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Good day, 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 top. This episode is all about sensory processing. I hear loads about this from you guys. It’s clearly one thing being talked about way 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 as we speak, 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 talents to study to really feel assured in their very own pores and skin. And he or she 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 buddies.

And he or she’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. It is a subject that’s positively on the rise. And the excellent news that we discover out and delve into as we speak is that there are some easy methods which are additionally nice for our youngsters and different ways in which we will incorporate as mother and father and as educators that may assist our youngsters have a very strong begin on this space and likewise assist them to combine and work by if a few of these challenges exist already. Tons and many 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 as we speak as a result of I get plenty of questions on this subject. And I don’t have plenty of direct expertise. And it looks like 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 start out broad, stroll us by what’s sensory processing and why that is so necessary.

Rachel: Oh, my goodness. Okay, sensory processing, in a nutshell, is mainly when a toddler is engaged on determining how one can course of the world. And you’ve got your sensory system, everybody has a sensory system. And all of us need to 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 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 by your day by day actions, simply with ease. And our aim is to have only a well-modulated little one or ourselves being well-modulated. And if we have now 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 a little bit bit more durable.

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

Rachel: Yeah, so I feel it’s sort of a mixture of plenty of issues happening. 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 members of the family are normally like, “Oh, effectively, I battle with this too.” And we normally have that aha second the place, as an grownup, you understand, as a functioning grownup, we don’t essentially notice that we have now these challenges till they’re introduced up, as a result of we will sometimes push them underneath the door and we will sometimes get by our day wonderful. However as we have now a kiddo who may battle extra, you understand, not solely genetics, however I’m pondering toxins within the atmosphere, and genetics, and epigenetics, and trauma is an enormous one as effectively, particularly with delivery trauma, I feel it’s sort 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’ve got this little one with extreme challenges. So, it’s a little bit little bit of all the things. And I do suppose that we’re recognizing it a little bit bit extra. And we will discuss this a little bit bit later too, however it positively goes hand in hand with different diagnoses as effectively. It’s positively a comorbidity with different larger diagnoses. And I do suppose that generally it’s misdiagnosed as presumably anxiousness generally or it might go together with anxiousness, 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 have now to take the entire little one into play and take a look at the entire scenario for certain.

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

Rachel: Sure. So off the highest of my head, the most typical issues we see are kiddos who search enter. So perhaps they’re searching for motion, they’re transferring continuously. They search smells and touches. They wanna contact all the things. They’re nearly just like the bull within the china store. They could search motion and hugs extra they usually wanna crash and bounce on all the things. They’re going to be spinning continuously. They’re going to crave totally different flavors like bitter flavors, and salty, and candy, and spicy.

After which on the other facet, we have now kiddos who battle with… Like, they’ve too massive 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 distinct place, they’re gonna get uncomfortable. As infants perhaps they didn’t like being thrown within the air or perhaps they have been colicky. I feel that’s an enormous one which we see. And perhaps 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 fingers messy, their face messy. They’re gonna battle with physique consciousness.

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

Katie: And it feels 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 take a look at for this to determine that is precisely what you’ve got.” So I might guess there’s very a lot a component of father or mother reporting, and the mother and father and caregivers being those to sort of determine this out. Is that normally what occurs because the mother and father are those coming in realizing there’s an issue versus it coming from a medical prognosis?

Rachel: Sure. So, sadly, it’s not acknowledged as an precise prognosis, a standalone prognosis by itself. However we see mother and father, we see colleges, lecturers as effectively, these are oftentimes the place we’ll first get like on the radar. Pediatricians generally will catch it as effectively. It’s not as widespread for pediatricians. So far as I’ve seen, there are positively exceptions for certain. Nevertheless it all the time appears to be the father or mother bringing it as much as the pediatrician, like, hey, let’s get this checked out. Let’s perhaps get them into early intervention as a result of that early intervention is essential. However positively, colleges and lecturers will be capable of say, “Hey, let’s discover these items.” 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 seen {that a} little one has a few of these indicators?

