Why you might have problems reading longer articles


What you “see” is not simply up to your eyes
The sensory input must be interpreted correctly by the brain

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another Sensory Integration post

“What if you’re receiving the same sensory information as everyone else, but your brain is interpreting it differently?

Then your experience of the world around you will be radically different from everyone else, maybe even painfully so.” ~ Temple Grandin, Autistic Brain

And sometimes not

In my last article on Sensory Sensitivies, [Turtlenecks and Wool – Yea or Nay?] I explained a bit about temperature and tactile sensitivites that most of us probably believe are simply our own little quirks and preferences.

With examples and stories, I hoped to illustrate that sensory integration issues are not nearly as rare as you might believe, even though we hear most about them in the Autism Spectrum population.

“Studies of nonautistic children have shown that more than half have a sensory symptom, that one in six has a sensory problem significant enough to affect his daily life; and that one in twenty should be formally diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, meaning that the sensory problems are chronic and disruptive.” ~ Temple Grandin, Autistic Brain

Sensory Scrambling at the far end

Most people “can’t imagine a world where scratchy clothes make you feel like you’re on fire or where a siren sounds ‘like someone drilling a hole in [their] skull.’ ” ~ Temple Grandin. Autistic Brain

“The world isn’t coming in right. So autistic children end up looking wild.”
~ Temple Grandin. Animals in Transition, p. 192

But most people never dream that struggles with concentration or reading could possibly be the result of a sensory integration issue.

The Paul Revere of Sensory Integration

Dr. Temple Grandin was born in Boston in 1947, diagnosed autistic in 1950. She was four years old before she began to speak. Her mother, advised to institutionalize Temple as a child, fought instead to educate her.

Despite the fact that Temple was misunderstood and bullied for most of her life, and despite the fact that she was dismissed as “impossible to educate,” she went on to receive a Ph.D. in Animal Husbandry.  Her ideas and designs have revolutionized that particular industry.

Autism understanding and awareness took off, thanks in no small part to her books and speaking engagements. She is now a leading expert on Autistic Spectrum disorders and Sensory Integration issues [SI].

As the result of a wonderful movie about her life, more people are aware of Temple and her story than ever, able to understand that scrambled sensory processing is a huge problem for individuals on the autistic spectrum.

Few people are aware, however, that scrambled sensory processing affects many people who are otherwise considered “neurotypical” (i.e., brain “normal”) – to various degrees and in various sensory modalities. More than a few have been misdiagnosed with “learning disabilities” or other cognitive problems.

Even fewer people are aware of Helen Irlen, who has been working successfully with VISUAL scrambles for decades now – in many of those different population samples otherwise considered “neurotypical.”

I’ve been ringing the Irlen bell since I included Irlen Syndrome/scotopic sensitivity in the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions module in my manual for the world’s first ADD-specific coach training (the only one for eight years) – over 20 years ago now.

Her method is still considered somewhat controversial, despite the fact that we now have functional brain scans that could be used to underscore her claims “scientifically,” and despite the fact that it is supported by experts in the fields of education, psychology, medicine, ophthalmology, and neuroscience around the world.

Read more of this post

Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration


Too much to process —
too much to THINK through

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
All Rights Reserved
Sensory Defensiveness Series – Part 1

Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration: Too much to process – too much to THINK through

“I have been talking and writing about sensory problems for over 20 years, and am still perplexed by many people who do not acknowledge sensory issues and the pain and discomfort they can cause. 

A person doesn’t have to be on the autism spectrum to be affected by sensory issues.”
~
Dr. Temple Grandin, The Way I See It

OURSELVES, growing older

My father “Brandy” was an amazingly healthy man for most of his 90+ years on earth. His mind stayed sharp right up to the end, but his body grew weary as the years went by — little betrayals and injustices to a man who was once strong and active. His once keen eyesight was the first to fade.

When I was just an undergrad, I remember his telling me that “his arms were no longer long enough.”  Now that I am older than the age he was then, I know just what he means: focal length. Presbyopia, they call it.

As the eyes grow older, the cornea becomes less flexible. It can no longer “squeeze down” enough to sharpen close-up focus.

  • I don’t think he ever really made friends with his reading glasses, though I’m sure he was grateful for anything that allowed him to continue to read.
  • I know I am – although I miss the days when I had the sharpest eyesight of anyone anyone knew, near or far.
  • I had no idea of the extent to which my cognition was linked to that sharp eyesight, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As my father grew older, the world became louder – to everyone around him.

