Presentation on theme: "Keeping It Together at School: Sensory, Emotional and Behavioral Self-Regulation Karen R. Gouze, Ph.D. Children’s Memorial Hospital Northwestern University."— Presentation transcript:
Keeping It Together at School: Sensory, Emotional and Behavioral Self-Regulation Karen R. Gouze, Ph.D. Children’s Memorial Hospital Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine February 25, 2011
Self-Regulation Definition: –The individual’s ability to actively control arousal and one’s responses to it –Self-regulation occurs in the context of goal attainment –Mental health is the ability to love well, play well, work well, and expect well –Ability to self-regulate is critical to all areas
Developmental Progression of Self- Regulatory Processes Infants have basic self-regulatory mechanisms—perhaps best captured in notions of temperament Sensory reactivity has long been subsumed under the construct of temperament. CFA of Rothbart temperament, sensory regulation yielded three distinct factors— negative affectivity, effortful control, sensory regulation (Gouze et al., 2010)
Regulation Milestones At 6 months- Babies should be able to tolerate and enjoy being moved and touched. They can sustain interest in an object or person for more than a minute. Can usually self console. A 9 month old – should be able to play with one toy for two to three minutes, and attend to a speaking person or look at pictures in a book.
Regulation Milestones At 12 months- an infant should be moving to musical rhythm and sleeping twelve to fourteen hours at night with naps once or twice daily. At 18 months- A toddler should enjoy messy play and be demonstrating preferences for toys. They should be sleeping ten to twelve hours and napping one time for three hours.
Regulation Milestones At 24 months- a toddler should be playing by self for a few minutes, as well as freely playing with playdoh, paint or other such substances. They should enjoy rough house play, most playground equipment. Three year olds- Should show strong independent drives. May not nap anymore. They should be able to participate in circle time and interactive games.
Areas of Self-Regulation Behavior Regulation Emotion Regulation Attention Regulation Sensory Regulation
Behavior Regulation The ability to inhibit inappropriate behavioral responses The ability to choose appropriate behavioral responses Inhibiting or choosing behaviors in response to internal emotional states (Eisenberg, et. al., 2000) Early social information processing models of externalizing disorders focused on this approach
Emotion Regulation Definitional disagreements Garber & Dodge (1991)- –“Emotion is like pornography: The experts have great difficulty defining it but we all know it when we see it”
Emotion Regulation Cole et. al. (2004) –Changes associated with activated emotions –Valence of emotion is irrelevant –Can include changes in the emotion itself (intensity, frequency) –Also includes changes in other psychological processes-e.g. memory Emotion as regulating and emotion as regulated
Attention Regulation Ability to focus and sustain attention Ability to shift attention when appropriate
Sensory Regulation “The ability to regulate and organize reactions to sensations in a graded and adaptive manner” (McIntosh et al., 1999) Includes sensory modulation primarily but, more broadly speaking, sensory processing disorder includes: –Sensory modulation –Sensory discrimination –Sensory-based motor disorder
Sensory Processing is an important aspect of normal brain function, enabling us to take in and make sense of many different kinds of sensation coming into the brain along different sensory channels at the same time. The ability to make adaptive responses is dependent upon adequate sensory processing. (Hanschu, p.6)
“We live on the leash of our senses” Diane Ackerman A Natural History of the Senses, 1990
Relationships Between Self-Regulation and Adaptive School Functioning Behavior Regulation –The ability to suppress an inappropriate behavioral response. –The ability to sit still, follow directions, inhibit impulsive responses (including hitting, shouting out answers, etc.). –The ability to stand in line, walk down the halls quietly, take out the appropriate work, follow teacher directions.
Relationships Between Self-Regulation and Adaptive School Functioning Emotion Regulation –The ability to tolerate frustration (e.g. a difficult assignment) –The ability to delay gratification—to wait for something you want (e.g. wait your turn to speak). –The ability to modulate your emotional responses to others—manage feelings of anger, sadness, happiness.
