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

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Hey, 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 plenty of areas of experience proper now. And I wished to have somebody on who was actually efficient in truly serving to households discover options. And right this moment, 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 totally different skills 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 children to manage 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 teach and equip dad and mom, therapists, and educators with the instruments and data to grasp sensory integration. This can be a matter that’s positively on the rise. And the excellent news that we discover out and delve into right this moment is that there are some easy methods which might be additionally nice for our youngsters and different ways in which we are able to incorporate as dad and mom and as educators that may assist our youngsters have a very stable begin on this space and in addition assist them to combine and work via if a few of these challenges exist already. Tons and plenty of sensible data on this episode. So let’s bounce in. Rachel, welcome to the podcast.

Rachel: Hello, Katie. Thanks for having me.

Katie: I’m excited to speak with you right this moment as a result of I get plenty of questions on this matter. And I don’t have plenty of direct expertise. And it looks as if that is one thing that’s probably impacting lots of people listening and their households. So, we all know we’re gonna go in plenty of totally different, actually particular instructions, however to begin broad, stroll us via what’s sensory processing and why that is so essential.

Rachel: Oh, my goodness. Okay, sensory processing, in a nutshell, is principally when a baby is engaged on determining how you can 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 are able to’t course of these messages, if they’re getting a site visitors jam or if they’re getting misplaced, then it’s going to make day by day functioning very difficult. And even when it doesn’t make it very difficult, sensory processing challenges could make it troublesome to get via your day by day actions, simply with ease. And our objective is to have only a well-modulated baby or ourselves being well-modulated. And if now we have some sensory processing challenges, if these messages aren’t getting the place they have to be as effectively as attainable, that’s going to make your life just a little bit more durable.

Katie: So it looks as if these are positively issues which might 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 might be contributing to a rise in these?

Rachel: Yeah, so I feel it’s type of a mixture of plenty of issues occurring. , 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 understand that now we have these challenges till they’re introduced up, as a result of we are able to sometimes push them underneath the door and we are able to sometimes get via our day high-quality. However as now we have a kiddo who would possibly battle extra, you understand, not solely genetics, however I’m pondering toxins within the surroundings, and genetics, and epigenetics, and trauma is an enormous one as nicely, particularly with delivery trauma, I feel it’s type of an ideal storm with these kiddos.

And we get a kiddo that has all of those totally different, you understand… I like to speak about as their cup, their cup will get full, and all these totally different traumas and toxins, and you’ve got genetics in there. After which it’s the entire explosion after which you could have this baby with extreme challenges. So, it’s just a little little bit of the whole lot. And I do assume that we’re recognizing it just a little bit extra. And we are able to speak about this just a little bit later too, nevertheless it positively goes hand in hand with different diagnoses as nicely. It’s positively a comorbidity with different larger diagnoses. And I do assume that generally it’s misdiagnosed as probably anxiousness generally or it might go together with anxiousness, and it positively goes hand in hand with autism. Positively misdiagnosed generally as ADHD for a few of our sensory seekers. So, I feel now we have to take the entire baby into play and have a look at the entire scenario for certain.

Katie: And after we’re speaking about sensory challenges, what particularly does this appear like? I’m certain there’s a customized facet, and it’s gonna fluctuate from individual to individual, however what is perhaps among 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 in search of motion, they’re transferring continually. They search smells and touches. They wanna contact the whole lot. They’re virtually just like the bull within the china store. They could search motion and hugs extra and so they wanna crash and bounce on the whole lot. They’re going to be spinning continually. They’re going to crave totally different flavors like bitter flavors, and salty, and candy, and spicy.

After which on the other aspect, now we have kiddos who battle with… Like, they’ve too large of a response to sure sensory mediums. So that they’re going to keep away from motion, any time their head, you understand, is in a special 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 arms messy, their face messy. They’re gonna battle with physique consciousness.

