What do you do when you want to think things over? In what position or environment are you when you get the best idea ever - in the shower, pacing up and down? Riding on your bike watching people go by, or enjoying the beautiful nature around you? Do you get in motion to organize your thoughts, or can you stay still sitting on a chair? And how does that affect your work habits? How do you stay active and productive?
I was waiting for my exam results, and so was the son of our neighbors. And then there was a bang. A really loud one. I could guess the outcome of his exam simply by hearing that bang.
Last week I had a chat with a friend of mine whose eldest son (8 years old) was diagnosed several years ago with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She told me about a conversation she and her husband had with a speech therapist, who explained to them that when someone asks their son a question or tells him something to do, it usually takes 7 seconds before his brain processed this information. Imagine that, 7 seconds – that’s quite a lot. In those 7 seconds many other words can be said or questions can be asked. But for this little boy it means that it is important to speak slowly and give one instruction at a time, or you will likely get little to no response, or only partial task completion.
When there is a lack of understanding, you don’t realize that he needs this time to see the whole picture. When you have to deal with this over and over again, every single day, you can become very frustrated and annoyed by the child’s seeming failure to understand, or worse, lack of desire to listen.
We’re looking forward to the 16th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence which will start tomorrow. It will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. The general program sessions will begin at 8:30am tomorrow and conclude at 5:15pm on Saturday.
Getting outside, playing, and exercising is essential for healthy child development. It goes without saying that playing outside must be encouraged in children, especially when we realize that an estimated 80 percent of young children don’t exercise enough. The impact of playing outside on the social, motor and emotional development of children and their learning ability is immense. Therefore, it is of interest to researchers to answer the question: what makes the best playground, according to children?
We’ve all been there: arriving at an airport hours before your flight leaves, wandering around to pass time before you can board. Luckily, most airports offer stores where you can buy food, books, and tax-free items, but how often is it that you’re not truly interested in shopping and just keep strolling without actually buying?
In the Netherlands we have a so called “museum card” which allows you to visit museums for free. In the last few years I visited quite a few of them together with my children. In Amsterdam we saw the ‘Nachtwacht’ in the Rijksmuseum, did science experiments at Nemo, and learned about how the sea has shaped our Dutch culture at The National Maritime Museum. We have also visited the ‘Openluchtmuseum’ (Netherlands Open Air Museum) in Arnhem several times, because this one is the closest to us. At this museum you can learn a lot about how people lived in the past, and the objects they used for cooking their meals, brewing beer, doing the laundry, and so on. Each and every time we visit this museum, my children and I discover new facts. It’s a great learning environment, but what do my children actually recall of these many museum visits?
I can hear you thinking already: ‘Another blog about food… it seems all they think and talk about at Noldus IT is having dinner!”.
And yes, indeed, research about the interactions that take place during mealtime has attracted my attention again. Not only because dinner is a daily reoccurring event, but also because food is important to our health; you are what you eat. This time, the research I am highlighting currently was carried out in adults with dementia, focusing on caregiver person-centeredness, and behavioral symptoms during mealtime interactions.
‘Mom, what's for dinner tonight?’ It’s a daily recurring question from my children. Having dinner is an important part of the day and also a way for parents or caregivers to influence a child's diet. With the observed increase in pediatric obesity in recent years, a child’s family, particularly his parents, may influence eating behavior, diet, and physical activity through their parenting and food choices. Some factors that affect eating behavior can be: what and how much food do parents serve their children? To what extent do they encourage their children to eat healthy food instead of unhealthy food? It’s important to raise awareness amongst parents of young children of the consequences of unhealthy eating habits, and teach them to create a healthy nutritional environment for their children.
When children lack information, they make up stories by adding up their own guesses. Their imagination can run wild: all elephants are pink, right? This kind of reasoning is undesirable when trying to explain a rare disorder of a sister or brother. Guesswork may result in incorrect illness explanations and might cause related miscommunication or behavioral problems. When we learn more about how siblings describe illnesses, we might be able to appropriately assist family counselors and parents.