Relationships Between Self-Regulation and Adaptive School Functioning Attention Regulation –Ability to maintain and focus attention is critical to school success- (e.g. to attend to lessons, complete assignments, etc.) –Ability to shift attention as needed is critical to school success (e.g. to transition from one subject to another or one task to another) –Many believe that the ability to regulate attention is also critical to the regulation of emotion (Posner & Rothbart, 2000)
Relationships Between Self-Regulation and Adaptive School Functioning Sensory Regulation: –Related to most aspects of adaptive functioning. –The ability to respond in behaviorally appropriate ways. –The ability to manage one’s emotional responses. –The ability to regulate one’s attention.
Sensory Regulation and the School Environment Sensory Regulation: –Difficulty managing the noise, smells, movement, textures of everyday life. –Difficulty standing in line, staying seated, managing lunch room noise and jostling. –Difficulties in the classroom, the gym, the lunchroom, the hallways
The Relationship Between SPD and Emotional and Behavior Disorders Increasing evidence for a relationship between poor sensory processing and: – ADHD (Dunn & Bennett, 2002; Mangeot et al., 2001; Parush et al., 1997). –Externalizing disorders (Ben-Sasson et al. 2009; Gouze et al., 2009; Gunn, 2008). –Internalizing disorders (Goldsmith et al., 2006; Gouze et al. 2009). –Later fearfulness (Calkins et al., 1996).
Relationships between Self-Regulation and Adaptive Functioning Parents of children with SPD report impaired daily functioning across a range of daily activities (Dunn, 1997, 2001). Parents of children with sensory over- responsiveness report more early and concurrent socio-emotional problems and lower levels of adaptive skills than parents without these problems (Ben-Sassoon et al. 2009)
Relationships Between Self-Regulation and Adaptive School Functioning Sadhwani and colleagues (2006) found a strong positive relationship between good sensory processing and the development of effortful control. Effortful control is critical in school to the ability to apply oneself persistently to a difficult task and manage one’s emotions.
Relationships between Self-Regulation and Adaptive Functioning Children with SPD show a range of problems with other aspects of self-regulation including attention and emotion regulation, differential physiological reactivity and emotional and behavior problems.
The Relationship Between SPD and Emotional and Behavior Disorders PACT (NIMH RO1- MH063665, PI- John Lavigne, Ph.D. ) Findings: –33%- 63% of 4 year old children with SPD (based on a short sensory profile) have another psychiatric disorder—ODD, ADHD, depression, or anxiety. –37%-67% have only SPD
Aims of PACT Study –To examine the constitutional (temperament, sensory regulation) and psychosocial (attachment, parenting) factors contributing to externalizing and internalizing disorders in 4-year-olds. –To determine whether psychosocial variables mediate the relationships between constitutional vulnerability and disorder.
Participants N = 796 children and their parents Age 4-5 years (mean = 4.6) Gender –389 (48.8%)boys –401 (50.3%) girls Ethnicity –451 (56.6%) Non-Hispanic White children –136 (17.1%), African American children –158 (19.8%), Hispanic children
Measures Temperament: Child Behavior Questionnaire ( CBQ; Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey & Fisher, 2001 ) Sensory Regulation : Short Sensory Profile (McIntosh et. al. 1999) Attachment: Attachment Q-Sort ( AQS; Vaughn & Waters, 1990) Parenting –Parenting Behavior Inventory (Lovejoy et al., 1999) –Three Boxes Task (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, –Three Boxes Task (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1999 ) Symptoms of disorders : Child Symptom Inventory ( Gadow &Sprafkin, 2002 )
Reducing Measure Contamination Expert ratings were used to reduce item overlap on temperament, sensory regulation and symptom measures. Items on each measure were rated on Likert scales. Mean ratings were used to eliminate overlapping items from each scale.
