Last week (episode 86) we talked about the gap where behavior lives to help you better understand the moments your child becomes dysregulated and how you can learn to close that gap. This week I want to help you gather all the data you’ve been taking about your child’s behavior and examine it for patterns. These patterns are going to help you create a more timely and effective regulation plan for your child.
The number one question: How do I regulate my child?
Before we can think about an effective plan for regulation, let’s think about what ineffective plans for regulation look like.
An ineffective plan for regulation is when you don’t really know what sensory strategy to try, so you try random ones and feel like you’re Mary Poppins pulling random tricks out of your bag.
It’s also when you only employ regulation tools when the child is deeply dysregulated- most of you know this is really a hail mary option and it rarely works.
Or when you’re “grasping for straws” between trying out different behavioral techniques, accommodations or other strategies that you saw someone on instagram talk about but you have no idea if that applies to your child or not.
Look, I get it- we’re all looking for tricks and hacks and ways to support our kids’ regulation so they can better participate and yes even have “better behavior”.
But like most things with childhood development, we have to start with the basics.
An effective regulation plan is one that includes sensory strategies and accommodations that actually directly target the underlying skill or challenge that you know is triggering the behavior.
An effective regulation plan also means that you have plans in place and can proactively regulate your child’s nervous system.
Finding patterns and routines and ways to categorize and make sense of your child’s behaviors (as opposed to just seeing the behaviors and trying to stop/minimize/fix them from the beginning) is what’s going to lead you to have a more effective regulation plan.
Identifying your child’s dysregulation triggers and patterns
How do you know what triggers your child’s dysregulation in the first place?
I’ll be the first to say that figuring out your child dysregulation patterns and triggers is way easier said than done.
As an OT, it’s easier for me to “see” the underlying reasons for dysregulation. I sort of feel like a super hero who has x ray vision but for behavioral triggers instead 😅
If I were to lend you my OT dysregulation lenses, these are the kinds of filters I’d look through to try to identify a specific trigger or link to the dysregulation that you’re witnessing from your child.
Think about patterns surrounding the timing of dysregulation.
You should be looking specific times of day, days of the week, times of the year AND specific context that goes along with it.
For example, does your child tend to become dysregulated mostly in the afternoon? Before bed? In the morning?
When you identify certain times or time frames or seasons when you notice your child is most dysregulated, then you zoom in on that time and look for more context.
Let’s say you identify mornings as a common dysregulation zone. Let’s zoom in and look for even more patterns.
Think about sensory information that has been added or taken away at that moment, or leading up to that moment.
There are so many things to think about, really try to sit and observe and take as MANY notes as you can when you notice your child’s dysregulated behaviors creep up. I mean actually write it down, be an observer, a scientist.
Think about the recent days/hours leading up to dysregulation.
Sometimes exciting events or big changes in routine can be hard on the nervous system.
Think about that child’s history with the context/environment where they became dysregulated
Maybe there’s trauma.
First, I have to say- this may not apply to every child AND even if it does, sometimes the “trauma” or the triggering event that causes them to assign a negative association to something isn’t clear or visible to you.
Here are some examples.
More obvious ones- maybe your are a foster parent, or a caregiver to a child who was in the NICU or had experienced domestic trauma as an infant. Even if the child may be too little to cognitively and explicitly remember– there’s a chance their nervous system remembers and it may trigger the fight or flight mode everytime they hear something fall to the ground or hear a person use a louder than normal voice (even if they’re not screaming).
Maybe your child had a choking, gagging or vomiting event surrounding a particular meal or food, so now whenever they’re in that part of the kitchen or maybe at grandma’s house or are around the same kind of meal they become dysregulated.
I’m not a trauma expert, but I have learned that trauma can be stored deep in your subconscious and can be triggered so quickly without you even being aware it’s related to your trauma.
Does it seem like your child is always dysregulated?
This is a thing. You’re not imagining things or making things up.
Some kids have nervous systems that are chronically dysregulated.
