There is probably no parent in the world who tells their child not to follow their dreams. The encouragement given by a parent, as well as their approval, is what drives ambition and focus on young children even in parallel play and pretend play: occupational, dress-up games, role-playing games, and imaginary games,
Pre-School turns into School-Age and the dreams solidify into academics, socialization, and homework. Further on, there are co-curricular activities, and suddenly, more opportunities open to the maturing child. What once they thought they wanted to become and do from earlier years they may no longer want to become…from a doctor to a teacher, from a lawyer to a police offices, from an engineer to a musician.
And then there’s the climb to high school’s challenges — hormones, peers, carving of age-appropriate, stubborn independence leading to a power struggle. The senior year in itself ages a family unit by decades with these options to decide on: College? Scholarships? Hiatus? Travel?
What had begun as a sweet, idealized bonding moment picture of what the future was going to look like between a parent and a young child transforms into momenta stressors that sometimes families never recover from. Children become estranged either physically or emotionally from parents whose messages to them can either be too strongly delivered, or the exact opposite, too softly said.
And thus the parent-child dynamic evolves from a hurricane of dreams, responsibilities, and cultures. The Parental Mind is lent to the child and never lets go, unfortunately for the child. How many of us hear our parents’ positive and negative voices in our heads? That is their endowment to their children, apart from genetics and biology. Temperament in children are based off of the endowment, the complete package from the home that they subconsciously bring with them.
The Children’s Mind starts off self-centered and then self-actualizing; first to survive and second, to be heard. There is a subtle difference in generational stages according to developmental psychology as everyone ages toward the same age, and roles are mostly dependent on the modern societies that surround the research studies (mainly civilizations that have broken into the digital age). Then their minds begin a diverse, cross-cultural adventure and begin experiments that an adult, parental mind would find objectionable and abhor to, albeit forgetting that they too had some intense experimentation in their heyday.
Whatever decisions the Children’s Mind stores in its memory bank are repeated over time; whether they were borrowed from the Parental Mind or made repelling it. Their ownership of the decision becomes owned by them and molds their identity firmly with every repetition. Sometimes, these repetitive decisions lead them to the expected, structured life after school — the 9-5 job, the car, the apartment and so on. Occasionally, these decisions catapult them to extraordinary directions, from zero to one-eighty simply by creating, reacting, doing what it is that drives them.
And there are those stuck in the middle of the two worlds. Parental Minds often label these states as lazy, discontented, underperforming, and the common underachieving the potential. Children’s Minds have the flexibility of potential and possibility however when the message from the overarching, stronger parental voice, the rigidity is easily adapted and the confusion is clear in work, play and with their personal relationships. Confusion can be released as violence, oftentimes it can be cyclothymic mood swings. Those of us outside this dual mindset can only interpret from the objectivity of a third-party: maybe it’s just the child’s nature to be reactive than proactive and they need to learn to control themselves. Period.
As observers however, we too have as much responsibility as the Parental Mind to take care with what messages we tend to impart with our body language, our emotional responses, our words, and our unintended non-verbal insinuations. There is a tendency for judgment to be drawn in the sand line with our interactions with them, and no matter what the age the Child is, the mind remembers everything even when language has no access to the memory. We all have been there…a name, a place, an unsettling situation once experienced is brought up from years ago. Suddenly, this transports us to the familiar pangs of what could only be described as an uncomfortable, painful embarrassment that feeling is still around. The point of aging and moving through the stages of development is mainly TO DEVELOP, however we seem to be masters of reaching back in repression due to our own Child’s Mind and repetition of formative (toxic or otherwise) decisions.
Part of the decision-making cycle from Parent to Child is the reminder of responsibility, often to the point of being afraid to create a life. Ever wondered why it is easier for some to switch careers cold turkey while it is paralyzing for others? Citing the experts, the preschool exposure to multiple failing situations and allowing children to emancipate themselves from such situations lead to resilience in the attitude toward failure. Parenting the parent by reminding them of how they were once children requires practice and a humility in declaring that they do not know everything, and that is more than ok.
What of the Child to Parent Mind? That is the abyss. The Child’s Mind remind the Parental Mind of their accomplishments and their inadequacies. They show which of the previous two is driving the voice of the Parental Mind: the overachiever or the Passing the Inadequacy Torch (AKA Live my dreams for me because you can). With just enough checked boxes in their driver’s seat, balancing the driving shifts is not just challenging. It can be plain impossible. Using the digital age as the backdrop of this scenario, the Parental Mind is also juggling with financial, marital and social expectations that have certain ceilings. Anything placed on top of that, a nuclear explosion from within will reverberate past the Children’s Mind — to immediate communities and societies as far as the digital age can reach.
