“He rarely makes sounds, looks in my eyes, or uses his words. He seems easily excited and hyper!” ( Age 2 years)
When a child appears dysregulated (lacking organization of self in his environment or with another person-displaying low energy or intense hyperactivity) using sensory movement based activities will support the child to increase communication and have meaningful connections. The child will then integrate his senses for making eye contact, repeating movements, regulating his body and finally communicating with gestures and words.
First, I focus on bringing awareness to the body and it’s differentiated parts. With David, we sang “hello” while providing contact to each toe, his feet, legs, belly, fingers, hands and up to his head. We repeated this routine 2 times. I increased the meaningful relationship we were sharing by using an exaggerated smile, and creating anticipation as I held the movement and waited for his acknowledgement (looking at me, moving his body, or smiling) before completing the movement checkin.
Next, we worked on sharing a connection by increasing his range of movement and his relationship to me. We sang a song about an elephant swaying side to side. We moved in relation to the words and created an opportunity for testing balance, communication, and again anticipation. David, followed along and began to initiate the steps of moving.
Afterwards, we moved into up and down motions – bending with increased speed as I secured my hands to his hips and provided a deeper connection to the movement and song. He bent down and lifted up while laughing. I gave him an opportunity to communicate for more – using the sign for “more” while waiting for opportunities and playing with speed. He was able to follow, initiate and expand on the given task.
Lastly, David and I moved into a soothing and separation phase. I took the attention from my own face and contact onto a transitional object. For David, we used a colorful blanket. We lifted and watched as we breathed and followed the motion of the relaxation and flow of the material.
David was able to increase eye contact during all the activities, he was able to gesture, use single word phrases, and ultimately transition for our goodbye.
He presented with intentional movements and appeared regulated (calm and alert!).
Will you use movement games to encourage your child’s communication? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help make meaningful connections, acceptance and increased communication! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
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.