As a Registered Occupational Therapist I've worked with children for over 30 years. In that time I've learned a tremendous amount including identifying the relationship between the sensory systems and learning. It was children with Autism, however, that taught me the real basics. Through that study I developed The Foundational Skills Inventory for parents and teachers, a single sheet packed with information to help one picture how strong the foundation for learning is for any given child, and figure out what needs to be done to help with the learning process.
Imagine my pleasure, therefore, to attend The Brain Program and discover an entire section devoted to the sensory systems! So much of the brain-function information resonated with me. "This information is so valuable to all our daily interactions," I told Dr. Taylor, "it should be included as a class in every college in America!" As we chatted during the breaks I mentioned the manuscript I'd written dealing with how children learn from a neurological perspective. Based on a referral from Dr. Taylor, I contacted Russ Potter at Concerned Communications. The upshot was that my exciting new book on how to help children learn is being published!
The premise of the book, Sensory Secrets: How to "Jump-start" Learning for Children, postulates that as a society, we have not fully understood the importance of sensory system maturation to the learning process. Whatever the senses (e.g., sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste) are "fed" becomes a type of "diet" on which to grow. Children need to use body movement to explore by moving, touching, feeling, processing relationships with gravity, and organizing the information they receive from their world. Childhood is a time for developing a foundation for learning that will be used for life.
Unfortunately, many children are being cheated of a comprehensive learning process. Why? For one thing, although the work of children is play, we live in an era where safe, independent play doesn't always happen automatically. (According to Dr. Taylor, this lack of independent play can be extremely detrimental to all children, but especially to girls whose "field independence" opportunities are often further curtailed as compared to that of boys.) Programmed experiences often lack the multidimensional opportunities found in safe, self-directed activities.
For another, many children have difficulty sensing and appropriately processing internal body signals. These signals indicate a level of readiness to listen, pay attention, work in school, play, and rest. Information is seen to be flying past in a multi-media smorgasbord of glitz. The ability to attend to directions and stay on task is decreasing in many children. Some children use poor finger grasp on pencils resulting in decreased legibility and cramped muscles. When they begin to learn cursive writing, they're often drawing letters rather than writing them. This increases the time, concentration, and energy needed to complete their work.
Sensory Secrets: How to "Jump-start" Learning for Children is written in a colorful writing style. It's easy to read and to apply. It contains examples, suggestions, and tips to help you discover ways in which you can make The Positive Difference in the lives of our children! You can also discover tips to help you understand and determine what we need to do to help ourselves, as well as our children, make the critical decisions necessary for success in the 21st century. The actions we decide to take now can make all the difference in the world for generations to come!