“I JUST WANT TO MAKE HIM HAPPY BUT NOW HE DOESN’T USE WORDS, ONLY WHINES AND GETS THINGS.” (MOM OF 2.5 YEAR OLD)
Sammy was known for whining and crying the moment someone walked into the room. He sat on the ground and grunted to get what he wanted and he immediately got it. If a moment was delayed he became upset, falling backwards with arched back and head. His mother was at a loss, 1. She wanted to just make him happy, 2. She wanted to help him learn to not be so frustrated and use his words.
In this case, Sammy was capable of words yet had not had to use them. I supported the mother to take 5 minutes to just observe and follow Sammy’s movements. We moved just the same as Sammy (he had been crying but immediately stopped) as we moved subtly the same as him. I modeled for this mom, how to look at timing, the weight of the movement, and the familiar patterns her son used.
I acknowledged that Mom was joining Sammy just like another toddler, both moving the same with no judgment or interferences. Sammy increased his ideas and moved more. Suddenly, Sammy looked up and as he started to moan and cry for mom to open a small bag of toys, we said “OPPPPPENNNNN” with an anticipatory song pattern and our hands making a large gesture for “open.” Sammy looked at both of us and laughingly made his hands open and repeated the word for the first time!
There is a lot more that took place during this session while the main theme is consistent. When a child’s movements are shared, seen and supported he may be regulated to communicate. We join the child’s language of movement to have him join our language of words.
For many of the families that I work with learning the language of a child who is struggling helps them to better assist their child during times of stress. If your child or a child you know could benefit from more support or for additional information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-966-0700.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.
Special Thanks to The Andrea Rizzo Foundation. Dreasdream.org