After School Dysregulation with Lori Goodrich



00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. I got to hang out with Lori Goodrich. She's an occupational therapist that I love and have leaned on over the years for so many things. I learn from her every time I get to speak with her. And we got to chat about restraint collapse. You know, when your kid comes home from school or childcare and they just melt for you, or maybe they've been with a grandparent and all of a sudden they break down for you. That is restraint collapse, where they've held it together all day long and then they collapse for you. We're gonna chat about what this is, what's happening for them, and then ways that you can support your unique child. I dive in depth into the nervous system and what's happening for them and how to figure out what is draining for your kid and what is regulating for your child and how to respond to your unique child in the moment outside of these afterschool times and really just across the board with emotions and regulation.


00:01:13    Alyssa

I dive deep into that in our book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. Lauren and I co -created the Collaborative Emotion Processing Method, the CEP method. We researched it across the US and we spent five years putting the data together and bringing this book to life to really serve you with something I didn't find anywhere else on the market. It's really what I needed as a teacher and as a parent. It's your guide to raising emotionally intelligent humans and it's available for order right now. It publishes on October 10th and if you order right now at, we'll send you some free goodies. You get access to our back to school workshop to reference and come back to and so much more as a little, hey, thanks for ordering ahead of time. You're the bomb. Head on over to to snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. All right, folks, let's dive in.


00:02:28    Alyssa

Hey there. I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and co-creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy, vulnerable parts of being humans, raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together.


00:02:52    Alyssa

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today, I get to hang out with one of my favorite people, Lori Goodrich. Lori is an occupational therapist who during her decades of practice has developed expertise in sensory integration, neurodevelopmental techniques, and feeding slash mealtime therapy. Lori utilizes her knowledge in these core areas alongside an ever-evolving understanding of other factors that influence the human experience in order to provide a range of services for clients of all ages and abilities. She's passionate about providing accessible and meaningful education opportunities for parents and professionals in order to support the needs of the community and those in it. She feels fortunate to be able to share information in a wide variety of platforms, including workshops, consultations, courses, podcasts. I had the privilege of getting to know Lori as a teacher. Lori was an occupational therapist who was contracted into my school and would come in and really work with us as teachers, not with individual kids, which is really rare in early childhood, at least. Usually, our only access to OTs is if we have a child who's receiving services in our program, and the OT's working directly with the kid. And my exposure to Lori was such a gift in that it really, I was like, oh, this feels so in alignment with the CEP method and the work that Lauren and I were doing at the time. And I've just had the ability to learn so stinking much from you, Lori, and I'm so grateful to get to get nerdy with you today and forever get to learn with you. How are you? 


00:04:36    Lori

I'm pretty good. How are you doing? 


00:04:38    Alyssa

I'm doing pretty well, pregnant, just feeling really pregnant, but pretty good. We are, as we're preparing for back to school, Sage is starting a new school in September, and yeah, just kind of gearing up for prepping him for that and all that jazz, which is what brought us to today's topic of restraint collapse. And I think so many of us as parents feel this, like, who is my child and why are they a total disaster after school? And I want to dive into the why and also how we can support kids. 


00:05:25    Lori

Let's do it. 


00:05:26    Alyssa

Let's do it. So what is restraint collapse? Why is it happening? 


00:05:31    Lori

It's so interesting. I was confessing to you before we got on, that I was like, oh, I've never heard that term before. I have heard, I know what it is, but I was not familiar with the term. Looked it up and was like, oh, they've actually named it, which I think speaks to when you're a family of parent or a caregiver and you think it's just my child. It's not, there's a name for it. You know, it identifies that you're not the only person going through it, which I know a lot of families that I work with like that sense of, you know, even when it's a hard thing, it's a community around something. And what restraint collapse is, is, you know, it's often identified with children, but it certainly happens with adults. So adults that are listening might also relate to this. It's sort of, I'm holding it together through the day and doing my best to have a good day and externally might look regulated, but are overwhelmed by components of the day. Task demand, it could be sensory input. It could be, I'm working, you know, I don't have my nutritional and sleep needs met. You know, I'm just working hard at this very high level in a lot of areas and I'm holding it together and I'm holding it together and I come home and, you know, that's my safe place. And that's where I'm going to show how hard I've been working, no matter what the sort of causes. So parents will say, you know, the teachers never see anything in school. They come home and they are, it's like a switch and they're inconsolable for extended periods of time. It looks like it came out of nowhere. It's something that I hear a lot of parents talk about when their kids come home. And this is sort of a, it could be every day. It could be on certain days. And some of the kids that I work with have coordination differences. So like these with PE for them actually aren't a recharge, they're, you know, much harder than other days for them. So that's what restraint collapse is. 


00:07:22    Alyssa

It's almost like a powering through. 


00:07:25    Lori

Yeah, yeah. And some kids do that. Some kids have, they do that. You know, I think I've worked with lots of children that that's their sort of profile is their, you know, their functioning. I would put an air quotes, they're functioning fine in school. What they're telling us afterwards is that a tremendous cost. 


00:07:42    Alyssa



00:07:42    Lori

And other, that's not the situation. I have plenty of kids that I work with that they're, you know, they're having regulation needs when they come home, but they also exist in school. So I think it's good to know that it's not the same for everybody. And I think it speaks to, I have, but it's, you know, at working on teams where they're like, they look fine in school. I'm like, but they're telling us from what's happening afterwards that they're not, right. And that can be, you know, personality traits, or I think sometimes gender differences can play into that. 


00:08:16    Alyssa

Oh, interesting. 