Only then is reflection and quiet made mandatory, in hindsight, instead of while there is time for the mind to shift consciousness when confronted with the hardest YES and the Easiest NO.
We have touched on the subject on our previous articles on how negative behavior is often times intermixed or interpreted as willful or choice-driven, while in some cases, these behaviors have an underlying sensory processing root. To cite a specific example, let’s say that one who utilizes public transportation when going to work daily is unable to tolerate other people’s conversations on the shared space and would require noise cancelling headphones to be able to survive the commute. What we oftentimes call as our preferences or likes boil down to what ‘makes sense’ or ‘computes’ with the section of the brain that processes all of the sensorimotor experience: the temporo-parietal sliver that receives and interprets all of what surrounds us and is experienced within us.
Because these systems are so automatic, just as the heart beats without us having to remind it to do so, we often take it for granted that without the ‘correct’ interpretation of what is going on, we will not make the appropriate response. Majority of our reflexes also come from this section of automaticity due to either a retrieved and learned sensory experience (e.g. touching a boiling kettle once before will permanently recall the sensory experience of fight-or-flight burning pain on the particular body part).
The Sensory Processing of a Learner: Many Intelligence Types
Let’s Look at the two pictures below. On the left side you will notice that we have named the seven (7) senses of the body as primarily responsible in processing the information from the environment. The vision, hearing, smell, touch, taste, movement or kinesthetic sense, and proprioception or position in space sense all come together and interpret the environment for the person based on each of the sensation’s primary function. Thus we call this the Stimulation Source. We will discuss the details of processing science in the next section. The Stimulation Source in the simplest sense is the interpretation of the sensations in the brain after it had been given meaning by the cerebral cortex, specifically the temporo-parietal sections. These are the many directions an interpretation of the sensations can be expressed by a person: visual-spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, linguustic, logical-mathematical, and ecological. These were initially introduced into the mainstream by Howard Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In our practice however we take it a step further and consider it as the Learner’s Response. What we have seen is that the interpretation of the senses can only be expressed accordingly based on the abilities of the brain to coordinate the meaning of the sensations received, thus the Learner’s Response is tied to a person’s natural inclination dependent on the correct release of the information to the external environment.
If we created an example from listening to ones ipod, as soon as the brain realizes that it’s the sense of hearing that is stimulating it, the sound is processed and given meaning by the cerebral cortex and then sent back out to the Learner. Depending on the Learner’s natural abilities, the responses will vary from person to person. One who is kinesthetic may decide to get up and dance. One who is visual-spatial may decide to research the singer online for a live version of the song. While someone who is intrapersonal may become reflective and try too recall an association of the song with a memory or a personal thought. This explains why even if the senses are receiving the information from the environment accurately, the responses vary from person to person depending on their natural ability.
Sensory Processing Science: A. Jean Ayres in User-Friendly Language
Dr. A. Jean Ayres, the pioneering Occupational Therapist in sensory integration theory summed up best the process of the body’s ability to process sensory input. She posited that there were 7 steps that went into the brain’s processing: reception, detection, integration, praxis, discrimination, postural responses and modulation. She also did say that these steps are done in heirarchy, in order. If one step is missing, then the processing becomes faulty and the brain will not be able to send out the accurate interpretation to the learner to respond to. And of all of these steps, it is Sensory Modulation that is externalized by the Learner; by having a sensory modulation disorder, that is the obvious signal there is a hiccup in the flow of the sensory system from the einformation gathering to the brain processing, to of course the Learner’s responses.
Focus on Sensory Modulation Disorder: Impact on Learner’s Consciousness
As was mentioned in the previous section, it is the Sensory Modulation Section that mist if not all sensory issues are evidenced, based on Learner’s Response. Now there are several types of Sensory Processing Disorders: Sensory Modulation Disorders (Sensory Hypo and Hypersensitivity, and Sensory Seeking), Postural Disorders, and Sensory Discrimination Disorders. Of all of these however, it has bern shown that Sensory Modulation, the very last step of the hierarchy of sensory pricessing has the most damaging effects on the Learner’s ability to process academic and social information.
For specific details on the manifestations of Sensory Modulation Disorder, we created a table using research information by Carol Kranowitz in her book, The Out of Sync Child.