Rachel: Yeah, so the largest factor is getting them into occupational remedy and recognizing, what’s the little one combating most? How can we modify what’s happening? 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 truly profit from sensory diets as effectively. And I feel that’s so necessary 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 sometimes 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 recognized perhaps at six or seven, they usually’re in class, they usually’re actually struggling, OT is gonna be enormous, but in addition a lot of it consists of oldsters carrying over these methods into the house college neighborhood atmosphere. One or two days of remedy every week isn’t gonna make an enormous distinction. You’re positively gonna study plenty of expertise to hold over however implementing these methods all over the place is gonna make the largest distinction for these kiddos.

Katie: That is smart. And also you talked about weight loss program being an element. And with my background in vitamin, I positively all the time, sort of, default to, like, let’s handle weight loss program and life-style components too. What are among the issues which are acknowledged, which are useful in a sensory capability in terms of weight loss program?

Rachel: Okay. So that is gonna sound a little bit bit bizarre, however so far as a weight loss program, I wouldn’t essentially go so far as altering the complete weight loss program. I all the time suggest gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, diet-free, fun-free. That’s what I all the time say for these kiddos. However so far as like a sensory weight loss program for consuming, the largest factor is the totally different textures of meals. So, a kiddo who may search extra enter, we’re going to offer 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 perhaps 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 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 fingers. Nevertheless it provokes a lot anxiousness for these kiddos, particularly on the first like cake smash. You realize, that’s like an enormous monument when you’ve got a cake smash after which you’ve got kiddos who gained’t get their fingers messy. They refuse to the touch the cake.

And that, to me, is an enormous signal that there’s one thing else happening. 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 a little bit 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 a little bit bit higher for, like, interoceptive enter and, like, the place their physique is in area and, sort of, grounding them a little bit bit extra. So it’s variety of an entire combination of issues. It’s not essentially the meals that they’re consuming, however it’s the kind of meals and all of the sensory properties of the meals.

Katie: Received it. So avoiding the, sort of, most inflammatory meals, which can be my suggestion throughout the board is, like, let’s get the very best likelihood at no irritation.

Rachel: Completely.

Katie: Yeah, the feel element is new. I don’t suppose that’s a factor… I positively haven’t considered, as a father or mother, 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 transformation over time, particularly with intervention? In different phrases, can youngsters develop out of it or not less than study to handle it effectively? 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 all the time 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 how one can correctly modulate their very own sensory system. And so they’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 so as to get by their life as simple and as pleasant as doable. That’s sort of the great thing about occupational remedy is, you understand, dwelling 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 effectively, that they most likely by no means addressed? So what occurs when an grownup begins realizing that they’ve bought perhaps 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 possibly make issues a little bit 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 newborn is crying, if somebody’s attempting to have a dialog with me. So I understand how to course of that enter. And I do know what to do so as 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 have now these triggers, we have now these sensory challenges, we will be capable of keep away from meltdowns. We will keep away from anger, aggression, emotional outbursts, by understanding what our triggers are and what’s arduous for us.

I don’t suggest avoiding these sensory challenges altogether. I all the time 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 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’ll be able to. There are many sensory checklists on the market that you are able to do and you may, sort of, get an concept 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 known 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 necessary, in addition to vitamin. 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 recognized with chewing and sure sounds. And that positively bought worse after being pregnant, as did some issues. Like I don’t like being the other 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 toddler. After I bought pregnant, after I had my kiddo, I can experience within the backseat of the automotive, 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 modifications as effectively. And such as you stated, you battle with going the other way up and motion, however I’m certain there are different issues that you simply’ve seen as effectively, perhaps with the misophonia, if it’s gotten worse or if it’s gotten any higher, when you’ve simply been in a position to acknowledge it extra. Nevertheless it positively modifications after your physique goes by all of that trauma.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And from what I’ve heard from previous podcast friends, it looks like there’s very very like a vestibular connection. And I feel you touched on this a little bit bit. Are you able to assist me perceive what’s happening with the vestibular system when there are challenges, after which perhaps 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 sneakers 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 have to proper myself and be capable of steadiness and rise up straight so I don’t fall over. And if we have now 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 normally, steadiness challenges.

Our visible system, our auditory system is linked due to these vestibular receptors which are in our interior ears. We’re gonna see challenges with visual-vestibular integration, which is with the ability to monitor your eyes and monitor perhaps a ball coming in the direction of you. Otherwise you’re sitting in a automotive and also you’re watching the automobiles go by, as you’re about to make a flip, understanding how lengthy it’s a must to make that flip earlier than the automotive 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 they usually need extra enter so as to really feel regular. In order 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 dangerous youngsters in class, sadly.

