Anger was my first clue that I was experiencing loss. I am not quick to anger. My empathy makes anger feel painful, and it’s hard to hold onto. As I saw myself fuming at two things entirely outside of my control, and one thing entirely self-inflicted, I finally allowed myself to admit it: these losses cut through my life more deeply than the acute pain I felt at the time. My life has been affected every day since. By failing to recognize this, I made it harder to grant myself the acceptance I needed to move forward.
I hope you all had a Happy Independence Day!
We spent ours having fun with local friends, and I noticed something: That community I dreamed of, where parents and kids of all ages support and include one another, accepting each other's strengths and abilities as they are? It's all around us!
Every day families, friends, and neighbors gather, express their individuality, have fun together, and help one another. Imagine if that network of people could access the skills therapists employ to challenge and build upon your child's strengths!
It's already happening:https://whole-self-in.mn.co/share/PWI7qgmd1GUkj4Z7
We think we should work on something we can see and measure in the clinic. Yet no one’s life was ever changed by being able to stack 8 blocks, or stand on one foot, or point to a picture of what he wants. Any of these might be important steps on the road to their success, or they might be distractions from something that matters more.
How can we find and focus on the thing that matters most?
It was an eventful night in parenting. Got Zack ready for bed and went outside with a sleeping bag to look at stars. While we were stargazing, a bright shooting star streaked across the sky! He was so excited, he was bouncing up and down.
We talked a bit about meteors and meteorites. I mentioned that Daddy might have a piece of meteorite, from his Grandpa. He stops. Wait - Daddy has a Grandpa?
Whoops. Know this is leading toward a Big Question, but here goes.
You know something about sensory processing, or you wouldn’t be here. You have decided this was something worth learning about, and you’re right.
I don’t want to approach this subject the way most people do. Not even the way I’ve approached it in the past. Instead, I’m going to get right to the point - why you need to understand sensory processing and how you can apply the knowledge right away.
If you’re reading this blog, it is likely that you’re raising a child. The stakes are higher now. As parents, the things you do each day not only shape the person you’re becoming, but also shape the physical and social environment a young child is growing up into.
Let’s not get hung up on those things we cannot control; there are many. We cannot control illness, injury, or genetics. We cannot go back and change past events.
I only ask that you check your assumptions.
I've heard this question asked with hope, with fear, with defiance, with resignation. With doubt.
I used to dread answering, because there is no correct answer here. You're asking about the future, which no one can predict. We have to live it to find out, and then we'll never know how things might have been if we took a different path.
Parents often hear, “They’ll walk (or talk, or eat) when they’re ready.” While this is true, and comforting, don’t let it blind you to the steps that lead up to that eventual milestone. What is your child ready to do right now?
The most successful parents I’ve known are able to hold in mind two truths that would seem to contradict one another:
Your child is a wonderful, miraculous being exactly the way he or she is right now, and
It is always possible to grow from here, therefore something you are doing right now can be improved upon.
This growth mindset is especially helpful when the “when they’re ready” logic no longer applies. No one says, “He’ll stop hitting you when he’s ready.” So what now?
You’re standing amid stacks of folded laundry, when your little one toddles up, looks you right in the eye, and pushes a stack of freshly laundered shirts to the floor.
Your five-year old is currently rolling himself across the floor. He says you’re not his friend, because you told him to go brush his teeth.
Your seven-year old loves karate class, but he leaves the mat with crossed arms whenever something doesn’t go his way. He’s missing out on practice, while the others stay engaged.
Are these sensory issues or behavior issues? If you said behavior, you’re right! If you said sensory, you’re… also right.
If you said the question is a distraction from what really matters in each of these situations, you are oh, so right.
“Are you… Normal?” she asked me, and I froze.
Standing on one foot, my fingers splayed out on either side of my head, I'd been impersonating a neuron in the visual cortex. Perhaps this wasn't a normal thing to do.
Why did I impersonate a neuron? Because even people who know about brain cells and what they do often fail to realize the implications.
Your brain is alive, and every day it builds upon whichever neurons you call into action.