It can be hard to find patterns here and can be hard to feel like you’re able to “get in front of” the behaviors, trust me- I was there a lot in 2018 and 2019 when Liliana was just waking up dysregulated all the time and it would spiral the rest of the morning.
For these kids, maybe you can’t find a specific trigger or common denominator to find a pattern, so the best place to start is really just exploring as many different calming and sensory regulating strategies you can with your child.
You do “sensory explorers” with them and again, take notes, be an observer and notice- do their dysregulated behaviors increase? Decrease? Remain the same?
Next steps: Become a sensory detective
If you want to apply the information in a guided forum, with me holding your hand along the way and other parents to bounce ideas off of and be part of your virtual village to support you through the post-meltdown crash (you know the ones I’m talking about), then this is your sign to join us for the Sensory Detectives Boot Camp.
It officially kicks off on October 29th for the November cohort. (click here to see all the details laid out and to register, or scroll down below for the link; if you’re listening to this after October 29th, you can head here to be notified when the next cohort opens up)
The SDBC is a 4 week live group coaching program, delivered through 5 zoom calls (recorded for you to watch if you can’t make it live) spaced throughout the 4 weeks.
It’s for parents, teachers, educators who want to learn specific, actionable sensory and calming regulation ideas to try with their kids (both neurodivergent and neurotypical) AND THEMSELVES. I can’t tell you how many parents have walked away from my bootcamps creating better regulation patterns for their own nervous systems.
Aside from the 5 calls (all with live demonstrations of actual sensory strategies) we’ll also be hanging out together in an exclusive community app (NOT on facebook) for 6 weeks! So you get ane extra 2 weeks of support from me 2 weeks after the last call in case you need time to watch the last call on recording and ask questions.
After each group call I set you out on homework that week to actually try strategies and report back to the community, so that you have the accountability to take action and not just sit with a notebook full of great ideas but too paralyzed to start (i know that feeling well).
But I haven’t talked about the best part yet, the part that I think truly truly sets my program apart from others is that I have created videos for kids inside the bootcamp, to help get your child on board.
So for each of the 5 calls I host for adults, there are companion “kid videos” on the same topics but are less than 5 minutes long basically introducing your child to the same topics of regulation and sensory strategies, but I give your kids a direct call to action to join you in exploring sensory input- so you can both explore sensory strategies together and have better luck getting them on board!
I hope you’re as excited as I am, but in case you want to hear some testimony from some real people who have gone through, I’m going to play some soundbites from a couple interviews I did recently with SDBC alum.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome to the Sensory Wise Solutions podcast for parents where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and Mom To Liliana, a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new OT mom, bestie. I know my stuff, but I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s start the podcast. Welcome back to the podcast, everybody. Today we have a great episode for you with a lot of actionable steps. So you are going to want to save this episode, pull out a notebook possibly, or maybe you like to type, but you are going to want to take notes on this episode. But before we get started with the episode, I want to take the time to remind you that enrollment is still currently open for the Sensory Detectives Bootcamp.
(01:04)I’m going to take some time to tell you what the Sensory Detectives Bootcamp is so you understand what you get with that and why it might be helpful for you. And also share with you a couple of testimony from some recent graduates from the Sensory Detectives Bootcamp. I also call that the S D B C for short, and you have until October 27th at midnight to register for the November cohort. You can scroll down below for a direct link to register and to learn more about the bootcamp. The Sensory Detectives Bootcamp is a four week live group coaching program. It’s delivered through five Zoom calls. They are recorded for you to watch if you can’t make it live. And the five Zoom calls are spaced throughout the four weeks. It’s four parents, teachers, educators, therapists who want to learn specific actionable sensory and calming regulation ideas to try with their kids, both neurodivergent and neurotypical.
(02:04)Kids can benefit from this and you can learn actionable sensory and calming regulation strategies for yourself, the adult, the caregiver, the teacher, the therapist who is working with this child. I cannot tell you how many parents and adults have walked away from my bootcamps creating better regulation patterns for their own nervous systems. Aside from the five calls, all which include live demonstrations of actual sensory strategies, we’ll also be hanging out together in an exclusive community app, which is not on Facebook for six weeks. So you get an extra two weeks of support from me that goes on after the last call in case you need time to watch that last call on recording and ask questions. After each group call, I sort of set you out and say, go try this homework that week to actually try and implement the strategies in real time and report back to the community.