I’m attempting to alter that. However these are the children who’re on the go they usually want that additional enter so as 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 try this with out that added enter. After which we have now the kiddos on the opposite facet who’re avoiding vestibular enter they usually’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 have now 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 plenty of other ways.

Katie: And if you’re speaking about these items 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 wish to do. And so, I’m curious, is there an optimum facet of this? Like, is there an opportunity that in trendy society, youngsters are additionally not getting sufficient of these inputs that they simply 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 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 need to be rocked to sleep, they want that motion to sleep. You realize, we didn’t have that. Once 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 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 buddies 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, they usually’re not exterior climbing. And fogeys even nowadays are extra hesitant to let their little one 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 other way up, you understand… Dad and mom nowadays we’re like, “Oh, no, watch out. Don’t get harm.”

However that’s so necessary for these kiddos to study and to fall down and to get again up and notice, “Nicely, shoot that actually harm. I’m most likely gonna need to do one thing totally different or I’m gonna need to follow 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 nowadays. So to kiddos, get exterior and allow them to fall down and get harm. And I all the time say get them out of containers as usually as you’ll be able to, as infants. Allow them to transfer, and play, and roll on the bottom. And ideally, we’ll see loads much less of the sensory processing challenges as they develop up. However there’s nobody answer for this, sadly.

Katie: That is smart. Nevertheless it additionally does make plenty of sense that…as a result of these are issues that traditionally have occurred. Like all through historical past, youngsters have been set free 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, 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, for example, being barefoot exterior as a lot as doable, like that’s an enormous precedence in our home. And so I’m, like, very anti sneakers, 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 all the time 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 all the time say, very first thing within the morning, when you 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 nowadays 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 effectively.

Katie: And some other solutions for simply establishing…? I’m additionally massive atmosphere, like, don’t change the kid, change the atmosphere. If we’re establishing a great atmosphere that simply places issues of their approach to give them probabilities for this. Like, some examples in our home, we have now 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 solutions for, like, whether or not or not it’s outside atmosphere, indoor atmosphere, simply methods we will put issues in our youngsters’ 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 superb. Oh, if everybody might have these issues, it could be implausible 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’ve got a operate. So that you’re gonna put a puzzle on one facet of the impediment course, your little one has to do a cartwheel or a somersault over the sofa cushions on the ground, they need to crawl by the tunnel, they need to do 10 leaping jacks, seize one piece of the puzzle, after which return by the impediment course. These are implausible.

Animal walks are nice. I all the time counsel doing animal walks to transition to mealtime or to bedtime. Utilizing visuals are actually useful for these kiddos as effectively. 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 truthfully, simply getting exterior, getting that pure enter, I might say put your sensory goggles on, you’ve got eight totally different sensory methods. So if we will acknowledge, you understand, when a kiddo is exterior they usually’re taking part in with rocks, you understand, what enter are they getting? Are they feeling the rocks? Are they holding them of their fingers? 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} little one is getting all through their day is an enormous environmental change we will do.

Katie: Is there a sleep element with this as effectively? 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 hen or the egg? Is the kiddos combating 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, nevertheless they’re sleeping, they’ve the sheets they usually have the blankets that they need to course of. You realize, sometimes, we will’t… We’re carrying garments and our physique, and our mind, they don’t notice 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, perhaps it’ll wake them up as a result of it’s going to elicit that vestibular enter they usually’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 arduous to say. However I might say as a lot deep stress and proprioceptive enter you’ll be able to have earlier than mattress, in mattress, goes to be actually regulating for the nervous system. So issues like compression sheets, weighted blankets, might 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, perhaps placing a noise machine within the background. There’s plenty of totally different modifications that you may make. Classical music, the listening program is a good one to include as effectively to assist sleep and to assist prep for sleep, and to make sleep a little bit bit simpler. But when a kiddo is struggling to sleep at evening they usually’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 little one, for certain.

