• wakingupthechildren

A Sensory Easter !

It was a great Easter week (especially the weather) and with the usual great moments as well as some disappointments, we have kept our focus on fun learning with plenty of sensory activities filling the pauses.

This week, JB addressed his sensory needs in a variety of ways and mostly with jumping and bouncing and sometimes just sitting on the trampoline. He has begun to really experience the rush of adrenaline that comes with elevating even higher with his jumps and has thus gained confidence and skills with improved balance.

During JB’s walks, I have found also that he is running more so than walking, especially in open spaces. The proprioceptive input on the soles of his feet are impacting the soles of his feet and his leg and hip joints. Once the nerves in his joints have been stimulated, he can more effectively concentrate on other activities and process concepts of language and maths better.

JB making prints with bubble wrap onto a canvas

JB looking through family photo albums, mixing glue, and painting outside

JB is also finding periods throughout the day when he prefers to practice some yoga poses and stretches. After most mealtimes, he has been independently positioning himself into Downward Dog, Forward Fold and Cobra poses. All these poses give him needed pressure in his hands and feet. as well as the other joints. In the Cobra pose, the elbows and wrists engage to pronate the forearms, and the hips extend and the shoulders move towards the midline.

The gym ball is also a really beneficial piece of sensory equipment. Laying prone onto the ball enables comfortable and effective pressure on the whole front of the body as the person is rolled gently forwards and backwards. JB does this himself as he is now big enough, and is simultaneously meeting both proprioceptive and vestibular input.

The Importance of Balance

The vestibular machine begins early in brain development and continues to form vital brain connection to centres that govern posture, body, eye movements, arousal and sensory integration. For accurate perception, a person needs efficient balance. To ensure this, all other senses must work together with vestibular movements.

From left to right: JB has fun painting, playing with shaving foam for his sensory needs, yoga in his trampoline, bouncing on his exercise ball, more painting and scrunching paper to decorate the Easter eggs !

The cognitive skills of reading and writing, telling the time as well as an awareness of time that precedes an awareness of self in space all develop with an efficient vestibular system. Also impacted are emotions and stable eye movements. Allowing our children to change their bodily movements help to train and improve balance. These include up and down movements as in jumping and sliding, running and stopping, swinging, carousel rides, spinning, rolling, dancing and forward rolls. If you notice your child doing any of these, then s/he is seeking to make these vital connections.

‘Forward bend brings a fresh supply of blood to the head and tones the central nervous system’ Sonia Sumar

A Word on Yoga

JB is finding specific times throughout the day when he prefers to do some yoga stretches. After most of the family meals, he has been independently stretching in downward dog, forward fold and cobra positions. All these poses give him the needed pressure in his hands and feet. In the Cobra pose, the elbows and the wrists engage to pronate the forearm, the hips extend and the shoulders adduct. During Downward Facing Dog, the shoulder, hip and wrist flexors engage and the knees extend. This position also enhances balance, a skill not to be under emphasised. During this position, with the head below the heart, the added benefits include increased circulation and *lymphatic drainage.

As part of the Sun Salutation practice, this in general benefits the nervous system and strengthens all the muscles in the body.

Many researchers have emphasised the movement exercises such as yoga, that target perception, are useful to process trauma as they assist in relieving tension that we most often hold in the body.

JB finds mealtimes sometimes stressful with the family talking, the clanking of cutlery and the mere presence of a ‘crowd’, as he is trying to concentrate on eating. He has found a way of releasing the tension immediately on finishing his food while the rest of us are still sitting as he pursues the yoga stretches he has familiarized himself with.

*Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system keeps the lymph fluid flowing in one direction and once cleaned, back to the bloodstream. A healthy lymphatic system fights infection, drains excess fluid and absorbs fat (https://lymphoedema.bsmedical.com).

Easter egg painting and counting exercise

Our Easter egg display !

More painting !

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