Sun Oaks – January 2018
Cresswell Physical Therapy Newsletter
TURNING OVER A FRESH LEAF FOR OUR CHILDREN
With the New Year upon us and our New Year’s resolution for self‑improvement in hand, ask any parent or child and their goal is to “do better”. As parents, we want to turn over a fresh leaf and support our children in moving toward independence in their day to day activities. Teachers also hope to take a fresh look at their classrooms and aim to motivate and develop independence in learning styles. Children seek turning over a new leaf and making new friends. All of us seek to learn and develop greater skill.
When we talk about learning and gaining skill by experiencing the world around us, we are really talking about the sensory system that perceives our world. The sensory system, perceives the gravitational pull of the earth’s surface and creates an innate drive for balance. This drive informs the muscle and joint system that allows the body to smoothly respond to different shifts in the center of gravity. The infant learns to roll, sit, crawl and stand by developing the sensory system.
We correct our balance while riding a bicycle by a small action of a specific muscle and joint system. Sometimes, just tilting the head to the side is sufficient in overcoming any slight loss of balance when cycling around a curve. Cycling requires the integration of the sensory system with the muscular system.
If these two systems aren’t functioning properly, the brain will struggle to learn. They are foundational to learning, just as the sense of emotional and physical security.
Why do you enjoy yoga so much? It’s because you’re continually challenging your center of gravity with the gravitational pull around you. Matching this and successfully balancing is associated with a positive emotional response.
The balance system provides an overall calming response with a sense of emotional security. This may explain why taking a walk is so pleasant. Movement, exercise, sports, martial arts, yoga, dancing, and juggling all offer excellent opportunities for the movement system to stimulate and help facilitate brain functioning.
The unique learner that has difficulty sequencing, reasoning, and independently problem‑solving literally needs physical movement [often more beneficial than added homework] in order to facilitate effective thinking.
A more typical student may seem to respond well to practice, practice, practice. A unique learner seems to respond better to practice, movement, practice, movement.
Now you understand your unique learner better. Your New Year’s resolution of doing better is already achieved because doing better, for these children, requires a better understanding of their actions.
Now that you can judge their performance based on problem‑solving skills versus the standard metrics of speed of performance and accuracy of responses, you can support your unique learner’s growth by embedding movement as a part of the fuel necessary to grow the brain.
Learn more about your sensory system during your individualized physical and occupational therapy sessions.
Call us at (530) 244-7686. We have an office inside Sun Oaks Tennis and Fitness as well as a clinic in downtown Redding. We accept most medical insurance.