So it’s a complete spectrum of various issues that we are able to see. Kiddos may be over-responsive or, you understand, they’re simply over-reactive to sure enter, however then under-responsive or in search of different enter as nicely. So it may be a complete 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 folks confused plenty 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 are able to’t run a blood check for this to determine that is precisely what you could have.” So I’d guess there’s very a lot a component of dad or mum reporting, and the dad and mom and caregivers being those to type of determine this out. Is that often what occurs because the dad and mom 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 dad and mom, we see faculties, academics as nicely, these are oftentimes the place we are going to 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. But it surely at all times appears to be the dad or mum 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 vital. However positively, faculties and academics will be capable of say, “Hey, let’s discover this stuff.” , “Your kiddo is struggling to take a seat and focus greater than the opposite kiddos” and issues like that.

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

Rachel: Yeah, so the most important factor is getting them into occupational remedy and recognizing, what’s the baby battling 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 eating regimen. , infants can truly profit from sensory diets as nicely. And I feel that’s so essential 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 surroundings.

And so, it sometimes will begin with occupational remedy. And the extra intensive remedy we are able to get for these little kiddos, the higher. However even for an older kiddo who will get recognized possibly at six or seven, and so they’re at school, and so they’re actually struggling, OT is gonna be enormous, but additionally a lot of it consists of fogeys carrying over these methods into the house college group surroundings. One or two days of remedy per week isn’t gonna make an enormous distinction. You’re positively gonna study plenty of expertise to hold over however implementing these methods in every single place is gonna make the most important distinction for these kiddos.

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

Rachel: Okay. So that is gonna sound just a little bit bizarre, however so far as a eating regimen, I wouldn’t essentially go so far as altering all the eating regimen. 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 eating regimen for consuming, the most important factor is the totally different textures of meals. So, a kiddo who would possibly search extra enter, we’re going to provide 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 youngsters get messy after 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 are able to wash our arms. But it surely provokes a lot anxiousness for these kiddos, particularly on the first like cake smash. , that’s like an enormous monument when you could have a cake smash after which you could have kiddos who gained’t get their arms 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, totally different, like, textures like I discussed, heat meals, chilly meals. These chilly meals positively wake the mouth up just a little 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 just a little bit higher for, like, interoceptive enter and, like, the place their physique is in house and, type of, grounding them just a little bit extra. So it’s type of an entire combination of issues. It’s not essentially the meals that they’re consuming, nevertheless it’s the kind of meals and all of the sensory properties of the meals.

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

Rachel: Completely.

Katie: Yeah, the feel element is new. I don’t assume that’s a factor… I positively haven’t considered, as a dad or mum, of like, “Oh, I ought to give quite a lot 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 alteration over time, particularly with intervention? In different phrases, can youngsters develop out of it or at the very least study to handle it nicely? And a few follow-up to that, however can children develop out of it?

Rachel: Yeah. So the objective is to show the kid… I at all times say that the objective is to show the kid to develop into it as greatest they will. We wanna train them to acknowledge their surroundings, we wanna train them that there are modifications that may be made, we wanna train them how you can 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 train them the issues that they should do as a way to get via their life as simple and as pleasant as attainable. That’s type of the fantastic thing about occupational remedy is, you understand, residing your greatest 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 greatest they will.

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

Rachel: Oh, that’s my favourite half. As a result of for me, I’ve discovered a lot about my sensory system and what number of challenges I’ve. And sure, it could make issues just a little bit more difficult 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 infant 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 via that with out, like, “having a meltdown.” Proper? In order that’s the objective is that if we are able to understand now we have these triggers, now we have these sensory challenges, we are able to 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 arduous for us.

I don’t advocate avoiding these sensory challenges altogether. I at all times say if we are able to, you understand, apply them extra and have extra publicity and extra expertise, then it would get simpler. It’s not the case for everyone. But when we utterly keep away from this enter that’s arduous 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 totally 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 essential, in addition to diet. It really works from the within out and it helps your mind have extra of a constructive adaptive response to the sensory enter, in addition to emotional communication and all of these underlying expertise.

