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Hiya, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from and It’s my new private care line, Wellnesse with an E on the top. This episode is all about sensory processing. I hear so much about this from you guys. It’s clearly one thing being talked about way more throughout loads 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 now, 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 kids with completely different skills to be taught 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 children to manage their sensory wants whereas nonetheless becoming in with their mates.

And he or she’s the co-host of the “All Issues Sensory” podcast with Harkla, which goals to teach and equip mother and father, therapists, and educators with the instruments and data to know 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 now is that there are some easy methods which can be additionally nice for our children and different ways in which we are able to incorporate as mother and father and as educators that may assist our children have a extremely stable begin on this space and in addition assist them to combine and work by means of if a few of these challenges exist already. Heaps and many sensible info 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 now as a result of I get loads of questions on this matter. And I don’t have loads of direct expertise. And it looks like that is one thing that’s doubtlessly impacting lots of people listening and their households. So, we all know we’re gonna go in loads of completely different, actually particular instructions, however to begin broad, stroll us by means of 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 easy methods to 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 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 each day functioning very difficult. And even when it doesn’t make it very difficult, sensory processing challenges could make it troublesome to get by means of your each day actions, simply with ease. And our objective is to have only a well-modulated youngster or ourselves being well-modulated. And if we now have some sensory processing challenges, if these messages aren’t getting the place they must be as effectively as potential, that’s going to make your life a bit of bit more durable.

Katie: So it looks like these are positively issues which can be 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 can be contributing to a rise in these?

Rachel: Yeah, so I believe it’s type of a mix of loads of issues occurring. You recognize, 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 normally like, “Oh, effectively, I wrestle with this too.” And we normally have that aha second the place, as an grownup, you realize, as a functioning grownup, we don’t essentially notice that we now have these challenges till they’re introduced up, as a result of we are able to sometimes push them below the door and we are able to sometimes get by means of our day positive. However as we now have a kiddo who would possibly wrestle extra, you realize, not solely genetics, however I’m considering toxins within the atmosphere, and genetics, and epigenetics, and trauma is an enormous one as effectively, particularly with start trauma, I believe it’s type of an ideal storm with these kiddos.

And we get a kiddo that has all of those completely different, you realize… I like to speak about as their cup, their cup will get full, and all these completely different traumas and toxins, and you’ve got genetics in there. After which it’s the entire explosion after which you have got this youngster with extreme challenges. So, it’s a bit of little bit of every little thing. And I do assume that we’re recognizing it a bit of bit extra. And we are able to speak about this a bit of bit later too, nevertheless it positively goes hand in hand with different diagnoses as effectively. It’s positively a comorbidity with different greater diagnoses. And I do assume that generally it’s misdiagnosed as presumably anxiousness generally or it may associate 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 believe we now have to take the entire youngster into play and have a look at the entire state of affairs for certain.

Katie: And once 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 likely to be a few of 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 perhaps they’re searching for motion, they’re shifting always. They search smells and touches. They wanna contact every little thing. They’re nearly just like the bull within the china store. They may search motion and hugs extra and so they wanna crash and bounce on every little thing. They’re going to be spinning always. They’re going to crave completely different flavors like bitter flavors, and salty, and candy, and spicy.

After which on the alternative facet, we now have kiddos who wrestle with… Like, they’ve too large of a response to sure sensory mediums. In order that they’re going to keep away from motion, any time their head, you realize, is in a unique 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 believe that’s an enormous one which we see. And perhaps these kiddos are actually choosy eaters. They wrestle 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 wrestle with physique consciousness.

So it’s a complete spectrum of various issues that we are able to see. Kiddos will be over-responsive or, you realize, 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 believe that’s what will get folks confused loads 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 realize, we are able to’t run a blood check for this to determine that is precisely what you have got.” So I might guess there’s very a lot a component of dad or mum reporting, and the mother and father and caregivers being those to type 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 analysis?

Rachel: Sure. So, sadly, it’s not acknowledged as an precise analysis, a standalone analysis by itself. However we see mother and father, we see faculties, lecturers as effectively, these are oftentimes the place we are going to first get like on the radar. Pediatricians generally will catch it as effectively. It’s not as frequent for pediatricians. So far as I’ve seen, there are positively exceptions for certain. Nevertheless it 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 perhaps get them into early intervention as a result of that early intervention is vital. However positively, faculties and lecturers will have the ability to say, “Hey, let’s discover this stuff.” You recognize, “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 observed {that a} youngster has a few of these indicators?

