Remember To Breathe
‘Tis the season…for lots of continuing education, especially if you’re a speech and language pathologist AND a procrastinator–like me. Every year, I say, “This time, I’m going to complete my continuing education hours throughout the year, not crammed into the last two months of it.” And, every year, I lie. This coming Wednesday will be my third course since the beginning of November. And, I’m sure it will take at least ten more months before I’m even able to think about signing up for another class. Sigh.
Last week, I attended a course called, Effective Strategies, Interventions and Resources for Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (Sometimes, I think they all have this title). Most of us are fairly aware of ADHD and autism (ASD), especially since ASD has become the number one childhood developmental disorder. However, you may not be as familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder. A condition that exists when sensory signals (information from our six senses) don’t get organized into appropriate responses due to the central nervous system not working properly. When this happens, various environmental stimuli may cause a person to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or frightened. Often, this is when children with one or more of these diagnoses may shutdown or meltdown.
Anyway, it was a very interesting and valuable class, and I learned lots. Towards the end of the day, the instructor shared a number of resources to use with children to address their stress and frustration and those shutdown or meltdown moments. These strategies were geared to help children gain a level of relaxation and empower them to listen to their bodies in order to gain more emotional control. One of my favorites was a song presented by Sesame Street called, “Belly Breathe.” It talks to children about their emotions, using language that makes sense to them and what to do to calm down.
Here’s the thing, my experience has taught me that most of us have some sort of sensory challenge. I know I do: scratchy or too tight clothing and loud noises just to name a couple. Let me just say, turtleneck shirts make me want to scream, and loud-flushing toilets and hand dryers in public restrooms with the same decibel level as a jet engine are NOT my friends.
So, I was thinking, with the combination of sensory issues and special family time during the holidays, we could all probably benefit from this Sesame Street song and a reminder to just BREATHE. After all, ’tis the season to be merry…not meltdown. 😉
Categories: Speech and Language Pathology