Katie: That makes full sense. And whenever you talked about the auditory factor, I feel I’d in all probability have misophonia and be recognized with chewing and sure sounds. And that positively received 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 plenty of vestibular challenges. So I struggled with movement illness rather a lot as an grownup, as a baby. After I received pregnant, after I had my kiddo, I can trip 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 via that wild change, your sensory system modifications as nicely. And such as you stated, you battle with going the wrong way up and motion, however I’m certain there are different issues that you simply’ve seen as nicely, possibly with the misophonia, if it’s gotten worse or if it’s gotten any higher, for those who’ve simply been capable of acknowledge it extra. But it surely positively modifications after your physique goes via all of that trauma.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And from what I’ve heard from previous podcast company, it looks as if there’s very very like a vestibular connection. And I feel you touched on this just a little 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 house. 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 arise straight so I don’t fall over. And if now we have challenges with that, plenty of instances 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 on the whole, steadiness challenges.

Our visible system, our auditory system is linked due to these vestibular receptors which might be in our inside ears. We’re gonna see challenges with visual-vestibular integration, which is having the ability to observe your eyes and observe possibly a ball coming in the direction of you. Otherwise you’re sitting in a automobile and also you’re watching the vehicles 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 in search of that vestibular enter and so they need extra enter as a way to really feel regular. So that they’re going to do somersaults, they’re going to spin, they’re going to run and bounce. And people are the kiddos who oftentimes are labeled because the unhealthy children 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 capable of sit and focus and have a dialog. And people children can’t try this with out that added enter. After which now we have the kiddos on the opposite aspect who’re avoiding vestibular enter and so they’re uncomfortable when their ft 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 now we have to have the ability to acknowledge that and never push them, and that’s gonna trigger much more challenges. But it surely’s all kinds. And that vestibular system causes so many challenges in plenty of other ways.

Katie: And whenever you’re speaking about this stuff that, you understand, children liking to somersault and run and climb, like, to me, as a mother, I’m like these needs to be the, you understand, pure actions that youngsters need to do. And so, I’m curious, is there an optimum facet of this? Like, is there an opportunity that in fashionable society, children are additionally not getting sufficient of these inputs that they only naturally needs 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 youngsters 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 stated, 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. , we didn’t have that. After I was child, whenever 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 children develop up, they’re exterior 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 exterior.

And these days, there’s so many extra screens. I don’t hate, simply screens they trigger plenty of these challenges for these kiddos. They’re sedentary, and so they’re not exterior climbing. And oldsters even as of late 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 as of late we’re like, “Oh, no, watch out. Don’t get harm.”

However that’s so essential for these kiddos to study and to fall down and to get again up and understand, “Effectively, shoot that actually harm. I’m in all probability gonna should do one thing totally different or I’m gonna should apply extra so I can get stronger and be capable of try this.” So it’s positively modified. It’s positively environmental and a societal problem as of late. So to kiddos, get exterior and allow them to fall down and get harm. And I at all times say get them out of containers as typically 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 resolution for this, sadly.

Katie: That is smart. But it surely additionally does make plenty of sense that…as a result of these are issues that traditionally have occurred. Like all through historical past, children 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 modifications and the way a lot, such as you stated, children 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 children, as an illustration, being barefoot exterior as a lot as attainable, 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 assume dad and mom at all times understand, 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, for those who can get up and go exterior 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 instances out of 10 our kiddos as of late 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 simpler it would get and the higher it would get as nicely.

Katie: And every other solutions for simply organising…? I’m additionally large surroundings, like, don’t change the kid, change the surroundings. If we’re organising a superb surroundings that simply places issues of their approach to give them possibilities for this. Like, some examples in our home, now we have a gymnastics mat down our hallway to allow them to do flips down the corridor. We’ve 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 solutions for, like, whether or not or not it’s out of doors surroundings, indoor surroundings, simply methods we are able to put issues in our youngsters’ approach to assist with this?

