An overwhelm of sensory information.
Imagine walking into a classroom where you’re getting twice as much sensory as normal. Only – too much is your normal.
Colors are really vibrant. And everywhere.
Sounds are really intense. You can hear every slam of a locker as if it’s right next to you even though it’s out in the hall or across the room. Desks opening and closing. The creak and scrape of every chair across the floor as your classmates make their way to their seats – as if they’re all right next to you.
Everyone’s chatter loud, medium or whispered. Perhaps you’re not able to regulate volume control no matter how much you’re told to use your ‘inside voice’ simply because all sounds – especially white noise or sharp noises are crowding you. The sound of zippers from backpacks, jackets and pencil bags.
You can feel the stirring of the air of not just everyone walking to their seats, but even from the shuffling of them getting comfortable in their seat. The cool, smooth feel of the chair as you pull it back to sit down. The rough feel of your backpack. The static electricity in your hair. The crisp air. You refuse to wear socks with seams on the toes. It’s just too much.
Textures of foods like tomatoes, onions, or the idea of slimy foods is, well…cause of a meltdown. Just too much to handle.
You can smell breakfast from the cafeteria as well as the beginning of lunch preparation. Every classmate in the room has their own smell and they don’t even have to be near you for your brain to pick it up. The teacher’s perfume. You can tell the girl next to you was dropped off by her mom because you can smell her mom’s perfume too. And the boy across the room had sausage for breakfast. The boy across the room on the left…his dad dropped him off. He uses aftershave. The kids at your table rode the bus. You can smell the diesel fumes.
Washed bodies. Unwashed bodies. Breakfast. Lunch. Perfume. Aftershave. Construction paper. Deodorant. Shampoos. Markers. Laundry detergent. Fabric softener. Hand soap. Paper. Crayons. The smell of metal on your hands from touching the locker, the chair, the stapler. The apple core and banana peel that was left in the trash can overnight. The autumn breeze from the open window.
Or maybe – not enough sensory information is getting to your brain.
You move – constantly. Unconsciously seeking input. Tipping your chair. Sitting on your feet. Then putting them back on the floor to rock your chair. Chewing on pencils. Napkins. Puzzle pieces. Plastic army men. The fingers of the baby doll. Peeling crayons. Touching everything and everyone around you. Needing to constantly sharpen your pencil – for the love of the loud, rough sound of the pencil sharpener.
Always looking around. Always. Just to see what there is to see. Chat with whoever is there. And if no one is there, then chatting with yourself. Unable to focus on the paper in front of you much less the teacher at the front of the class trying to teach.
Pushing against the top of the table or desk with a little bounce unconsciously trying to allow your brain to know where you are in the space.
Simply needing more sensory information than your spine is able to provide to your brain.
Now imagine – with all of this going on inside of you – being expected to sit still and not talk to anyone. Not have a way to sort thru the constant ‘noise’ of it all to be able to pinpoint and know where and what to focus on.
Imagine trying to sit still and learn new information and stuff that you’ve never even heard of and trying to put that into your brain that’s already overwhelmed with everything else going on around you.
It’s all too overwhelming.
If this sounds like your child, it’s no wonder he’s having such a hard time focusing or she’s having such a hard time in school.
Remember 80% of the sensory information that the brain gets, comes from the movement of the spine. The spine is responsible for telling the brain what to do.
So – if your child is struggling in school it could very well be from a problem with the function of his spine and not a behavioral issue.
When that 80% is coming in disorganized, too intense or not intense enough for the brain to know – accurately – what’s going on inside their body, or around their world, that 80% then shifts all the other senses off.
The beautiful part is, as parents, we can help our kiddos.
We’re all about helping you get answers so you can help your child achieve focus, learn and thrive. Call today.