457: Rachel Harrington on Understanding and Navigating Sensory Processing Challenges in Our Youngsters


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Hi there, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. It’s my new private care line, Wellnesse with an E on the tip. This episode is all about sensory processing. I hear lots about this from you guys. It’s clearly one thing being talked about rather more throughout a number of areas of experience proper now. And I wished to have somebody on who was actually efficient in really serving to households discover options. And at present, that’s what we go deep on. I’m right here with Rachel Harrington, who’s a pediatric licensed occupational remedy assistant who works with youngsters with completely different talents to study to really feel assured in their very own pores and skin. And she or he started her personal sensory journey by designing these little weighted vests that allowed youngsters to control their sensory wants whereas nonetheless becoming in with their associates.

And she or he’s the co-host of the “All Issues Sensory” podcast with Harkla, which goals to coach and equip mother and father, therapists, and educators with the instruments and data to know sensory integration. This can be a matter that’s positively on the rise. And the excellent news that we discover out and delve into at present is that there are some easy methods which can be additionally nice for our children and different ways in which we will incorporate as mother and father and as educators that may assist our children have a very strong begin on this space and in addition assist them to combine and work by if a few of these challenges exist already. Heaps and many sensible data on this episode. So let’s soar in. Rachel, welcome to the podcast.

Rachel: Hello, Katie. Thanks for having me.

Katie: I’m excited to talk with you at present as a result of I get a number of questions on this matter. And I don’t have a number of direct expertise. And it looks like that is one thing that’s doubtlessly impacting lots of people listening and their households. So, we all know we’re gonna go in a number of completely different, actually particular instructions, however to begin broad, stroll us by what’s sensory processing and why that is so vital.

Rachel: Oh, my goodness. Okay, sensory processing, in a nutshell, is principally when a toddler is engaged on determining easy methods to course of the world. And you’ve got your sensory system, everybody has a sensory system. And all of us should course of and modulate the enter coming in from the world in addition to internally.

Now, if we will’t course of these messages, if they’re getting a visitors jam or if they’re getting misplaced, then it’s going to make every day functioning very difficult. And even when it doesn’t make it very difficult, sensory processing challenges could make it troublesome to get by your every day actions, simply with ease. And our aim is to have only a well-modulated baby or ourselves being well-modulated. And if we now have some sensory processing challenges, if these messages aren’t getting the place they have to be as effectively as doable, that’s going to make your life somewhat bit more durable.

Katie: So it looks like these are positively issues which can be on the rise. Any thought why we’re seeing an increase? Is it extra that we’re having extra consciousness of it now or are there components which can be contributing to a rise in these?

Rachel: Yeah, so I feel it’s type of a mixture of a number of issues occurring. You realize, it’s very genetic. And so, as I’m working with kiddos, and I’m speaking with a household about these particular sensory challenges, the relations are often like, “Oh, nicely, I battle with this too.” And we often have that aha second the place, as an grownup, you understand, as a functioning grownup, we don’t essentially notice that we now have these challenges till they’re introduced up, as a result of we will usually push them beneath the door and we will usually get by our day high-quality. However as we now have a kiddo who may battle extra, you understand, not solely genetics, however I’m considering toxins within the atmosphere, and genetics, and epigenetics, and trauma is an enormous one as nicely, particularly with beginning trauma, I feel it’s type of an ideal storm with these kiddos.

And we get a kiddo that has all of those completely different, you understand… I like to speak about as their cup, their cup will get full, and all these completely different traumas and toxins, and you’ve got genetics in there. After which it’s the entire explosion after which you will have this baby with extreme challenges. So, it’s somewhat little bit of all the pieces. And I do suppose that we’re recognizing it somewhat bit extra. And we will speak about this somewhat bit later too, but it surely positively goes hand in hand with different diagnoses as nicely. It’s positively a comorbidity with different greater diagnoses. And I do suppose that generally it’s misdiagnosed as probably nervousness generally or it might associate with nervousness, and it positively goes hand in hand with autism. Undoubtedly misdiagnosed generally as ADHD for a few of our sensory seekers. So, I feel we now have to take the entire baby into play and have a look at the entire scenario for certain.

Katie: And once we’re speaking about sensory challenges, what particularly does this appear to be? I’m certain there’s a customized side, and it’s gonna differ from individual to individual, however what is likely to be a number of the issues we might see?

Rachel: Sure. So off the highest of my head, the commonest issues we see are kiddos who search enter. So possibly they’re searching for motion, they’re transferring always. They search smells and touches. They wanna contact all the pieces. They’re nearly just like the bull within the china store. They could search motion and hugs extra and so they wanna crash and soar on all the pieces. They’re going to be spinning always. They’re going to crave completely different flavors like bitter flavors, and salty, and candy, and spicy.

After which on the alternative facet, we now have kiddos who battle with… Like, they’ve too large of a response to sure sensory mediums. In order that they’re going to keep away from motion, any time their head, you understand, is in a unique place, they’re gonna get uncomfortable. As infants possibly they didn’t like being thrown within the air or possibly they have been colicky. I feel that’s an enormous one which we see. And possibly these kiddos are actually choosy eaters. They battle with tolerating new, like, flavors and new textures. Oftentimes, they’re avoidant of clothes textures. They actually dislike getting their palms messy, their face messy. They’re gonna battle with physique consciousness.

So it’s an entire spectrum of various issues that we will see. Kiddos may be over-responsive or, you understand, they’re simply over-reactive to sure enter, however then under-responsive or searching for different enter as nicely. So it may be an entire combination of issues as nicely. It’s not simply you’re over-responsive otherwise you’re under-responsive. And I feel that’s what will get individuals confused a number of the time.

Katie: And it appears like this exists very a lot on a spectrum with out, like, very clear black and white, like, “Oh, you understand, we will’t run a blood check for this to determine that is precisely what you will have.” So I might guess there’s very a lot a component of mother or father reporting, and the mother and father and caregivers being those to type of determine this out. Is that often what occurs because the mother and father are those coming in realizing there’s an issue versus it coming from a medical analysis?