Sensory Items Retained After Expert Ratings 13 Pure Sensory Items were retained from the following scales: –Tactile –Movement –Low energy –Visual-auditory –Taste
Sensory Items Eliminated by Experts Two scales were eliminated as containing items that were more closely related to temperament or emotional/behavior disorder: –Seeks sensation –Auditory sensitivity
Predictors of ODD Symptoms Overall model contributed 33% of the variance –(F= (7,788), p<.0001) Significant predictors –Sensory Regulation (β =-.34) –Effortful Control (β = -.19) –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting (β =.23) –AQS (β =-.10)
Mediators of Constitutional Variables Mediators of relationship between SR and ODD –PBI Hostile/coercive parenting –Attachment Mediators of relationship between EC and ODD –PBI Hostile/coercive parenting –Attachment
Predictors of ADHD Symptoms Overall model contributed 42% of the variance –(F= (7,788), p<.0001) Significant predictors –Sensory Regulation (β =-.35) –Effortful Control (-.33) –PBI Supportive/Engaged Parenting (β =.07) –Positive Parenting (β = -.07) –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting (β =.16) –AQS (β =-.12)
Mediators of Constitutional Variables Mediators of relationship between SR & ADHD –Positive parenting, –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting –AQS Mediators of relationship between EC & ADHD –Positive parenting, –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting –AQS
Predictors of GAD Symptoms Overall model contributed 38% of the variance –(F= (7,788), p<.0001) Significant predictors –Sensory Regulation (β = -.46) –Effortful Control (β = -.19) –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting (β =.13) –AQS (β = -.09)
Mediators of Constitutional Variables Mediators of relationship between SR & GAD –PBI Hostile/coercive parenting –Attachment Mediators of relationship between EC & GAD –PBI Hostile/coercive parenting –Attachment
Mediators of Constitutional Variables Mediators of relationship between SR & MDD –PBI Supportive/Engaged Parenting; Positive parenting –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting –Attachment Mediators of relationship between EC & MDD –PBI Supportive/Engaged Parenting; Positive Parenting –PBI Hostile/Coercive Parenting –Attachment
Discussion Both constitutional and psychosocial variables are related to concurrent measures of internalizing and externalizing disorders but different patterns emerge. Sensory regulation was the only variable related to every disorder. Negative affect was not related to any of the disorders. Effortful control was related to both externalizing disorders and GAD, but not to MDD
Acknowledgments This research was supported by NIMH grant #RO1MH063665, PI: John Lavigne, Ph.D. Research assistants –Kyla Aimone, Hyo Bae, Karyn Brasky, Elisabeth Carrigg, Helen Chee, Vanessa Christian, Maria D’Aniello, Carly Demopoulos, Ilana Gonik, Bryce Hella, Jamie Howard, Jen Keller, Lindsay Pate, Ginger Robinson, Edna Romero, Joshua Shulruff, Jen Strickland, Roberto Uribe Thanks to the parents and children who graciously allowed us into their homes.
The Relationship Between SPD and Emotional and Behavior Disorders Are SPD and emotional and behavior disorders separate? –Yes, remember 37%-67% of SPD children in this sample did not have any emotional or behavior problems BUT: –SPD is clearly a significant risk factor for the development of emotional and behavior problems AND: –SPD and emotional and behavior problems often occur co-morbidly.
So, how do we understand and clinically address these relationships? So, how do we understand and clinically address these relationships? Sensory regulation is critical for healthy child development—for the development of self-efficacy, feelings of mastery, identity and understanding one’s place in the world. Self-regulation is critical for adaptive functioning.