(03:06)That way you have the accountability to take action and not just sit with a notebook full of great ideas, but just too paralyzed to start. I know that feeling so, so well, but I haven’t talked about the best part yet. This is the part that gets me so excited and this is what truly, truly, truly sets my program apart from others. There are many things about my program I think that sets it apart from others, but this one in particular is the one that I think takes it over the edge in terms of this is not in any other programs. I created videos for kids where I am talking to your child inside the bootcamp. It helps get your child on board and gets your child to learn about their brain and body and nervous system, which is one of the most important tools you can give them is to understand how their brain and body work.
(04:01)So for each of the five calls that I host for the adults, there are companion kid videos on the same topics, but they’re less than five minutes long, basically introducing your child to the same topics of regulation and sensory strategies. But I give your kids a direct call to action at the end of each video. I say, go explore these sensory strategies with your parent, with your adult, with your caregiver, so that you can both or more than two of you, your whole family can explore sensory strategies and learn together as a unit rather than you dictating these strategies and telling your child what to do, you’re going to learn alongside them and you’ll have better luck getting them on board to actually use the strategies. I really hope you’re as excited as I am about this program, but I know that you might want to hear from people who have actually taken the program aside from the person who created it.
(04:55)So in a while, I’m going to play some sound bites from some interviews I did with some recent alum, and as you’re listening to it, I want you to envision yourself experiencing these wins, especially as we approach the holiday season. Last call of the November cohort is on November 24th, which sets you up perfectly before the holiday season so that you can get ahead of it with all of your new understanding of sensory regulation and all of the tools to get you through it. First, we are going to hear from Melissa. She is a mom to a three-year-old sensory seeker who actually joined us in the original Sensory Detectives bootcamp in May, and then joined us again for her second round in the August September cohort. And just so you know, I always offer a 50% discount for previous alum who want to rejoin the community and you learn something new every time. So she talks about the light bulb that she had around sensory seeking and also calls out a huge objection that many of you might be having that might be holding you back from joining, which is time. We all never have enough time. So here she is.
Speaker 2 (06:13):
And when I got to the place of sensory seeking, when you had shared about sensory seeking, it changed my world. I didn’t know those two words existed together. You had explained my child to a T and the way in which you shared the need for these children that it was almost as if it wasn’t a choice. I as a parent was looking at my child as though he had a choice in the dysregulation that was happening. And when I heard you say, maybe not in these exact words, but the idea that his body and his brain did not have a choice to need these things, it just needed them, it completely changed it for me. And I would say that because my child gets dysregulated by the very thing that his body is seeking, that the turning point for me really in taking your bootcamp the second time was around hearing that I needed to give him more structured and goal-directed activities with the behaviors that he was seeking.
(07:22)That was Laura. That was, I have to say, worth all the marbles because I felt so confused. Like many parents I imagine do where we’re seeing our child jumping and crashing and this and that and whatever, and then we’re like, okay, well let’s get ’em a trampoline and let them bounce their little heart’s desires out thinking that’s going to be helpful for them. But in reality that I find it dysregulated him more. And so I just felt so stuck and I felt so powerless to a solution. And when I heard you say, which I’m sure you’ve said the first time, but the second time it changed, it changed for us. I was able to proactively set up these more structured and goal-oriented activities for the senses that he was seeking, behaviors he was seeking. And I feel like that has really changed and regulated his nervous system immensely.
(08:21)I was hesitant myself to join at first because I didn’t know if I would have the time or the energy to put into it. But the time that I really found that the time that I have put into it has paid off so much more than I could have ever known. And part of that is because I spend now less time wondering what’s going on with my child and why he is or was dysregulated, whether in the moment or after the moment. And instead, I have the tools ready to go and to use. I don’t always have them up in my brain, but I have them in my notes. And again, the more I use them, the more I’m sort of able to get to them quicker. And I found that spending the time learning and understanding my child better now helped just shave off so much time in the moment when it came to his tantrums and dysregulation.