Rachel: Sure. So, sadly, it’s not acknowledged as an precise analysis, a standalone analysis by itself. However we see mother and father, we see colleges, academics as nicely, these are oftentimes the place we’ll first get like on the radar. Pediatricians generally will catch it as nicely. It’s not as widespread for pediatricians. So far as I’ve seen, there are positively exceptions for certain. Nevertheless it at all times appears to be the mother or father bringing it as much as the pediatrician, like, hey, let’s get this checked out. Let’s possibly get them into early intervention as a result of that early intervention is essential. However positively, colleges and academics will be capable of say, “Hey, let’s discover this stuff.” You realize, “Your kiddo is struggling to sit down and focus greater than the opposite kiddos” and issues like that.

Katie: What are a few of these early interventions when it’s observed {that a} baby has a few of these indicators?

Rachel: Yeah, so the largest factor is getting them into occupational remedy and recognizing, what’s the baby fighting most? How can we modify what’s occurring? How can we adapt to get an applicable adaptive response? After which engaged on simply desensitizing if they’re over-responsive to sure issues, desensitizing…simply getting them extra enter, getting them on a sensory weight loss program. You realize, infants can really profit from sensory diets as nicely. And I feel that’s so vital to acknowledge that all of us have that sensory system and all of us have to be offering our our bodies with a sensory-rich atmosphere.

And so, it usually will begin with occupational remedy. And the extra intensive remedy we will get for these little kiddos, the higher. However even for an older kiddo who will get identified possibly at six or seven, and so they’re at school, and so they’re actually struggling, OT is gonna be big, but in addition a lot of it consists of fogeys carrying over these methods into the house college group atmosphere. One or two days of remedy per week isn’t gonna make an enormous distinction. You’re positively gonna study a number of expertise to hold over however implementing these methods in all places is gonna make the largest distinction for these kiddos.

Katie: That is sensible. And also you talked about weight loss program being an element. And with my background in diet, I positively at all times, type of, default to, like, let’s handle weight loss program and way of life components too. What are a number of the issues which can be acknowledged, which can be useful in a sensory capability with regards to weight loss program?

Rachel: Okay. So that is gonna sound somewhat bit bizarre, however so far as a weight loss program, I wouldn’t essentially go so far as altering your entire weight loss program. I at all times advocate gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, diet-free, fun-free. That’s what I at all times say for these kiddos. However so far as like a sensory weight loss program for consuming, the largest factor is the completely different textures of meals. So, a kiddo who may search extra enter, we’re going to present them chewy meals, we’re gonna give them crunchy meals, one thing that has extra resistance to allow them to get extra enter, particularly for our kiddos who’re possibly oral seekers.

For our kiddos who’re struggling to course of meals of their mouth, we’re gonna do extra vibration of their mouth and extra consciousness actions. We’re gonna do extra messy play meals actions. So we’re gonna let our children get messy once they’re studying to eat as infants. We’re gonna allow them to get messy and simply share with them that it’s okay to get messy and we will wash our palms. Nevertheless it provokes a lot nervousness for these kiddos, particularly on the first like cake smash. You realize, that’s like an enormous monument when you will have a cake smash after which you will have kiddos who gained’t get their palms messy. They refuse to the touch the cake.

And that, to me, is an enormous signal that there’s one thing else occurring. However so far as diets and meals, we’re gonna give all kinds of flavors, salty, candy, spicy, bitter, completely different, like, textures like I discussed, heat meals, chilly meals. These chilly meals positively wake the mouth up somewhat bit extra. Not essentially ice cream however, like, smoothies and slushies and, like, crushed ice and issues they will get extra enter from. These heat meals are gonna be somewhat bit higher for, like, interoceptive enter and, like, the place their physique is in area and, type of, grounding them somewhat bit extra. So it’s sort of an entire combination of issues. It’s not essentially the meals that they’re consuming, but it surely’s the kind of meals and all of the sensory properties of the meals.

Katie: Bought it. So avoiding the, type of, most inflammatory meals, which can be my advice throughout the board is, like, let’s get the perfect likelihood at no irritation.

Rachel: Completely.

Katie: Yeah, the feel part is new. I don’t suppose that’s a factor… I positively haven’t considered, as a mother or father, of like, “Oh, I ought to give a wide range of textures of meals. So fascinating. So, I do know we’re speaking about this principally in a capability of youngsters, I’m curious, does this transformation over time, particularly with intervention? In different phrases, can youngsters develop out of it or a minimum of study to handle it nicely? And a few follow-up to that, however can youngsters develop out of it?

Rachel: Yeah. So the aim is to show the kid… I at all times say that the aim is to show the kid to develop into it as finest they will. We wanna educate them to acknowledge their atmosphere, we wanna educate them that there are modifications that may be made, we wanna educate them easy methods to correctly modulate their very own sensory system. They usually’re not essentially gonna develop out of it, however we’re gonna assist them develop into it. And we’re gonna educate them the issues that they should do as a way to get by their life as straightforward and as satisfying as doable. That’s type of the fantastic thing about occupational remedy is, you understand, residing your finest life. And so, with sensory processing challenges, we’re not gonna develop out of it however we’re going to do our greatest to assist everybody study to develop into it as finest they will.

Katie: What about for adults? Since you talked about if you work with households or QVC households after which the adults notice they’ve a few of these issues as nicely, that they most likely by no means addressed? So what occurs when an grownup begins realizing that they’ve obtained possibly some sensory issues?

Rachel: Oh, that’s my favourite half. As a result of for me, I’ve realized a lot about my sensory system and what number of challenges I’ve. And sure, it will possibly make issues somewhat bit tougher however I do know what’s a set off for me, I do know that I’m gonna get actually mad if the TV is on, if the child is crying, if somebody’s making an attempt to have a dialog with me. So I understand how to course of that enter. And I do know what to do as a way to efficiently get by that with out, like, “having a meltdown.” Proper? In order that’s the aim is that if we will notice we now have these triggers, we now have these sensory challenges, we will be capable of keep away from meltdowns. We are able to keep away from anger, aggression, emotional outbursts, by figuring out what our triggers are and what’s onerous for us.

