From Katrina: Yesterday I was talking with some Autism Treatment Center of America staff about sensory integration and how our children can connect most effectively when their bodies and nervous systems are in an optimal state of arousal. This reminded me of how at another conference I heard the term Attention Prioritizing Disorder (vs Attention Deficit Disorder) – meaning that children have a hard time paying attention to people or whatever they are “supposed” to be paying attention to, when their bodies are out of sorts.
Here in the Son Rise Program we recognize that when children are isming, they are taking care of themselves so that when they connect they can be with us in a deeper way. We also try to help them and create games based on these isms so that can connect and still take care of themselves. I saw an amazing example of this today.
We have a handsome, tall 13 year old young man with us in the Son Rise Program Intensive this week. He is loving his time here with all of the women facilitators on staff! However, he likes to lounge around on the floor and rarely leaves his corner post, so we are working on this. Today I was with him and we were writing out all of the things I love about him (he likes to write after I do). I love his eyes, voice, smile… but then I noticed he was starting to wiggle, he would sway his body back in forth in a somewhat exclusive manner. I remembered the sensory integration and I decided this was my opportunity to present some physical movement in the game to help him and his body out. I brought the paper to the other side of the room, and I ran back and forth as I wrote the letters to the things I loved about him. Then I encouraged him to get up and copy the letters. For the first time in 2 days I saw him get up and move across the room to interact!!!
I used his need to move as a way to help him connect with me! He loved it and we were able to write many more things I loved about him – his walk, his run – how tall he is! Paying attention to our children’s physical needs can help us help their bodies and help them pay attention to us longer.
Have fun moving your bodies in the playroom!