We live in a world that is overstimulated, hypervigilant, and distracted. Children, especially, cannot keep up with what is expected of them. In general, children have too many demands to process. Adults generally are not paying attention to children because they are distracted or preoccupied with their own stuff. Adults often expect children to process what they are incapable of processing. 

We as a society do not realize that Executive Functioning is age specific for children. Each child is a unique learner. So, how do parents, teachers, coaches, and youth leaders attend to these differences? In addition, do we know the child’s temperament or bent, both given by God?

Do we have good listening skills, understand love languages, or practice observation? What are we doing past breathing and moving?

Existence is about our senses and how they function. This relates to sensory learning issues. Sensory learning issues include Executive Functioning, where all functioning issues start. This refers to planning, organizing, strategizing, memory, goal setting, cooperation and self-regulation.

The most powerful human sensory ability is vision. Experts estimate half of the brain’s resources are used on vision. Is this why most parents complain about children being attached to a screen? Over an hour a day on a screen decreases brain functioning. Do we now know why children are struggling in school, including Chromebooks?

An excellent way to look at sensory issues is by answering the following: It sounds like, tastes like, smells like, looks like, and feels like (touch).

All children and adults learn at different rates in different subjects. Sensory focus leads to soft, soothing, slow (for touch), hearing, and learning. Also, when God created each child, He gave a “bent.” The book 8 Great Smarts by Kathy Kock, Ph.D., provides the “bents”: Picture, nature, music, word, logic, body, self and people. Most people learn in two or three ways. When you know which one learning takes place best and teach a person that way, they will never have a problem learning. The parent or guardian can control what is learned by the child once they understand a child’s “bent(s).”

Improved brain functioning and focus are done by physically touching something like a rock or having a Brain Table to fidget on. Examples include legos, magnets, puzzles, coloring, and a sand tray. Rhythmic motor activity is also a healer. Activities could be running, hiking, walking, swimming, bouncing a ball, ring toss, or playing catch.

When you listen to and observe, the child will tell you what they need. Engage the need and respond appropriately. Always find the good and compliment the effort. Impulsively reacting and giving one-liner answers will not work. Children need your time and attention. Your responsibility is to create an environment conducive to growth.

Each brain hemisphere has different and complementary functions constantly desiring to communicate. In understanding the brain the one side is creative, spontaneous and engaging, the other side is the stuck, survival side. So processing sensory learning as described above is the only way to improve functioning.

Dr. Robert Melillo, in his book Disconnected Kids, regarding neurological disorders, gives these points about children with Functional Disconnected Syndrome:

They feel different.

They feel disconnected from their bodies.

They are overwhelmed by multiple senses.

The brain depends on the body for stimulation.

The senses drive stimulation to the brain.

Children who don’t play much or rarely get touched in a healthy way have a brain up to 30% smaller than usual. They have learning and behavioral dysfunction because their brains are out of sync.

Improvement depends on the frequency, duration, and intensity of stimulation. Also, repeated muscle activity is an essential element of brain development.

Where do you start? Healthy people have routines, schedules, and good habit patterns. An excellent start is a cardio exercise, improved nutrition, sleep, and rest.

Sensory, executive functioning, autism, brain trauma, attachment, and disconnected children and adults, can all be improved by focusing on specific tasks. None of these is a death sentence.

At Bridge of Hope, we use play therapy, tapping, grounding techniques, and EMDR related to need. We find root issues and train the parent/guardian on self-regulating the client’s needs. We do a client’s personality profile, homework, and trauma work. Along with local clients, we are available for those who need to travel from other states to process client needs over a week. 

 

Raymond Fabing, Ph.D., LPC

Jeannie Cieminski, Sensory Learning Specialist

Hello! I'm Dr. Fabing

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), PhD

Over the last 50 years, I have counseled individuals ranging from suicidal to those wanting to manage stress better. My expertise is quickly getting to the root issues troubling the whole person (mind, body, and spirit). I equip people with the Biblical tools they need to overcome the trials of life. God has a design for how we manage stress. When we follow His pattern it empowers us to live with the happiness we all desire. Set up an appointment today and I will help you maximize your potential in Christ Jesus.

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