February 20, 2011 – Most of us do not think much about the word, “satiate” except if we have just enjoyed a celebration feast and one of us wants to use a fancy word to describe our satisfied appetite!! Today, I would like to discuss this concept as it applies to our Sensory cherubs and hopefully create some new “heart” thinking so we can release some of our controlling parenting!! Most of you have come to a deeper understanding that when our children are working their sensory systems in an effort to integrate, they often need more activity, stimulation, or input than WE as adults can imagine!! It is one of those topics that most parents need support around and through, because it can “feel” like aspects of becoming obsessive. From my heart….I understand, BUT if we do not grab a hold of the developmetnal facts we could possibly hurt our cherub’s heart…their emotional system. Our children can sometimes take months, maybe even a year plus to begin to integrate their vestibular system, so we find them swimming like fish, jumping on trampolines without any signs of exhaustion, watching the same DVD over and over, to a point where they have learned every facial movement and word spoken….depending on the “chosen” input activity, parents respond quite differently!!! If a child is working his/her proprioceptive system, they may need to crash, jump and roll, climb, push heavy items around, grind their teeth, chew gum, chew crunchy food items, or even need multiple deep pressured hugs from you daily!! Well, now we have to talk seriously about those activities or food choices that make us uncomfortable…possilby causing us to think we need to STOP them or create a control level that ultimately produces negative or adverse emotional responses. When my cherub was young…I wanted to remove the bottle for all drinking and move soley to an open cup or cup with a straw….WELL…her system said NO!!! Within hours she was “biting off buttons,” biting off anything she could find on her stuffed animals, and sending her MOM and DAD a HUGE message!!! So, I looked at my options as I knew she needed more sucking and began to offer her all drinks with wider straws and allowed those straws to be chewed and continued to replace them. I also thickened her drinks so she could get all the sucking needed outside of a baby bottle. We also introduced Lollipops, and popsicles!! Well, that was it….obsession kicked in….or so I thought….but because I did not respond with a NO, or you’ve had enough…she quickly moved through this stage and never looked back!! It was TRULY an amazing and LIBERATING experience for me as a MOM!!!! During this entire experience my heart words to her were…”Oh your mouth needs to suck and chew,” “Take care of your mouth!” All I wanted was for her to integrate without any emotional negativity, and without feeling like she had to go on a search for “something….anything” to suck or chew out of our sight!! I really began to understand all the research I had read of A. Jean Ayres….our cherubs must satiate their systems…and we as parents can and should GUIDE, but not control, belittle, or turn to negative verbage over the sometimes lengthy process!! This is only one of MANY examples of my own journey with my cherub…but my most honorable report is that because of this process SHE is amazing whith children that are “working” their systems and has the most patience I’ve actually ever witnessed!!! So who would have known….??? I followed my heart, my mind…but ultimately her NEED!!! –DK