My Body and Me

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karla shark

Through my many years working with children with autism and special needs, I have noticed the profound disconnect many of them have with their own bodies, from having difficulty recognizing and identifying their own body parts to struggling with being aware of where their bodies are in space and how their bodies feel. Many factors can affect a child’s body awareness and connection to their body. Difficulty with language and vocabulary, memory and sensory regulation all play a part in body awareness. Children who experience sensory processing difficulties in particular, struggle with body awareness and sensory regulation. Our brain and the functioning of our brain plays a key role in sensory regulation and body awareness. Various areas of our brain process sensory information and sensory input. Sensory processing involves processing external information (the environment) as well as internal information (what’s happening in our bodies). The brain processes information through the 5 senses (smell, taste, touch sight and sound) as well as the 2 “invisible” senses, vestibular and proprioceptive. Children who have sensory processing difficulties are wired differently in their brains. Their brains often misfire and are unable to process or integrate sensory information correctly. They may be extremely sensitive to senses and internal or external stimuli. This over-stimulation can cause anxiety and cause the child’s nervous system to be in a constant state of overdrive and tension. This can affect the child’s mood, behavior, social relationships and participation in daily activities. Lack of vestibular and proprioceptive processing can cause the child to have difficulty connecting to their bodies, how fast they are going, where they are in space, balance and coordination. The practice of yoga supports children with sensory processing difficulties and limited body awareness by calming the nervous system, supporting the brain in processing sensory information more effectively, strengthening balance and coordination and teaching vocabulary connected to body parts. Turning their bodies into animals and shapes teaches children body parts and body awareness in fun and motivating ways and encourages language development at the same time! Here’s to getting our kids to be more connected, balanced and aware of their bodies!

a littleĀ information on sensory processing…

Sensory Processing and Sensory Processing Deficits

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