Meet Jorge, age 6 Problems at home –Uncooperative –Unresponsive –Hard to move through the day –Moody and anxious –Disorganized
Problems at school: –Incomplete work –Disorganized –Difficulty “getting started” –Uneven academic skills –Clumsy
Problems with peers: –Difficulty making friends –Perceived as aggressive –Left behind in group settings –Withdrawn on playground
Thinking About Jorge Through a Sensory Lens Who He Is What He Must Do Where He Is WhatHappens Success Success or or Failure Failure
Looking at Jorge Through the Sensory Lens Who He Is: –Auditory defensiveness –Poor proprioceptive discrimination –Proprioceptive insensitivity –Poor tactile discrimination
Where He Is: –Loud classroom –Restricted desktop space –Crowded classroom –Cluttered visual environment
What He is Expected to Do: –Work independently –Cut, paste, assemble project parts in sequence –Look up/down and back/forth from board to desktop to copy model of project –Stay seated –Screen out irrelevant noise and movement –Keep materials organized on desktop
Jorge: It’s Not That Simple Multiple lenses are required to understand Jorge: –Sensory challenges At home At school With peers –Attentional challenges –Family issues
Helping the Dysregulated Child The role of the occupational therapist –Experts in the treatment of sensory regulation The role of the educator –Experts in learning and the technology of instruction The role of the psychologist –Experts in the treatment of behavioral and emotional regulation
Quick Review of the Basics of SPD Three areas of sensory processing disorder: –Sensory modulation –Sensory discrimination –Sensory-based motor planning
Dysfunctional Modulation: Hypersensitivity Sensory Experience too loud too rough too bright too spicy too “scratchy” too fast Observable Behavior hyper-responsiveoverwhelmedanxious holds back, withdraws resistantoverstimulated
Dysfunctional Modulation: Sensory Insensitivity Sensory Experience too soft too low too slow too bland too loose Observable Behavior tuned out sensory-seekinghypo-responsiveclumsymessyoveractiverisk-taking
Remember: Dysfunctional modulation can be either over- or under-sensitivity. It can also be a problem of dysregulation, a shifting between the two extremes. Like poor radio reception, the signal does not come in clearly or consistently.
Some Daily Challenges for the Child with Poor Sensory Modulation Tolerating noise, making noise. Personal space. Seeking stimulation in inappropriate ways or at inappropriate times. Staying seated, postural control. Interpreting the emotions and reactions of others accurately.
Dysfunctional Discrimination Difficulties telling whether sensory input is near/far, hard/soft, coming from the left/right or front/back, threatening/benign, relevant/irrelevant. These mis-interpretations can interfere with fine-motor skills, early learning, social functioning and appropriate behavior.
Some Daily Challenges for the Child with Poor Sensory Discrimination Finding things in a cluttered desk. Tying shoes. Recognizing ABCs. Picking out an object in a large array, e.g. on a bulletin board or worksheet. Handwriting Interpreting social cues
Dysfunctional Motor Planning When sensory modulation or discrimination are compromised, a child cannot efficiently conceptualize, plan, or carry out (and remember) motor movements. Her behavior may appear disorganized, erratic, clumsy, off-task or uncoordinated.
Ideational dyspraxia: difficulty “knowing what to do” or getting started on unfamiliar or complicated motor tasks.This leads to trouble with self-directed and self-initiated activities.
Some Daily Difficulties for the Child With Poor Motor Planning Learning to talk Riding a bicycle Cutting and pasting Team sports Getting dressed Getting started on a school project Learning a line dance
School: A Continuous Sensory Assault School is a potential nightmare for the child with sensory processing problems.
Poor Sensory Regulation at School A student with inefficient sensory processing is likely to have trouble: Learning new information Demonstrating what she knows Behaving appropriately in the classroom Moving herself through the daily routines.
Sensory Processing and Learning The relationship between sensory processing and academic achievement has not been well studied but large numbers of sensory dysregulated children have learning disabilities. It is reasonable to assume that sensory processing problems will affect learning in both direct and indirect ways. The more “mismatches” between a child and her school environment, the greater the potential for interference in learning.
Types of Help This child will need help from teachers and other school personnel in these areas: Decreasing sensory arousal Organizing herself/focusing on work Following directions Managing her emotions Getting along with peers
Using the Sensory Lens Use the sensory lens to look for “mismatches” between: the child’s sensory capacities the child’s sensory capacities the sensory characteristics of the classroom the sensory characteristics of the classroom the sensory demands of the activity she has been assigned. the sensory demands of the activity she has been assigned.
Looking Through a Sensory Lens Who He Is What He Must Do Where He Is WhatHappens Success Success or or Failure Failure
Distinguishing SPD, Emotional and Behavior Problems Evan’s story
Distinguishing Sensory, Emotional and Behavioral Problems Not always possible. Think of a key and its many notches. Try using a good functional behavior analysis.