Katie: And I’d love to know extra with the weighted blankets. As a result of this have positively gotten actually standard currently, and my youngsters have a few them they usually actually get pleasure from 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, however it does appear to enhance their sleep. And I assume in my head, I’ve all the time considered it sort of, like… My third little one 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 father or mother is gonna be to softly contact him, however 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 burden of your hand, however don’t overstimulate him. And so I’m guessing, is that sort of the identical concept 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, could be very noxious. So it’s very arduous for individuals to course of that gentle contact. That’s why plenty of youngsters battle with, like, simply utilizing one sheet at evening within the summertime they usually don’t have the heavy consolation round their mattress. So, these weighted blankets are implausible, not just for kiddos and individuals who battle with sensory processing challenges however for individuals who, you understand, perhaps simply want a little bit additional enter all through the day.

And the cool factor about weighted blankets is there’s plenty of totally different ways in which you should utilize them. You may lay them over the physique, identical to you’d a daily blanket or you’ll be able to roll them up and put them subsequent to your self or your little one for, like, that enter that they will push towards they usually can really feel as effectively. That grounding proprioceptive enter, it’s essentially the most organizing enter that you may get. And so, it’s all the time a go-to. However some kiddos battle to course of that deep, deep stress in the event that they’re rolling they usually’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 they usually can push towards it. It’s fixed deep stress. They’ll crawl underneath it. They’ll crawl out of it on their very own. So it’s an important various for kiddos who perhaps 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 couple of instances and I feel, like, you’ve positively hinted that sort 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 could be, sort of, the vary of issues that would supply that sort 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 sort of helps to inform us the place our physique is in area. So sometimes, individuals aren’t over-responsive to proprioceptive enter. Persons 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 might really feel like they’re floating out of their chair, they fall out of their chairs in school. 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 it up and I can deal with a distinct job.” In order that’s sort of proprioceptive enter in a nutshell.

Katie: Are there issues we will do, even when we don’t suppose our youngsters perhaps have a selected 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 best ways to work on that sensory enter, in addition to, like I stated, 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 a little bit little bit of an overreaction. We flip it off. We discuss 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 a little bit bit. Nevertheless it’s a neurological situation so we will’t keep away from all the things simply by implementing extra as a child. However we will positively assist them modulate the enter a little bit bit higher, the extra that we’re offering them.

Katie: Gotcha. And that goes again to among 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 immediately 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, sort 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 little one 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 wonderful. 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 they usually’re getting their fingers messy, they’re exploring that texture. I all the time 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 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 with the ability to tolerate various things of their mouth, totally different textures, totally different meals. So, positively a proponent of self-feeding and studying by making errors and getting messy.

Katie: I really like the thought of letting them get messy, letting them get soiled. I’m an enormous, massive 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 grime. Like from the dietary facet, there’s so many cool issues that occur once we work together with clearly a clear supply of grime. 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, however it feels like there’s additionally a really actual, like, vestibular and sensory integration that’s occurring 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 really like that. And it’s, it’s so necessary for these kiddos to play in grime. And there’s positively plenty of analysis behind therapeutic gardening for older kiddos as effectively and adults. And I don’t sometimes give it some thought from a microbiome standpoint, however that’s enormous. And that may 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 implausible. I really 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, innovative therapies they usually can really feel so thrilling and classy. But in addition, it may be very costly and sophisticated. And I all the time simply return to the concept that it’s so usually subtractive not additive and that a lot of these items, it’s going again to how we was. And I do know they discuss 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 really like the subject of play, it’s truly been a recurring subject on this podcast lately. And also you’ve made a robust case for the sensory and vestibular causes behind unstructured play and even, like, getting the other way up, climbing issues. I’m curious, can these items 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 other way up once more?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I feel the extra we will do it, the higher. And will probably be arduous at first. However there are a few totally different methods, particularly with the vestibular system. So if a kiddo, perhaps they’re 10 they usually’re engaged on this, they usually’re going the other way up, they’re hanging the other way up from the monkey bars, they usually’re getting actually dizzy or nauseous or indignant… That all the time occurs to me once 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, when you’re driving within the automotive and also you’re getting movement illness when you can simply suck that tongue to the roof of your mouth, push it, give your physique some enter. There, you’ve bought some actually highly effective nerves up there which are gonna get stimulated and that’s gonna assist, sort of, override that over-reaction to the vestibular enter. So, an enormous a part of implementing these totally different actions is understanding how one can, sort 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 sort 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 a lot better job of processing that enter taking place the highway, and our physique goes to acknowledge, “Oh, okay, I’m protected. I’m not in that battle or flight response. I’m calm. Now I can keep it up with my day.”