I don’t advocate avoiding these sensory challenges altogether. I at all times say if we will, you understand, follow them extra and have extra publicity and extra expertise, then it would get simpler. It’s not the case for everyone. But when we fully keep away from this enter that’s onerous for us, we’re by no means going to get higher at processing it. So for adults, I say, study as a lot as you possibly can. There are many sensory checklists on the market that you are able to do and you may, type of, get an thought of the place you’re over-responsive, the place you’re under-responsive. After which you can begin implementing completely different methods to make a distinction.

So, for me, auditory is an enormous one which I battle with. And it’s positively gotten worse after being pregnant, which is loopy. However I do that program referred to as the listening program, it’s by Superior Mind Applied sciences. And it really works from the within out. And I feel that’s actually vital, in addition to diet. It really works from the within out and it helps your mind have extra of a optimistic adaptive response to the sensory enter, in addition to emotional communication and all of these underlying expertise.

Katie: That makes full sense. And if you talked about the auditory factor, I feel I might most likely have misophonia and be identified with chewing and sure sounds. And that positively obtained worse after being pregnant, as did some issues. Like I don’t like being the wrong way up.

Rachel: Sure. So right here’s the bizarre factor. Let me simply let you know what’s bizarre about that. So, I additionally had a number of vestibular challenges. So I struggled with movement illness rather a lot as an grownup, as a toddler. After I obtained pregnant, after I had my kiddo, I can journey within the backseat of the automobile, I can go on the curvy roads and I don’t get carsick. And I feel after your physique goes by that wild change, your sensory system adjustments as nicely. And such as you mentioned, you battle with going the wrong way up and motion, however I’m certain there are different issues that you just’ve observed as nicely, possibly with the misophonia, if it’s gotten worse or if it’s gotten any higher, if you happen to’ve simply been in a position to acknowledge it extra. Nevertheless it positively adjustments after your physique goes by all of that trauma.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And from what I’ve heard from previous podcast company, it looks like there’s very very similar to a vestibular connection. And I feel you touched on this somewhat bit. Are you able to assist me perceive what’s occurring with the vestibular system when there are challenges, after which possibly how a few of these issues are serving to change that?

Rachel: Sure, so the vestibular system helps us acknowledge the place our physique is in area. So if we get a head place change, if we’re spinning, if we’re bending all the way down to put our footwear on, if we’re wanting up over our head, that’s gonna set off our vestibular system to say, “Oh, okay, that is the place I’m. I must proper myself and be capable of steadiness and get up straight so I don’t fall over. And if we now have challenges with that, a number of occasions we’ll see, for somebody who’s over-responsive or they’re could also be having an overreaction or they’re extra delicate to vestibular enter, we’re gonna see extra challenges with motion, carsickness, movement illness all generally, steadiness challenges.

Our visible system, our auditory system is linked due to these vestibular receptors which can be in our interior ears. We’re gonna see challenges with visual-vestibular integration, which is having the ability to monitor your eyes and monitor possibly a ball coming in direction of you. Otherwise you’re sitting in a automobile and also you’re watching the automobiles go by, as you’re about to make a flip, figuring out how lengthy it’s important to make that flip earlier than the automobile comes. In order that’s extra of, like, a practical method. However for kiddos, oftentimes, we’ll see kiddos who’re searching for that vestibular enter and so they need extra enter as a way to really feel regular. In order that they’re going to do somersaults, they’re going to spin, they’re going to run and soar. And people are the kiddos who oftentimes are labeled because the dangerous youngsters at school, sadly.

I’m making an attempt to vary that. However these are the children who’re on the go and so they want that additional enter as a way to simply sit such as you and I at the moment are. We’re in a position to sit and focus and have a dialog. And people youngsters can’t do this with out that added enter. After which we now have the kiddos on the opposite facet who’re avoiding vestibular enter and so they’re uncomfortable when their toes transfer the bottom. And, you understand, in the event that they’re swinging on a swing, they’re gonna freak out when their mother or dad pushes them too excessive. And we now have to have the ability to acknowledge that and never push them, and that’s gonna trigger much more challenges. Nevertheless it’s all kinds. And that vestibular system causes so many challenges in a number of alternative ways.

Katie: And if you’re speaking about this stuff that, you understand, youngsters liking to somersault and run and climb, like, to me, as a mother, I’m like these ought to be the, you understand, pure actions that youngsters need to do. And so, I’m curious, is there an optimum side of this? Like, is there an opportunity that in fashionable society, youngsters are additionally not getting sufficient of these inputs that they only naturally ought to be getting? And so it’s not a lot that that is, like, a diagnosable drawback a lot as a societal drawback, like we’re not letting our children have entry to a large sufficient vary of vestibular inputs at a younger age?

Rachel: Sure, you hit the nail on the pinnacle. Sure, completely. So such as you mentioned, from the start, it begins with infants who’re in swings, you understand, that very same linear movement. They’re in swings, they should be rocked to sleep, they want that motion to sleep. You realize, we didn’t have that. After I was child, if you have been a child, these issues have been only a few and much between. So we needed to get enter by rolling on the ground and being held and carried and we had packs. After which as youngsters develop up, they’re outdoors climbing bushes, they’re operating, they’re on merry-go-rounds, they’re swinging, they’re climbing, they’re leaping, they’re taking part in with their associates outdoors.

And these days, there’s so many extra screens. I don’t hate, simply screens they trigger a number of these challenges for these kiddos. They’re sedentary, and so they’re not outdoors climbing. And oldsters even lately are extra hesitant to let their baby climb a tree, or, you understand, go to the park by themselves and get loopy and get wild and experiment with their physique. However a lot of the sensory processing, the pure sensory enter is gonna assist their physique study to have these applicable adaptive responses. And so if these kiddos aren’t having these…you understand, they’re not climbing up the slide and hanging off the monkey bars the wrong way up, you understand… Dad and mom lately we’re like, “Oh, no, watch out. Don’t get damage.”

