Are you parenting a child with developmental or mental health disorders, or who struggles with emotional/behavior challenges?
This is for you!
It’s likely no one has given you an accurate explanation of what’s happening in your child’s brain. You must understand your child’s brain in order to use strategies that help your child move forward and make connections.
The brain’s ability to process information is key to developing skills, managing emotions, and responding to things appropriately. Children with developmental, mental health disorders, mood and/or behavior challenges may not be making the connections in their brain needed to manage emotions and respond appropriately to situations. It’s all about processing.
Processing = making sense of the world and your experience in it.
It happens in 3 basic steps:
- Information comes in (millions of bits every second)
- The brain efficiently and accurately makes sense of the information
- We do something based on the meaning we’ve made
This is a complicated series of events that happens throughout the brain and nervous system. When processing works well, kids develop along a typical pathway of skills but when processing breaks down, development takes a different path.
The brain should be wired up like a superhighway. Information gets to where it needs to go quickly and accurately. As children grow, this superhighway gets faster and more connected and can manage bigger amounts of information.
Kids with disorders like Autism, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Trauma, etc. don’t develop that same superhighway of connections in one or more areas of their brain. What happens when information can’t get processed properly? The brain gets overloaded, stress and anxiety increase, and the person experiences overwhelm.
How do kids try to manage the uncomfortable anxiety and overwhelm they feel? They use “behaviors” to cope which we may see as behavior challenges. Avoidance, arguing, tantrums, aggression, stimming, controlling – all of these are coping strategies to manage overwhelm.
Behaviors = Coping Strategies
Now that you understand this …
Two main approaches are needed for supporting these kids:
- Slow the flow of information
- Build and strengthen brain connections
I’ll share specific strategies in both areas in the coming weeks.
Does this information make sense for your child? What do you find challenging? Share with me in the comments below and I will try to support you with answers.
For more parenting help …
Another article you may find helpful 25 Awesome Brain Breaks for Kids (and Adults) While Stuck at Home.
Watch more videos here – Instagram https://www.instagram.com/drnicolebeurkens
Listen to more on these topics here – Podcast https://www.drbeurkens.com/podcasts/
Learn specific strategies and tools (that work) here – Online Parent Video workshops https://drnicolesclassroom.thinkific.com