00:08:17    Lori

So there's a lot of things that sort of influence it. But when I have a family that comes to me that says we're experiencing this, we would like, you know, what do we do? Is it behavior strategies? Is it this, you know, and Alyssa's heard me say this millions of times, it's like, why? What is happening during the day that's creating that? Whether it is often with an OT, it can be that sensory overload piece, but there can be other pieces that are going on. I have some clients that just don't eat enough during the day. 


00:08:47    Alyssa

Oh my gosh. Yes. 


00:08:49    Lori

I think anyone that gets that understands, they're like, oh, right. I know what I feel like when I haven't eaten. Even if I don't understand the sensory differences piece, I understand what it's like to not be fed or not well slept. 


00:09:00    Alyssa

Totally, and to feel that dysregulation, literally, okay, we were on our way home from vacation and we had stopped in Montpelier, which is like 40 minutes from my house. And I was like, Sage, this is the last time we're stopping. He had to go pee. And I was like, we're gonna get home from here. He had, at the stop before that, stopped and pooped at a rest stop. And when he has to go poop, he like won't eat. He can't like eat. He usually has a hard time sitting and he'll say, I'm having a hard time sitting. And so we'd like, just, he'd pooped and we're like, cool, cruise in. And didn't put together for myself like, oh, he hasn't really eaten much today because he had to poop when we've been in the car. And so like access to doing that's been limited, whatever. He pees in Montpelier. He has this like full meltdown, like the biggest meltdown he has had since he was maybe a newborn in the car. And I ended up pulling over and like stopping and he just kept saying, I need my mommy. And I was driving and I pulled over and I just went up and I put my face on his. I was like, buddy, I'm right here. And he goes, I need rice and beans. And I was like, oh my God, I relate. Like I know that feeling of like, I've gotten to this point of I'm so hangry. I cannot function. And so, yes, yeah. And I think for some kids, they like almost eat better at school with consistent mealtimes or like here's what's there to offer. And some kids don't. And I think that's a really key thing to note of like if your kid is a kid who doesn't, what does it look like on the way home or at pickup to like have a snack, kind of ready to go? 


00:10:51    Lori

Right, right. Like those things. So this is where that like why factor comes in, right? So if you have a child that you know, eating, drinking and all those things in school are part of their profile of what's tricky at school, you know, signs of the lunchbox comes home and there's like, you know, 25% of the food and imagine if you ate 25% of the food for your day between whatever time I get to school, eight to two for a school -aged child. I would be like the crabbiest person on the planet. 


00:11:22    Alyssa



00:11:23    Lori

Right, so if you know that's part of your child's profile, it might be that like, you know, that part of the routine is a preferred snack when the students get off the bus or wherever they're coming from so that they're not continuing to kind of dysregulate from that sort of like depletion of energy. 


00:11:41    Alyssa



00:11:41    Lori

And they feel seen. I always feel like, you know, I mean, sometimes you guess wrong, I guess wrong that you're like, oop, that's not what it was. But that idea of like, well, I know that it's tricky for you at school. It's really important for us to have a snack. Let's talk about what snacks I should have in the car so that you refuel after a really busy day, right? 


00:12:00    Alyssa

Sure. Yeah, bringing them into that. I love that. And it helps them build that body awareness for themselves of like, oh yeah, I am hungry. 


00:12:08    Lori



00:12:09    Alyssa

And this is something that I might know about myself or learn about myself. Yeah, I like that a lot. So just in a nutshell with restraint collapse, they've been kind of like holding it together for the day. Sometimes this will even happen where like, I'll pick Sage up and he'll start to like melt from like my mother -in -law's. And she was like, oh, he was fine the whole time. Yeah, great. First of all, not helpful. But second of all, like, yep, this is part of it. He's been holding it together for you. And now I get the hard parts and it does happen for us as adults. I found like if I'm kind of in go mode at work and maybe going beyond what I have the capacity or energy for that day, that once the dust settles, I might have a migraine or I'm just like, oh my gosh, I'm so depleted. All I wanna do is lay. That like exhaustion piece. And so for some kids, I think when we pick them up from school or whatever, we might notice that some kids are melting, some kids disconnect and they just need like, they just want silence or they won't engage. And then there's some kids who are like, let me tell y 'all about my day. Come on into my classroom. 


00:13:21    Lori

Right, it's different for everybody. And I think in those situations, I've seen it happen between caregivers, sometimes from therapy to, you know, myself being, you know, a, not their caregiver, but a caregiver for them. Or, you know, we hear teachers say, well, they're not like that at school. Like, and they're kind of making the assumption about caregiver parenting styles. I'll just put that as a very general term. And the fact of the matter is, is like, could that be a factor? Sure, that could be a factor because we're all different humans, right? But that like for kids that are already working to hold it together, another demand of the environment changing, who that adult is with me with changing the relationship part, all of those things are shifting. I actually just had a really interesting, it doesn't fall into the restraint collapse piece, but I have a young child that I see who we usually play in this one, I'm seeing him at his at like a childcare center. So I usually see him in this one room where we're doing an activity he knows how to do. And the school had to use the room for something else kind of unexpectedly. So we kind of knew it was happening, but not when. And it was like, it's mass of kids coming in. So I was like, oh, we'll just, we'll bring the activity out in the hallway. And it was like, he had never done it before. It was so interesting. I'm like, we've done this game together, probably like at least 10 sessions over time. And it was like, right, what a good reminder to me. And I was communicating with the parents about like, it is a good reminder of that shift from one space to another hasn't been for him. And we had to kind of work on kind of re -regulating before he could keep doing it. Versus me, not me being like, well, you could do it in there. So you should do it here with the same expectation, even though it was a pretty substantial change that we are now in a totally different space and knew we were gonna have to go back to the other room. So it was a very like, even as the adult, you're like, okay, this is like not pushing my, it's not pushing me into that overwhelmed state, but it is different, you know? 