However that’s so vital for these kiddos to study and to fall down and to get again up and notice, “Effectively, shoot that basically damage. I’m most likely gonna should do one thing completely different or I’m gonna should follow extra so I can get stronger and be capable of do this.” So it’s positively modified. It’s positively environmental and a societal problem lately. So to kiddos, get outdoors and allow them to fall down and get damage. And I at all times say get them out of containers as usually as you possibly can, as infants. Allow them to transfer, and play, and roll on the bottom. And ideally, we’ll see lots much less of the sensory processing challenges as they develop up. However there’s nobody answer for this, sadly.

Katie: That is sensible. Nevertheless it additionally does make a number of sense that…as a result of these are issues that traditionally have occurred. Like all through historical past, youngsters have been let loose to play much more than they’re now. And I’ve talked about that, the place we’re seeing actually dramatic adjustments and the way a lot, such as you mentioned, youngsters are on screens, how a lot they’re inside. There’s a lot extra that occurs in these vestibular inputs. I’m an enormous fan of my youngsters, as an example, being barefoot outdoors as a lot as doable, like that’s an enormous precedence in our home. And so I’m, like, very anti footwear, particularly in our home, in our neighborhood, yard, simply because they’re getting all that enter from the bottom, from interacting with the bottom. And I don’t suppose mother and father at all times notice, like, there’s a really direct connection to the mind.

Rachel. Sure. Sure. And I imply when kiddos are barefoot, when adults are barefoot, you’re getting a ton of proprioceptive enter, so that you’re studying the place your physique is. Proprioceptive enter is just like the very grounding, grounding enter, in addition to tactile enter. So I at all times say, very first thing within the morning, if you happen to can get up and go outdoors and stroll round barefoot in moist grass, it’s like consuming a cup of espresso. Like, it’s gonna wake your system up, you’re gonna be able to rock and roll. And 9 occasions out of 10 our kiddos lately are gonna be like, “Oh my gosh, what is that this? I can’t deal with it. That is so uncomfortable.” However the extra we do it, the better it would get and the higher it would get as nicely.

Katie: And some other ideas for simply establishing…? I’m additionally large atmosphere, like, don’t change the kid, change the atmosphere. If we’re establishing a very good atmosphere that simply places issues of their option to give them possibilities for this. Like, some examples in our home, we now have a gymnastics mat down our hallway to allow them to do flips down the corridor. We now have yoga swings in all their rooms and gymnastics rings in order that they will steadiness on, like these little surf trainers, issues like that. However are there any ideas for, like, whether or not or not it’s outside atmosphere, indoor atmosphere, simply methods we will put issues in our children’ means to assist with this?

Rachel: Oh my gosh, I might cry listening to that you’ve all these issues in your home. That’s wonderful. Oh, if everybody might have these issues, it could be improbable however I notice that isn’t a aim in everybody’s family and it’s not out there. I’m an enormous proponent of impediment programs. So utilizing sofa cushions, utilizing chairs with pillows and blankets, and establishing impediment programs the place you will have a perform. So that you’re gonna put a puzzle on one facet of the impediment course, your baby has to do a cartwheel or a somersault over the sofa cushions on the ground, they should crawl by the tunnel, they should do 10 leaping jacks, seize one piece of the puzzle, after which return by the impediment course. These are improbable.

Animal walks are nice. I at all times counsel doing animal walks to transition to mealtime or to bedtime. Utilizing visuals are actually useful for these kiddos as nicely. I do know it’s not essentially an environmental change however when you’ve got schedules and visuals as much as let these kiddos notice what’s subsequent, what’s anticipated of them, that’s actually useful. However actually, simply getting outdoors, getting that pure enter, I might say put your sensory goggles on, you will have eight completely different sensory techniques. So if we will acknowledge, you understand, when a kiddo is outdoors and so they’re taking part in with rocks, you understand, what enter are they getting? Are they feeling the rocks? Are they holding them of their palms? They’re very heavy. Simply going outdoors, getting that pure enter. Even indoors, arrange your impediment programs. Simply embody all kinds of sensory enter all through the day. Consider motion, consider sound, consider style. Consider contact, textures, and issues to the touch. Simply growing the sensory enter {that a} baby is getting all through their day is an enormous environmental change we will do.

Katie: Is there a sleep part with this as nicely? Like, will we see sleep challenges in individuals with sensory processing struggles and/or, like, are there issues we will do throughout sleep to assist optimize for the day forward? As a result of I do know like a lot occurs in particularly deep sleep with cerebrospinal fluid and mind well being. However how does sleep play into this?

Rachel: So it’s nearly the, what got here first, the rooster or the egg? Is the kiddos fighting sleep as a result of they’ve sensory processing challenges or are the sensory processing challenges making sleep troublesome? So, very first thing that involves thoughts, a toddler’s laying in mattress, whether or not they have garments on, whether or not they’re of their underwear, nonetheless they’re sleeping, they’ve the sheets and so they have the blankets that they should course of. You realize, usually, we will’t… We’re sporting garments and our physique, and our mind, they don’t notice that we’re sporting garments. However for a kiddo who has sensory processing challenges, they’re going to acknowledge the sheets on them. They’re going to acknowledge… Each time they flip, possibly it’ll wake them up as a result of it’s going to elicit that vestibular enter and so they’re gonna flip and get that movement, and it’s gonna wake them up out of their sleep.

So, is it what got here first? Are they having a tough time sleeping due to that sensory problem or the opposite means round? It’s onerous to say. However I might say as a lot deep stress and proprioceptive enter you possibly can have earlier than mattress, in mattress, goes to be actually regulating for the nervous system. So issues like compression sheets, weighted blankets, may be actually useful, doing animal walks, bear walks, steamroller, massages earlier than mattress, heat bubble baths, prepping that atmosphere like we talked about earlier than. That’s gonna be actually useful for these kiddos, simply to arrange their nervous system to sleep.

And for kiddos who battle with sounds, possibly placing a noise machine within the background. There’s a number of completely different modifications that you could make. Classical music, the listening program is a superb one to include as nicely to assist sleep and to assist prep for sleep, and to make sleep somewhat bit simpler. But when a kiddo is struggling to sleep at night time and so they’re not getting good high quality of sleep, then I really feel like we’re gonna have extra intense sensory challenges all through the day. So, determining sleep is an enormous a part of having a extra well-rounded baby, for certain.

