Parents my heart goes out to you. We are living in strange times. Schedules are all over the place. It is leaving parents stressed out and perhaps more unfortunate, our kids are just as stressed out. The difference is kids are attempting to navigate their stress without the same tools.
Our ability to understand the world around us, to predict the world around us, to live in harmony with the world around us requires a nervous system that is functioning optimally. The sense of smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and our internal sense of body combined with our autonomic nervous system connect to create our individual world. Our brains are always gathering, interrupting, and creating a response to what is going on internally and externally. Unfortunately, when we have alteration in our development, we have gaps of information coming in, being interrupted, and ultimately creating a response to incomplete, missing, or corrupt data.
What does that all mean? Think about it this way, as our brain develops it becomes more efficient in regards to movement, balance (vestibular), and information from our eyes. Our body position, our sense of balance, and the information from our eyes all come together to perform a task. For instance when you are thirsty and you go to the refrigerator. You have to gadge distance from your body to the handle. You have to generate enough force to open the door. Again you have to gauge distance to the water, you have to grab it with the correct grip strength, followed by activation of the muscles in the forearm, arm, and shoulder to bring the water out of the refrigerator to a glass on the counter. Again you are required to gauge distance, angle of the jug of water, the speed at which it is existing the jug, gauge the accuracy of your pour, and the list goes on. This is a very complicated task, yet your brain and my brain does this without effort. Children with neurodevelopmental delays often do not accomplish tasks with such ease.
Our brain and body are working in harmony efficiently. Children with neurodevelopmental issues do not do this efficiently. The body and brain are not speaking coherently.
What disturbs the body brain coherence in neurotypical individuals? Stress. Now imagine a system that is less efficient at navigating our environment.
Parents, I want you to start watching your kiddos behavior. Look for behaviors that might be atypical or more exaggerated. The behaviors can be physical like ticks, it might be behavioral like emotional regulation issues, it may manifest itself with sleep behavior.
“ I noticed since the beginning of school that Tommy makes these weird noises with his mouth. Every day when I pick him up after school is just an emotional rollercoaster, and sleep has been a fight every night, He just fights us the entire time. Refuses to brush his teeth. These behaviors happened during the summer, but since we started school..it's just gotten so much worse.”
Start observing parents. This will provide a window into their little brain and what is stressing them out.
If I can help, let me know.
Dr. Bryan Asby