00:15:20    Alyssa

Yeah, for sure. 


00:15:21    Lori

We're gonna set it up, what are we gonna do? 


00:15:23    Alyssa

It's one of the things that I learned from you early on. You taught me this idea of like, is it that this is something they don't know how to do or something they don't have access to right now? And that in that, like switching up the space for him, he knows how to do that game. He knows how to play that game, but now he might not be able to access it. And I think when we're looking at kind of expectations and task demands when kids are coming home from school, maybe they do know how to take care of their lunch box. They know how to take their shoes off by themselves. Maybe they know how to do certain things in the evening that in those moments, they might not have access to from a place of overwhelm. And recognizing that we don't always have access to every tool that we have. 


00:16:12    Lori

Right, and I always think it's such an empowering thing for adults to say things like, wow, you know, you worked really hard at school today. I'm going to help you put your backpack away. Like, I think I have had parents say to me, well, if I help them with that, they're never going to want to do it their own. And that's not true. 


00:16:29    Alyssa



00:16:29    Lori

It's just not. 


00:16:30    Alyssa

Kids love to do things by themselves. 


00:16:31    Lori

Yeah, kids, they want to do, intrinsically they want to do what they can do, but it's just as important for them, for the adult to be like, I see you. I see who you are. I see how hard you're working and I'm going to, you know, I'm going to help you. It's different than, oh, I'm going to help you with the backpack or just like enabling to do everything, but like just verbally acknowledging, I can see you worked hard today, or do you want help with your shoes? 


00:16:54    Alyssa



00:16:54    Lori

You know, just giving a little bit of that, you know, and when you think about restraint collapse, you can re regroup in a lot of different ways and different, again, different for different people. Relationship is one of those ways to do it. Right. It's feeling like I'm with you. We're connected. You know, it doesn't mean it's the only tool or that it's the same for everybody. For a lot of kids that I work with, I do feel like that feels like them feeling seen and heard is, I actually had a mom that just said to me, I feel like OT is about empowerment. Like her kid made skill changes with stuff. And I was like, I love that. Yeah. I love that because it's, you know, it is, we're, you know, we're working on different things, but when she really thought her child got out of it, who was older, he was a third grader, was, you know, he just felt like, yeah, I can do stuff. Like, check me out. 


00:17:42    Alyssa

Right. Well, I feel that way as an adult, like the more I've learned about my own nervous system and my sensory systems, it does feel empowering. I'm like, cool. This isn't just like happening to me and I'm failing at life. Once I can like wrap my head around what is draining for me and what's restorative for me and what the why's behind it. Like, even though, why can I access certain tools or language at some times and not at other times. Understanding that for myself was really empowering. I dig that perspective. And I want to get into the, like, how do we support them after school? And I think that a huge part of this comes back to like understanding who we are as individuals and doing that detective work. And I was just saying the other day, I think that OT's greatest superpower is that y 'all are so curious. And I think curiosity is one of our greatest assets in life. The ability to like pause and just like, ask questions and get curious about something, to learn more. And I think of that as like being a detective. And I want to read an excerpt from the book that I think outlines this and then we can kind of dive into it. Lauren and I wrote, 


00:19:04    Alyssa

"We are detectives working to figure out how to best recharge our battery as well as our children's throughout the day. And we all have a slightly different plug. One person can spin on a merry -go -round for 10 minutes and feel great. Meanwhile, another person feels nauseous after one minute. One person can wear a baby all day and have their cup filled while another person would feel touched out after 20 minutes. And likewise, one baby would feel good being worn all day and another would squirm to get down after a few minutes. The amount of food, rest and length of brain breaks that one body needs is different than that of another. And it takes trial and error to learn what works best."


00:19:46    Alyssa

This is where we dove into like the triangle of growth and really learning about the sensory systems as our route for then being able to do higher level stuff and really just pointing out that we're all different. And so I think that's the part that's really hard is that there isn't a one size fits all prescription that would be so convenient to be like, do this with your child and it will work. In fact, every time I see something on the internet that's like, just do this, I'm like, for some kids, sure. What about this child or that child or the parent that has a sensory mismatch there? And so I wanna go into like, what does it look like to be a sensory detective? 


00:20:32    Lori

Well, curious is my favorite word, right? There's not a, I see young kids up through adults and sometimes I think the adult, the kids, I don't think the kids think this, but like sometimes like teenagers, I think they think I have like a book of like, oh, when the person does this, you do this. That would be convenient, probably also make my job very boring to be like, let me look up these exercises because everyone's different, right? So being a sensory detective is to me like keywords or being curious, observant, what happened in that moment that made that hard, what happened in that moment that helped and looking for sort of clusters of information to see what actually, what are they sensitive to? What's gonna help them function better? What things like task demand might be in the mix that are making things, you know, increased work for that person. And I always like to remind people, so occupational therapy is currently a graduate level program and sensory integration is a specialized area of practice. And even really experienced therapists that have high level training, you're still sometimes in that like hmm, cause you're trying to make observation about what's going on in the nervous system from stuff you're seeing on the outside, right? I wonder why they're doing that, you know? And so I often, even as a therapist, sometimes when I have a complicated kid, I'll have like a little data collection thing and try to put together clusters of information. So sometimes just observing and writing things down, right? To be like, when were they doing their best? What was making that hard? Those are things that I always think, I think terminology that's out there that I find, sorry, whoever came up with this, I hope they're not listening. Things like sensory seeker, I find to be, to me, it doesn't mean anything, right?  