Rachel: Yeah, so the largest factor is getting them into occupational remedy and recognizing, what’s the youngster scuffling with most? How can we modify what’s occurring? How can we adapt to get an acceptable 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 food regimen. You recognize, infants can truly profit from sensory diets as effectively. And I believe that’s so necessary to acknowledge that all of us have that sensory system and all of us must 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 are able to get for these little kiddos, the higher. However even for an older kiddo who will get recognized perhaps at six or seven, and so they’re in class, and so they’re actually struggling, OT is gonna be enormous, but additionally a lot of it consists of oldsters carrying over these methods into the house faculty neighborhood atmosphere. One or two days of remedy per week isn’t gonna make an enormous distinction. You’re positively gonna be taught loads of expertise to hold over however implementing these methods in all places is gonna make the largest distinction for these kiddos.

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

Rachel: Okay. So that is gonna sound a bit of bit bizarre, however so far as a food regimen, I wouldn’t essentially go so far as altering the whole food 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 food regimen for consuming, the largest factor is the completely 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 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 children 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 fingers. Nevertheless it provokes a lot anxiousness for these kiddos, particularly on the first like cake smash. You recognize, that’s like an enormous monument when you have got a cake smash after which you have 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 occurring. However so far as diets and meals, we’re gonna give all kinds of flavors, salty, candy, spicy, bitter, completely different, like, textures like I discussed, heat meals, chilly meals. These chilly meals positively wake the mouth up a bit of bit extra. Not essentially ice cream however, like, smoothies and slushies and, like, crushed ice and issues they’ll get extra enter from. These heat meals are gonna be a bit of bit higher for, like, interoceptive enter and, like, the place their physique is in house and, type of, grounding them a bit of bit extra. So it’s variety 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 suggestion throughout the board is, like, let’s get one of the best likelihood 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 a wide range of textures of meals. So fascinating. So, I do know we’re speaking about this largely in a capability of kids, I’m curious, does this modification over time, particularly with intervention? In different phrases, can kids develop out of it or no less than be taught to handle it effectively? 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’ll. We wanna train them to acknowledge their atmosphere, we wanna train them that there are modifications that may be made, we wanna train them easy methods to 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 train them the issues that they should do as a way to get by means of their life as straightforward and as gratifying as potential. That’s type of the fantastic thing about occupational remedy is, you realize, dwelling 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 be taught to develop into it as greatest they’ll.

Katie: What about for adults? Since you talked about once 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 obtained perhaps some sensory issues?

Rachel: Oh, that’s my favourite half. As a result of for me, I’ve realized a lot about my sensory system and what number of challenges I’ve. And sure, it might probably make issues a bit of 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 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 by means of that with out, like, “having a meltdown.” Proper? In order that’s the objective is that if we are able to notice we now have these triggers, we now have these sensory challenges, we are able to have the ability to keep away from meltdowns. We will 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 realize, observe them extra and have extra publicity and extra expertise, then it’s going to 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, be taught 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 concept of the place you’re over-responsive, the place you’re under-responsive. After which you can begin implementing completely different methods to make a distinction.

So, for me, auditory is an enormous one which I wrestle 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 believe that’s actually necessary, in addition to diet. 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 once you talked about the auditory factor, I believe I might most likely have misophonia and be recognized with chewing and sure sounds. And that positively obtained 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 inform you what’s bizarre about that. So, I additionally had loads of vestibular challenges. So I struggled with movement illness quite a bit as an grownup, as a toddler. After I obtained pregnant, after I had my kiddo, I can trip within the backseat of the automotive, I can go on the curvy roads and I don’t get carsick. And I believe after your physique goes by means of that wild change, your sensory system modifications as effectively. And such as you stated, you wrestle with going the wrong way up and motion, however I’m certain there are different issues that you just’ve observed as effectively, perhaps 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. Nevertheless it positively modifications after your physique goes by means of 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 believe you touched on this a bit of bit. Are you able to assist me perceive what’s occurring 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 house. 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 have the ability to steadiness and rise up straight so I don’t fall over. And if we now have challenges with that, loads of occasions 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 related due to these vestibular receptors which can be in our interior ears. We’re gonna see challenges with visual-vestibular integration, which is with the ability to observe your eyes and observe 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, figuring out how lengthy it’s important to make that flip earlier than the automotive comes. In order that’s extra of, like, a purposeful method. However for kiddos, oftentimes, we’ll see kiddos who’re searching for that vestibular enter and so they need extra enter as a way 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 unhealthy children in class, sadly.