(09:16)And I think that the ability to put in proactive strategies, and even though it takes a little bit more time on the front end to kind of come up with ideas or come up with goal directed strategies or proactive strategies that I sort of anticipate him having or needing after school or in the morning or whatever the case might be, if I’m spending more time doing it now, it is really going to pay off in the moments later in the moment that I find myself really confused and then spending time being upset with myself or upset with my child.
(10:03)And then lastly, I would just say I feel like I’m much more confident parent now, and that is priceless. I feel like to understand my child’s nervous system, how to help him get rebalanced and regulated, I feel less judged by others, whether it’s at the park with other parents or if he puts his hands on another child, I know what to say. I believe in what I’m saying. I believe that he’s learning these skills. I do want to make sure they’re okay. I’m not explaining away my child’s behavior, but I’m taking responsibility for it while having compassion for him. And I just see my son’s nervous system so much differently, and I know that it’s different than others, and it’s not about me. It’s not about them. It’s not about the comparisons. It’s really just about having compassion for him. And it has been whole, this bootcamp and your knowledge has, it’s been like tapping into a whole new world of information and support and compassion for my child in a way that I didn’t even know that I needed to have for him.
Speaker 1 (11:11):
Okay, next we’re going to hear from Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a mom to two kids who are six and four. Both of them have sensory needs, but her six year old is the one that she highlights in her testimony and who she focused on the most. In the bootcamp, Elizabeth shares the sweetest story about her son who had this moment of finally feeling seen and validated in his experience by realizing that there were other kids in the world who had big feelings like him too. And at the end, Elizabeth gives this great, very blunt, very honest answer when I asked her what she would say to parents who are hesitant to join the bootcamp. Alright, here she is.
Speaker 3 (11:58):
We were having a rough transition back to school. We had gone from having maybe one meltdown that lasted over five minutes per month to at least three or four a week, if not daily. I don’t know. It was a bad time. The first few weeks of August, they were just one meltdown after another. It seemed like the whole family was dysregulated. I think I spoke to, we all wanted to get regulated. We all needed a sensory bootcamp. It wasn’t just him. I was feeling like I needed to have a list of go-tos. I started feeling like I was panicking in the moment and feeling like it was an emergency. But he said to me one day during bedtime routine, he just said, mommy, no one has ever felt as angry as me. And I said, honey, I really don’t think that’s true. I think there’s a lot of kids that have felt as angry as you, and I want you to trust that mommy and daddy are going to help you and we are going to help you feel safe in your body.
(13:04)Do you trust me? And he said, yes. So that was our moment. That was when I said to my husband, I’m going to do this. I feel like this is going to be quicker than me trying to get him in school-based OT or whatever. This is the beginning of the year. This is when we need to do this. I don’t think waiting for the teacher to do an eval and me to do an eval and go to the pediatrician and do all this. I don’t think any of that’s going to work as quickly as this will. And we were struggling with back to school and I posted in the community, but the first day that we had the call and my kid didn’t go to sleep, it was like eight 30 and he was still out here and he said, mommy, what are you doing on this call? And I said, all of these people are trying to help their kids feel safe in their body. And he said, all of these people are like me. And it was such a good moment.
Speaker 1 (14:08):
Oh, I love that. Okay, last question. If you could say one thing to someone, a parent out there listening who’s thinking about Sensory Detectives bootcamp, they’re not sure if they should join, are they’re not sure if it’s going to help, what would you say to them?
Speaker 3 (14:23):
I would just say it can’t get any worse. So why don’t you see if this will help? If you’re already feeling like you need support, then you do. If you amen, you need support, then go get some support. Amen. And I guarantee you they will not regret it because they will see all these other people who are dealing with the same thing and you will learn, they will learn. My kids loved your videos, by the way, so that’s another important thing. I couldn’t get them to do their little worksheets, but they loved you.
