Should you scold your child?

It is an automatic human reaction to tell a child they are doing something wrong or bad, while the child is doing it. This is usually seen in the form of “stop doing that”, “quit it”, and “I told you not to”. This is a general reaction we all have to seeing something we do not want our children to do. However, some children purposely engage in this behavior to get a reaction out of you. This would be an example of a child maintained by attention. Their behaviors are reinforced by receiving a response out of you (i.e., they are getting what they want). This is not the case of every child and even every behavior shown by one child. It is something that you should just be mindful of the next time you go to scold you child. Instead try to praise them for any appropriate behavior you see them doing them. By flooding them with constant attention it reduces their want for your attention. For more information, email us at contact@cogwheelclinic.com, or give us a call at (425)-748-700

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Sensory Savvy – Chewies

Chewies are a funny name for a great oral motor/sensory tool. Chewies are typically silicon based (FDA medicalar grade approved and BPA free), and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. They are an alternative for those who mouth toys, chew on clothing, or require significant sensory input. Chewies come in different resistances to provide the most beneficial sensory feedback.  Chewies can look as simple as a tube, or as complex as a bracelet or necklace. Your occupational therapist is best suited to assess your child’s possible need for a chewie and what kind they would benefit from the most. For more information about this great tool, feel free to contact us!

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The importance of Nutrition in Children on the Autism Spectrum

Nutrition is an often overlooked, but vital part in the care of Autism, as many children with autism tend to demonstrate increased digestive issues,  food sensitivities, and an  imbalance in gut flora.  While many foods can worsen  autistic symptoms, research indicates that the most common symptom-increasing foods are:

-Dairy Products
– Citrus Fruits
– Peanuts
– Tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers.
– Preservatives, colors, food additives, insecticides, pesticides and heavy metals

These foods can cause intestinal cramping and severe pain, which can often stop even the most motivated child from being successful at more traditional therapies such as ABA. In addition to taking out offending foods, there are many digestive aids that can help children who suffer from digestive issues.  Ginger and Pepper have long been know to help digestive issues and to promote absorption of nutrients.

Children on the Autism Spectrum often suffer from many food sensitivities due to weakened digestive systems, which then causes improper digestion of food and malabsorption of essential nutrients.  If food is not properly digested, partially digested food can move into the bloodstream, causing an autoimmune attack and a response similar to an allergic reaction.  One of the children in our clinic used to have stomach pain and severe sinus congestion coming out of his nose as if he had a horrible long-standing cold or virus. The nutritionists suggested trying a gluten-free diet, and his sinus and stomach problems disappeared.  The family tried going back on gluten several times, but the difference in this child’s health and behavior was so stark that he has been on a  gluten-free diet ever since.  No longer in pain and fighting through congestion, he has had much more success in working on emotional and impulse control.

One of our favorite recommendations for Autism nutrition is the use of Probiotics, it makes a huge difference in so many kids! Join us next week on the blog for a discussion of Probiotics, and how they work.

Curious about what may work for your child?  Come and meet with out nutritionists Haleh Olsen for a free introductory session!  We are offering several open house sessions where you can meet with our in-house nutritionist to ask questions about neurodevelopment nutrition and how it can change your child’s functioning.  Sign up for a free 15 minute slot for a private one-on-one session!

  • Thursday July 9th
  • Monday July 13th
  • Wednesday July 15th

Neurodevelopmental Nutrition Haleh Olsen



Inspired by her background in human biology and her passion for cooking, Haleh offers a refreshing connection  between gut health and  brain/mental development health using the healing power of whole foods, especially in early childhood. Known for her warmth and nutritional expertise, Haleh believes that every individual is unique and she tailors her nutritional approach to each client’s personal goals and comfort level.

Equipped with her Master’s degree in research and her involved work in nutritional counseling related to autoimmune disorders over the past several years, Haleh has the skill set  to create a stress-free and realistic plan to help families embark upon a path to a manageable diet. She believes that in order for a nutrition therapy plan to be successful, it should be suitable to the whole family.

