Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sensory Integration Disorder is now more widely recognized and treatable

By Anthony Policastro

One of the things that I see with increasing frequency in my developmental practice is sensory integration issues. This is an area that is relatively new in its recognition, but it has been present for a long time. As the name suggests, individuals with this type of problem overreact to sensations. The most obvious is with the sense of touch. These individuals have what seems to be oversensitive skin. They react to things such as clothing tags. They do not like socks on their ankles. They might not like the feel of some types of clothing. In more extreme cases, they might not like to be held or hugged. The sense of taste is also often affected. They will like only certain food textures and avoid others. They do not like lumpy foods or smooth soft foods. The result is often a very limited diet. Some children will have only a handful of foods they are willing to eat. Other senses are also affected. They may not like loud noises. Even noises that we do not think are loud, they will find offensive. Bright lights and aromas might be offensive to them. Again, these lights and aromas might not bother others but they are hypersensitive to them. Treatment for these symptoms is available through occupational therapists. Some therapists do more of this therapy than others. Of interest is the fact that right now this diagnosis is not included in the manual of diagnoses that is published periodically. Therefore, when a physician finds a patient with it, he/she cannot really include it as a diagnosis. The new version of the manual will be coming out soon and it will include Sensory Integration Disorder. This means that it will finally become a real diagnosis. Currently, health insurance companies do not reimburse occupational therapists for treating the disorder. Since it is not included in the manual, they say it does not exist and there is no reason to pay for its treatment. That should change when the new manual comes out. In the interim, mild cases just need to be recognized. The family can adjust to the needs of the individual. That is all that is necessary. More severe cases that are somewhat disabling would benefit from treatment. The question would be if the family could pay for the treatment since the insurance company might not. In these cases the best first step is to get an occupational health evaluation to confirm the diagnosis. Once that is done, then a call to the insurance company might result in some coverage for therapy. Sensory integration is more common than most people realize. Once it becomes a formally allowable diagnosis, it will likely become even more commonly recognized.

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings Residents living in and around the Blades community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. The Blades Town Hall-Hardin Hall will host Life Line Screening on May 17. The site is located at 20 W. Fourth St. in Blades. Appointments will begin at 9 a.m. Four key points every one needs to know: 1. Stroke is the third leading cause of death ad a leading cause of permanent disability. 2. 80% of stroke victims had no apparent warning signs prior to their stroke. 3. Preventative ultrasound screenings can help you avoid a stroke. 4. Screenings are fast, noninvasive, painless, affordable and convenient. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $139. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at Pre-registration is required. Life Line Screening was established in 1993, and has since become the nation's leading provider of preventive screenings. Azar Eye Institute recognized AZAR Eye Institute (AEI), founded by Dr. Alex Azar who has practiced ophthalmology in Salisbury, Md. since 1976, has been recognized for cataract surgery excellence by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement as a "2009 Best Performer." AEI ranked in the top five-percent among 95 eye centers to voluntarily participate in the national benchmark study."We have four accomplished ophthalmologists performing up to 1,700 cataract surgeries each year in the AEI surgery center, said Dr. Alex Azar, founder and president of AZAR Eye Institute."By making a few small adjustments to our pre-op and post-op procedures last year, we saw a 37-percent increase in our efficiency rate." The AAAHC study measures efficiency based on the amount of time a cataract surgery patient spends from the time they walk in the waiting room to the time they walk out the door after the surgery is complete. AEI has streamlined its cataract services by starting surgery preparation at home. In many cases patients are able to administer the dilating eye drops before they report to the eye center for surgery.An AEI nurse also contacts each patient at home 48 hours before surgery to review their health history, answer questions or address any problems they are experiencing related to the cataracts.What historically took many eye centers an hour and a half to accomplish now only takes AEI 20-30 minutes. AZAR Eye Institute is a full-service eye care practice.For more information, visit or call 410-546-2500.

Keep horse vaccinations current The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced that mosquito control season has begun; and Delaware State Veterinarian Heather Hirst is reminding horse owners to be sure that their equines' vaccinations are up to date.Both horses and humans can contract West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Mosquito activity peaks at dusk and dawn. The diseases are potentially fatal in horses, with the most severe cases occurring in unvaccinated animals. The viruses cannot be transmitted from horses to humans or from human to human. The viruses are normally maintained in a cycle between mosquitoes and birds. Occasionally, the EEE virus is transmitted from mosquitoes to mammals, with illness and sometimes death occurring in equines and humans. For human health questions about EEE or West Nile virus, call the Delaware Division of Public Health at 888-295-5156 or 302-744-1033. For animal-related questions about EEE or West Nile, call the Delaware Dept. of Agriculture at 800-282-8685 (Delaware only) or 302-698-4500, and ask for the Poultry and Animal Health. For questions about the Mosquito Control program or mosquito biology, call DNREC at 302-739-9917. Lunch and Learn about diabetes The Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition Diabetes Prevention and Control Program will hold Lunch and Learns throughout Sussex County for individuals with diabetes and their caregivers. Participants will learn more about diabetes and how to manage the disease. The following area lunches are scheduled:
  • Clarence Street Church of God, Seaford - Thursday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. To register, contact Pastor Cannon at 629-9443 by May 14.
  • Laurel Public Library - Monday, May 3, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. To register, call 875-3184.
  • Delmar Public Library - Thursday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. To register, call 846-9894 by May 14.

Win a NASCAR pit package The Bayhealth Foundation, in conjunction with Dover Motorsports, is selling raffle tickets for a NASCAR Pit Pass Package to benefit Bayhealth Medical Center's Cancer Institute. For $10 per raffle ticket (or three tickets for $25), you'll have a chance to win the Kasey Kahne Pit Pass Package for two, which includes:
  • A guided tour of the pit and garage area before the Sunday, May 16, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway
  • A meet & greet with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
  • Two pit and garage passes to use before the May 16 event
  • Two grandstand tickets to see the race ($110 value)
Raffle tickets are available at Kent General and Milford Memorial Hospital gift shops and the Bayhealth Foundation office. The winning ticket will be drawn on May 13 at the Golf Tournament Awards Dinner. Winner will be notified by phone if not present at the event. For more information, or to pay by MasterCard or Visa, contact the Bayhealth Foundation at 744-7015 or email

Walk MS at Heritage Shores Heritage Shores in Bridgeville is home to the annual MS fundraiser, Walk MS: Twilight at Heritage Shores. This year's event steps off at the Heritage Shores clubhouse on Friday, April 30, at 6 p.m. "After the walk," promises the chapter's director of development, Holly Maddams, "we'll gather in the grand ballroom and outdoor patio, enjoy some good food and entertainment, and hand out prizes. We're giving a BPA-free water bottle to every participant who raises at least $25 and an event t-shirt to anyone who raises $100 or more." Day-of registration begins at 5 p.m., but advance registration is recommended. For more information, visit or call 655-5610.

Spring into Health Walks The Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition and the towns of Laurel, Bridgeville, Georgetown, Lewes and the city of Seaford have joined together for a fourth year to promote Sussex County's "Spring into Health Community Walk." This walk is being held simultaneously in all five towns on Saturday, April 17 at the following locations:
  • Woodbridge Athletic Complex, 14714 Woodbridge Rd., Greenwood; 8:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk
  • Seaford Athletic Complex Track, Virginia Avenue, Seaford; 8:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk
  • Laurel Senior High School, Laurel; 9:30 a.m. registration; 10 a.m. walk
  • Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown; 8:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk
  • The Villages of Five Points, 17339 North Village, Main Boulevard, Lewes; 8:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk
There is no cost for this event and it is not a fundraiser, simply an awareness campaign. Special guests will appear around the community. The first 100 children at each site will receive a free t-shirt just for participating. Each location will offer special kids activities and health screenings. The mayor from each town or their representative will be present to read a proclamation on behalf of the town council promoting April 17 as Community Health Day. For more information on the Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition, call 444-9062 or visit

5K benefits Breast Cancer Coalition The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition announces its First Annual DE-Feet Breast Cancer 5K Run/1M Walk sponsored by Tanger Outlets will take place on Sunday, May 2, at 9 a.m. The 3.1 mile course will begin and end at Applebees restaurant at Tanger Outlet Center, Rehoboth Beach. The family event is open to runners and walkers of all ages. All proceeds from Tanger's DE-Feet Breast Cancer 5K/1M will benefit the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC). On the heels of a very successful Pink Card campaign in which Tanger Outlets raised more than $90,000 for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition last October, Tanger's general manager Amy Norgate eagerly stepped up to sponsor DBCC's 5K event. Advanced registration, which is recommended, is $20/person. On-site registration is $25/person, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on race day; and the first 100 people registered receive a long-sleeve T-shirt. There's even a "Sleepwalkers" category for those who are unable to attend but want to show their support. Sleepwalkers simply register for $20, check the "Sleepwalker" category and then sleep in on Sunday. To register, visit or

Registration open for Walk MS Registration is now open for this year's Walk MS season in Delaware. Organized by the Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the goal is to raise awareness and funds for the programs and services needed by more than 1,500 Delawareans with MS and their families. Each of the five events takes place on an accessible 5K route, and plenty of support is available as well as the opportunity for lots of fun with family and friends. Two events take place in Sussex County:
  • Walk MS: Twilight at Heritage Shores steps off at Providence At Heritage Shores, One Heritage Shores Circle in Bridgeville, on Friday, April 30, at 6 p.m.
  • Walk MS: Twilight at Baywood Greens steps off at the Baywood Greens Golf Course, 32267 Clubhouse Way in Long Neck, on Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m.
Day-of registration begins one hour before the event. For more info or to register, call 655-5610 or visit Hospice plans fundraiser Delaware Hospice's Beef and Brew fundraiser will be held on Friday, April 16, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Georgetown CHEER Center. Tickets are $30 per person through Monday, April 12, and $35 per person after April 12 or at the door. Beef and sides will be catered by the Georgia House and beer sponsored by Banks Wines & Spirits and the Starboard. The evening will include raffles, a silent auction and "The Funsters." Delaware Hospice invites you to participate through sponsorships or donations. Call Peggy Dolby, 856-7717, or Mary Morgan, 800-838-9800, for tickets or sponsorship information.

Cancer support group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a free general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. Call 645-9150 for information or to register.

Man to Man support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers a Man to Man support group meeting on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Man to Man helps men cope with prostate cancer by receiving information and peer support. Man to Man is a forum for men and their support network to learn about diagnosis and treatment options through presentations, written materials and videos. Specialists share information such as side effects and how to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment. News and information about nutrition, general health, research and treatment, as well as messages from men living with prostate cancer and other Man to Man activities, are offered to assist in the recovery process. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Larry Skala (337-3678) or Grafton Adams (628-8311).

Depression Support Group There is a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call 302-465-6612.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Together, they answer questions, help calm fears, and share information about resources that are available at Nanticoke, through DBCC, and other organizations within the local community. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Bereavement support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. The group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate the group at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, second floor conference room. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.