Katie: And I’d love to know extra with the weighted blankets. As a result of this have positively gotten actually common these days, and my youngsters have a few them and so they actually take pleasure in it. And it does appear to enhance how lengthy they’re sleeping. I don’t suppose they’ve actually, like, particular sensory issues that I might level towards, but it surely does appear to enhance their sleep. And I assume in my head, I’ve at all times considered it type of, like… My third baby was a preemie and he was within the NICU. And once we have been lastly in a position to go to him, they informed us like, “Don’t gently contact him.” Like, your intuition as a mother or father is gonna be to softly contact him, but it surely’s an excessive amount of for his nervous system. So that you wanna like simply put a hand on him and never transfer it, however simply let him really feel that you just’re there, really feel the burden of your hand, however don’t overstimulate him. And so I’m guessing, is that type of the identical thought we’re speaking about with weighted blankets? It’s like that calm stress on the nervous system?

Rachel: Sure, completely. Sure. So these weighted blankets do present that deep proprioceptive enter. And the sunshine contact, just like the docs have been saying, may be very noxious. So it’s very onerous for individuals to course of that mild contact. That’s why a number of youngsters battle with, like, simply utilizing one sheet at night time within the summertime and so they don’t have the heavy consolation round their mattress. So, these weighted blankets are improbable, not just for kiddos and individuals who battle with sensory processing challenges however for individuals who, you understand, possibly simply want somewhat additional enter all through the day.

And the cool factor about weighted blankets is there’s a number of completely different ways in which you should utilize them. You may lay them over the physique, identical to you’ll an everyday blanket or you possibly can roll them up and put them subsequent to your self or your baby for, like, that enter that they will push towards and so they can really feel as nicely. That grounding proprioceptive enter, it’s probably the most organizing enter that you could get. And so, it’s at all times a go-to. However some kiddos battle to course of that deep, deep stress in the event that they’re rolling and so they’re transferring out from beneath it each night time. In order that’s why I say a compression sheet is a superb different as a result of it’s like a lycra compression sheet that goes over the mattress and so they can push towards it. It’s fixed deep stress. They will crawl beneath it. They will crawl out of it on their very own. So it’s a terrific different for kiddos who possibly can’t tolerate that deep stress, however they will simply get that very same proprioceptive enter in only a completely different format.

Katie: You’ve used that phrase proprioceptive now a couple of occasions and I feel, like, you’ve positively hinted that type of the reason of what it means. However only for anyone who’s not acquainted with that time period, are you able to give us, like, a tough definition of what proprioceptive means and what could be, type of, the vary of issues that would supply that type of suggestions?

Rachel: Sure, it’s my all-time favourite sense. It’s grounding. We now have receptors in our joints and muscle tissue and tendons. And it type of helps to inform us the place our physique is in area. So usually, individuals aren’t over-responsive to proprioceptive enter. Individuals are usually under-responsive, so that they want extra enter. They aren’t having these over-reactions to that deep stress enter. And it helps our physique acknowledge the place it’s in area. And so, all of that deep stress, joint compressions, therapeutic massage, weighted gadgets, these are going to assist our physique acknowledge the place we’re in area. And so, usually these kiddos with sensory processing challenges, they may really feel like they’re floating out of their chair, they fall out of their chairs at college. So once we give them extra enter, like a weighted vest, or a lap pad, one thing like that, it’s gonna assist them acknowledge, “Oh, that is the place I’m. That is how I really feel. That is the place my physique is. And let me now keep on and I can give attention to a unique activity.” In order that’s type of proprioceptive enter in a nutshell.

Katie: Are there issues we will do, even when we don’t suppose our children possibly have a particular problem associated to this, that simply assist…or once they’re very, very younger, to foster wholesome sensory improvement and hopefully keep away from a few of these points?

Rachel: Sure, there’s so many various issues. Truthfully, pure motion goes to be the largest factor for these kiddos from the beginning. So getting them on the ground, tummy time, rolling, laying on their again, laying on their facet. They’re gonna work on integrating their primitive reflexes from the beginning, on the bottom, free play, not in a container, not in, like, a bouncer or a jumper and issues like that. However that free motion is one of the simplest ways to work on that sensory enter, in addition to, like I mentioned, offering all kinds of sensory enter day by day.

If we protect our infants from the blender or the vacuum, then as they develop up, they’re gonna say, “Oh my gosh, what’s that noise? I don’t prefer it as a result of I’m not used to it.” But when we will prep them and say, “Hey, I’m gonna…” It sounds bizarre speaking to your child, however they perceive greater than we give them credit score for. But when we confirmed them, “Hey, I’m gonna flip the vacuum on,” they might startle, they might have somewhat little bit of an overreaction. We flip it off. We speak them by it. Flip it on once more. So, if we prep these kiddos for this novel sensory enter, if we will get them by this enter as infants and younger youngsters, the chance of them having a problem processing it in a while, it goes down somewhat bit. Nevertheless it’s a neurological situation so we will’t keep away from all the pieces simply by implementing extra as a child. However we will positively assist them modulate the enter somewhat bit higher, the extra that we’re offering them.

Katie: Gotcha. And that goes again to a number of the issues we talked about too about establishing their atmosphere in order that it’s only a pure a part of their day. And I might guess, additionally, like, even with early feeding, just like the textures of meals, and letting them… I don’t know if this instantly applies to sensory points however I’m an enormous fan of once they’re younger, letting them study to feed themselves, even when it’s not environment friendly at first, like, placing issues on their tray and letting them, type of, battle and never be capable of do it at first as a result of they’re getting that connection by studying.

Rachel: Sure, completely. I refuse to feed my baby from a spoon. I’ll pre-load the spoon. I’ll put the meals on the spoon and let him carry it to his mouth. If he misses, that’s high-quality. He’s gonna study the subsequent time, “Oh, that’s not the place my mouth is, that’s my cheek. And so I’m gonna hit the goal subsequent time.” In addition to finger meals. And so long as they’re getting messy and so they’re getting their palms messy, they’re exploring that texture. I at all times love to do vibration for little ones too as a result of that vibration is a number of faucet expertise proprioceptive enter, which is so useful for these kiddos to study the place their mouth is, the place their tongue is, their cheeks are till we will get that enter.

