Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:59

The Role of the Emotional Brain

Published in Jan as Producer
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:27

US Trip November 2010

US Trip November 2010

During my November trip I visited New York, Maryland and Wisconsin. During this (and earlier) trips I assessed many children, often during live assessments. This was very informative, not only for the parents/educaters, (para)medical staff and teachers, but also for me.

Please read first this full article including the general impression at the end, on which I would like to discuss with you in our forum.

New York

I started my trip in New York at the St Francis de Sales school for Deaf children. This school has a self-contained classroom with 4 deaf blind children. Some of the children I knew from a previous visit.  I was asked to pay special attention in my assessment to the challenging behaviours of some of  the students. In my approach I tried not to respond negatively when the child tried to hurt me. Aggression towards an adult is often caused by the feeling in the child of being threatened. By staying quiet and responsive often this feeling can be changed.

Published in Jan's blog
Friday, 24 December 2010 10:13

US trip October 2010

During the month of October 2010 I have presented seminars at four different places in the USA.

I started at my Alma Mater, Perkins School for the Blind, In Watertown, Mass. The second seminar took place in Jackson, Mississippi. This was followed by a two day seminar in Lubbock, Texas Tech and finally I was the guest speaker for DBmat, the Texas organization of parents of children with multiple disabilities.

I started my trip with a webcast at Perkins School for the Blind. The interviewer was well prepared for the session and addressed mainly the subjects I dealt with in my latest DVD on the Limbic system (see webshop: Let's talk Limbic).

The web cast can be viewed shortly at the special page at Perkins web site:

Published in Jan's blog
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 18:24

Charge Syndrome

CHARGE Syndrome is a major cause of deafblindness, characterized by many typical symptoms. The name CHARGE is an acronym for the six characteristics that are often present. These are:

  • Coloboma (key hole type opening in iris and retina)
  • Heart defect
  • Atresia of the choanae (blockage of the passages between the nasal cavity and the naso-pharynx)
  • Retarded growth and/or development
  • Genital hypoplasia
  • Ear anomalies/deafness
Published in Jan as Researcher
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 09:43

Parent Training

After Children’s House staff had been successfully trained, the project continued. A training course was designed for parents who had a child with problem behaviours at home. These behaviours were:

  • noncompliance
  • obsessive behaviour (such as wanting to have a bath during the day)
  • self abusive behaviour
  • aggression (such as frequently hitting a little sister)
Published in Jan as Researcher
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 09:38

Staff Training

Many children with deafblindness have "challenging" behaviours. At Children’s House, some of the deafblind children persistently engaged in:

  • biting or scratching their own bodies
  • tearing clothes
  • destroying objects
  • acting aggressively toward other children and adults
  • screaming for prolonged periods of time
  • behaving “noncompliantly” (e.g. refusing to get out of bed or leave their room when asked)
Published in Jan as Researcher
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 08:53

Challenging Behaviours

The Dutch Ministry of Education was approached by the Director of Children’s House in Sergiev Posad, the Russian Federation, who requested assistance with the behaviour problems of some of their students. I was invited to Children’s House as a consultant, to teach staff how to address problem behaviours. I visited Children’s House regularly from 2000 to 2008.

Intervention strategies designed to extinguish students’ inappropriate behaviours were developed with my Russian colleagues (Part A of the Project). Staff training and treatment of the children continued for six years. In the Project’s two final years, the strategies developed during Part A were adapted for parent training (Part B of the Project).

Published in Jan as Researcher
Friday, 02 April 2010 14:32

Congenital Rubella Syndrome 1

A little bit of history.

My first research project was on deaf and deafblind children who were born with multiple disabilities because their mothers had been infected by the rubella virus during pregnancy. At the time I started my research, I had over ten years experience teaching children who were deafblind due to Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). As a graduate student in special education and clinical psychiatry, I was intrigued by the peculiar behaviour of these children, and their strange ways of learning.

Heather Hewitt, Director of Monnington, an organisation in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia), invited me to cooperate with her team in a research project on "rubella children." The rubella epidemics of the 1960s had left Australia with many victims. I worked with the psychological staff of Monnington to collect data on 81 children, with a mean age of 65.7 months, who were deaf and deafblind due to rubella. Of these 81 children, 63 were "deaf only." 18 had additional visual impairments because of bilateral cataracts. This was the deafblind group.

Published in Jan as Researcher