As he aged his hearing began to fade as well, so everything he listened to was LOUD — television, talk-radio, music – anything, really.  Although certainly understandable, it was also certainly annoying to those of us with normal hearing.  The volume he could tolerate hurt my ears, sometimes – even through the phone.

Have you ever been around someone with hearing challenges?

  • If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, go turn on the TV or radio right now — and turn it w-a-y UP.
  • NOW try to concentrate on reading this article.
  • Keep reading, and give it at least a full minute before you turn it off or down to the level of background music.
  • Whew!  That WAS annoying, wasn’t it?  How much do you recall of what you read?

Wouldn’t it be awful if, for some reason, you were unable to turn the sound back down?  How long do you think you would be able to tolerate it calmly?

Read more of this post

Overfocusing: Cognitive Inflexibility and the Cingulate Gyrus


Stubborn? or Stuck!!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

A bit of Review to Catch You Up

As I said in the previous article entitled ODD & Oppositional Rising: Most of us know somebody who seems to have an argument for just about everything — somebody who almost always has to “go through NO to get to yes.”

I likened those individuals to old television sets with stuck channel changers (way back before the days of remote controls).

Almost ALL of us, I addedADD or not, have a small  — perfectly “normal” — part of our personalities that balks unless a task or idea is totally appealing in the moment we are “supposed” to take it on.

We don’t WANT to change the channel — we want things to keep on being the way we thought they were going to be – NOW!

ADD and Oppositional Rising

A subset of those who qualify for an ADD diagnosis seems, a bit more than average, to struggle with changing that channel. (be sure to click ODD and Oppositional Rising for more on the concept)

A subset of individuals who do NOT qualify for an ADD diagnosis struggle similarly.

  • ADD or NOT, these individuals are not diagnosically Oppositional Defiant [ODD], but it can try your patience mightily to work and live with these guys.
  • In the previous article, I explained why I referred to that change-averse group as being at the effect of ODD Rising.

In THIS article, we’re going to take a look at what being “stuck” looks like, and to begin to look at what has to happen in our brain to be ready-willing-and-ABLE to “change our minds,” which is not too very different (in concept) from changing a channel on an old television set.

Read more of this post

ODD & Oppositional Rising



Part of the ADD/ADHD Cormbidities series
(Dark gray links become obvious on mouse-over)

Small Blessings

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Fortunately, most of us with ADD do NOT have full-blown, comorbid, diagnositic ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder – a protracted “terrible twos,” on steroids!  

Almost ALL of us, howeverADD or not, have a small – perfectly “normal” – part of our personalities that balks unless the task is totally appealing in the moment we are “supposed” to take it on.

Part of developmental maturity is learning how to “postpone gratification” and work with what some therapists and self-help gurus call “the self-saboteur.”  (I prefer to think of it as learning how to bribe our Inner Three-Year olds.”)  

In any case, and for whatever reason, those of us who qualify for an ADD diagnosis, even those who aren’t particularly impulsive otherwise, seem to struggle with “postponing gratification” more than the neurotypical population: sort of like having “ODD Rising.”

ABOUT ODD Rising

“ODD Rising” and “Oppositional Rising” are my terms for what I refer to as “a high oppositional piece” in an ADD symptom profile.

In fact, those of us with ANY of what I call thealphabet disorders(any or all of the disorders with Executive Function dysregulations) tend to have “pieces” of other EFD’s — like OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, TBI, ABI, PTSD, etc. — alphabet disorders!

So don’t be surprised if ODD Rising is on your menu of Challenges, even if ADD is not the primary diagnosis. So let’s take a look at what might be going on — with your own functioning, or that of a loved one.

To be clear, ODD rising is significantly below the diagnostic threshold for ODD, yet severe enough to make us feel a little crazy as we wonder what it is, exactly, that is stopping us from achievement commensurate with our level of intelligence or education.

I keep up with the ODD field, as I keep a keen eye on all of the ADD Comorbid diagnoses, but ODD itself is not my speciality. 

My focus is applying what I learn from related disorders to help those with Attentional Spectrum Disorders work with whatever it is that is going on with them: helping them learn to drive their very own brains.

AFTER I offer a brief introduction to diagnostic ODD, the remainder of this article will introduce the “oppositional piece” concept. I will revisit ODD in future articles exploring ADD comorbidities — conditions that frequently accompany an ADD diagnosis, to a statistically significant degree more often than in the neurotypical population.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: