Creating Happy Children One Step at a Time
At Connecting OT we work to support children as they develop through milestones and make gains as they progress through the start of school, transitions throughout school and also the completion of school. We work to support motor skills and motor planning, body strength and endurance, fine motor skills and writing and within all of that we are looking at the sensory processing and therefore how they are able to take on information and pace themselves throughout their day and week. As adults we know that processing can be a pretty dynamic part of life. We live in a very multi faceted world at the moment, where there are lots of stressors and external noises. As adults we subconsciously and consciously are making choices in terms of how to pace ourselves. For children they are also doing this, but not necessarily in a verbalised and clear manner as we would articulate to one another. Our children might be showing their level of processing or their level of overload through tantrums, meltdowns, physical behaviours, moodiness or even quiet and passive behaviours. Parents often question what is sensory processing and how does this help my child and through this blog we just want to take a bit of time to share some thoughts that might ring true to you and if you want to follow up with us you are always welcome.
At Connecting OT whether a child is referred for hand writing, gross motor skills or concentration, we are always considering sensory processing and how much information that child is able to process at one time. Even most intelligent children and adults for that matter, can only process a certain amount of information and stimuli at any given time, so it is no wonder that we are often faced with children that become completely overloaded and overwhelmed and therefore are entering into a fight or flight response or on the opposite end of the spectrum can’t seem to bring themselves into their day and therefore could be looked upon as a bystander. For both of these challenges it comes back to the basic elements of processing and the amount of information that we are able to process at any given time. We know that feeling as adults when we are able to complete the tasks that we need to and therefore feel like we have control over what is going on in our world and it is absolutely the same for the children we see.
At Connecting OT we are consistently looking at the comfort zone in which a child is operating and what activities they feel successful with. It is when we are able to take this facet of their learning and identify how they best learn and what the sensory processing equations are that need to be brought into the picture that we are then able to help them to gradually ease out of their comfort zone and work towards having productive learning. At Connecting OT the most important facet of our work is that we are helping children to be in the productive learning zone and not in an overload zone. As soon as they come out of the comfort zone and go straight into an overload zone we can guarantee that a fight or flight level of arousal has been activated and therefore there are no gains that can be made in that state. School life, family life, life is busy all the time. Have you ever stopped to consider what level of arousal you, your child and your family are operating in? Have you ever stopped to consider the sensory processing facets that come into this equation? If your child starts the day with a bounce on the trampoline and releases the muscles, does this equate to you spending 5 minutes on your yoga mat or going on the treadmill for a 5 km run or having a nice hot shower and a stretch? Those little bodies, like adults, also need feedback to support the switching on of that intelligent creative brain and setting up for the day ahead. If we can get this mathematical equation out in the open, we can save everyone a lot of angst and make a lot of children feel comfortable and at peace and therefore able to start their day in a productive learning zone. We challenge you to consider whether their might be something that your child is actually doing on their own accord that could be a cue or a clue for you to consider in terms of how they are pacing themselves. Are they obsessed with a security blanket that is nice and soft, do they love putting things in their mouth and chewing, are they attracted to certain types of foods, do they love to get into the couch and have a bit of a rough and tumble in the cushions, do they like to have a bit of a rough and tumble with their siblings or parents? These are all facets that do play a part in normal play and development, but also couldbe flagged amongst other behaviours in terms of a sensory system that perhaps is a little bit out of whack and would benefit from being re aligned.
Therefore we invite you to share any of your thoughts or observations that you might have and what we do best is working with the family, working as part of the team to help unlock that mathematical equation in terms of what that sensory system needs and to realign the most productive way that your child can not only learn and develop, but be happy and content and what more can a parent ask for.
Director Connecting OT