00:22:28    Alyssa

I think we all seek certain sensory experiences. 


00:22:32    Lori

Right, and for different reasons, right? So some people that are sensory seekers, which are people that are like seeking out regular, maybe touch or movement, they could be seeking that out because they're overwhelmed with stimulation, that sensory modulation during the day. And they're trying to regulate themselves. 


00:22:50    Alyssa

Again, let's pause that real quick. So when I hear that, what I hear is that like, they have been kind of depleted all day long. Their body's working really hard. And they, if we think of it like a battery, that they are in that kind of like red zone maybe, and now they're trying to do things to kind of recharge and make up for that, charge up their battery. But from a place of overwhelm. 


00:23:15    Lori

Right, they're overwhelmed. So they can hear the humming of the lights and the visual stimulation, and kids are bumping into them, and their clothing doesn't feel just right. That's like that, like I'm overwhelmed by stimulation, that style doesn't exist for them. So it's kind of constantly on. And then other people, they don't quite understand their bodies, that body awareness of like, where are my arms and legs, but I'm getting dressed, and I'm trying to figure out how to play on the playground and play with my friends, and maybe I'm too rough or I like to touch kids because I'm really not sure, where my body and then the rest of the world begins. Those people can also be sensory seekers. So this is where like clustering information, if you're like, wow, they're a sensory seeker, like, do they seem more sensitive to input? Or do they seem like, wow, they don't understand their body as well as they need to, or it could be both. This is where I think things like the sensory quiz that you generated is a great beginning tool for someone to have some questions, to be thinking about, you know, what profile does somebody fall into? So you can start thinking about what those, what these clusters and patterns might actually be. But part of it's just being curious. I know the school that we consulted at, it doesn't work for every teacher, but I used to say like, if you have a moment, like whatever moment is like a more relaxed moment, sometimes you can't tell what it's gonna be. Maybe it's on the playground and like, oh, there's less kids here today, or we have all the TAs are here, you know, one of those days, oh, just sit back and watch the child for like, just aim for five minutes. I'm gonna observe five minutes of what they're doing, you know, and just get curious about like, what are they doing? Are they avoiding groups? You know, do you see them covering their ears? Do you see them bumping into kids? Do you see them, a lot of kids that don't understand their body, spend a lot of time walking around on the playground because they don't quite understand the coordination aspects of accessing playground equipment. So it's looking for those sort of clusters of information to be like, what do I think is going on? 


00:25:16    Alyssa

I don't know about you, but when I scroll through Instagram or I'm tuning into podcasts and diving into parenting resources, resources for myself as a teacher, I can feel overwhelmed. Like, where do I start? I need a guide for what this looks like in practice. And I don't want something that's one size fits all. Because every child is different, right? And if you have multiple children, if you're a teacher, you know that it's not one size fits all. Or if you have seen what works for your sister in law or your best friend or your neighbor, and you're like, oh my gosh, my child does not respond to that. That is how I felt. And then we created the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. It is a guide for building emotional intelligence. And y'all there are five components of the CEP method. One is about how to respond to the kids and what it looks like to have adult/child interactions. The other four are about us. Because I don't know about you, but I did not grow up getting these tools. I did not grow up with them.  didn't grow up in this household. Where I was taught tools for self awareness and self regulation and how to do emotion processing work. And now, as a parent and as a teacher, I'm supposed to teach those skills to a tiny human? But we can't teach what we don't know. And so my first book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, is here to support you. You can head to and snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions today. This is a game changer. It's going to build these skills with you, for you, so that you can do this work alongside building these skills for your tiny humans, so that they can grow up with a skill set for self awareness, for regulation, for empathy, for social skills, for intrinsic motivation. A skill set of emotional intelligence so that they can navigate all the things that come their way in life. Snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions at 


00:25:17    Alyssa

We were just on vacation with, there were four families all staying in a house, 7 billion kids between one and nine years old. And it's a handful of folks who work on the Seed team. And so this is like for us fun and it's nerdy. And we were just like sitting on the beach as adults, watching the kids and just talking about their sensory profiles, which is hilarious now that I say it out loud. But we were like, oh my gosh, so interesting. Like he is sensory sensitive and will just take space. And when he's starting to feel overwhelmed, will just take space and go away from people or will ask to play with certain toys or go into certain spaces that he already feels really comfortable and trust that environment, et cetera. Like where he sleeps or whatever, just like, this is a space I know. And then this other tiny human who has a low perceptive awareness and is like on people's bodies and they are feeling touched out, but this kiddo is like just trying to engage. And we were just like observing all of this. And we were like, okay, how do we support this human versus this human? And that it's different. And what does it look like when you have a group, when we have 7 billion kids in one household between one and nine, and we are outnumbered as adults. We can't provide one -to -one here. So like, what does it look like to really support their needs? And we were talking about this knowing I was coming back and recording this episode. And I was like, yeah, when you come home from school and you're a parent of three kids and they have different sensory needs, right? You've done the observation part and you're like, okay, yeah. She needs movement in certain ways. She needs heavy work or she needs vestibular input and he really thrives on connection and she needs downtime and to decrease stimuli and whatever. Looking at these three kids with really different sensory needs after school and how do we accommodate that? 