Rachel: Oh my gosh, I might cry listening to that you’ve got all these issues in your home. That’s superb. Oh, if everybody might have these issues, it could be incredible however I understand that isn’t a objective in everybody’s family and it’s not accessible. I’m an enormous proponent of impediment programs. So utilizing sofa cushions, utilizing chairs with pillows and blankets, and organising impediment programs the place you could have a operate. So that you’re gonna put a puzzle on one aspect of the impediment course, your baby has to do a cartwheel or a somersault over the sofa cushions on the ground, they should crawl via the tunnel, they should do 10 leaping jacks, seize one piece of the puzzle, after which return via the impediment course. These are incredible.

Animal walks are nice. I at all times recommend 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 in case you have schedules and visuals as much as let these kiddos understand what’s subsequent, what’s anticipated of them, that’s actually useful. However actually, simply getting exterior, getting that pure enter, I’d say put your sensory goggles on, you could have eight totally different sensory techniques. So if we are able to acknowledge, you understand, when a kiddo is exterior 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 arms? They’re very heavy. Simply going exterior, 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 rising the sensory enter {that a} baby is getting all through their day is an enormous environmental change we are able to do.

Katie: Is there a sleep element with this as nicely? Like, will we see sleep challenges in folks with sensory processing struggles and/or, like, are there issues we are able to 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 virtually the, what got here first, the rooster or the egg? Is the kiddos battling 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 baby’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. , sometimes, we are able to’t… We’re carrying garments and our physique, and our mind, they don’t understand that we’re carrying 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 approach round? It’s arduous to say. However I’d 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 surroundings like we talked about earlier than. That’s gonna be actually useful for these kiddos, simply to organize their nervous system to sleep.

And for kiddos who battle with sounds, possibly placing a noise machine within the background. There’s plenty of totally different modifications you could make. Classical music, the listening program is a good one to include as nicely to assist sleep and to assist prep for sleep, and to make sleep just a little bit simpler. But when a kiddo is struggling to sleep at evening 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 grasp extra with the weighted blankets. As a result of this have positively gotten actually common currently, and my children 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 assume they’ve actually, like, particular sensory issues that I’d level towards, nevertheless it does appear to enhance their sleep. And I suppose 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 after we have been lastly capable of go to him, they informed us like, “Don’t gently contact him.” Like, your intuition as a dad or mum is gonna be to softly contact him, nevertheless it’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 simply’re there, really feel the load 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 arduous for folks to course of that gentle contact. That’s why plenty of children battle with, like, simply utilizing one sheet at evening within the summertime and so they don’t have the heavy consolation round their mattress. So, these weighted blankets are incredible, not just for kiddos and individuals who battle with sensory processing challenges however for individuals who, you understand, possibly simply want just a little additional enter all through the day.

And the cool factor about weighted blankets is there’s plenty of totally different ways in which you need to use them. You’ll be able to 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 in opposition to and so they can really feel as nicely. That grounding proprioceptive enter, it’s essentially the most organizing enter 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 underneath it each evening. In order that’s why I say a compression sheet is a good various as a result of it’s like a lycra compression sheet that goes over the mattress and so they can push in opposition to it. It’s fixed deep stress. They will crawl underneath it. They will crawl out of it on their very own. So it’s an awesome various for kiddos who possibly can’t tolerate that deep stress, however they will simply get that very same proprioceptive enter in only a totally different format.

Katie: You’ve used that phrase proprioceptive now a number of instances and I feel, like, you’ve positively hinted that type of the reason of what it means. However only for anyone who’s not aware of that time period, are you able to give us, like, a tough definition of what proprioceptive means and what can 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’ve receptors in our joints and muscle tissues and tendons. And it type of helps to inform us the place our physique is in house. So sometimes, folks aren’t over-responsive to proprioceptive enter. Individuals are typically 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 house. And so, all of that deep stress, joint compressions, therapeutic massage, weighted objects, these are going to assist our physique acknowledge the place we’re in house. And so, typically these kiddos with sensory processing challenges, they may really feel like they’re floating out of their chair, they fall out of their chairs in school. So after 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 deal with a special activity.” In order that’s type of proprioceptive enter in a nutshell.

