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Full Spectrum Healing LLC

Our Blog

How We Approach to Each Day Matters

Buttons, Snaps, and Zippers Oh My!

Tina Anderson OTR

Walking through any typical department store, I've noticed that there are few options for button or snap closure fashions for children. As part of my pediatric evaluation, I assess the child's ability to perform self-help tasks which include unfastening and fastening buttons, snaps, zippers and lacing.  Occasionally, I encounter children who fail when tested on certain test items due to lack of exposure to these experiences.  I understand that parents are busy and it takes time and patience to teach these skills.  Planning ahead and getting children started on dressing will allow them time to develop their autonomy. 

When I was a child we only wore t-shirts for after school  and non church activities.  It was the norm rather than the exception to be expected to wear button or snap fastened shirts 5 out of 7 days each week.   School starts early and expecting a child to fasten buttons, snaps and zippers and tie shoes when drowsy is likely to be met with some resistance.  How then do we create these opportunities?  Sweaters can be easier for beginners to button, and can be worn during most seasons.  If a uniform is required, choose one with buttons.  On the weekends plan activities that allow your child to proudly dress up and while mommy and daddy dress up. The children develop pride in their ability to do the same.  Plan time into your weekends for these more formal opportunities for you and your children to SHINE!

Averting, Anxiety in Advance!

Tina Anderson OTR

Social experiences occur daily for a variety of reasons. For people challenged by: agoraphobia, anxiety, autism, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, sensory processing disorders, or depression, going to the store for an errand can be quite overwhelming. Preparation in advance by applying strategies for self regulation can be effective in establishing feelings of safety and comfort. Regular practice of these strategies offers ongoing support for getting through and enjoying each day's adventures.

   1) Take care to address each of your daily needs.  Children and adults become anxious and agitated if our bodily needs for nutrition, rest and relief are not met.  Meeting these basic needs addresses our fundamental need for safety.  Interoception is the term used to describe our sense of our visceral feelings of fatigue, hunger, or discomfort.   When I plan ahead and pack nutritional snacks,  I don't have to worry about where to find food or how much money I'm spending.  The simple act of going to the bathroom and taking the time needed in a nice clean restroom, can reduce stress while in traffic or while in public places.

   2)  Meditation can increase your awareness of your own interoception.   Recognizing how you feel and learning to regulate your heart rate and reduce negative self-talk can be very effective preparation before engaging in social situations.   Frequent daily meditation such as 15 minutes done 2-3 times each day can help you to reset your calm state and maintain it throughout the day.  Breath work strategies applied as part of the meditation sessions can also be accessed during social situations to keep you calm.

   3) Nurturing touch experienced monthly or weekly can include: massage, pedicure, or manicure.  Daily touch rituals may include: showers, long baths, self-massage, trigger-point massage with a foam roller, stretching, lotion or oil application, and hair brushing.

   4) Engage in creative and fitness related activities that get you breathing deeply for extended periods of time and bring you joy.  Doing these activities daily help to regulate your arousal state and reinforce your authenticity.  These experiences can help children prior to stressful situations where their impulses are restricted such as grocery shopping.  Taking children to the playground before shopping and feeding them and handling their toiling needs and needs for rest first, can alleviate tantrum behavior.

Decide in advance how long you need to engage in the social situation.  Plan your exit strategy in case you feel you need to leave due to discomfort.  Practice often and gradually increase the duration and frequency of your involvement.

There is a child in each of us and that inner child deserves nurturing!

****This information is not a substitute for professional medical attention.  If your needs are immediate please contact your healthcare professional for support.

Giving and Receiving Gifts with Joy!

Tina Anderson OTR 

The holidays can be challenging from a social emotional perspective. When celebration and gift exchange are expected, there are many factors of perception to be experienced and acted upon. Each month has a holiday.

The physical aspect of many people in close proximity, noise, vibration, smells and lighting can be overwhelming stimuli for a person challenged by sensory processing differences.

Planning small intimate birthday parties with 1 or 2 close friends or relatives can make it easier for you or your child to be present and feel secure.  Opening one present every 15 minutes (or longer between gifts) allows the giver and recipient to bond over the item and enjoy it together before moving on to another item.  I like to stretch Christmas over hours, days and even a week to open gifts.  We enjoy one, and give it a home before opening the next gift.

Interpersonal interaction can evoke a freeze, fright, fight or flight response for those who are sensitive or empathic.   Socially expected behaviors involving physical contact, conversation, reciprocity of the value of gifts exchanged can be threatening for a person who has experienced traumatic events such as sexual abuse.  Preconceived expectations of giving or receiving can have covert aspects which evoke responses that we don't understand in our friends and loved ones.  Be observant and respectful during opportunities for gift exchange.  If you care fore children teach them how to give and receive gifts safely.

****This information is not a substitute for professional medical attention. If your needs are immediate please contact your healthcare professional for support.