and enjoyed spending Saturday with our client families for Parent Education Day.  It’s great to have an entire day for parents to connect with each other, learn some new things, and relax in an environment where everyone understands what they are going through. 

This week’s feature article by Courtney provides some great indoor sensory activity ideas.  The winter can start to feel long in some parts of the world, and these ideas can provide fresh ways to get kids the input they need while staying indoors.  The Q&A section this week addresses the issue of kids repeating things from television shows, and I know many of you will find Erin’s response helpful.

One last thing – if you have a couple of extra seconds I’d love it if you would support Horizons in the Leading Women in Business competition.  We are doing well, but can definitely use more votes.  If you’d like to support us please click here to cast your vote (you can vote once each day until the contest ends in April). Thanks!

Make it a great week!

Looking to the horizon,

Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities

By Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.

It continues to be chilly here in Michigan, and it seems like forever since my family and I were able to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about frostbite.  Cabin fever is really beginning to set in.  I cannot wait for the warm sunny spring days to arrive, and to go for a bike ride with my family!

The cabin fever that my family and I have been experiencing lately seems to be a common theme among many of the families with whom I have been working.  This time of year seems to be difficult for all of us, and especially for children who have sensory processing difficulties.  During the mid-winter months, we typically see an increase in sensory seeking behaviors due to the limited amount of play time outside or elsewhere.  The holidays are now over as well, which means that the lights and intense sensory input of the holiday season has past.  It is still important to make sure that the sensory needs of our kids are being met.  Here are a few simple sensory ideas that you can use during the indoor times of the year.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My daughter spends a lot of time repeating phrases and conversations from the television shows she watches.  It can really interfere with getting her attention or trying to communicate with her.  It can be really hard to get her to stop.  Any suggestions?

Jim in Grand Haven, Michigan


There are few answers to this question and both can be difficult and take time.  The first answer is to eliminate or greatly limit the amount of time your daughter is watching television.  This can seem very difficult or even impossible to do, but in order to help your child reduce the amount of static speech she uses you need to remove the source.  For some families they find it easier to slowly reduce the amount of TV the child watches and for others they feel it is best to just go cold turkey.  You need to decide what is best for your family.

The second answer is for you to begin using more non-verbal communication with your child.  You first must get your child’s attention, which may mean you need to be in your child’s physical space or even touch your child to get her attention.  Once you have her attention then you can use a facial expression, gesture or even a sound to communicate.  Taking the words out of the interaction can improve your child’s ability to process and will also help in reducing the static speech your daughter is using.  This is just the beginning, but can help in getting you started.

Take care,

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Upcoming Events


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

We feel strongly that as part of our family-focused mission we need to be attending to the needs of all of your children, not just the ones with disabilities. Siblings of children with autism or other disabilities have their own unique needs and experiences, and we will be using the renowned Sibshop model that is designed to provide them with support, education, and fun.

March 10th – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost is $20 per child – Sibshop is held at Horizons in our sensory room. We will do a combination of movement and discussion activities, arts and crafts, and games. Children will need to bring a lunch. Snack will be 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

March 14, 2012
Tarrytown, NY

March 15, 2012
Plainview, NY

March 16, 2012
Manhattan, NY


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 >>