Refer to the table below:
Now that we have made the connection between the Learner’s Response to Stimulaton Source, how then can we correct the sensory modulation deficits? The answer: An Executive Functioning- Sensory Based Diet of course, composed of targeted activities from a sensation to cognitive develomental perspective that are aimed to correct the gathering-interpretation process in order to align the learning responses as well . That discussion will be part two of this discussion, the next post to this series. In the meantime, check out our ESNP Recommends tab for more resources and our articles under Body Breakthroughs for additional ideas.
With the invention of instantaneous answers through the swipe of a finger, a press of a button and a question, “Hey Siri… or “Hey Cortana… Who was the the little kid actor in The Never Ending Story?” or “What is happiness?” The act of thinking seems to take a backseat to the final destination of an answer. During this digital age, delayed gratification or the desire to experience the satisfaction of recollection has essentially been lost. While quickly seeking answers to simple questions may not be the beginning of the end, it seems plausible that electronic ‘personal assistants’ who refer to their owners as BFFs (yet can’t define it) will be answering questions like “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is the difference between right and wrong?” in a non-ironic way.
Examples of consciousness happen nearly everyday, from the person who holds the door open for a stranger or gives up their seat on a crowded train to the thousands of people who protest for justice. The brain is an organ that can be worked out like a muscle and retrained to fall out of unhealthy habits like going to bed too late and into new ones like waking up early to work out. But what is consciousness? To date, neuroscientists are still seeking to answer this question with little definitive results. Can it be programmed?
No, not yet anyway. Abstract thought coupled with spontaneous, altruistic action still belong to those with a beating heart and a conscious mind. But perhaps it is time to put down the phone, still the fingers and stop and think or ask a friend, rather then Siri, Google or Cortana, for the best restaurant in the city or the name of the song that played at the end of Princess Bride. Perhaps a few seconds or minutes will be lost waiting for an answer, but connection–with another conscious–will be gained. Because, even though Siri often says it’s not about her. It’s not because she is being a BFF; it’s because there is no ‘conscious’ her. The conscious are the quiet girl at the coffee shop; the happy go lucky child on the swing, the misunderstood homeless man on the subway train or the real BFF who sometimes needs it to be about her as much as it isn’t. It is time for people to look up, open their mouths and speak. It may even be surprising what consciousness has to say.
The momentum to the last few days the end of the year can only be described as lightning speed. The quick high from lights and decorations everywhere you turn, reasons to be giving and forgiving (including to one’s self), and the songs overplayed and remixed in ways they shouldn’t be are all reminders that the end of the year is going to be here before you know it.
There are those of us who dread the end of the year for the excess, the commercialism, the lack of potentially peaceful relative gatherings, or worse, the dreaded office holiday party with several colleagues one is challenged tolerating every work day. On a darker note, there are those who are in the constant state of loneliness throughout the year and this bright, loud, and extra hustled time of year pushes their fragile states even further inward, to a place of no physical return in some cases.
Now, stop. Just pause, and stop. There is silence if you don’t try too hard to listen for it. The world can move quickly and hurriedly around you but you are STILL. Just for 2 seconds, then 4, then 8…count up in two’s till you get to 12 and then, exhale to a smile.
You just gave yourself enough mind time to release whatever minuscule irritation, immaterial worry, or insane task load that was pushing your brain to the brink of emotional amygdala detachment. Do you need another one? Repeat…stop, just pause and stop. Be still for 2 seconds, then 4, then 8…count up in two’s till you get to 12 and then, exhale to a smile.
Be personal to yourself. Make mental notes to yourself as you lift your own consciousness from the recesses of living. Write yourself an air note of happy holidays and great next years, and have resolutions that resolve in minutes and not months. You’d be surprised how much more realistic these promises to yourself as your own person can be.
Branch the material with the immaterial…how did you get here to the end of the year in the first place? Flashback key moments of the year, happy, sad, angry, moments of triumph and heartbreak — those pathways lead you to the very place you are standing in right now.
Reach in, dive in. You aren’t done yet, many compartments of your consciousness are resurfacing. Just because you haven’t seen them before or are seeing them again for the first time in a long time doesn’t make them non-existent. Set them free, 2 seconds at a time, 4, 6, till you get to 12.
Happy holidays have just planted themselves in your consciousness…you took time for yourself just now. Thank you to you. Now resume life a little bit lighter than when you began.