From a younger age, that’s gonna be useful. I additionally like to simply get contained in the child’s mouth. So, my infant, you understand, he was a month previous, and I begin placing my finger in his mouth and touching his gums and his cheeks and his tongue so he can acknowledge, “Oh, I’ve, you understand, different issues in my mouth that I’ve to maneuver and really feel.” And that’s actually useful for infants to prep them for feeding solids, prep them for simply having the ability to tolerate various things of their mouth, completely different textures, completely different meals. So, positively a proponent of self-feeding and studying by making errors and getting messy.

Katie: I like the thought of letting them get messy, letting them get soiled. I’m an enormous, large proponent of all people having a backyard in no matter means doable, even when it’s a container backyard on the balcony, however letting youngsters get within the dust. Like from the dietary facet, there’s so many cool issues that occur once we work together with clearly a clear supply of dust. However from the bacterial facet and the microbiome facet to the way in which our our bodies creating iron..and there’s so many, like, dietary and complicated pathways there, but it surely appears like there’s additionally a really actual, like, vestibular and sensory integration that’s taking place once we work together with the environment in methods like getting soiled. And that’s the factor that they’re studying to course of early, hopefully, proper?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I like that. And it’s, it’s so vital for these kiddos to play in dust. And there may be positively a number of analysis behind therapeutic gardening for older kiddos as nicely and adults. And I don’t usually give it some thought from a microbiome standpoint, however that’s big. And that can make an enormous distinction, particularly in that gut-brain well being for these kiddos who most likely have already got a tough time processing that because it begins. So, that’s improbable. I like that.

Katie: Yeah, it’s increasingly more… Like, simply we’ve realized a lot about well being and I really feel like there’s all these actually cool, like, innovative therapies and so they can really feel so thrilling and stylish. But in addition, it may be very costly and complex. And I at all times simply return to the concept it’s so usually subtractive not additive and that a lot of this stuff, it’s going again to how we was once. And I do know they speak about that in weight loss program, of getting again to a cleaner weight loss program, however definitely additionally how youngsters used to play, how adults used to play. And I like the subject of play, it’s really been a recurring matter on this podcast not too long ago. And also you’ve made a robust case for the sensory and vestibular causes behind unstructured play and even, like, getting the wrong way up, climbing issues. I’m curious, can this stuff nonetheless be efficient as efficient for older youngsters and or adults? Like, I’m considering for myself, like, can I practice my vestibular system to, like, being the wrong way up once more?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I feel the extra we will do it, the higher. And it is going to be onerous at first. However there are a few completely different methods, particularly with the vestibular system. So if a kiddo, possibly they’re 10 and so they’re engaged on this, and so they’re going the wrong way up, they’re hanging the wrong way up from the monkey bars, and so they’re getting actually dizzy or nauseous or indignant… That at all times occurs to me after I spin I get indignant afterwards. But when we will observe that enter with proprioceptive enter, then it’s going to assist calm and floor the nervous system. So a easy means is to simply suck the tongue to the roof of the mouth.

You realize, if you happen to’re driving within the automobile and also you’re getting movement illness if you happen to can simply suck that tongue to the roof of your mouth, push it, give your physique some enter. There, you’ve obtained some actually highly effective nerves up there which can be gonna get stimulated and that’s gonna assist, type of, override that over-reaction to the vestibular enter. So, an enormous a part of implementing these completely different actions is figuring out easy methods to, type of, floor your nervous system afterwards so that you don’t battle with, you understand, processing this enter for the remainder of the day.

I type of consider it as a sandwich too. So if we begin with proprioceptive enter, we do this difficult vestibular tactile auditory exercise after which we observe with some extra proprioceptive enter, then we’re gonna have a a lot better job of processing that enter happening the street, and our physique goes to acknowledge, “Oh, okay, I’m secure. I’m not in that combat or flight response. I’m calm. Now I can keep on with my day.”

Katie: Okay, so that you simply talked about combat or flight. I’m guessing then there’s additionally a sympathetic, parasympathetic side to the sensory challenges. So if somebody’s not getting sufficient enter or an excessive amount of enter, is that maintaining them in a sympathetic nervous system state at occasions or might it? And so, that is additionally like these proprioceptive inputs are serving to the physique regulate down again into parasympathetic?

Rachel: Sure. So these kiddos, they are often in that combat or flight state, and that type of work comes together with the primitive reflex integration as nicely. So if these individuals have…individuals, youngsters, adults, if we now have these retained primitive reflexes, we may be in that combat or flight state. We are able to, as well as, to have these sensory processing challenges… It’s all linked. And I feel if we will acknowledge and empathize with these kiddos who’re having these large reactions to what we would see as, you understand, not an enormous deal, if we will acknowledge, “Hey, they is likely to be in that combat or flight state proper now, let’s present some extra enter to get them grounded to allow them to get out of that combat or flight state,” which it’s not gonna occur in a single day. It’s gonna take some time for them to study to have these adaptive responses to get out of that combat or flight state.

However the final aim is to get them out and to get them processing it. So if we will work on reflex integration, I do know we didn’t contact on it a ton, but it surely’s an enormous a part of sensory processing challenges. If we will get these reflexes to go away to allow them to have these increased mind degree capabilities, their mind to be somewhat bit extra mature, then they’re going to have the ability to get out of that combat or flight and so they’re gonna be capable of have a extra adaptive response to completely different enter.

Katie: Let’s go somewhat deeper on that than the reflex integration. What does that appear to be at completely different developmental phases and/and even for older youngsters and adults possibly?

