Monday, 10 August 2020

Ask Adam and Michelle About Kings and Queens

Reading Picture Books to Improve Children's Mental Health

Studies show that when we read, the brain does not make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it. Whether reading or experiencing it, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Children can show a significant increase in mental health from reading picture books as evidence suggests that the comprehension process stimulated by predicting, relating and questioning that occurs with young readers provides guidelines about how to talk about issues they feel strongly about and an opportunity to share their own views about what is happening in the world around them. It is not just the words or pictures we are sharing; it's a lifeline for their mental health. 

Friday, 17 July 2020

Reconnecting with books embraces the old and the new

Studies show that no previous generation has had to adapt to the amount of technological, economical and global change that our kids will have to do in their lifetime - they’ve come to rely on technology for communication, companionship and self-regulation. Books often come second to the immediate, individualised and integrated programming of the internet. If I had a choice between reading a book or internet when I was their age, I would have chosen internet, and I love books. The lure of technology comes from smart marketing, inadequate arts funding from the government, and a lack of imagination and foresight required to embrace what could be an amazing partnership between the new and the old. Connection with our kids is what's missing, and that's where we’re failing them - not the other way around.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Christmas can be overwhelming for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Do you have a kid with SPD?  I do, I have 3!

Sensory overstimulation is common among kids who were premmie babies. Light and sound are the most common triggers, but they can be overstimulated by movement, scents, touch, taste, vibrations and electromagnetic fields.

For some kids, taking a few minutes time out will reset their system. For others, it doesn’t work that way. It can range from uncomfortable and intolerable. 

Sudden strong overstimulation triggers an immediate surge of adrenaline, anxiety and sometimes nausea. Lower levels can creep up and the consequences can last a couple of days. 

Now, imagine if this was Christmas. The lights, sounds and busy crowds start way before the 1st of December these days. Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some kids, it’s a constant battle to process the world around them.

What can we do to help?

It’s difficult to avoid, and really not fair to miss out on the fun of Christmas. Gradual increase in tolerance often comes with exposure and age, in a sensory friendly environment. This Christmas, if you are having an event at your work or home, maybe provide a tent or quiet corner for kids to retreat and reset. 

If you see a child having a meltdown, don’t always assume it’s bad behaviour. It could be the world is just too bright or too loud at that moment. Respect a parent who is limited in what they can do to stop it.

We will be hosting a book launch on the 1st of December at Little Gnome for my latest picture book, Little Gnome’s Christmas Wish, a book about a little gnome with sensory processing disorder who loves Christmas but struggles with the lights, noise and crowds. 

Children of all abilities are welcome to come and share an inclusive sensory friendly experience of the real meaning of Christmas, spending time with friends and family who love you and accepts you for who you are.