Speaker 1 (15:05):
The kid videos in the bootcamp.
Speaker 3 (15:07):
Speaker 1 (15:08):
Speaker 3 (15:08):
In the bootcamp. They loved seeing you, and they would always say more, Laura and so sweet. Do we have more Laura to watch today?
Speaker 1 (15:18):
Okay. I cannot get enough of hearing that feedback. It never gets old for me, not just because it’s my program. Obviously I’m very proud of that program, but it truly, truly, truly fills my heart to know that parents are gaining a better sense of confidence around supporting their neurodivergent kids. Because this is hard, and there’s nothing worse than feeling like you have no idea what to do. So being able to give them and hear the confidence after they join this bootcamp means everything to me. So I hope to be sharing one of your stories the next time this launch comes around. But remember, you only have until October 27th to join us. Alright, without further ado, let’s get into the episode. So in this episode, I want to teach you how you can categorize, think about and make sense of those behaviors that we talked about in last week, or just any kind of dysregulation behaviors that you’re noticing in your child.
(16:26)And I want to help you identify any kinds of patterns that may help you create a more effective plan for regulation. So what exactly do I mean by effective plan for regulation? Let’s first think about what an ineffective plan for regulation might look like. So this is when you don’t really know what sensory strategy to try or calming strategy. So you try random ones and maybe you feel like Mary Poppins pulling random tricks out of your bag. You’re just trying everything out at once. Or maybe it’s different every single time. Or maybe you employ regulation tools and strategies only when the child is already deeply dysregulated. Most of you know this by now, but maybe you don’t. This is like a Hail Mary option. It is good to try, but it rarely works because the child is so dysregulated and not in a space where they are ready to take instruction or directives to try something, unless maybe it’s something they’ve practiced before over and over again. But if you’re only ever offering them a sensory strategy during dysregulation, most likely it’s not working out for you.
(17:50)So I get it. We’ve all been looking for tricks and hacks and ways to support our kids’ regulation so that they can better participate and yes, even have better behavior. But we can’t just be grasping for straws on Instagram and collecting a bunch of random tools without really knowing what they do or what kind of nervous system those are best for, or what is the best time to use those things. So like most things with childhood development, we do have to start with the basics. And effective regulation plan is one that includes sensory strategies and accommodations that are actually directly targeted towards the underlying skill or challenge that is triggering the behavior. An effective regulation plans also means that you have plans in place and can proactively regulate your child’s nervous system and finding patterns and routines and ways to categorize and make sense of your child’s behaviors as opposed to just seeing the behaviors and trying to stop and minimize or fix them from the beginning is what’s going to lead you to have a more effective regulation plan.
(19:12)So how do you know what triggers your child’s dysregulation in the first place? How can we even identify patterns around it without knowing the trigger? I will be the first to say that figuring out your child’s dysregulation patterns and triggers is way easier said than done, especially if they are neurodivergent. But even for some neurotypical kids, it can be a mystery to some parents. So as an occupational therapist, it’s easier for me to see the underlying reasons for dysregulation. I kind of feel like I’m a superhero who has x-ray vision, but instead for behavioral triggers, I can just see it happening in real time. And that is a skill that I have refined and developed and worked on for years and will continue to grow this as I continue to practice that skill. But if I were to lend you my OT dysregulation X-ray vision lenses, the following four filters or questions are the things that I would look through to be able to identify a specific trigger or link to the dysregulation that you might be witnessing from your child.
(20:24)So here is where you get out your paper and pencil and take notes. The first question or thing to think about or reflect on is to think about the patterns that you notice surrounding the timing of dysregulation. So you should be looking at specific times of day, specific days of the week, maybe times of the year, and also the specific context that goes along with it. So for example, does your child tend to become dysregulated a lot in the afternoon or maybe before bed or maybe in the morning when you can identify certain times or timeframes or seasons when you notice your child is most dysregulated? Then you zoom in even further on that time and look for more specific context. So let’s say you identified mornings as a common dysregulation zone. We’re going to zoom in and look for even more patterns. Is it only on school day or daycare mornings?
