Sensory Systems Assemble!: Sensory Processing and Integration

Photo Credit: Marvel

We’re all familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers, right? An ensemble of superheroes coming together to stop formidable foes who threaten our world. Well, our sensory systems operate in the same way.

Each sense has their own set of responsibilities but will team up with one another to understand what’s going on around us and how to appropriately respond. This collab is known as sensory integration.

Sensory integration (SI for short, also known as sensory processing) refers to the processing, integration, and organization of sensory information from our body and the environment. This process allows us to participate in day-to-day functions, from self-care to socializing.

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Trying to Focus: Kids and Attention

Children have short attention spans.

I know this seems super obvious, but it’s something my husband and I are currently working on with our almost 5-year-old. If he’s interested in a topic, he’ll be engaged for hours, like when he’s learning about animals or conducting science experiments. But give that kid a simple instruction and he’ll forget it or become distracted in seconds flat. Yeah, it sounds like every kid at this age, but it made me want to revisit what I currently know (and research more) about attention and how to best help my son improve it.

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VARK: Tips for Every Learning Style

Yesterday’s post about learning styles explained that it is better to present new concepts to kids in a variety of different ways. Some new information is easier to understand using a primary modality, like teaching science using kinesthetic/hands-on experimentation rather than reading it from a book. But for other types of information, you can use a varied approach to support deeper learning.

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Your Kid’s Learning Style: Is it Important?

There are a lot of identifiers that give a bit of insight into how people tick. Identifiers like our zodiac sign, what Hogwarts house we belong to, our Myers-Briggs type, and even what learning style best suits us. But when it comes to kids, does knowing their learning preference make a difference?

Recently, my husband and I were discussing how we learn best. My husband absorbs information best auditorily while I find myself to be a visual learner. This talk came as we were trying to figure out what type of learners our kids were, especially when it came to our 4-year-old who was struggling to recall and apply information (like knowing what day it is or when his baseball practices were).  We were trying to determine the best way he obtains knowledge in order to help him succeed.

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All the Feels: ASMR

Remember The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross? Even if you didn’t watch an entire episode, his light brush strokes and calming voice as he talked about “happy accidents” would help many unwind from a busy day. Little did we (or maybe even Bob Ross himself) know that what he was doing would later be known as ASMR.

ASM What Now?

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (aka ASMR) is a physical sensation, characterized by “tingles” starting at the scalp and traveling down the spine, when given soft methodical auditory, visual, or tactile (touch) stimuli. Think of caresses on the cheek, whispering or soft singing, or watching gentle hand motions. The feeling is said to provide a calming effect on an individual, helping to reduce anxiety, boost mood, and ease into sleep. Although this trend is crazy popular with adults via YouTube and relaxation apps, ASMR may be beneficial for kids, too; similar to a sound or white-noise machine.

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