Using the Behavioral Lens Use the behavioral lens to look for “mismatches” between: the child’s behavioral capacities (e.g. self- control, ability to inhibit) the child’s behavioral capacities (e.g. self- control, ability to inhibit) the behavioral characteristics of the classroom (e.g. clear vs. unclear rules) the behavioral characteristics of the classroom (e.g. clear vs. unclear rules) the behavioral demands of the activity she has been assigned (requires quiet, sitting still, etc.). the behavioral demands of the activity she has been assigned (requires quiet, sitting still, etc.).
Using the Emotional Lens Use the emotional lens to look for “mismatches” between: the child’s emotional capacities (e.g. frustration tolerance, tolerance of disappointment) the child’s emotional capacities (e.g. frustration tolerance, tolerance of disappointment) the emotional characteristics of the classroom (e.g. affectively charged vs. affectively neutral) the emotional characteristics of the classroom (e.g. affectively charged vs. affectively neutral) the emotional demands of the activity she has been assigned (task that causes strong arousal). the emotional demands of the activity she has been assigned (task that causes strong arousal).
Using the Attentional Lens Use the attentional lens to look for “mismatches” between: the child’s attentional capacities (e.g.persistent focus, attentional shifting)) the child’s attentional capacities (e.g.persistent focus, attentional shifting)) the attentional characteristics of the classroom (e.g. lots of distractions) the attentional characteristics of the classroom (e.g. lots of distractions) the attentional demands of the activity she has been assigned (e.g. amount of focused attention required for task completion). the attentional demands of the activity she has been assigned (e.g. amount of focused attention required for task completion).
Individual Solutions How to analyze a situation to determine sensory, behavioral, emotional contributions to the problem.
Functional Behavior Analysis Looks beyond the behavior itself. Identifies child specific cognitive, emotional, social and\or environmental factors associated with the occurrence or non-occurrence of a behavior.
Functional Analysis Day and time Problem incident Behavioral, emotional, sensory characteristics of the environment Behavioral, emotional, sensory characteristics of the task Already identified behavioral, emotional, sensory characteristics of the child.
The Sensory Diary Child’s response Teacher’s response Recovery--how long it took and how it was accomplished Think about using different lenses--who the child is, where he is, what he is being asked to do. What fits best?
Program for Jorge Must take into account:
Looking at Jorge Through the Sensory Lens Who He Is: –Auditory defensiveness –Poor proprioceptive discrimination –Proprioceptive insensitivity –Poor tactile discrimination
Looking at Jorge Through a Behavioral Lens After sensory issues not too many behavioral issues left—aggression (the major behavioral issue) appears to be related to sensory issues.
Looking at Jorge Through an Emotional Lens Gets flooded emotionally when he cannot be successful. Feels inadequate leading to emotional “shut-down”
Looking at Jorge Through an Attentional Lens Inattentive ADHD—difficulty sustaining focus even in quiet situations.
Where He Is: –Loud classroom –Restricted desktop space –Crowded classroom –Cluttered visual environment
What He is Expected to Do: –Work independently with sustained focus. –Cut, paste, assemble parts in sequence. –Look up/down and back/forth from board to desktop to copy model of project. –Stay seated. –Screen out irrelevant noise and movement. –Keep materials organized on desktop.
Proposed Interventions Desk organizer Come in earlier than the crowd of classmates. Organize area for entire class for backpacks and coats. Give Jorge work packet at his desk to minimize looking up and down. Sensory shelter area for work/noise blocking headphones.
Proposed Interventions Additional time for writing/ability to take unfinished assignments home without penalty. Lots of praise for progress. Medication for inattentive ADD. Family therapy with behavioral/emotional emphasis to manage tasks of daily living and provide a sense of positive self worth. Occupational therapy in and out of school for sensory and fine motor issues.
School Based Interventions Be preventive Use a collaborative problem solving approach (see Ross Greene: “The Explosive Child”, “Lost at School”) Use a functional analysis to determine when and how to intervene. Think “multi-determined”.
The Sensory Diet Be preventive—use a sensory diet
The Sensory Diet A sensory diet is the assortment of sensory experiences a child (or grown up) is exposed to on a regular basis. The type, timing, intensity and duration of these experiences determine their influence on the child’s mind, body, behavior and emotions.