00:29:57    Lori

Right. I feel like that is, I've had some parenting consulting that I've done. I'm just gonna acknowledge it's a very hard thing. And then you have a sense of the parent's nervous system in the middle of that too, right? 


00:30:08    Alyssa



00:30:09    Lori

Yeah. I think sometimes you have kids that are more independent. So if you, let's say you had an eight -year -old, four -year -old and a two -year -old, the eight -year -old, if they have, depending on what everybody needs, who can do something independently? 


00:30:24    Alyssa

All right, I'll lay out three kids for you. Ready? We have a nine -year -old who thrives on the connection. And a seven -year -old who can get overstimulated and feel overwhelmed coming home from school, sensory sensitive. And then a four -year -old who seeks both connection and largely proprioceptive input. That like big body play or heavy work. 


00:30:57    Lori

Right, okay. I talk to kids about their bodies. 


00:31:02    Alyssa

I love that. 


00:31:03    Lori

So I would have conversations with all these kids in whatever capacity they're interested in, in their cognitive development and just general interests, right? It doesn't have to be like, this is a part of your brain. It doesn't have to be that. Well, your body needs a quiet space after work with the seven -year -old. Let's come up with a place that feels good for you. And you can help them design that, right? So they know, hey, whatever you want to call it, the cave, the whatever. Your cave is ready for you when you get home. And they know that that's where they can go, right? So it's like something that's already established so it decreases the demand for the parent of having to come up with something. There's already a pop -up tent or I've had some families that live in smaller houses that have, will pull the couch away from the wall. So they have like a gap, you know, and there's maybe books or, you know, whatever things that they like or music. Those kinds of things are kind of already available. So you're decreasing the planning demand for the child, but also for yourself. So that's what I might think about a seven -year -old, right? But something that's like established. I have a little boy that I see, I have seen someone recently and they're like, well, we have a tent. I'm like, he needs it up without the planning demand of having to go get it. And that you don't, you know, if there are other, if the other child has needs that now you're not, especially if the other two in this group need connection, right? You're getting that child's needs met and you're decreasing the like complexity of how to do it all at the same time. 


00:32:29    Alyssa

Totally, I dig that. And even, I'm wondering even just like if there's a bedroom they can go in that they have, like that's their quiet space and it's protected for them or like other siblings aren't going to come in and they have their special toys in there, whatever, that they can just unwind. 


00:32:44    Lori

Right, right. 


00:32:45    Alyssa

Yeah, cool. 


00:32:46    Lori

So that's what I would do for the seven -year -old. For the nine -year -old, so connection doesn't always, I think it's always a good reminder, connection doesn't have to be like you're right here, right? So an example I might think of, and this is, I don't know these kids. So it's sort of like, if a parent was like, let's say the four -year -old has the highest level of need from a safety perspective and connection perspective, which means the caregiver is probably going to have to be more with that physical child, but it could be with the nine -year -old. I hid three Pokemon cards in your room. Do you want to see if you can find them and bring them to me? Those are other ways. It doesn't act, I feel like we can get very into like physical proximity for connection. Now, not knowing that child, I don't know if that would work, right? And it might be, there's 10 cards hiding. I'm going to do a game with your brother. And after you find the card, you and I are going to play Pokemon. FYI, I have so many kids that I'm like, I don't understand how to play Pokemon at all. 


00:33:43    Alyssa

Doesn't make sense to me either. 


00:33:45    Lori

Been around my entire career, it makes no sense. The cards are very cool, I'll say that. But you could do something that's like, I'm giving you connection. I was thinking of you. And then we're physically together. It doesn't always have to be. If you think of how babies develop, right? They're like close to you in a way and then they come back. You can use that same idea with older kids. It's sort of, what do they actually need? Because that might not cut it for that person to feel connected. 


00:34:09    Alyssa

Yeah, sure. Yeah. And then for the four -year -old. 


00:34:14    Lori

For the four -year -old. So someone that is a proprioceptive seeker and likes that intensity and wants connection. I might be thinking if you had a couple of different things, depending on what you have in your house. If you have a trampoline, sometimes just singing a song and doing that kind of activity, that the purpose of something like a trampoline or bouncing together on a yoga ball is you can get the intensity higher and get the relationship together. You're gonna need it for a shorter period of time, right? So like if they were moving around beanbags, which are kind of light, they'd have to do the game a lot longer to get a sensory deposit versus a trampoline. Or I know you have a lot of videos of this on Instagram, which is like the kids jumping in the pillows is a great game. And if the other child needed in closer proximity, it could be that there's like, you know, they close their eyes, the parent hide the toy on both of them and brings them back. So it is, I will say the complexity of having multiple kids with different needs is tricky, but I even think what you did, which you kind of mapped out, like, all right, what does everybody need and what level of independence do they have? What safety needs? And then you can kind of adjust.


00:35:31    Alyssa

I think for myself, I had to also build in this mindset shift of feels like there's so much to happen after we get home from school and like the workday's ended and it's like, I gotta get dinner ready. And then we're gonna like kind of move through a bunch of things. Like there isn't a whole lot of downtime before bed. And I found myself just like jumping into a task and or expecting to and having a lot of challenges where it's like, oh, he's dysregulated or he's now like in this space or he's having a hard time doing this thing that I know he can usually do and feeling like it was pulling me away from like getting dinner ready and kind of going through. And I had to shift for myself. All right, we're gonna come in and we're gonna have 10 minutes togetherness and connected intentional time. And that for us really shifted the evening where I got to like pour into what was helpful for him. And then it allowed me to be able to have that separation in a way where I wasn't turning around and like constantly kind of putting out a fire. 


00:36:41    Lori

Right, yeah. And I think these are things that are like the complexities of parenting, right? I spend a lot of time with children that I work with but I also have a lot of children in my like normal life that I spend time with. And I'm often the observer, right? I'm often with the kid, but I'm also an observer. And like the idea, if you've had 10 quality like really focused minutes on what they need you're both gonna function better for the rest of the day. You're not gonna be feeling like you're torn of like, I'm trying to cook dinner and meet this need. Right, if you're like the first 10 minutes is like that part is important. And if I know if we do it, the rest of the evening is just gonna be much easier. 


00:37:20    Alyssa

Yeah, and it just for me, like recognizing that I was really taking care of my future self and that like 10 minutes was actually enough for us. Where like, it didn't have to be that they had uninterrupted half hour of me or an hour or whatever, like 10 minutes goes a long way. 


00:37:40    Lori

Right, right. And I think if you have a family that you're like I wish it was 30, but I only have 10, do the 10. Like, you know, it's kind of like I'm reading this fascinating book on habits by James Clear, if you haven't read it. I'm like a little, I'm not marketing anything. I'm just obsessed with this book. But he talks about these things about like going to gym for five minutes to build a habit, right? And I think there's some really neat concepts in there that I've used with families and adult clients that I see because it is like this idea of like, if you're aiming for, I don't know what perfection is, whatever that even is, but like move towards something, you know, 10 minutes might get you to like bedtime or towards bedtime, you know, it doesn't have to be. 


00:38:23    Alyssa

Or if you have another caregiver coming home at some point, a co -parent or whatever, like that might get you there where you have other hands on deck. 


00:38:30    Lori

Yeah. The nine -year -old you could also use, depending on the child, my nephew who's almost 11, which I target believe, but he likes to do meal prep sometimes, not all the time, but that could be, that's sometimes a connection moment for him. Like he'll be in the kitchen helping with dinner. That one's not, to me, it's not as reliable because not every kid wants to do that, but those can be moments that are actually connection opportunities. Yeah. 


00:38:55    Alyssa

I was even finding for the nine -year -old, like even on our vacation week, he thrives on connection and like feeling seen and words of affirmation and physical touch are both really big for him. And I found that like, if I was just walking by him and just said something that would be connected, where he would feel seen, like, hey bud, earlier, thanks so much for including Sage when you guys were playing. I know it's hard to include a two -year -old sometimes in big kid games. I really appreciate that. That was so kind of you. That like would go along, it filled his tank up. It would go a long way for him that then he wasn't frankly doing annoying things for connection that often will happen when they're like, they don't come up to you and say, I feel disconnected, right? Like they do things that are really annoying to get your attention and connection. And when I could proactively just like pop in a little sentence like that, or stand next to him and like rub his back while I was standing next to him, or like at the fridge at one point, looking for what's for lunch and he was next to me. And I just like rubbed his back, had my hand on him and then gave him a little squeeze and said, I love you, bud, I'm so glad we're here together. And then we went on and made lunch. And like those little things really add up for him that I wonder if even at like pickup from school or once you kind of see each other, if there's a way to connect there that's really short, it's 15 seconds or less than a minute of that intention. Once we know like that goes a long way for him, versus his seven -year -old sister, you could do that same thing. And she's like, yeah, whatever. Like that doesn't recharge me. I don't feel fueled by that. I would like you to actually stop touching me and stop talking to me. And I would like to go into my quiet space and play with my toys. 


00:40:37    Lori

Right, right. Yeah, no, I love thinking about that. Those like micro dosing of like - And that's different than like if it was, if that child had sensory processing differences, those little mini things, they're kind of like, they might feel good in the moment, but they wouldn't necessarily have the long lasting carryover but with relational and connection work, those little, those micro dosings can actually be the, I love that. I think this goes to show listeners that it's not like a one size fits all, but I love hearing you talk about like the things that you were observing and then also like, oh, we know that this child has sensory sensitivity. So it means she needs a quiet space. So you're starting to connect what you're seeing to what that child might need. I know you talk about you and Zach needing different things. 


00:41:21    Alyssa

Oh my gosh, night and day. 


00:41:23    Lori

Yeah, it's tough. It's tough when it's like, there's different people that need different things. And sometimes, you know, we, human nature is like the connection is often like, well, I do this, doesn't mean it works for everybody. So it is, it's challenging. So I think there's this, I've said it before, probably during another talk, but I'll say it again. Like you try it, it's evaluation. If it works, it's intervention. Like an OT. 


00:41:46    Alyssa

We popped that in the book for you. 


00:41:47    Lori

I know, I love, it's not mine, it's Reggie Bowen. She's great. She was an OT that passed away, but she, I love that. So even for parents or teachers, you know, I'm going in with the theory that it's this, you know, this child needs this. And then you try it and you see, you know, did it work? Was it long enough? Was the intensity enough? Sometimes you make the total, the wrong guess. And you're like, oops, that didn't have the effect that I wanted. But that's part of the, that's part of the process because you're trying to understand the nervous system and needs based on external things. And like you said, kids don't come up and say, I'm just regulated. Like they're doing other things to tell you. And our job is to kind of just be observers and think, I'm wondering what they're telling me. I wonder if it's this, let's try this strategy and see how it works. 