I’m making an attempt to vary that. However these are the youngsters who’re on the go and so they want that additional enter as a way to simply sit such as you and I are actually. 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 we now have the kiddos on the opposite facet who’re avoiding vestibular enter and so they’re uncomfortable when their ft transfer the bottom. And, you realize, 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 now have 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 loads of other ways.

Katie: And once you’re speaking about this stuff that, you realize, children liking to somersault and run and climb, like, to me, as a mother, I’m like these needs to be the, you realize, pure actions that kids 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 children 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 realize, that very same linear movement. They’re in swings, they need to be rocked to sleep, they want that motion to sleep. You recognize, we didn’t have that. Once I was child, once 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 working, they’re on merry-go-rounds, they’re swinging, they’re climbing, they’re leaping, they’re taking part in with their mates exterior.

And these days, there’s so many extra screens. I don’t hate, simply screens they trigger loads of these challenges for these kiddos. They’re sedentary, and so they’re not exterior climbing. And oldsters even lately are extra hesitant to let their youngster climb a tree, or, you realize, 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 be taught to have these acceptable adaptive responses. And so if these kiddos aren’t having these…you realize, they’re not climbing up the slide and hanging off the monkey bars the wrong way up, you realize… Dad and mom lately we’re like, “Oh, no, watch out. Don’t get damage.”

However that’s so necessary for these kiddos to be taught and to fall down and to get again up and notice, “Effectively, shoot that actually damage. I’m most likely gonna need to do one thing completely different or I’m gonna need to observe extra so I can get stronger and have the ability to try this.” So it’s positively modified. It’s positively environmental and a societal problem lately. So to kiddos, get exterior and allow them to fall down and get damage. And I at all times say get them out of containers as usually as you possibly can, as infants. Allow them to transfer, and play, and roll on the bottom. And ideally, we’ll see so much much less of the sensory processing challenges as they develop up. However there’s nobody resolution for this, sadly.

Katie: That is smart. Nevertheless it additionally does make loads 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 example, being barefoot exterior as a lot as potential, 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 assume mother and father at all times 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 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 occasions out of 10 our kiddos lately 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’s going to get and the higher it’s going to get as effectively.

Katie: And some other recommendations for simply establishing…? I’m additionally large atmosphere, like, don’t change the kid, change the atmosphere. If we’re establishing an excellent atmosphere that simply places issues of their approach to give them probabilities for this. Like, some examples in our home, we now have 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’ll steadiness on, like these little surf trainers, issues like that. However are there any recommendations for, like, whether or not it’s out of doors atmosphere, indoor atmosphere, simply methods we are able to put issues in our children’ manner to assist with this?

Rachel: Oh my gosh, I may cry listening to that you’ve got all these issues in your home. That’s wonderful. Oh, if everybody may have these issues, it might be unbelievable however I notice that isn’t a objective 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 have got a perform. So that you’re gonna put a puzzle on one facet of the impediment course, your youngster has to do a cartwheel or a somersault over the sofa cushions on the ground, they need to crawl by means of the tunnel, they need to do 10 leaping jacks, seize one piece of the puzzle, after which return by means of the impediment course. These are unbelievable.

Animal walks are nice. I at all times 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 if in case you have schedules and visuals as much as let these kiddos notice what’s subsequent, what’s anticipated of them, that’s actually useful. However actually, simply getting exterior, getting that pure enter, I might say put your sensory goggles on, you have got eight completely different sensory methods. So if we are able to acknowledge, you realize, when a kiddo is exterior and so they’re taking part in with rocks, you realize, 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 growing the sensory enter {that a} youngster 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 effectively? 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 nearly the, what got here first, the rooster or the egg? Is the kiddos scuffling with 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, nonetheless they’re sleeping, they’ve the sheets and so they have the blankets that they need to course of. You recognize, sometimes, we are able to’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 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 manner round? It’s arduous to say. However I might 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, will 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 organize their nervous system to sleep.

