- Newsletter Articles
Parenting a Child Who is Anxious at School
There are MANY reasons why a child should feel anxious. It is important to deal with these underlying reasons and to implement plans to overcome anxiety. If your child continues to remain anxious for more than a few weeks, it would be important to check in with his teacher and the school’s management team in order to address the issues more directly through therapy with an Occupational Therapist or a psychologist.
Fine Motor Development, Pencil Control and "Pinchy Fingers"
Adequate strength of the muscles of the wrist, intrinsic muscles of the hand and of the finger muscles is necessary for fine eye hand coordination. The development of various grasps begins in infancy and development continues through the preschool years. The most important of these in fine coordination is the pincer grasp, which is achieved by placing the tips of the index finger and thumb together in a pinching action. We refer to these fingers as “THE PINCHY FINGERS”.
Proprioception and Deep Touch Input
Proprioception is the term used to describe the sensory input, which is provided to the muscles and joints when the body engages in resisted activity. It is the type of input, which is inherent in all tasks offering traction or compression of the joints in active resisted movement. Proprioceptive input can be very calming and organising, provided that the input is offered without excitatory movement input, or excitatory emotional activity.
Fussy Eaters and Mealtime Meltdowns
Children of all ages can be fussy eaters on account of sensory processing difficulties. As babies, these children often experience some difficulty in latching onto the breast or they could have experienced colic and reflux. There is usually some indication in infancy that these babies are fussy babies in other respects as well. Such babies often do not take well to transitioning from the bottle or breast, to eating solids. They might also be fussy about food textures.
All babies begin to play by exploring sensorily. Babies love to play with textured toys and they explore these toys using not only their fingers, but also their mouths. They love feeling the toys across their lips, and chewing on them with their little gums and teeth. They explore the shape and texture of toy with their tongues. Babies who do not explore toys by mouthing them are certainly at a disadvantage compared with those who do.
“M-sitting” is a commonly used position by children. In this position, children sit on their bottoms with their knees bent, and their legs and feet splayed out to the sides in what looks like an 'M' or a 'W'. This position is used rather than sitting with both their feet to the side (mermaid sitting) or sitting cross-legged or long sitting. The child does this in an effort to lower their centre of gravity, so that they do not need to use their trunk muscles as much in holding their balance in sitting.
Television, Screen Media and the Impact on Sensory Regulation and Attention
Television is the world’s most popular leisure activity. Adults over the age of 15 years, watched 2 hours and 49 minutes per person per day in the USA, and 3½ hours per person per day in the UK.
Use of Our Products and What They Do?
Some background information…A child should begin to grasp his pencil using the correct pencil grip from about the age of four years, and should have a consistently good pencil grasp by around five years of age. The child should also begin to show a preferred or dominant hand at this age as well. Before this age, the toddler or preschooler would first use a fisted grip and then might later use a fisted grip with the index finger pointing down the pencil shaft.
The Organising Effect of Deep Pressure Brushing
Deep pressure is one of most effective sensory tools for organising the nervous system in children who present with sensory processing difficulties. When a child’s autonomic nervous system is poorly regulated, he may easily over- or under-react to various types of sensory input. For example, he might misinterpret certain types of touch, and may find some touch input very uncomfortable or even threatening.
Assisting a Dyspraxic Child
Dyspraxic children have difficulty in working out what is meant when an instruction is given. They do not necessarily have difficulty in following the verbal instruction, but cannot determine how the instruction is to be executed. The problem lies not in the auditory-language process of following the instruction, but in determining how they will actually fulfil the instruction.
Auditory Defensiveness - Sound Hyper-Sensitivity
Auditory defensiveness is a discomfort, hypersensitivity, or an avoidance of certain sounds, which would not be particularly disturbing or distressing to most people.
Many children, who have sensory processing difficulties, suffer from auditory defensiveness.
Managing Sensory and ADHD Children on the Playground
Children with ADHD or with Sensory issues often present with difficulties on the school playground. We will look at these two groups of children and consider some strategies that could be helpful in making break times more fun, productive, and less stressful for everyone!
Children who Chew on their Clothing
As we approach winter, long sleeves and cuddly collars become the norm, so too does the chewing of sleeves and collars in sensory seeking children! Parents look on in horror as their children’s brand new winter warmers are transformed into wet and tatty shreds! What on earth makes chewing of sleeve cuffs and shirt collars so appealing to children? Let’s take a look at what makes these children tick and why this seemingly disgusting habit could hold such appeal.
Joint Mobility and Low Muscle Tone
A child that M-Sits is typically “double-jointed” or has hypermobile joints. Low muscle tone and joint hypermobility often co-exist, and joint hypermobility is often the underlying reason for low muscle tone. Hypermobility affects 15-20% of the population. Children who experience Hypermobility are at risk for developing movement-related issues, as well as being at greater risk for experiencing anxiety.
Sensory Behaviour and the Nervous System
How can we assist sensory defensive children to settle and to cope in a more typical fashion? In this article, we take a look at some of the underlying physiology and autonomic nervous system activity which is thought to be involved in sensory avoidant behaviours, as well as some of the neurotransmitters and hormones that seem to play a role when children display defensive reactions and inappropriate behaviour in response to uncomfortable sensory input.
So What's All the Fuss About Midline Crossing?
Children are most often referred for Occupational Therapy for fine motor problems, poor pencil grip, weak pencil control, poor attention and concentration difficulties, chewing on their sleeves, chewing on their pencils, biting other children, being fussy eaters… the list goes on! They are also sent for OT because they don’t cross their body midline. What exactly does this mean?