00:42:35    Alyssa

For the four -year -old, I am also wondering just in that, like getting home from school, which is like getting to the car and getting inside, if there are ways to build in, like she carries her backpack out or her lunch bag out and just adding kind of like weight to wherever she's going to be walking. Or we have a kid that we work with who has like a weighted beanbag that is in the car with him and that sits with him in the car seat on his lap. And it's become like one of his loveys basically, but it stays in the car and it is his like car seat buddy. And it just gives like a little extra pressure throughout this transition that for him is helpful. 


00:43:19    Lori

Right, right. Those are great things I think thinking about during the actual transition, like weighted carrying your backpack, like you said. Chewy snacks are another way to get proprioception. That child likes things like fruit leathers and like those kinds of snacks that are like chewy bars, those kinds of foods. It's another way to start getting those sort of sensory deposits in during the transition. The car ride, other things that I like, depending on how long their legs are, I have a lot of kids that get nauseous in the car. If their legs are long enough to reach the car seat in front of them, pushing their feet into it. And I'll teach kid games. Oh my gosh, you want to make a pancake with your feet on there? What flavor do you think we should make? Do you think we should hold it for five seconds or 10 seconds? So they're just using their feet and pushing it up against the seat. So you can make it into, if that's interesting to them, make it into a game. But things like a weighted stuffed animal or backpack on their lap, those are all really great strategies that are like, keep them in the car. That's not a thing that comes in and out of the house. It's like a car thing so you know that it's always there. And that idea, they're getting more input over time who's going to last in their system longer and get their needs met more efficiently. 


00:44:36    Alyssa

Yeah, and if folks are tuning in, you had mentioned the quiz, but we have kind of like a jumping off point for you. If you go to that will guide you through a series of questions to help you understand a little bit more like what we then give you at the end, some activities or ideas of what might be helpful for your child. Like my kid really benefits from vestibular input, like swings and dipping upside down. Now he'll say like, mom, I want to do some dips or I need to spin around. And I would throw up if I did what he does. We have very different sensory needs. We often are a sensory mismatch actually. And he is so much like my husband. But figuring out those sorts of things and then having activities that you can kind of adjust, you know, like if you know they really like heavy work, looking at maybe if they want connection too, can they carry some ingredients over to you while you're making dinner or whatever? Like how do you build it into your day? I think so often the perk of observing and seeing what they gravitate toward is that they will often let us know little clues and hints. And they're really good usually at like seeking out what they need, whether it's space or certain types of input, et cetera. And we don't have to like, you don't have all the toys and gadgets in the world. We can build it into our everyday life once we have an idea of what's regulating for them. 


00:46:11    Lori

That's exactly why I started doing more community-based work because I felt like the transition from, I worked in a clinic for almost 20 years, you know, I decided I really wanted to be in homes and schools to really be like, what do they actually have at their actual house that this would work? And how does this actually look when they're melting down, you know? 


00:46:29    Alyssa



00:46:30    Lori

You know? 


00:46:32    Alyssa

Yeah, because it's totally different. It's like, yeah, you don't always have access to a swing. You don't always have access to certain things. And so how do you build it in? Sage, you know, I said, loves that like spinning. And so does Zach. And so they play a game often when we're like going into a store, we're going into a place, and Sage will ask for it now. He calls it where, where, where, where Zach will put him on his shoulders. Like he's sitting on Zach's shoulders and Zach will hold his hands. And Zach's like spinning around saying, where's Sage? Where did he go? Where is he? And he will spin around with Zach as Zach's like looking for him on his shoulders. And then he'll dip back on Zach's back while Zach holds his hands or holds his legs. And I like watch it and I can't, I cannot play that game with him because it truly makes me sick. And he knows to like ask dad for it. And we will intentionally like do it when we're going into a space where it gives him, especially like we're going into a restaurant, he'll do it from the car to the door. Just like gives him some vestibular input when we're going to go into a space where he doesn't have access to a swing or something like that. 


00:47:34    Lori

It's great that you have a family member that likes that. 


00:47:37    Alyssa

Oh God, so convenient. Right. And it's really brutal when it's just like him and I, and I'm like, I can do dips with you. I can hold you and I can dip you down. 


00:47:44    Lori

Yeah, I think the kids knowing that like you also have a nervous system, so I do have a lot of kids that like to spin. And sometimes I have, sometimes they're little enough that I can hold them, but like if they need to spin around for a minute, I'll probably, forget vomit, I'll probably fall over, right? 


00:47:59    Alyssa



00:48:01    Lori

So it's like one of the kids that I see will do a game, we wrap them up in a blanket and then, you know, on the bed, you know? So he's - 


00:48:09    Alyssa

Yeah, like pull it out so that he rolls out. 


00:48:11    Lori

Yeah, so that idea of like, he knows that there's a choice. I know I have a choice that's safe for both of us, that meaning my nephew is a highly active, he always has been. And I remember when he was little, probably Sage's age, we used to do this game. It'd be like 7 a .m. He's like, let's go in the yard. I was like, I know what's he wants. He's going to want to run around. So I would get bubbles out and I would sit down and have my coffee, I'm a little bubbles and he'd be racing all over the yard. So, and even now we'll come up with games. He wants to do all these stunts in the pool. I'm like, all right, I'll throw the ball and you jump and catch it. 


00:48:45    Alyssa

Yeah, perfect. 


00:48:46    Lori

You know? So it's how do you find games that like you can do together? It doesn't mean you have to be doing the exact same thing. Yeah. You can both have jobs within that game that like work for your nervous system. 


