Our babies tell us a lot about ourselves.
This means we can learn a lot about them, by going inward.
Inward to the central nervous system, and what I call, The Sensory Body.
In school, I learned there were five senses: see, touch, hear, taste, and smell. The way it was taught, these senses worked with the brain, and taste and smell were really close together.
And thus concluded the lesson on the senses of the body in school.
As my first grew up, and his sensory body learned how to regulate himself, I found that we had a lot of the same avoidance issues. Slouching. Hearing frequencies others can’t hear. Too much touching.
When I’m with other people with sensory issues, aka my husband and kids, mine aren’t noticeable to me. (except for the damn input channel)
That urge to nurture everyone before myself takes over, and my needs become automatic backseat. Until the next day, when I shut down and can’t seem to handle talking to anyone, or #adulting at all.
Our sensory body is so important to our everyday functioning and we know nothing about it.
I learned how swinging can help you feel stable, and big bear hugs can give you awareness of your body. We hear about the weighted blankets, the calming jars, and the play dough, and I had no idea how any of it worked.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
(Disclaimer: I am not a therapist, or licensed in anyway, I’m just a parent that asked a lot of questions and got a lot of answers.)
The human body as SO MANY SENSES, science is still catching up, but there are seven key ones to focus on: See, Hear, Touch, Smell, Taste, Vestibuler, and Proprioceptive. These seven senses work together with the brain and the nervous system to create stimuli in the body, hyping up or calming down.
Every person has a different sensory mapping, including neurotypicals.
Vestibular relates to your sense of balance, and where your body is in the air around you. Slouching can be related to this, because sitting up makes the body feel out of balance. Imagine you’re sitting in an office chair, and someone sneaks up behind you and pulls back on it. It’s fucking terrifying right?
Astronauts do vestibular training to learn how to handle space. It’s also a therapy Occupational Therapists use with kids to help those that are avoidant and seeking to regulate their body to walk on our earth.
Proprioceptive relates to the joints. It’s deep pressure, heavy work, self body awareness. Heavy blankets are calming, because they are pressure on the joints, which tells the brain where the body is.
These senses all work together to create a sensory map of your body. It tells your body how to respond to things.
Think about an activity you do everyday, like eating for example.
Eating involves looking at your food, touching your food in some way, then inserting it into your mouth, the textures involved with all of that, and then the ability to swallow safely. There are so many things along the way that can contribute to a picky eater, or in our case, a child that needs food therapy.
Tasks that we view as simple, can take so much energy from someone with avoidance to said sensory inputs. A kid that hates crumbiness, or anything on his hands, will NOT be able to move on until his hands are clean, because his BODY will be telling him he can’t.
They may rub it in their hair, or on their clothes, and when I noticed my son had this thing, I realized one day:
OMG I do, too! My mom always yelled at me to use a napkin, because I repeatedly would use my clothes. Even now, I need to wipe my hands right away if i feel ANYTHING on them. This was such an ingrained thing my body always just did on it’s own, and I never noticed it, until it was staring me back in the face twenty years later.
Understanding the Sensory Body means we can learn what makes ourselves, and our families tick. Creating schedules and routines that work for everyone, and incorporating a sensory diet, are super easy, once you know what grinds everyone’s gears.
It’s the type of learning I was looking for in all the parenting groups, and never found one that quite fit what I wanted.
If you’re looking for a community of parents who want to actually learn more about how to make parenting easier, and more efficient, so we can spend our free time doing other things, then click here, and join up!
It’s not a dumping ground for your problems full of negative Nellies looking for a pat on the back.
Its about real change in your life. Supporting each other through the bad, and the working together to create solutions that work, and holding each other accountable for their use.
Every Thursday we have a LIVE topic discussion, where I pop in for an hour or two, catch up with you, teach on something I’ve learned over the past six years on this journey, and then we have daily discussions to walk through life together.
Yesterday we talked about The Sensory Body, and I shared the tools we use to teach our children how to advocate for their sensory body needs. To check out the video, click here to join the community.
I cannot wait to connect with you, hear your story! How I can support you on this parenting journey?
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