And for kiddos who wrestle with sounds, perhaps placing a noise machine within the background. There’s loads of completely different modifications you could make. Classical music, the listening program is a superb one to include as effectively to assist sleep and to assist prep for sleep, and to make sleep a bit of 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 youngster, for certain.

Katie: And I’d love to know extra with the weighted blankets. As a result of this have positively gotten actually common these days, 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 might 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 youngster was a preemie and he was within the NICU. And once we have been lastly capable of go to him, they instructed 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 just’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 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 medical doctors have been saying, may be very noxious. So it’s very arduous for folks to course of that gentle contact. That’s why loads of children wrestle 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 unbelievable, not just for kiddos and individuals who wrestle with sensory processing challenges however for individuals who, you realize, perhaps simply want a bit of additional enter all through the day.

And the cool factor about weighted blankets is there’s loads of completely different ways in which you should use them. You’ll be able to lay them over the physique, identical to you’d a daily blanket or you possibly can roll them up and put them subsequent to your self or your youngster for, like, that enter that they’ll push towards and so they can really feel as effectively. That grounding proprioceptive enter, it’s probably the most organizing enter you could get. And so, it’s at all times a go-to. However some kiddos wrestle to course of that deep, deep stress in the event that they’re rolling and so they’re shifting out from below it each evening. In order that’s why I say a compression sheet is a superb different as a result of it’s like a lycra compression sheet that goes over the mattress and so they can push towards it. It’s fixed deep stress. They’ll crawl below it. They’ll crawl out of it on their very own. So it’s an incredible different for kiddos who perhaps can’t tolerate that deep stress, however they’ll simply get that very same proprioceptive enter in only a completely different format.

Katie: You’ve used that phrase proprioceptive now a number of occasions and I believe, 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 now have receptors in our joints and muscle mass 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 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 house. 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 house. 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 at college. 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 give attention to a unique 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 children perhaps have a particular problem associated to this, that simply assist…or after 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. Actually, 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 simplest 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 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 a bit of little bit of an overreaction. We flip it off. We discuss them by means of it. Flip it on once more. So, if we prep these kiddos for this novel sensory enter, if we are able to get them by means of this enter as infants and younger kids, the chance of them having a problem processing it afterward, it goes down a bit of bit. Nevertheless it’s a neurological situation so we are able to’t keep away from every little thing simply by implementing extra as a child. However we are able to positively assist them modulate the enter a bit of bit higher, the extra that we’re offering them.

Katie: Gotcha. And that goes again to a few of 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 after they’re younger, letting them be taught to feed themselves, even when it’s not environment friendly at first, like, placing issues on their tray and letting them, type of, wrestle and never have the ability to do it at first as a result of they’re getting that connection by studying.

Rachel: Sure, completely. I refuse to feed my youngster 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 positive. He’s gonna be taught 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 and so they’re getting their fingers 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 loads of faucet expertise proprioceptive enter, which is so useful for these kiddos to be taught 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 realize, 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 realize, 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, completely different textures, completely different meals. So, positively a proponent of self-feeding and studying by means of 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 all people having a backyard in no matter manner potential, even when it’s a container backyard on the balcony, however letting children get within the dust. Like from the dietary facet, there’s so many cool issues that occur once we work together with clearly a clear supply of dust. However from the bacterial facet and the microbiome facet to the best way 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 once we work together with our surroundings 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 necessary for these kiddos to play in dust. And there’s positively loads 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 unbelievable. I like that.

Katie: Yeah, it’s an increasing number of… Like, simply we’ve realized 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 stylish. But in addition, it may be very costly and complex. And I at all times simply return to the concept it’s so usually 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 food regimen, of getting again to a cleaner food regimen, however actually 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 lately. And also you’ve made a powerful 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 kids and or adults? Like, I’m considering for myself, like, can I practice my vestibular system to, like, being the wrong way up once more?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I believe the extra we are able to do it, the higher. And it is going to be arduous at first. However there are a few completely different methods, particularly with the vestibular system. So if a kiddo, perhaps 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 once I spin I get offended afterwards. But when we are able to comply with that enter with proprioceptive enter, then it’s going to assist calm and floor the nervous system. So a easy manner is to simply suck the tongue to the roof of the mouth.