Katie: Are there issues we are able to do, even when we don’t assume our youngsters possibly have a selected problem associated to this, that simply assist…or after they’re very, very younger, to foster wholesome sensory growth and hopefully keep away from a few of these points?

Rachel: Sure, there’s so many various issues. Actually, pure motion goes to be the most important factor for these kiddos from the beginning. So getting them on the ground, tummy time, rolling, laying on their again, laying on their aspect. 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 best ways to work on that sensory enter, in addition to, like I stated, offering all kinds of sensory enter day-after-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 are able to 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 could startle, they could have just a little little bit of an overreaction. We flip it off. We speak them via it. Flip it on once more. So, if we prep these kiddos for this novel sensory enter, if we are able to get them via this enter as infants and younger youngsters, the probability of them having a problem processing it afterward, it goes down just a little bit. But it surely’s a neurological situation so we are able to’t keep away from the whole lot simply by implementing extra as a child. However we are able to positively assist them modulate the enter just a little bit higher, the extra that we’re offering them.

Katie: Gotcha. And that goes again to among the issues we talked about too about organising their surroundings in order that it’s only a pure a part of their day. And I’d guess, additionally, like, even with early feeding, just like the textures of meals, and letting them… I don’t know if this straight applies to sensory points however I’m an enormous fan of after 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 deliver it to his mouth. If he misses, that’s high-quality. He’s gonna study the following 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 arms 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 plenty 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 are able to 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 toddler, 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, totally different textures, totally different meals. So, positively a proponent of self-feeding and studying via 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 everyone having a backyard in no matter approach attainable, even when it’s a container backyard on the balcony, however letting children get within the grime. Like from the dietary aspect, there’s so many cool issues that occur after we work together with clearly a clear supply of grime. However from the bacterial aspect and the microbiome aspect to the way in which our our bodies creating iron..and there’s so many, like, dietary and sophisticated pathways there, nevertheless it appears like there’s additionally a really actual, like, vestibular and sensory integration that’s taking place after 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 essential for these kiddos to play in grime. And there’s positively plenty of analysis behind therapeutic gardening for older kiddos as nicely and adults. And I don’t sometimes give it some thought from a microbiome standpoint, however that’s enormous. And that can make an enormous distinction, particularly in that gut-brain well being for these kiddos who in all probability have already got a tough time processing that because it begins. So, that’s incredible. I like that.

Katie: Yeah, it’s increasingly more… Like, simply we’ve discovered a lot about well being and I really feel like there’s all these actually cool, like, leading edge therapies and so they can really feel so thrilling and classy. But in addition, it may be very costly and complex. And I at all times simply return to the concept that it’s so typically 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 eating regimen, of getting again to a cleaner eating regimen, however definitely additionally how children used to play, how adults used to play. And I like the subject of play, it’s truly 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 pondering for myself, like, can I prepare my vestibular system to, like, being the wrong way up once more?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I feel the extra we are able to do it, the higher. And it is going to be arduous at first. However there are a few totally 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 offended… That at all times occurs to me after I spin I get offended afterwards. But when we are able to observe that enter with proprioceptive enter, then it’s going to assist calm and floor the nervous system. So a easy approach is to simply suck the tongue to the roof of the mouth.

, for those who’re driving within the automobile and also you’re getting movement illness for those who can simply suck that tongue to the roof of your mouth, push it, give your physique some enter. There, you’ve received some actually highly effective nerves up there which might 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 totally different actions is figuring out how you can, 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 try this difficult vestibular tactile auditory exercise after which we observe with some extra proprioceptive enter, then we’re gonna have a significantly better job of processing that enter happening the highway, and our physique goes to acknowledge, “Oh, okay, I’m secure. I’m not in that struggle or flight response. I’m calm. Now I can keep on with my day.”

