Whether you are a parent, an educator or a caregiver, you have a certain lens you see your child through. Its based on past experiences, prior knowledge and our hearts desire to see the best in our children. Every once in awhile something new comes along that challenges our thinking and challenges the way we look ourselves and our children. Today, I want to share the one thing that will change the way you look at your child (at least it did for me).
I am really pumped up about this! I can’t wait to share! First, I want to thank you for following along during this three part series on the mysteries of children’s behaviors as we prepare for the launch of our new book.
For the past week, I have been sharing about behaviors and how to take a deeper look at the meaning behind them. We have talked about the real reason your child never sits still and we even looked at what to do if we are worried about our children’s behaviors. I have gotten a lot of feedback and questions about the book and about the information I have shared. I will get to those in a bit, but I know you are here because I promised I would change the way you look at your child. I meant it, too!
Right now I would guess you are eye-rolling and thinking there is nothing new out there and why would I pull you along. I promise it’s worth it!
For those that are new here, let me tell you a little about me. I was in the classroom for 12 years and had 2 of my own children before I ever learned about what I am about to tell you about. I went through all of those years in the classroom, all of my teacher training, and through 5 years of parenting never knowing there were more than five senses. Yep…. five senses! In fact, I never even thought about those senses beyond the basic 5 senses lesson I always taught my preschool and kindergarten students. Sure, I knew that there were different ways of learning, and different hands on methods to appeal to all of these five senses but that was it. I never knew about what I am about to share!
Fast forward to my 10th year of teaching and a four year of old my own. Due to a student in my class that struggled every day to handle the ins and outs of the class and my own son at home starting to struggle in social situations, I was forced to learn about a disorder called sensory processing disorder… a very real, a very debilitating disorder that challenges the way the world’s input is received and processed.
Before you turn away thinking… my kid doesn’t have a disorder or “not everything is a disorder” I want to say… WAIT!!!!! Don’t go! You are right! What I learned in the years to come was earth shattering for me and I want to share!
The One Thing that Will Change the Way You Look at Your Child…
You see, it took a disorder for me to learn about something more basic… Sensory Processing. Sensory processing is not a disorder! Instead, it is the very natural brain function of our sensory systems… all SEVEN of them. (okay, for technical purposes there are WAY MORE than that, but I am talking about the core systems I should have known about. The ones that will change the way you look at your child!
Sensory processing will change the way you look at your child! Understanding the basic seven sensory systems will open your eyes to so many mysteries about your child. It took me years to realize this. Unfortunately, when you have a child who struggles with everyday things such as putting on shoes, getting his shirt wet, or an unquenchable desire to chew everything in sight, you are forced to learn about things at a rapid pace. As I learned more about more about the sensory systems and how they work and process information, I started to look at my other children completely differently.
No longer did I wonder why my two year old couldn’t keep her fingers out of her mouth.
No longer did I worry that my 4 year old ALWAYS tore things apart.
Now I understood why some children could NEVER sit still.
Now I understood why going to a busy and loud restaurant upset my two year old.
No longer did I frown when my 10 year old wanted to touch everything in the stores.
No longer did I cringe at the thought of tapping pencils on a desk.
I understood the why! I understood the need my children and students had! Now, if I could only go back in time and help the children that couldn’t sit at the carpet for story time without touching the kids in front of them. If I could only go back in time and react differently to the children that always pushed others children to get their attention. Ah, to have the information for those twelve year would have been so different. I obviously can’t go back in time, but I can still help!
You see, I have made it my mission to share this information. Up until now, most people know about sensory processing because they love a child who struggles or they struggle themselves. I always hear these parents say “Oh, how I wish everyone knew about sensory processing.”
Up until now the words “sensory processing” have been synonymous with a disorder. Either you have it or you don’t. Either you need to know about it or you don’t. This is simply not true! In fact, I challenge you to take your parenting and your teaching to the next level. I challenge you to learn about “sensory processing” as a brain function and relate it to your parenting and teaching. You might surprise yourself!
Don’t believe me? Take it from others who have recently learned about the power of sensory processing.
“So much of how he acts makes sense to me now. In one sense…it’s like I’m “meeting” him for the first time. I’m finally understanding who he is.” ~ Jennifer, Parent of a child with Sensory Needs
“I feel like sensory processing is piece of the puzzle that has been missing my entire career. Now I can finally put everything together to help teachers and children in the classroom.” ~ Vanessa, Teacher of 20 years and author of A Fabulous First Year and Beyond
“Through learning about sensory processing, I have had more awareness that my child is unique and can’t be parented with a magic formula. I have had to adapt my parenting approach to meet her needs.” ~ Jodi, Parenting Coach and Former Classroom Teacher.
“I learned All kids (and grown ups) have sensory needs and aversions!” ~ Devany, former Early Childhood Teacher and Current Homeschooling Mom of Two
You can learn about sensory processing, too! You can change the way you see your child and affect the way you react and respond to their behaviors. In fact, you might be surprised and learn how to describe a struggle your child has been having but you just couldn’t put your finger on it. For me, this meant learning that my child has “sensory processing disorder”, however one struggle doesn’t mean that your child has a disorder. They might just need support and help in a way you never knew how to provide it before.
One parent recently told me…
My 3 year old gets hurt on a daily basis – beyond what a normal child would. Anyways – I now know what tell the doctor my concerns are because when you say has trouble with being aware of his body they just say he’s clumsy or a boy….this sort of reassured that I am not crazy and he does need help beyond what I can give him. ~ Jennifer, Kindergarten Teacher and Mother of a Three Year Old
Where can you learn more about Sensory Processing?
In our book, Sensory Processing 101, we take a look at all of the sensory systems from the perspective of pediatric therapists and from me (a parent and educator). We dig into what healthy sensory systems look like and what it looks like when a child is hyper or hypo responsive to certain input.
We didn’t want to stop there! In fact, we wanted to give you tangible, simple activities you could do today with your child to support their sensory systems.
If that wasn’t enough, we have included over 20 printable pages you can use to describe sensory processing to others! We want the world to know about sensory processing and how it affects the way we see the world! Can you help us spread the word?
Click below to download the first chapter of the book, plus an entire sensory processing starter e-book, including a short quiz to find out your sensory preferences, 52 activities for busy kids, and information about each of the ways our bodies respond to our environment.