Haleh received her Master’s of Science from Bastyr University and is a Certified Nutritionist in the State of Washington. She is bilingual and speaks both English and Farsi. When she is not working with clients, Haleh splits her time in the kitchen preparing gourmet Iranian food and fresh pastries for her family, teaching tricks to her dog, traveling the world and gathering the best recipes.



Autism times at Pacific Science Center

Here is a peek at what Exploration for All at the Pacific Science Center is like for kiddos with autism. What an incredible opportunity! ”

SEATTLE — The thing about “firsts” in your life is they stick with you. For a lifetime they can stick with you. We got to see some kids experience some “firsts: the other day at the Pacific Science Center. It’s all part of a program called “Exploration for All: Autism Early Open.”

“It’s cool these things I’ve never seen before,” said 15-year-old Carson Terrault. ”

For more on this article, click on the link: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2015/06/18/opening-doors-for-kids-with-autism/28954051/


Social Skills help

Social Skills classes

What a great blog post highlighting Autism and social skills. It ties in perfectly with our SuperFlex program that we are offering this summer!

“Often children with ASD are able to state social rules when asked, but have difficulty APPLYING the rules or explaining the reasoning behind rules.

Explanations provide children with the reasoning behind the rules; making it easier for children to know when and why to do…or not do, certain things.
Like other forms of learning, social understanding requires understanding a rule or concept, the exceptions to the rule, AND application of the rule in different settings.
Here are some examples:

Rule ——> Reasoning
No running in stores——- >You can break things or bump into people.
Use your napkin instead of your shirt to wipe your hands ——->If you wipe your hand on your shirt, it will make you look messy, and others may react in a negative way.
Think about what you say before you say it ———>It will help you predict whether the response from the other person will be positive or negative.

Extending the learning

“What if” questions can expand social understanding. For example, “Could you run…if you were at (a restaurant), (a library), (a playground), (the beach)”? Why?”

For more on this article by Ronda Whitaker, MS, click on the article link http://www.thedevelopmentalgarden.com/asd-whats-the-big-idea/


Communication help for Non-verbal Children

Cognitive writing Therapy at Cogwheel Clinic

Are you a parent of a non-verbal child looking to stimulate his or her mind this summer? Our personally tailored Cognitive Writing Therapy may be what you’re looking for!

We are SO excited about this program here at Cogwheel!  Our OT Tami has an amazing success rate at helping moderate to severely disabled children to write – which often means they learn how to communicate with their parents and others for the first time!  If your kiddo struggles to communicate, or needs to learn how to write, this is an amazing program.  Each child will get several individual sessions before they are placed in a group with peers.


Animal Therapy


At Cogwheel Clinic, we are firm believers in the power of animal companionship!

A great article form USA TodaY:

“For years, anxiety kept Zach Tucker from getting to sleep. As the Colorado Springs sixth-grader remembers, his voice shakes and he shields his eyes. Zach’s discomfort is Clyde’s cue. The chocolate Labrador springs to Zach’s side, nudging the boy with his paws. Zach’s voice calms, and he drops his hand to his devoted dog.

“That’s Clyde at work,” says Zach’s mother, Susy Tucker.

Smart, but suffering from social anxiety, Zach was 8 when doctors diagnosed him with high-functioning autism. Tucker sought animals to draw Zach out of his shell. A series of pets — a guinea pig, a rat and untrained dogs — followed, but they had little success. Then came Clyde.”  for more, jump to the article below!



Social Skills classes this summer at Cogwheel!


Social Skills and Pragmatic Language are notoriously difficult for children on the spectrum.  Our age and skill-based Social Skills groups and camps are a wonderful way to teach children these imperative skills, such as what things really are worth getting really upset about (and what things aren’t), how to engage with peers, how to read other’s social cues, and more.  The Cogwheel Clinic will be offering a “Superflex” summer program, which bases social skills in a curriculum featuring super heroes – perfect for our own superheroes at Cogwheel! These always book up fast, so call us now to book your child’s spot!