(21:30)Is it only when dad gets your child ready for school? Is it on the days when mom leaves early for work? Is it only on the weekends? Is it mostly on Mondays? Is it following a routine change? Maybe it’s a morning that they are back at your house and they just spent the weekend at your ex-partners house, who’s the child’s other parent? So tracking their dysregulation patterns is very helpful and I highly, highly, highly encourage actually tracking it on a graph throughout the week where maybe dysregulated patterns are high on the graph and regulation patterns are more low on the graph, and you could visualize it throughout the week, how it goes up and down at certain times of the day or days of the week. You can still get this free tracker, this graph tracker printable from my free training. Again, it’s open if you’re listening to that before October 27th, just head to the ot butterfly.com/training to register, and you’ll be emailed a bunch of resources.
(22:33)And one of them is a P D F printout that includes the dysregulation tracker. So the second question or thing to reflect on is to think about sensory information that has been added or taken away at that moment or maybe leading up to that moment. So this does require you to understand sensory input in general and know tastes, smell, sound, visual input, just a wide variety of the different kinds of sensory input. Again, this gives me a one up because I am an ot, so I just have such an easy time identifying and seeing sensory triggers that you might not be able to see, but try to practice the skill. And you can learn more from this in the Sensory Detectives bootcamp again, which I will talk about at the end of the episode. But so let’s think about this. Maybe it’s trash day and the garbage truck comes right at the time that they wake up and startles them into sympathetic nervous system or the stress fight or flight mode.
(23:38)Maybe the dysregulation is magnified when a certain person is in the room and the way that their voice sounds, triggers them, or maybe not in the room, or maybe it’s a baby cry. Is the dysregulation magnified in a certain area of the house or a room maybe with brighter lighting or more echoy sounds or stronger smells? There are so many different things to think about, and it’s not just to think about those sensory triggers in that exact moment that your child is dysregulated. Think about what they have accumulated in their sensory cup up until that moment in time. And again, I encourage you, sit, observe, take as many notes as you can. I mean, actually write it down. Be an observer, be a scientist, be an explorer. The third thing to think about or ask yourself about dysregulation behaviors is to think about the recent days or hours leading up to dysregulation.
(24:37)So sometimes it’s exciting events or big changes in routine that can be hard on the nervous system. Maybe it’s spirit week and the whole week has been full of exciting, but overstimulating input at school with the routine change, the different kinds of clothes they want to wear or have to wear till have their class be the most spirited class and win that popcorn movie day. Maybe it’s the assembly that they had that day at school. Maybe it’s the fire drill that they had that week at school and it’s still affecting their nervous system. There’s so many things to think about outside of the moment of dysregulation that can still be to directly linked to the behaviors that you’re seeing today. Even though something may have happened two days ago, maybe it’s the week after Christmas for us in the house, this is by far the most dysregulated time of the year consistently throughout the six years that we’ve known her. It’s the week or two weeks the first week or two weeks after Christmas. So the first week of January when we have just endured a full month of exciting events, places we went to new presents, less structure, different bedtimes, different wake times, lots of people in and out of the house, lots of places we’re going, and suddenly that kind of stops and we’re still in the less structured time before school fully picks back up. And this is just riddled with meltdowns and irritability and dysregulation.
(26:10)So that’s a place to think about clearly. It’s very, very strong for me. Maybe it’s the back to school season and there’s just lots of changes going on. New teachers, new friends, different classroom and extra demands placed on your child’s nervous system. And lastly, the last thing that you can think about in terms of identifying causes or at least links to your child’s dysregulation behavior patterns, is thinking about that child’s history with the context or environment where they became dysregulated. Maybe they have a negative association with it, or excuse me, or even trauma. So first I have to say, this may not apply to every child, and even if it does, sometimes the quote trauma or the triggering event that causes them to actually assign a negative association to something isn’t really clear or visible to you. Maybe you’re not even aware that they had experienced some auditory trauma or something that wasn’t visible to you or wasn’t explicit to you at that time, but it did have a direct impact on your child’s nervous system.
