Three & A Half Years Old
Overview of the Section on Protecting Children’s Developing Senses from the Creative Therapies Lecture on Positive Parenting in Today’s World
In prayer we take time to see our children as beautiful whole beings filled and overflowing with shining sunlight from the inside up and out their crown.
What has happened to the harmonious sense of being in our children? The conveniences of modern day are stressing the sensory development of this generation of children. Every year we learn there is an increase in learning disabilities, sensory integration and autism. Some have put this statistic as high as one in every four boys now. Among the many explanations are: the high-pitched sound waves in ultrasounds; stressful birth experiences; poor nutrition; 36 vaccines in the first year of life – many of which are in the first six months before the blood-brain barrier closes; an entertainment infused culture with hours of immobility; passivity while mesmerized by a screen (albeit television, computer or handheld) and restricted daily movement restrained for hours in car seats.
The play of many children is rarely now seen as natural and creative from within. It has actually become more common to act out screen characters, in an attempt to digest the indigestible while free, play in the neighborhood seems to have all but disappeared and replaced with controlled, homogenous playdates.
We discussed the four unconscious, foundational systems/senses. They are seen in our will forces and manifest in our metabolic-limbic system.
1. Sense of Touch – This is a tactile inner sense of where I end and the object, a sense of boundary.
Touch Sensitive: refusing to hold hands; rejecting touch; avoidance of getting hands sticky or dirty; on tippy toes; irritated by clothing tags and seams; reactive to touch; fussy about food textures
Under Responsive to Touch: shoes on wrong feet; clothing twisted; dirt or food on face; sloppy eater; dribbling; clumsy; intrusive and unaware of frequently bumping into others; craving touch; touching everything
Discussion: Provide healthy tactile experiences with lots of outdoor activity and avoid screens
2. Sense of Life or Well-being – This is a well-being experienced as an unconscious, well functioning rhythmic life or inner comfort.
anxiety; tension; inability to relax; emotionally fragile; rejecting healthy food; want easily digested food such as pasta; difficulty with the basic rhythms of waking, sleeping, eating, breathing and eliminating. Vitality is compromised: pale, thin, with dark circles under their eyes often indicative of food sensitivities and allergies
Discussion: Provide basic daily rhythms wake at same time regardless of day of the week, eat meals at the same time each day, create bedtimes routines to gently invite sleep, have them go to the toilet at set times to support them in recognizing their own needs. Give clear messages as a parent. Avoid early formal education.
3. Sense of Self Movement – (proprioceptive) rhythmic
clumsy; too much or too little tension either crashing and bashing or in the corner avoiding movement and slouched over; slapping feet as they walk; pushing against children and objects; difficulty getting dressed and getting dressed properly; immature movement patterns and reflexes that have not disappeared; seeing rather than feeling where body goes
Discussion: Play games that involve start and stop such as Red light/green light, get lots of outdoor activity
4. Sense of Balance – (vestibular) where I am in space
avoidance or seeking constant motion; spinning yet not dizzy; difficulty sitting still; wriggling; rocking; bouncing; distracted; not imitating the adults in the environment; chronic ear infections
Discussion: The more we discussed the more we wanted to do all the recommendations for all children.
Fortunately, many teachers are integrating sensory support into their classroom. If any of the above concerns you, go to your child’s teacher or seek out an occupational therapy evaluation for your child. Many parents have found the following book helpful: The Out of Synch Child by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller which includes checklists and movements and experiences to strengthen a children’s senses.
The healthy development of these four senses creates a firm and secure physical foundation for children. While EBIPS provides some information about what is developmentally typical your child’s pediatrician is the one you must consult with about any of the above concerns.