Katie: Okay, so that you simply talked about struggle or flight. I’m guessing then there’s additionally a sympathetic, parasympathetic facet to the sensory challenges. So if somebody’s not getting sufficient enter or an excessive amount of enter, is that retaining them in a sympathetic nervous system state at instances 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 struggle or flight state, and that type of work comes together with the primitive reflex integration as nicely. So if these folks have…folks, children, adults, if now we have these retained primitive reflexes, we may be in that struggle 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 are able to acknowledge and empathize with these kiddos who’re having these large reactions to what we’d see as, you understand, not an enormous deal, if we are able to acknowledge, “Hey, they is perhaps in that struggle or flight state proper now, let’s present some extra enter to get them grounded to allow them to get out of that struggle 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 struggle or flight state.

However the final objective is to get them out and to get them processing it. So if we are able to work on reflex integration, I do know we didn’t contact on it a ton, nevertheless it’s an enormous a part of sensory processing challenges. If we are able to get these reflexes to go away to allow them to have these larger mind stage features, their mind to be just a little bit extra mature, then they’re going to have the ability to get out of that struggle or flight and so they’re gonna be capable of have a extra adaptive response to totally different enter.

Katie: Let’s go just a little deeper on that than the reflex integration. What does that appear like at totally different developmental phases and/and even for older children and adults possibly?

Rachel: Sure. So when you could have a primitive reflex, you could have a reflex that you simply’re born with, they begin in utero and so they’re presupposed to go away. They usually don’t go away for no matter cause. There’s plenty of totally different explanation why. It could possibly be delivery trauma, it could possibly be the way in which that you simply’re born, it could possibly be toxins, it could possibly be genetics. It could possibly be only a ton of various components. However for those who 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? Should you’re not capable of 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.

Should you’re not going via these patterns, then probably your primitive reflexes aren’t going to get built-in in that ordinary approach. And so, as now we have these retained reflexes, it’s going to trigger plenty of totally different studying motor challenges as nicely. So, I at all times say you will get misdiagnosed with issues like anxiousness since you’re going to be in that struggle or flight state in case you have a routine motor reflex, that startle reflex, proper? You’re going to possibly have some studying difficulties. When folks have a retained ATNR, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, you’re gonna battle with studying and writing, and having the ability to establish 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 infant out of the vaginal delivery when they’re giving delivery. C-section infants generally, that reflex doesn’t get built-in as a result of they aren’t capable of naturally undergo that motion. And if we stroke the aspect of the toddler’s physique, it’s going to elicit urination. So, if we’re tossing and handing over 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 assume to rule out reflexes for these older kiddos. You assume that they’re, you understand, simply not capable of do it and there’s a special cause why however I’d say discover that why.

So these reflexes trigger plenty of underlying challenges that possibly we wouldn’t essentially have a look at nevertheless it’s positively ranging from the roots after which constructing on these roots, getting these reflexes to go away, so these larger mind features 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 previously, that’s such a easy one. And good to have in your pocket. Are there every other little fast, like, proprioceptive resets like that or issues that folks can attempt, particularly if children 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 suggestions like that, that may assist?

Rachel: A pair little suggestions, 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 plenty of proprioceptive enter to the gums, the jaw, in addition to issues like chair push-ups. So for those who’re within the automobile, for those who’re in school, simply pushing your physique up in your chair, as a chair push up, pushing your arms collectively within the center, pushing in opposition to one other particular person, making an attempt to have just a little competitors, pushing your arms in opposition to an individual is a good one. I do love simply deep respiratory, simply smelling the roses and blowing out the candles. It’s so easy, nevertheless it positively is a incredible reset button.

Katie: I adore it.

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So for anyone listening who possibly is… I do know, there’s plenty of consciousness about this. I hear from plenty of dad and mom who already acknowledge sensory challenges of their youngsters. And I feel we’ve given some good beginning factors for folks 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 superb pathway you possibly can advocate for them to begin to determine, what are gonna be the inputs and outputs within the means of that? Are there good sources accessible for this?

