Are you noticing that your child is struggling at school or with attention, handwriting, or social interactions? Are home and community activities a daily challenge for your child? Does your child seem to be clumsier than his or her peers?
Are you a parent in the thick of baby’s first year and trying to figure out what your baby is trying to tell you? Are you concerned about your baby’s development? If any of these questions resonate with you, even the slightest bit, we want to say Hi and get to know you! Let’s start the introductions. We are Mary Singer and Suzanne Greenwood, two pediatric occupational therapists with a combined 50 years (yikes!) of experience working with children and their parents. Over the years we have learned a ton of tips and tricks to enhance our client’s development and support the families that we work with.
Here at Passport to FUNction, we show you amazing videos and activities that demonstrate how to support your child’s development in playfully therapeutic ways.
We invite you to tap into your creative side, let loose, and have a great time!
As we begin, we thought we would get a little cerebral (only a little!) to fill you in on the science behind our activity choices. Feel free to stay with us here, or get right into the videos!
What is Sensory Integration & How Does it Help My Child?
Let’s rewind back to when we were kids, learning about our 5 senses: vision, touch, hearing, taste and smell. Our senses bring in information from the world, and we use that information to learn about ourselves and our surroundings. Putting this information together, or integrating it, helps us to make decisions about how we will move through life and how we will respond to what comes our way.
Now hold on, because we are going to throw two additional senses your way! The proprioceptive sense provides a body map so that we can move through space without constantly watching each step that we take. The vestibular sense allows us to know our speed, direction, if we are standing upright, or hanging upside down. These two senses are major players, and cannot be forgotten! Combine them with our familiar 5, and we have a body ready to take on the world!
Combinations of these sensations are used for developing:
- Gross motor coordination, strength & endurance
- Fine motor coordination, dexterity and tactile discrimination
- Eye-hand coordination
- Focus and attention
- Social skills
That being said, the child with good sensory integration appears to “just know” how to:
- Coordinate and move his body
- Use vision to guide movement
- Listen to and understand directions
- Interact calmly with parents and peers
- Sit in a chair without fidgeting
- Concentrate and complete a task
(Cue the squealing brakes!) Sometimes our sensory systems don’t take thing in so easily. Information related to vision, touch, pressure, taste, smell, movement, gravity, sound or vibration may be misinterpreted, changing our reaction to the world. When this happens, we see someone who appears uncoordinated, struggles in school, can’t seem to make or keep friends, or is extremely picky with clothing or food.
This is where we come in! Our job is to look at how the sensory systems are working, and use them as foundations to support optimal development. Carefully planned combinations of activities can make growth happen, and we want to share these with you!
Our videos and activities will be grouped into categories,highlighting various stages of life, developmental areas and skill sets. Since all children are different, you may find some categories more relevant than others. Hang on, because we aim to tackle them all. We begin with Passport to Baby’s First Year and Passport to the Park, but there are many more to come!
We hope that you enjoy whichever Passport journey you choose!