You recognize, for those who’re driving within the automotive 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 obtained some actually highly effective nerves up there which can 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 completely different actions is figuring out easy methods to, type of, floor your nervous system afterwards so that you don’t wrestle with, you realize, 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 comply with with some extra proprioceptive enter, then we’re gonna have a significantly 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 combat or flight response. I’m calm. Now I can keep it up with my day.”

Katie: Okay, so that you simply talked about combat 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 occasions or may 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 combat or flight state, and that type of work comes together with the primitive reflex integration as effectively. So if these folks have…folks, children, adults, if we now have these retained primitive reflexes, we will be in that combat or flight state. We will, as well as, to have these sensory processing challenges… It’s all related. And I believe if we are able to acknowledge and empathize with these kiddos who’re having these large reactions to what we’d see as, you realize, not an enormous deal, if we are able to acknowledge, “Hey, they is likely to be in that combat or flight state proper now, let’s present some extra enter to get them grounded to allow them to get out of that combat or flight state,” which it’s not gonna occur in a single day. It’s gonna take some time for them to be taught to have these adaptive responses to get out of that combat 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 degree features, their mind to be a bit of bit extra mature, then they’re going to have the ability to get out of that combat or flight and so they’re gonna have the ability to have a extra adaptive response to completely different enter.

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

Rachel: Sure. So when you have got a primitive reflex, you have got a reflex that you just’re born with, they begin in utero and so they’re presupposed to go away. And so they don’t go away for no matter motive. There’s loads of completely different explanation why. It could possibly be start trauma, it could possibly be the best way that you just’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? When you’re not capable of undergo these developmental milestones, these patterns, you realize, you begin in your again, your tummy and also you’re rolling, and also you’re crawling, and also you’re strolling.

When you’re not going by means of these patterns, then possible your primitive reflexes aren’t going to get built-in in that ordinary manner. And so, as we now have these retained reflexes, it’s going to trigger loads of completely different studying motor challenges as effectively. So, I at all times say you will get misdiagnosed with issues like anxiousness since you’re going to be in that combat or flight state if in case you have a routine motor reflex, that startle reflex, proper? You’re going to perhaps have some studying difficulties. When folks have a retained ATNR, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, you’re gonna wrestle 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, type of, helps to corkscrew the newborn out of the vaginal start when they’re giving start. 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 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 assume to rule out reflexes for these older kiddos. You assume that they’re, you realize, simply not capable of do it and there’s a unique motive why however I might say discover that why.

So these reflexes trigger loads of underlying challenges that perhaps 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 up 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 strive, particularly if children are, type of, within the midst of perhaps one thing that could possibly be, like, sensory associated wrestle the place all these feelings are flaring…little ideas like that, that may assist?

Rachel: A pair little ideas, I do love important oil. So, smelling important oils, like peppermint, is basically grounding. Chewing gum is an enormous one as effectively as a result of that gives loads of proprioceptive enter to the gums, the jaw, in addition to issues like chair push-ups. So for those who’re within the automotive, for those who’re at college, 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, making an attempt to have a bit of competitors, pushing your fingers towards an individual is a superb 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 unbelievable reset button.

Katie: I like it.

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So for anyone listening who perhaps is… I do know, there’s loads of consciousness about this. I hear from loads of mother and father who already acknowledge sensory challenges of their kids. And I believe we’ve given some good beginning factors for folks to, type 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 kids or perhaps even in themselves, is there an excellent pathway you possibly can advocate for them to begin to determine, what are gonna be the inputs and outputs within the strategy of that? Are there good sources out there for this?

Rachel: Sure, numerous good sources. One in every of our favorites is the SPD STAR Institute. In order that’s an incredible web site. They do remedy. They provide loads of consults. That’s an incredible 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 obtained that podcast which we simply share tangible ideas and methods. And so we break it down so it’s straightforward to know. That’s the largest factor for us, is to make it straightforward to know for folks. Harkla can be an incredible useful resource as effectively. They’ve obtained tons and tons of weblog posts and we now have digital programs there as effectively. When you wanna dive deep into primitive reflexes, sensory diets, that’s an incredible useful resource. And even simply looking out Google Scholar. I actually say, like, as an alternative of simply looking out Google for info, you simply go one step additional and simply seek for some analysis articles, you’re gonna discover loads of good info there as effectively.

