5 Unexpected Ways to Jump Start Your Child’s Processing Skills
Sensory Integration, providing sensory processing activities and exercises that incorporate a lot of vestibular stimulation can jump-start your child’s processing skills. Activities that have jumping, rocking, swinging, or spinning in them have the biggest impact on the vestibular system. Children that have sensory processing issues have under developed or immature vestibular systems, which can lead to learning problems with under achieving; poor reading and math comprehension, writing skills, focus or attention; and behavioral problems.
Balametrics, a program that provides products that improve brain functions, states that timing coordination is critical to the integration of our senses by using full brain processing. Activities that stimulate and develop efficient balance also refine the brain’s temporal processes. Demands on timing require a significant expansion of neuron firing, which in turn increase cognition and intelligence. For example, it takes approximately 500,000 neurons to develop the timing ability to hit a target at five feet verus 32 million neurons at 10 feet.
Essential Fatty Acids are the building blocks of the membranes of every cell in the body, with the brain having the highest concentration of fat. Brain synapses require long chain fatty acids (DHA) to be efficient. The forebrain, which is the part of the brain used for sustained attention, has the highest concentration of DHA. Essential Fatty Acids are specific fats that cannot be produced in the body. They must be consumed in one’s diet or a deficiency will occur. There are two different types of EFAs, Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s. Children with sensory processing disorders, ADHD, Developmental Delays, or Learning Disabilities are shown to be deficient in EFAs. It is important to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in the diet because these oils actually block the body’s ability to absorb any of the good oils that are consumed. A diet high in partially hydrogenated oils will lead to EFA deficiency.
Therapeutic Listening is a specialized listening program with headphones and spectrally activated CD’s. The CD’s are electronically altered and vary in musical style, sound quality and level of enhancement. Therapeutic Listening is a treatment modality used to directly stimulate the auditory and vestibular systems. Therapeutic Listening uses sound training in combination with sensory integrative treatment techniques, which emphasize vestibular stimulation and postural movement strategies. When incorporated into a sensory integrative treatment approach, changes are typically observed in sensory modulation, attention, eye contact, and behavioral organization, i.e. a reduction in sensory defensiveness and a “smoothing out” of mood variances and arousal states. Improvements also related to balance, coordination of movement within the environment, postural organization and motor skills, presumably due to the strong ties with the vestibular system. Similar changes have been observed in related motor skills such as improved use of bilateral motor patterns, “emergence” of praxis, improved articulation, and improved fine motor skills. Sometimes there are positive changes in handwriting, math comprehension, and reading skills. Teachers sometimes notice that the child is paying more attention in learning situations and seem less “stressed” with understand basic learning concepts. Parents often report that their child is happier or seems more relaxed or “enjoys life and the little things in life more.” Sleep patterns may also improve.
NeuroNet is a program that addresses sensory processing skills through exercises that work on the efficiency of mirror neurons. If you stick your tongue out at a newborn, they will automatically stick their tongue out back at you. This is because their mirror neurons are firing and it helps them to imitate what they are seeing. The old myth “yawning is contagious” comes from your mirror neurons firing without you realizing it. When someone smiles at you, it is hard to resist smiling back. Humans learn through watching and observing other humans. As they observe an action, their mirror neurons fire and form new neuro-pathways as if they were performing the action themselves. Efficient mirror neuron activity leads to good overall development in all areas and leads to higher emotional intelligence. Professional ball players, dancers, gymnasts, artists, surgeons, and actors have very efficient mirror neurons. Children with emotional delays and poor coordination have inefficient mirror neurons.
Sensory Integration (also called Sensory Processing) is the brain’s ability to interpret, organize, and respond to the information that we receive through these senses for functional behavior. The more effective our nervous system processes the information it receives, the more coordinated, or “in sync,” we become with our environment.
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