Children are a wonder and a delight
They are all individual in personality, likes, dislikes, dreams and whānau. And yet, they all go through the same sensory motor neurodevelopmental stages which, over time, should provide the foundation of neurological development that allows the child the freedom to be and express who they truly are as individuals.
Sensory Motor Development
The process of sensory motor development begins in utero and is in action before the child is born, and yet the entire process of brain development takes over 21 years, with sensory motor neurodevelopment providing the initial framework from which the child will come to know themselves, their environment, and the people in their lives. Sometimes there can be hiccups / glitches in this development, which can be as simple (and as complex) as the brain 'processing and making sense of' sensory input a different way to how other people do, or planning and organising movement and co-ordination differently.
This can result in the child or individual experiencing themselves and the environment in which they are living in a very different way to other people. When this happens, the child or individual can have difficulty integrating easily into the next stage of neurological development, and this can hinder higher level processing that is necessary for attention, behaviour and learning. We can see the child having difficulty with expressing their emotional and cognitive intelligence, because their energy is going toward their sensory processing and motor development. The end result can be a child or individual being quite out of step with their developmental stage, and all of the activities and tasks they are expected to engage in with ease become a myriad of overloaded, overwhelmed and out of sync responses.
We can be somewhat (or a lot) at the mercy of our sensory processing and movement development and we can find ourselves in a world of increasing demands, decreasing supportive structures, and a lack of understanding of 'how we work'. This results in frustration for children, parents and teachers, as the child is so clearly having difficulty expressing what they know and who they are.
The Making Sense approach to this
At Making Sense Occupational Therapy, we aim to get to know 'how we work', so that we can share that information and understanding with parents and teachers as a means of putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together. We aim to support everyone on the child's team to understand not only the 'why', but the 'how' and the 'what' as well.
Understanding 'why' a child is having difficulty in the classroom, at home, at swimming and sports, or socially is just one part of the puzzle. Understanding 'how' we can work together as a team to support the child's neurological development, and understanding 'what' we can do on a practical day to day level, will ensure the child is getting the best opportunity to realise their potential, and allow their individual strengths to shine, while supporting them to meet their individual challenges, as we all must.
Working with the child's sensory processing and movement development will help the overall neurological development, and from this, the higher level functions of emotional and social development, behaviour and learning. Emma is passionate about helping people understand 'how we work', and from this, supporting and empowering parents and teachers to meet the child at their developmental stage. This provides the freedom to move forward from there, with respect to the child's developmental stage and individual pace of integration.