(27:20)So we might not ever find that answer, but it’s just something to kind of keep in the back of your mind when you’re trying to decode their behaviors. Here’s a few examples, a more obvious one. Maybe you are a foster parent or a caregiver to a child who was in the NICU or just had maybe experienced some early trauma as an infant, whether it’s domestic trauma or hospitalizations, just something that was maybe not a typical infant experience. So of course, the child is going to be too little to cognitively and explicitly remember what they went through as an infant, but there’s a very strong chance their nervous system remembers that, and it might trigger the fight or flight mode every time they hear or smell or see or experience something similar to what happened when they were an infant. So maybe every time they hear something fall or they hear a person use a louder voice than normal, even if they aren’t really yelling at them, but just the tone or the word or the vibrato or the energy in that person’s voice may trigger something from before maybe your child had a choking or gagging or vomiting event surrounding a particular meal or food.
(28:42)So now whenever they’re in that part of the kitchen or maybe at grandma’s house or are around the same kind of meal or see a certain plate, they become dysregulated. I’m not a trauma expert, but I have learned that trauma can be stored deep in your subconscious and can be triggered so quickly without you even being aware that it’s related to your trauma. So it’s just something to think about when you’re trying to unravel these patterns of behaviors. Okay, so here’s a question I get a lot after I share those questions and try to help parents get to the root cause or to create some patterns around behavior. What happens if my child is always dysregulated? The pattern is all the time. There’s no rhyme or reason. Can’t figure out a place, day, time of the week, anything. It’s they’re just constantly dysregulated. This is a thing.
(29:38)You are not imagining things. You are making things up. Some kids truly have nervous systems that are chronically dysregulated. It is wired in that way. And so it can be hard to find patterns, and it can be hard to feel like you’re able to get in front of the behaviors. Trust me, I know exactly what you’re going through. I was there a lot in 2018 and 2019 when Liliana was just waking up dysregulated all the time, and it would spiral just the rest of the morning. I truly feel like I could not get ahead of it for these kids. Maybe at that time, you can’t find a specific trigger or common denominator to find a pattern. So the best place to start is really just exploring as many different calming and sensory regulation strategies that you can with your child. So you do something called sensory explorers with them where you’re just trying everything.
(30:36)But instead of just trying it and saying, well, that didn’t work, I want you to really intentionally try the strategy more than one time, maybe in different contexts, in different ways. You take notes, be an observer and notice are there dysregulating behaviors increasing? Are they decreasing? Are they remaining the same? It can take time. It can take a few times, a few weeks to expose them to a sensory strategy before you really see their true response to that strategy. And before you can truly make a decision on if it’s something that works for them or not. And hopefully by that time, you can start to apply it just as many times as you can. Once you’ve nailed down some things that work, then maybe that will give you some wiggle room with a regulation to be able to find more patterns or to create a more effective plan moving forward.
(31:28)So where do you go from here? How do you do this? What do we do? First of all, this episode is jam packed with actionable steps for you to just take and apply right now. So stop and take a look at whatever notes you may have taken. If you haven’t taken notes, I know you might re-listen to this and take notes at a later time, but this episode is very jam packed and action packed with things for you to apply right now today or whenever you feel ready. But if you are wanting to apply this information and information from last week’s where you’re really trying to get a good hold of their dysregulation behaviors, what their dysregulation patterns look like, and also then what exactly to do, once you figure that out, you want a specific plan on what to do with the information you have.
(32:14)If you want to do that and you want help applying all of that information in a guided forum with me holding your hand along the way and other parents to bounce ideas off of and be part of your virtual village to support you through the post meltdown or post dysregulation crash, you know the ones I’m talking about. Then this is your sign to join us for the Sensory Detectives Bootcamp. It officially kicks off on October 29th with the first call for the November cohort. Alright, I hope to see some of you there. Otherwise, I will be here next week on the podcast. Take care. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review, which helps other parents find me as well. Want to learn more from me. I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT Butterfly. See you.