My youngest child, Beckie, has always been cuddly and affectionate. As a newborn, she quieted as soon as I picked her up and held her cheek next to mine. I thought she recognized my voice, but it was the skin-to skin contact at least as much as my words to her that seemed to calm her. As she grew, I noticed that when others picked her up her little hands immediately started fingering the material of the holder’s clothing. She gently explored the feel of earrings, necklaces, scarves, and even daddy’s whiskers. At age three, I took her with me to a craft show. Knowing how she loved to touch different textures, before we went in to the show I reminded her to look with her eyes and not her hands. She looked both sad and surprised as she protested, “But Mommy, to look IS to touch.” Those were her exact words, and it confirmed that I had a very tactile learner and that I needed to allow her to touch some of the items that caught her interest. I ended up telling her that if she saw something she wanted to feel, she could ask me first and I would find out from the vendor if Beckie could touch the objects to see how they felt in her hand. As she grew older still, I heard the same request every day during our homeschool time when I was reading to the children: “Tickle my back, Mom!” If you are familiar with sensory integration (AKA sensory processing), you know that tickling can be aversive and irritating to some children. In Beckie’s case, she was sensory seeking and had lower registration for tactile input so the tickling was alerting to her. When she is just listening and not actively moving, it is hard for her to focus. Her AD/HD leads her into daydreaming and distractions. She recognized this about herself, and one strategy she found that seemed to help was to have her back tickled. The light touch was enough to help her stay alert and focus on listening to what I was reading. I became adept at one-hand holding or propping a book, depending on the size of the book, and using my other hand to trace lightly over Beckie’s back. I tried using a wooden backscratcher once, but that didn’t have the same effect for Beckie. I tried a backscratcher with metal scratchers, but that was also not acceptable to Beckie. When I became too absorbed by what I was reading or needed a drink of water and would thus cease the tickling, Beckie noticed immediately and either wiggled against me to prompt me back to task or grabbed my hand and placed it where it clearly belonged – on her back again! Sensory input can be calming or alerting, and each individual’s response to input varies. Often, as in Beckie’s case, our children show us over and over what they need and what works for them. Be observant and sensitive to individual differences, and take advantage of the strategies that work.Social tagging: AD/HD > sensory issues
There is more and more research that links many learning and developmental difficulties to poor communication and synchronisation between the two brain halves. An effective way of improving the processing functions in the brain is to listen to specially altered sound or music through headphones as pioneered by Dr. Alfred Tomatis (Tomatis method) and Dr. Guy Bérard (Auditory Integration Training – AIT).
Now there is a new Sound Therapy Programme which has been specifically developed with the aim to improve sensory processing, interhemispheric integration and cognitive functioning and it is entirely free to download and use at home. It has helped many children and adults with a wide range of learning and developmental difficulties, ranging from dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder to sensory processing disorders and autism. It is not a cure or medical intervention, but a structured training programme that can help alleviate some of the debilitating effects that these conditions can have on speech and physical ability, daily behaviour, emotional well-being and educational or work performance.
Check out the Free Sound Therapy Home Programme from Sensory Activation Solutions. There is no catch, it’s absolutely free and most importantly often effective. Find it at: http://www.uk.sascentre.com/uk_free.html.
Just read your blog about Beckie and her back scratching – I think Rich has that element as well – he’s been comforted by touch since day one – the first time we had him to ourselves in the Philippines and we were all lying down to take a nap in our tiny hotel room he cried (probably from a bit of fear, sadness, and exhaustion) and I went over to him and rubbed his back – he went right to sleep and never cried with us again the rest of the trip – he still asks for his back scratch about every night and he also likes to finger everything – he’s very tactile and visual in learning. Is rather maddening on occasion but part of a wonderful package that makes up Rich! I’m glad for Beckie she has a smart mom who had her figured out early and could help her learn in the very best ways possible and grow from a tiny package into a beautiful grown up package!!
We have not examined the “Free Sound Therapy Home Programme from Sensory Activation Solutions.” I approved Mr. Michaelis’ comment in the interest of the free exchange of ideas. If any readers would like to check it out and report back here for the benefit of the rest of us, please feel free.
I emphasize that we have not yet screened this site or programme and do not endorse or comment on it as of this date.
Thank you for your comment. Likewise we rejoice that you found this point of connection with Rich.