A Healthy Sensory Diet Movement and Balance –Jumping –Swinging –Pushing/Pulling –Rocking –Sitting assists
A Healthy Sensory Diet Touch –Swaddling –Weighted Blankets/Vests –Bear Hugs –Massage –Textured Play
A Healthy Sensory Diet Volume Control –Hideaways –Lighting, Colors, Smells, Sounds –Relaxation
By raising a child’s awareness of her sensory diet, you are teaching her to tune in to her body and to recognize and respect her sensory needs.
Helping a Child to Help Himself Talking honestly about sensory sensitivities and behavioral and emotional difficulties helps a child become aware of his own needs. Problem-solving difficult situations from all perspectives allows him to accept his vulnerabilities and teaches him how to recognize and accommodate them. Emphasizing his strengths encourages him to persevere.
Examples of Sensory Modifications Challenge –Lockers/proximity, spacing, fine motor –Lunch/noise level, crowds, seating, carrying tray –Music class/noise level, pitch sensitivity Modification –Locate locker at end of row, key or additional time –Lunch alternative, perimeter seating, beginning or end of lunch line –Sensory shelter or ear plugs
Examples of Sensory Modifications Challenge –Classroom noise –Anxiety/stress with changes in routine –Writing difficulties Modification –Place in quiet classroom, earplugs, sensory breaks –Early warning for changes –Word processing, dictation, notetaker
Examples of Sensory Modifications Challenge –Seating/furniture height, traditional posture, movement, space –Physical education/uniform, changing time, locker, echo Modification –Seat at perimeter, cushion, leave room for minor movement, bands on chair legs –Consult with PE/PT/modification to classes, alternate uniform (or undergarment), key
Behavioral Intervention at School Good behavioral control requires: –Building a positive relationship. –Lots of praise. –Clear and reasonable expectations. –Predictable consequences for misbehavior.
Behavioral Interventions at School Behavior management programs: –Select a few target behaviors. –Make sure the child understands the behavioral goals. –Select short time periods—the goal is for the child to be successful. –Be consistent with earned rewards. –Communicate with home.
Behavioral Interventions at School Stay away from power assertive approaches. Plan ahead—avoid situations that create sensory or emotional discomfort. Discriminate between “must do” and optional tasks.
Behavioral Interventions at School Effective consequences are: –Immediate –Logical –Fair (smaller works better than larger) –Universally applied –Enforceable
Common Behavioral Pitfalls Too many target behaviors. Target behaviors are vague or subject to interpretation. Too long a time period until feedback. Poor reward structure. Rewards are not given or are withheld. No connection between school and home. Child does not understand the program.
Sample Behavioral Program Jorge: –Reward task completion. –Set goal to complete “morning work” in packet. –Start with completion of smaller amount of work. –Immediate reinforcement—a sticker on an index card that goes home to mom. –Possible reward in school—special job/help teacher (requires 80% success in week). –Gradually increase demands.
Emotional Interventions at School Modeling- a calm teacher is the best model. Emotional reactivity causes adults to be more emotionally reactive. Down-regulate the emotions in the classroom. Allow for emotional “chill-outs”
Emotional Interventions in School Cognitive-behavioral techniques –Teach children to recognize physical cues. –Teach children the language of emotion. –Teach children relaxation techniques. –Thought stopping. –Changing channels. –Cool tools.
Relaxation Breathing exercises Visual imagery—e.g. “turtle”, a “web”, a calming place Deep muscle relaxation Sensory shelters Other sensory input
Thought Stopping Teach children the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and actions Teach them control over their thoughts Externalizing the problem—”what can you do to keep anger out when he comes knocking on your door?”
Changing Channels Thought switching—shifting from negative to positive thoughts Use cartoon imagery and thought bubbles—have children practice, practice, practice
Cool Tools Have children make a “tool box” with their favorite techniques Reward them for using their “cool tools” Use story telling to reinforce the use of “cool tools”
Identify “Islands of Competence” Identify children’s strengths. Provide opportunities for these strengths to flourish and be publicly celebrated. Allow child to “shine” in these areas. Find adult supports-critical for these children. (De-escalation requires a trusting relationship). Children are much less likely to be reactive if they feel appreciated!