00:48:56    Alyssa

Totally, and those little deposits I think are huge. Lori, I think this is so helpful. So I just want to pull it all together that our kids often at school, they're taking in so much stimuli and they have a lot of things that they have to do. Kind of like we do at work where there's a lot of tasks and people need things from us or want things from us. And we're processing all the stimuli and information and doing a lot. And that adds up for us. Sensory input is cumulative. And so it continues to add up and they will have access to some access for some regulation, depending on the school or the setup or how old the kid is. But they might have other needs when they get home and it might have just been like, oh my gosh, it really built up. I think especially in back to school time if they are changing classrooms, they're getting to know a new caregiver, new routines, kind of new expectations when everything feels new and there's a lot for your brain to take in, then we want to decrease our task demands. And I think of this where like just in my first trimester with this pregnancy, I was like, okay, what can I take off my plate? Because I just have so much more happening. My bandwidth is lower. What can I take off my plate? Sometimes it meant dinners ordered and instead of making them or yeah, I'm just not gonna be on top of laundry in the same way. Just like looking at where can we decrease things. And so for kids, this might be things that we know that they know how to do. Maybe we're supporting them with, especially in those first few weeks back to school where they're feeling even more overwhelmed than they might as they get into a flow at school and understand the expectations in this classroom and this teacher and these peers, et cetera. And then looking at the observation part of like, who are they? What are they sensitive to? And then what recharges them? What fills their cup? And how can we essentially make accommodations for that? Also bonus points if you wanna pause and do that for yourself of like, what am I sensitive to? And what recharges me? So that maybe you recharge yourself for a hot minute right before pickup or you build in if you're gonna play a game with kids when they come home, activities that also are recharging for you that I'm not playing where, where, where on the way to the car because then I'm gonna get into the car in a more depleted state. So what can I do to help him from the door to the car as we go home? And then looking at like, if we have multiple kids, what are ways we can set ourselves up for success? Like you said, pulling that couch away from the wall where there's a little spot or creating a space in the bedroom or a little pop -up tent or something where they can go and have that escape or hiding those three Pokemon cards before we leave so that there's a thing to do. But a little bit of like looking ahead for ourselves to set ourselves up for success and carving out five to 10 minutes where when we come in, we get to focus on them. 


00:52:08    Lori



00:52:08    Alyssa

It's a gift to ourselves, really. 


00:52:10    Lori

Yeah, it totally is. And there are situations, this has been a great conversation. I also think the thing that you just touched on I wanna like bypass of like the parent, how do you regulate yourself as the adult? Sometimes, sometimes that's the only thing you have access to for something. Like if you're like, we are deep in this and the things that would normally work, they are, they're like, you know, they flip their lid as Dan Siegel would say, they're in the lower part of their brain which is hard to access. So sometimes in those situations, what you can control actually is your own regulation. Right. I'm gonna take some deep breaths, you know, just to get myself grounded in a situation where I can't, I can't, I'm here to keep them safe but we can't quite access some of these tools. And that's not when any of us, I always compare it to when people are like, well, just calm down. I'm like, that doesn't work. Doesn't work for me. If you're trying to, if I'm upset and you're just trying to talk me out of it, not, it's actually gonna make it worse because I'm just gonna get mad. 


00:53:11    Alyssa

How do we move through it? 


00:53:13    Lori

How do you move through it? And sometimes you need time, right? Like sometimes it's uncomfortable as the adult. I mean, I'm sure every parent has been in a store where their kid is having a meltdown over something or I've been in sessions that what you're describing happens and you're in a waiting room filled with parents that are like, happens to be happening with you. You're the therapist. And you're like, well, this is, it's actually showing that they're really safe with me. But also like, this is gonna happen and it's good to know what happens. It's gonna, no one did anything wrong and this child is just overwhelmed by, the cumulative effects of the day or whatever the thing was that created that. So sometimes it's like, they just need space before you can really help them regroup and give them ways to do so. 


00:53:54    Alyssa

Yeah, and it's, I think it can be a hard line to find of like, when do I give them time and space and when do I step in and co -regulate? And we got a whole book for you. We got a whole book on this. 


00:54:06    Lori

Right, that's what the book is for. This is like some like planting some seeds, if you will, of the concept. 


00:54:10    Alyssa

That's right, planting some seeds. Well done, Lori. There you go. And if folks, if you have not pre -ordered the book yet, you can head to to get Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. So much of what we talked about today is packed into there. We dive into those unique nervous systems as well as how to respond to your unique child, that there is no one size fits all when it comes to regulation and emotion processing. And so we dive into all that. And we got a bunch of goodies and bonus things for you if you snag it before October 10th. So head on over and grab Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. Lori, thank you for being you. I love getting to hang out with you and learn from you. It's such a gift.


00:55:02    Lori

This is so fun, I always do. 


00:55:04    Alyssa

Yeah, where can people find you, connect with you, all that jazz? 


00:55:09    Lori

The best way to reach me is I have a private practice called Thrive Together Occupational Therapy out in the Boston area. And so you're welcome to contact me there if you're interested in services. I provide services in parts of Massachusetts and I'm licensed in Vermont for telehealth. I can do sessions or parent education. I'm also love, as you can probably tell from this conversation, I love working with all types of professionals and parents on like education and those things. So there's some information on my website and all the different services that I do offer. 


00:55:43    Alyssa

Sweet, we will link that in the blog post and show notes for anyone who's like me and consuming podcasts while they're like on the go or doing dishes or whatever, not jotting things down. You can head to to find anything that's been linked here. The Seed Quiz, Lori's website and all that jazz. Thank you, Lori. 


00:56:03    Lori

Thanks so much for having me. 


00:56:06    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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