Katie: Okay, so that you simply talked about battle 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 battle or flight state, and that sort of work comes together with the primitive reflex integration as effectively. So if these individuals have…individuals, youngsters, adults, if we have now these retained primitive reflexes, we might be in that battle or flight state. We will, 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 massive reactions to what we’d see as, you understand, not an enormous deal, if we will acknowledge, “Hey, they is likely to be in that battle or flight state proper now, let’s present some extra enter to get them grounded to allow them to get out of that battle 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 battle 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, however it’s an enormous a part of sensory processing challenges. If we will get these reflexes to go away to allow them to have these greater mind degree features, their mind to be a little bit bit extra mature, then they’re going to have the ability to get out of that battle or flight they usually’re gonna be capable of have a extra adaptive response to totally different enter.

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

Rachel: Sure. So when you’ve got a primitive reflex, you’ve got a reflex that you simply’re born with, they begin in utero they usually’re purported to go away. And so they don’t go away for no matter purpose. There’s plenty of totally different the 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 when you 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 doubtless your primitive reflexes aren’t going to get built-in in that standard means. And so, as we have now these retained reflexes, it’s going to trigger plenty of totally different studying motor challenges as effectively. So, I all the time say you may get misdiagnosed with issues like anxiousness since you’re going to be in that battle or flight state when you’ve got a routine motor reflex, that startle reflex, proper? You’re going to perhaps have some studying difficulties. When individuals have a retained ATNR, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, you’re gonna battle with studying and writing, and with the ability to determine your left versus your proper.

For a Spinal Galant Reflex, we oftentimes see bedwetting past the traditional age. And that reflex is loopy as a result of it’s the one which, sort of, helps to corkscrew the newborn 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 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 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 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 distinct purpose why however I might say discover that why.

So these reflexes trigger plenty of underlying challenges that perhaps we wouldn’t essentially take a look at however it’s positively ranging from the roots after which constructing on these roots, getting these reflexes to go away, so these greater mind features can take over and, sort of, create these higher pathways within the mind, these extra mature responses.

Katie: I really like that. And I really 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 prior 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 folks can attempt, particularly if youngsters are, sort of, within the midst of perhaps 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 absolutely grounding. Chewing gum is an enormous one as effectively as a result of that gives plenty of proprioceptive enter to the gums, the jaw, in addition to issues like chair push-ups. So when you’re within the automotive, when you’re in school, simply pushing your physique up in your chair, as a chair push up, pushing your fingers collectively within the center, pushing towards one other particular person, attempting to have a little bit competitors, pushing your fingers towards 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, however it positively is a implausible reset button.

Katie: I like it.

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So for anyone listening who perhaps is… I do know, there’s plenty of consciousness about this. I hear from plenty 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, sort of, go deeper from there. If somebody’s listening and perhaps realizing for the primary time that they’re recognizing a few of these issues of their youngsters or perhaps even in themselves, is there a great pathway you’ll be able to suggest for them to start out 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 number of good sources. Considered one of our favorites is the SPD STAR Institute. In order that’s an important web site. They do remedy. They provide plenty of consults. That’s an important useful resource. We even have a podcast the place we discuss all issues sensory. It’s “All Issues Sensory” by Harkla, go determine. And so we’ve bought that podcast which we simply share tangible suggestions and methods. And so we break it down so it’s simple to know. That’s the largest factor for us, is to make it simple to know for individuals. Harkla can be an important useful resource as effectively. They’ve bought tons and tons of weblog posts and we have now digital programs there as effectively. In the event you wanna dive deep into primitive reflexes, sensory diets, that’s an important 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 plenty of good data there as effectively.