Katie: Superior. I’m making notes so as to add. Additionally like we obtained a tangible instance, from the analysis earlier than this podcast, I’ve learn that you just 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 snigger… I take advantage of it for instance once I’m working with kiddos who wrestle with making an attempt new meals. As a result of we at all times say, for those who strive the meals 20 occasions, you’re gonna have a greater concept for those who truly prefer it or for those who don’t prefer it. And, you realize, if it’s not significant so that you can strive 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’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 strive them 20 occasions, other ways. I like them. Now I truly will purchase them alone. They’ve obtained nice ones at Costco which can be unbelievable. However I believe it’s actually useful for folks to have this info of, you realize, recognizing not solely in themselves, they’ll do that with their kiddos. Possibly they’ve a choosy eater, however they may go at it collectively and say, “Let’s do that meals 20 occasions. We’ll hold observe after which we are able to determine if we truly prefer it or if we don’t.” And both manner is ok. You may have that chance to say, “Sure, I prefer it” or “No, I don’t” however let’s strive it collectively and, type 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 type of an enormous matter amongst mother and father. However I hear that from adults as effectively. So yeah, I believe that’s an incredible non-pressuring perspective and a straightforward approach to get children to hopefully combine. And with my children, I’m but to see a meals that they’ll’t, over time, be taught to love, particularly with that type of light method. So…

Rachel: It makes an enormous distinction. Yeah, retaining it optimistic, but additionally not having the optimistic stress. You recognize, “Yay, you ate it. Good job. How was it?” You recognize, 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 have a look at it, and simply partaking 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’ll’t course of it on their fingers and on their pores and skin, as a result of we now have these tactile receptors in our mouth. To allow them to’t even contact the meals, then they’re not gonna have the ability to eat it. There’s no manner. 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 just talked about, you realize, don’t reward them for making an attempt the meals. And I’m wondering if there’s a mindset, from the dad or mum facet, a mindset element to navigating sensory points as effectively. As a result of I’ve talked so much about simply, normally, 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 might even be truly much more necessary once you’re speaking a few youngster who’s already struggling by means of inputs and outputs and has extra issues to navigate. However are there mindset parts of this which can be useful for folks to simply perceive and hold high of thoughts after they’re interacting with a toddler who has sensory points?

Rache: I at all times assume that we have to empathize, initially, empathize with these kiddos, in the event that they don’t wanna go down the slide, after which they finally go down the slide. As an alternative of constructing it an enormous deal that they went down the slide, if we are able to speak about, you realize, how they felt about it and, you realize, what they did to really feel courageous sufficient to go down the slide, though perhaps they have been scared the primary time. And never forcing them to do these nonpreferred actions that, you realize, 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… You recognize, that is type of on the alternative facet 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 every little thing, use our manners. And loads of us now as adults, we now have, type of, damaging associations with meals, and we now have these bits of trauma from feeding and consuming and all these experiences. And I believe that type of shift to parenting now of not forcing a toddler to complete their plate, you realize, not forcing them to strive 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 in regards to the meals and in regards to the expertise. It’s not simply meals, however creating their very own ideas. So as an alternative 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 in regards to the sensory parts.

Katie: Oh, and I believe that there’s crossover from that into so many features of parenting. I believe after they’re having an emotional response to something, as an alternative of making an attempt to mission on them what that emotion is, you realize, 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 unhealthy. I’m going to really feel unhealthy 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 making an attempt to provide them a damaging affiliation or perhaps a optimistic affiliation, immediately 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 for anyone listening, who needs 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 e-book or quite a few books which have had a profound impression in your life, and in that 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 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 unbelievable 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. And so they’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 these days for enjoyable. However I 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 obtained to speak about this matter. And it was an incredible dialog with you. Hopefully, gave some very sensible sources to folks. Hopefully, we inspired numerous mother and father to let their children play exterior barefoot and get messy with their meals and dangle 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 just do, and with all these children and these households, and to your super coronary heart. And thanks for being right here right now.

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

Katie: And thanks, as at all times, to you guys for listening and sharing your most precious sources, your time, and your power with us right now. We’re each so grateful that you just did, and I hope that you just’ll be part of me once more on the subsequent episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

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

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