Social Challenges in School For a child with sensory modulation difficulties: Noise may seem louder Scrapes may be more painful Tumbling and jostling may be threatening High fives may be too hard May always be “in your face”
Social Challenges in School For a child with sensory discrimination difficulties: Difficulty with group projects involving planning and assembly. Difficulty telling when a peer’s touch is friendly or fearsome. Difficulty discriminating emotional expressions.
Social Challenges in School A child with poor motor planning might have difficulty with: BaseballBasketballHopscotch Four Square Other recess activities
Social Challenges at School For a child with behavioral regulation difficulties: Waiting his turn might be difficult Not grabbing things that are appealing is harder Not saying the first thing that comes to his mind is a challenge
Social Challenges at School For a child with emotional regulation difficulties: Tolerating others’ negative emotions. Delaying gratification. Tolerating frustration. Managing uncomfortable feelings. Modulating anger.
Social Challenges at School A child with attention regulation issues might have difficulty: Shifting attention to new games or activities. Maintaining interest in a given social exchange or activity. Following quickly paced social interactions.
Being in Control Children with self regulation difficulties often feel assaulted or out of control. Their response is to be rigid and controlling—a sure fire way to alienate their teachers and their peers.
Difficulties with Recess Difficulty organizing themselves or others. Difficulty managing more than one child at a time. Difficulty translating their ideas into action.
Difficulties with Structured Group Activities Motor demands may be too difficult. May take them longer than others to manage the task so they lag behind their peers. For many sensory kids, “two is company, three is a crowd”.
Social Interventions at School Alternatives to lunch/recess. Social skills groups. Classroom based bullying interventions. Help the child select activities at which she can be successful.
The Helping Team Children with sensory, behavioral, emotional and social problems often have multiple needs: They may require extra instructional support. They may be eligible for special education services. They may be on medication. They may benefit from counseling or social work services.
The Helping Team Their team of helpers may include: –Classroom teachers –Parents –Occupational therapist –LD specialist –Speech/language therapist –School psychologist –Behavior specialist –Private therapist –Other people at school important to the child
The Helping Team The purpose of the team is to recommend strategies to help the child succeed. Focus on child’s strengths as well as her weaknesses. Improve sensory climate and reduce/alter sensory demands placed on child. Implement appropriate behavioral and emotional interventions. Work toward the “just-right challenge.”
Conclusions There are no magic bullets. The sensory lens can be a helpful guide. Sensory sensitive solutions require stepping back, analyzing the situation, generating solutions, and trying them out. Behavioral, emotional and social interventions are necessary adjuncts to sensory interventions!
References Ackerman, D. (1990). A natural history of the senses. New York: Random House. Ben-Sasson, A.; Carter, A.S.; & Briggs-Gowan (2009) Sensory over- responsivity in elementary school:Prevalence and social-emotional correlates. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37 (5), Calkins, S.D., Fox, N.A. & Marshall, T. (1996). Behavioral and physiological antecedents of inhibited and disinhibited behavior. Child Development, 67, Cole, P.M.; Martin, S.E.; & Dennis, T.A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Development, 75, Dunn, W. (1997). The impact of sensory processing abilities on the daily lives of young children and their families: A conceptual model. Young Children, 9(4), 23-35
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References Greene, R.W. (2008). Lost at school: why our kids with behavioral challenges are falling through the cracks at school and how we can help them. New York: Scribner. Gunn, T.E. (2008) Relationship between sensory deficits, oppositional defiant disorder, and externalizing behaviors in an urban preschool population. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 68(11-B), Hopkins, J., Gouze, K.R., Sadhwami, A., Radtke, L. LeBailly, S. A. & Lavigne, J.V. (2008) Temperament, sensory regulation, parenting, and attachment differentially lead to internalizing and externalizing behaviors in 4-year olds. Paper presented at the 20th Annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.
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