In this video, Miriam Manela talks about Andy, a client who couldn’t sit still and also had problems expressing himself, especially when he was feeling strong emotions. Miriam discusses the improvements his teachers, parents, and even his siblings have seen since he’s been engaging in creative and helpful techniques based on the Thrive OT integrative approach.
Later this week, I’m going to post an article with a list of important links to helpful sites and creative ideas for kids who can’t sit still.
It seems everyone’s interested in learning about all things sensory, and I’m so glad. Sensory integration is an area that is often misunderstood, yet vital to understanding the causes of children’s difficulties at home, in school, or with friends.
Danny is a sweet fourth grade boy who loves to play sports –especially contact sports like tackle football.
(I can’t imagine choosing to play a game where I’d willingly be tackled.)
But, although Danny enjoyed the crude
physical crashes of his chosen sport, he didn’t allow either of his parents to come close enough to touch him. Even though he was comfortable dressing and undressing in front of his parents, touch was just out of the question.
Danny’s parents were warm, loving, and supportive. They didn’t want to cause Danny discomfort but they were concerned about his seeming extreme sensitivity to fine touch. Danny’s parents understood how important healthy touch is to physical, emotional, and mental development, and they wanted to help him learn to be comfortable with touch so that he could access the positive developmental benefits.
Together, Danny’s parents and I decided to tackle this problem, starting in Danny’s sleep. We followed a structured procedure that you can apply to your own child to help him or her develop a tolerance for fine touch.
The Touch Tolerance Progression
Start with the limb that’s least sensitive to touch. Hold by cupping your hands around the limb, and apply rounded, loving squeeze pressurewith your palms (not fingers!) for 7-10 seconds. Do this in at least 3 places on every limb while the child is sleeping.
Begin changing the massage regimen little by little, and adding more types of massage while your child is sleeping.
The first two steps typically take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. When you feel that your child is ready, it’s time to progress by following the same regimen during the day, when your child is awake and relaxed. Continue carrying out these massages for a good few weeks, or months.
When your child can tolerate the limb massages, you proceed by brushing different materials along his or her arms, legs, back, belly, chin area, or the areas he or she will tolerate. Try using fur, silk, a soft washcloth or bath gloves, or a soft brush.
You can also use different types of dish washing materials including sponges, and different types of paintbrushes from your local hardware store painting aisle. Be careful not to brush against body hairs as this sensation can be uncomfortable.
Sensory Integration (SI) describes the brain’s ability to absorb information from our senses, organize it, and respond appropriately. In essence, it is the organization of the senses that provide each of us with an understanding of ourselves and the world.
When our sensory integration is functioning well, our perceptions of taste, touch, smell, sound, sight, balance, motion, and bodily awareness are simultaneously combined and organized by our brains to give us a clear “picture.” This complex process typically takes place on an automatic level, meaning that usually we don’t need to think about it.