Rachel: Sure, plenty of good sources. Considered one of our favorites is the SPD STAR Institute. In order that’s an awesome web site. They do remedy. They provide plenty of consults. That’s an awesome 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 received that podcast which we simply share tangible suggestions and tips. And so we break it down so it’s simple to grasp. That’s the most important factor for us, is to make it simple to grasp for folks. Harkla can be an awesome useful resource as nicely. They’ve received tons and tons of weblog posts and now we have digital programs there as nicely. Should you wanna dive deep into primitive reflexes, sensory diets, that’s an awesome useful resource. And even simply looking Google Scholar. I actually say, like, as a substitute of simply looking Google for data, you simply go one step additional and simply seek for some analysis articles, you’re gonna discover plenty of good data there as nicely.

Katie: Superior. I’m making notes so as to add. Additionally like we received a tangible instance, from the analysis earlier than this podcast, I’ve learn that you simply 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 instance after I’m working with kiddos who battle with making an attempt new meals. As a result of we at all times say, for those who attempt the meals 20 instances, you’re gonna have a greater thought for those who truly prefer it or for those who 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 aspect and pull them off.” It’s like okay, I’m gonna attempt them 20 instances, other ways. I like them. Now I truly will purchase them by myself. They’ve received nice ones at Costco which might be incredible. 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. Perhaps they’ve a choosy eater, however they’ll go at it collectively and say, “Let’s do this meals 20 instances. We’ll hold observe after which we are able to establish if we truly prefer it or if we don’t.” And both approach is ok. You will 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 dad and mom…the choosy consuming factor is type of an enormous matter amongst dad and mom. However I hear that from adults as nicely. So yeah, I feel that’s an awesome non-pressuring perspective and a simple approach to get children to hopefully combine. And with my children, 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, retaining it constructive, but additionally not having the constructive stress. , “Yay, you ate it. Good job. How was it?” , 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 children aren’t going to have the ability to course of the meals of their mouth if they will’t course of it on their arms and on their pores and skin, as a result of now we 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 approach. 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 simply talked about, you understand, don’t reward them for making an attempt the meals. And I’m wondering if there’s a mindset, from the dad or mum aspect, a mindset element to navigating sensory points as nicely. As a result of I’ve talked lots about simply, on the whole, parenting mindsets with children and never praising innate skills or issues that they’re not capable of change, however praising effort or praising the factor that they’ve management over. I’m guessing that would even be truly much more essential whenever you’re speaking a couple of baby who’s already struggling via inputs and outputs and has extra issues to navigate. However are there mindset parts of this which might be useful for fogeys to simply perceive and hold high of thoughts after they’re interacting with a baby who has sensory points?

Rache: I at all times assume 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 an alternative of creating it an enormous deal that they went down the slide, if we are able to 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, regardless 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 are able to… , that is type of on the other aspect of the spectrum, whereas… Once we have been rising up as children, we have been compelled to complete the meals on our plate, we have been compelled to eat the whole lot, use our manners. And plenty of us now as adults, now we have, type of, unfavourable associations with meals, and now we 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 baby 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 pressure…like, create their very own opinions concerning the meals and concerning 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 concerning the sensory parts.

Katie: Oh, and I feel that there’s crossover from that into so many features of parenting. I feel after they’re having an emotional response to something, as a substitute of making an attempt to undertaking 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, after we really feel robust feelings, we don’t have to guage that. We don’t should really feel like disappointment equals unhealthy. I’m going to really feel unhealthy now. We are able to truly 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 provide them a unfavourable affiliation or perhaps a constructive affiliation, straight 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 needs 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 a lot of books which have had a profound influence in your life, and if that’s the 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 Sensible 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 incredible 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 currently 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 hold studying. And I’m so glad I lastly received to speak about this matter. And it was an awesome dialog with you. Hopefully, gave some very sensible sources to folks. Hopefully, we inspired plenty of dad and mom to let their children play exterior barefoot and get messy with their meals and grasp 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 simply do, and with all these children and these households, and to your great coronary heart. And thanks for being right here right this moment.

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 useful sources, your time, and your vitality with us right this moment. We’re each so grateful that you simply did, and I hope that you simply’ll be a part of me once more on the following episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

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

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