Katie: Superior. I’m making notes so as to add. Additionally like we bought a tangible instance, from the analysis earlier than this podcast, I’ve learn that you simply hated pickles earlier than attempting 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 take advantage of it for example once I’m working with kiddos who battle with attempting new meals. As a result of we all the time say, when you attempt the meals 20 instances, you’re gonna have a greater concept when you truly prefer it or when you 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 all the time give me such a tough time, he’d say, “I want you’d identical to pickles so we didn’t need to put pickles on the facet and pull them off.” It’s like okay, I’m gonna attempt them 20 instances, other ways. I really like them. Now I truly will purchase them by myself. They’ve bought nice ones at Costco which are implausible. 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 that meals 20 instances. We’ll hold monitor after which we will determine if we truly prefer it or if we don’t.” And both means is okay. You will have that chance to say, “Sure, I prefer it” or “No, I don’t” however let’s attempt it collectively and, sort 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 sort of an enormous subject amongst mother and father. However I hear that from adults as effectively. So yeah, I feel that’s an important non-pressuring perspective and a straightforward approach 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 sort of light method. So…

Rachel: It makes an enormous distinction. Yeah, retaining 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 effectively. So, letting them exit at themselves and work together with the meals, and contact the meals, and lick the meals, and take a look at it, and simply partaking with the meals and getting used to seeing it and feeling it and touching it… I all the time 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 fingers and on their pores and skin, as a result of we have now 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 really like that a lot. And I really like that you simply talked about, you understand, don’t reward them for attempting the meals. And I ponder if there’s a mindset, from the father or mother facet, a mindset element to navigating sensory points as effectively. As a result of I’ve talked loads about simply, normally, parenting mindsets with youngsters and never praising innate skills 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 truly much more necessary if you’re speaking a few little one who’s already struggling by inputs and outputs and has extra issues to navigate. However are there mindset parts of this which are useful for fogeys to simply perceive and hold prime of thoughts once they’re interacting with a toddler who has sensory points?

Rache: I all the time 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 an alternative of constructing it an enormous deal that they went down the slide, if we will discuss, you understand, how they felt about it and, you understand, what they did to really feel courageous sufficient to go down the slide, although perhaps 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 sort of on the other facet of the spectrum, whereas… Once we have been rising up as youngsters, we have been pressured to complete the meals on our plate, we have been pressured to eat all the things, use our manners. And plenty of us now as adults, we have now, sort of, adverse associations with meals, and we have now these bits of trauma from feeding and consuming and all these experiences. And I feel that sort 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 struggle 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 power…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 discuss concerning the sensory parts.

Katie: Oh, and I feel that there’s crossover from that into so many elements of parenting. I feel once they’re having an emotional response to something, as a substitute of attempting 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, once we really feel sturdy feelings, we don’t have to guage that. We don’t need to really feel like unhappiness equals dangerous. I’m going to really feel dangerous now. We will truly simply expertise the emotion and let it go.

And, like, giving that very same useful resource to our youngsters from a younger age, not attempting to offer them a adverse affiliation or perhaps a optimistic affiliation, immediately with these issues and letting them navigate it themselves to, sort of, develop that emotional response.

Nicely, 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 top of interviews is that if there’s a ebook or plenty of books which have had a profound affect in your life, and in that case what they’re and why.

Rachel: Sure, okay, I’ve three that got here to thoughts. Sounds sort of bizarre however popping out of college, the primary sensory books that I learn, have been The Out-of-Sync Little one and Elevating a Sensory Good Little one. And so they 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 implausible ebook to, sort of, dive deeper into primitive reflex integration and, sort of, perceive the kid from the within out. So these three books, it’s sort of nerdy, however I really like them a lot. And so they’re all the time 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 really like these, these are all new suggestions. I’ll put these hyperlinks within the present notes as effectively, so that you guys can discover these and hold studying. And I’m so glad I lastly bought to speak about this subject. And it was an important dialog with you. Hopefully, gave some very sensible sources to oldsters. Hopefully, we inspired a number of mother and father to let their youngsters play exterior barefoot and get messy with their meals and grasp the other 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 youngsters and these households, and in your great coronary heart. And thanks for being right here as we speak.

Rachel: Sure, after all. Thanks a lot for having me.

Katie: And thanks, as all the time, to you guys for listening and sharing your most useful sources, your time, and your power with us as we speak. 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 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 ranking or evaluation on iTunes for me? Doing this helps extra individuals to search out the podcast, which suggests much more mothers and households may benefit from the knowledge. I actually respect your time, and thanks as all the time for listening.





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