Rachel: Sure. So when you will have a primitive reflex, you will have a reflex that you just’re born with, they begin in utero and so they’re alleged to go away. They usually don’t go away for no matter purpose. There’s a number of completely different the reason why. It could possibly be beginning trauma, it could possibly be the way in which that you just’re born, it could possibly be toxins, it could possibly be genetics. It could possibly be only a ton of various components. However if you happen to maintain on to these reflexes, your mind isn’t going to mature because it usually and because it ought to from a organic standpoint, proper? In the event you’re not in a position to undergo these developmental milestones, these patterns, you understand, you begin in your again, your tummy and also you’re rolling, and also you’re crawling, and also you’re strolling.

In the event you’re not going by these patterns, then possible your primitive reflexes aren’t going to get built-in in that standard means. And so, as we now have these retained reflexes, it’s going to trigger a number of completely different studying motor challenges as nicely. So, I at all times say you will get misdiagnosed with issues like nervousness since you’re going to be in that combat or flight state when you’ve got a routine motor reflex, that startle reflex, proper? You’re going to possibly have some studying difficulties. When individuals have a retained ATNR, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, you’re gonna battle with studying and writing, and having the ability to determine your left versus your proper.

For a Spinal Galant Reflex, we oftentimes see bedwetting past the conventional age. And that reflex is loopy as a result of it’s the one which, type of, helps to corkscrew the child out of the vaginal beginning when they’re giving beginning. C-section infants generally, that reflex doesn’t get built-in as a result of they aren’t in a position to naturally undergo that motion. And if we stroke the facet of the toddler’s physique, it’s going to elicit urination. So, if we’re tossing and delivering mattress as an older kiddo and we’re getting that stimuli on our physique, then we’re going to moist the mattress. However I imply, we wouldn’t suppose to rule out reflexes for these older kiddos. You suppose that they’re, you understand, simply not in a position to do it and there’s a unique purpose why however I might say discover that why.

So these reflexes trigger a number of underlying challenges that possibly we wouldn’t essentially have a look at but it surely’s positively ranging from the roots after which constructing on these roots, getting these reflexes to go away, so these increased mind capabilities can take over and, type of, create these higher pathways within the mind, these extra mature responses.

Katie: I like that. And I like your tip about simply pushing your tongue on the roof of your mouth. I really feel like that’s a easy one I’ve heard from… I’ve a daughter who used to have movement illness. I’ve had movement illness up to now, that’s such a easy one. And good to have in your pocket. Are there some other little fast, like, proprioceptive resets like that or issues that oldsters can attempt, particularly if youngsters are, type of, within the midst of possibly one thing that could possibly be, like, sensory associated battle the place all these feelings are flaring…little ideas like that, that may assist?

Rachel: A pair little ideas, I do love important oil. So, smelling important oils, like peppermint, is de facto grounding. Chewing gum is an enormous one as nicely as a result of that gives a number of proprioceptive enter to the gums, the jaw, in addition to issues like chair push-ups. So if you happen to’re within the automobile, if you happen to’re at college, simply pushing your physique up in your chair, as a chair push up, pushing your palms collectively within the center, pushing towards one other individual, making an attempt to have somewhat competitors, pushing your palms towards an individual is a superb one. I do love simply deep respiratory, simply smelling the roses and blowing out the candles. It’s so easy, but it surely positively is a improbable reset button.

Katie: I adore it.

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So for anyone listening who possibly is… I do know, there’s a number of consciousness about this. I hear from a number of mother and father who already acknowledge sensory challenges of their youngsters. And I feel we’ve given some good beginning factors for individuals to, type of, go deeper from there. If somebody’s listening and possibly realizing for the primary time that they’re recognizing a few of these issues of their youngsters or possibly even in themselves, is there a very good pathway you possibly can advocate for them to begin to determine, what are gonna be the inputs and outputs within the technique of that? Are there good sources out there for this?

Rachel: Sure, a lot of good sources. One in every of our favorites is the SPD STAR Institute. In order that’s a terrific web site. They do remedy. They provide a number of consults. That’s a terrific useful resource. We even have a podcast the place we speak about all issues sensory. It’s “All Issues Sensory” by Harkla, go determine. And so we’ve obtained that podcast which we simply share tangible ideas and tips. And so we break it down so it’s straightforward to know. That’s the largest factor for us, is to make it straightforward to know for individuals. Harkla can be a terrific useful resource as nicely. They’ve obtained tons and tons of weblog posts and we now have digital programs there as nicely. In the event you wanna dive deep into primitive reflexes, sensory diets, that’s a terrific useful resource. And even simply looking out Google Scholar. I actually say, like, as a substitute of simply looking out Google for data, you simply go one step additional and simply seek for some analysis articles, you’re gonna discover a number of good data there as nicely.

Katie: Superior. I’m making notes so as to add. Additionally like we obtained a tangible instance, from the analysis earlier than this podcast, I’ve learn that you just hated pickles earlier than making an attempt a few of these therapies on your self and also you now love them. In order that…

Rachel: I do know.

Katie: Is that true?

Rachel: That’s 100% true. And I snort… I exploit it for example after I’m working with kiddos who battle with making an attempt new meals. As a result of we at all times say, if you happen to attempt the meals 20 occasions, you’re gonna have a greater thought if you happen to really prefer it or if you happen to don’t prefer it. And, you understand, if it’s not significant so that you can attempt new meals and to extend your meals repertoire, then it’s not going to work. However my husband would at all times give me such a tough time, he’d say, “I want you’ll identical to pickles so we didn’t should put pickles on the facet and pull them off.” It’s like okay, I’m gonna attempt them 20 occasions, alternative ways. I like them. Now I really will purchase them alone. They’ve obtained nice ones at Costco which can be improbable. However I feel it’s actually useful for fogeys to have this data of, you understand, recognizing not solely in themselves, they will do that with their kiddos. Possibly they’ve a choosy eater, however they’ll go at it collectively and say, “Let’s do that meals 20 occasions. We’ll preserve monitor after which we will determine if we really prefer it or if we don’t.” And both means is okay. You could have that chance to say, “Sure, I prefer it” or “No, I don’t” however let’s attempt it collectively and, type of, make it a enjoyable expertise.

Katie: That’s so nice. As a result of I positively hear from mother and father…the choosy consuming factor is type of an enormous matter amongst mother and father. However I hear that from adults as nicely. So yeah, I feel that’s a terrific non-pressuring perspective and a straightforward option to get youngsters to hopefully combine. And with my youngsters, I’m but to see a meals that they will’t, over time, study to love, particularly with that type of light method. So…

Rachel: It makes an enormous distinction. Yeah, maintaining it optimistic, but in addition not having the optimistic stress. You realize, “Yay, you ate it. Good job. How was it?” You realize, that’s stress as nicely. So, letting them exit at themselves and work together with the meals, and contact the meals, and lick the meals, and have a look at it, and simply participating with the meals and getting used to seeing it and feeling it and touching it… I at all times say youngsters aren’t going to have the ability to course of the meals of their mouth if they will’t course of it on their palms and on their pores and skin, as a result of we now have these tactile receptors in our mouth. To allow them to’t even contact the meals, then they’re not gonna be capable of eat it. There’s no means. So it begins there. It begins the very fundamentals of simply taking part in along with your meals and getting messy.

Katie: Yeah, positively. I like that a lot. And I like that you just talked about, you understand, don’t reward them for making an attempt the meals. And I ponder if there’s a mindset, from the mother or father facet, a mindset part to navigating sensory points as nicely. As a result of I’ve talked lots about simply, generally, parenting mindsets with youngsters and never praising innate abilities or issues that they’re not in a position to change, however praising effort or praising the factor that they’ve management over. I’m guessing that would even be really much more vital if you’re speaking a few baby who’s already struggling by inputs and outputs and has extra issues to navigate. However are there mindset elements of this which can be useful for fogeys to simply perceive and preserve prime of thoughts once they’re interacting with a toddler who has sensory points?

Rache: I at all times suppose that we have to empathize, to start with, empathize with these kiddos, in the event that they don’t wanna go down the slide, after which they ultimately go down the slide. As a substitute of creating it an enormous deal that they went down the slide, if we will speak about, you understand, how they felt about it and, you understand, what they did to really feel courageous sufficient to go down the slide, despite the fact that possibly they have been scared the primary time. And never forcing them to do these nonpreferred actions that, you understand, to an outsider, it’s a nonpreferred exercise however to a kiddo with sensory processing challenges, it’s an enormous deal for them to undergo these motions and check out these new meals.

So if we will… You realize, that is type of on the alternative facet of the spectrum, whereas… Once we have been rising up as youngsters, we have been compelled to complete the meals on our plate, we have been compelled to eat all the pieces, use our manners. And a number of us now as adults, we now have, type of, destructive associations with meals, and we now have these bits of trauma from feeding and consuming and all these experiences. And I feel that type of shift to parenting now of not forcing a toddler to complete their plate, you understand, not forcing them to attempt these new meals, simply to supply it. And if they fight it, nice, in the event that they don’t, don’t make an enormous deal about it. Each methods, don’t make an enormous deal about it. Simply allow them to be and allow them to drive…like, create their very own opinions in regards to the meals and in regards to the expertise. It’s not simply meals, however creating their very own ideas. So as a substitute of claiming, “Yum, it’s so good,” you say, “What do you consider that meals? How does it style? How does it really feel?” And speak in regards to the sensory elements.

Katie: Oh, and I feel that there’s crossover from that into so many points of parenting. I feel once they’re having an emotional response to something, as a substitute of making an attempt to mission on them what that emotion is, you understand, ask them how they’re feeling and attempt to not give judgment towards that emotion. Which additionally, I really feel like crosses over to grownup internally is, like, once we really feel sturdy feelings, we don’t have to evaluate that. We don’t should really feel like disappointment equals dangerous. I’m going to really feel dangerous now. We are able to really simply expertise the emotion and let it go.

And, like, giving that very same useful resource to our kids from a younger age, not making an attempt to present them a destructive affiliation or perhaps a optimistic affiliation, instantly with these issues and letting them navigate it themselves to, type of, develop that emotional response.

Effectively, you’ve talked about so many nice sources. I’ve been taking notes, and people will all be within the present notes at wellnessmama.fm for anyone listening, who desires to go deep on any of these subjects. One other query I like to ask towards the tip of interviews is that if there’s a e book or various books which have had a profound impression in your life, and in that case what they’re and why.

Rachel: Sure, okay, I’ve three that got here to thoughts. Sounds type of bizarre however popping out of faculty, the primary sensory books that I learn, have been The Out-of-Sync Little one and Elevating a Sensory Good Little one. They usually completely modified my outlook on the sensory system and simply treating these kiddos and adults with sensory processing challenges, in addition to Reflexes, Studying and Conduct by Sally Goddard. That’s one other improbable e book to, type of, dive deeper into primitive reflex integration and, type of, perceive the kid from the within out. So these three books, it’s type of nerdy, however I like them a lot. They usually’re at all times the books that I like to recommend to households who’re new at navigating the sensory world and the reflex world.

Katie: No judgment on nerdy for me. I’ve been studying physics books these days for enjoyable. However I like these, these are all new suggestions. I’ll put these hyperlinks within the present notes as nicely, so that you guys can discover these and preserve studying. And I’m so glad I lastly obtained to speak about this matter. And it was a terrific dialog with you. Hopefully, gave some very sensible sources to oldsters. Hopefully, we inspired a lot of mother and father to let their youngsters play outdoors barefoot and get messy with their meals and hold the wrong way up. And I’m excited to see the ripples of all that in all of those households. Thanks a lot for all of the work that you just do, and with all these youngsters and these households, and to your super coronary heart. And thanks for being right here at present.

Rachel: Sure, in fact. Thanks a lot for having me.

Katie: And thanks, as at all times, to you guys for listening and sharing your most beneficial sources, your time, and your vitality with us at present. We’re each so grateful that you just did, and I hope that you just’ll be a part of me once more on the subsequent episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

In the event you’re having fun with these interviews, would you please take two minutes to depart a score or overview on iTunes for me? Doing this helps extra individuals to search out the podcast, which implies much more mothers and households may gain advantage from the data. I actually admire your time, and thanks as at all times for listening.