Sensory Regulation Q&A with Lori Goodrich


00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village, this is episode 183. I got to hang out with one of my favorite humans, our go to occupational therapist Lori Goodrich. You've heard Lori on episode four, where we talked about an overview of the sensory systems and then she joined me in our Village Membership for an expert Q&A where our village members got to pop in all of their questions about sensory regulation and how it relates to their kiddos or in their household. We went through all the questions. It was super fun to hang out with Lori and our village members. And I wanted to give you a snapshot because there were so many nuggets in this Q&A, we hung out for a little over an hour, but here's just a little sneak peek into that hour. If you are interested in becoming a village member, it only opens a couple times a year and you can always head on over to to get on the wait list so that, you know when it opens, we have so many goodies in there, but really we're focused on diving deeper into this work with folks who are ready, who want more support and guidance who want access to our team to ask questions and things like this expert Q&A, we poll the village members to hear what they want more of, and what they want to dive deeper into. And then we pull in experts to help support that. Lori is also coming to Mama's Getaway Weekend, she is doing a live Q&A with me there as well. So if you want to come join us, we have a few tickets left. Mama's Getaway Weekend is September 25th and 26th in Watertown, New York. It happens once a year. It's the only place that I am in person this year. Head on over to to snag your ticket and come pick Lori's brain in September. All right folks, let's dive in. 


00:02:06    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell. 


00:02:36    Alyssa

Hello hello, folks, I've missed hanging out, it's something I've missed so much and very much looking forward to getting back to the live Q&A's on Wednesday's with y'all and Mariana, hanks for letting me do this with Lori today because hanging out is my favorite but really, like hanging out and talking about sensory systems is my all-time favorite, so I'm jazzed that we get to do that together. Hi Lori!


00:03:07    Lori



00:03:07    Alyssa

Everyone in the village knows who you are at this point, we talk about you all the time. So but Lori is our OT, our go to OT over here and someone I have had the privilege of working with in person with in my classroom and have just never stopped working with because getting nerdy with you is so fun. We have a bunch of questions in here that I'm going to throw at ya, and we can kind of dive into, but if people pop in questions, that also couldn't be here today but the recording will be up in kajabi so yeah. 


00:03:51    Lori

All right, let's do this. 


00:03:52    Alyssa

Okay, one of the things I was super jazzed about when I was reading through these because I think it's really interesting and fun is oral motor stuff. There are few questions about oral motor. So here throw this one at you, my two-and-a-half-year-old has always been oral sensory seeking if that's the right term uses a pacifier for sleep currently, but we're getting ready to end it. What are some other ways we can help him meet this need? Especially at night.  


00:04:21    Lori

That's a great question. And I know I always, I always botch the difference between coping strategies and coping mechanisms that that Seed uses. 


00:04:31    Alyssa

Mechanisms for us are not long-term. Strategies are like...


00:04:36    Lori

Strategies are long term, I know the difference, but I can't remember which ones which. So the idea of your like, we're going to transition away from something that's been working for them, your child. And what else can we use to kind of meet the need that they're getting met by the pacifier? And we know that oral motor is one of our prime regulators, I'm sure I'm not the only, I just saw Alyssa taking a drink for her cup. I have mine. You know, people like to chew on pens, like we use these things as adults too, it's actually one way of down regulating you're nervous system, the sucking and resistive chewing are two ways that we down-regulate our nervous system. So if I was thinking of replacement things, and I do get asked this for lots of age kids of like they're doing this, they're doing on their shirt, they're, they have a pacifier, you could think of other oral inputs of that. Something that that child really likes. So even things of getting like intensity into their mouth, like a chewy tube or you know, they make toothbrushes like rubber toothbrushes, it looks like bananas that you can chew on. Just to give some other ideas of, how do I actually give some of that type of input? If sucking is a really important part of that, you know, you might do like, you know, maybe part of dinner time is like always having a drink through a straw as a way of giving some of that resistive suck. So that they're getting that kind of input as a regulator at different times during the day, the other thing you can do is go down a different route if you're like, oh, they're oral seeking but they need all that for like a really long time for it to work. You might think a big body things also. So if you're child likes like deep pressure or muscle input. You might think of things like, you know, the burrito, like, burrito roll ups, or those kind of things that you can do during bedtime like around. If you're reading books or something like that, you could add it in there. And that's another, that's another way of down-regulating nervous system. 


00:06:23    Alyssa

Yeah, rad, that proprioceptive input. These folks are familiar with proprioceptive and vestibular input. So you can throw that at them too. 


00:06:29    Lori

Love it. 


00:06:30    Alyssa

Yeah, one of the things I think I remember you saying to me when I was teaching, Was that the inner ear is right there, right? And so, it's so close to this whole situation, the mouth, the sucking, the chewing, the whatever that sometimes, vestibular input could be what they’re after or seeking is that true? 


00:06:52    Lori

Yeah, that's you have such a good memory Alyssa. So in general, putting something in your mouth wouldn't necessarily activate that. But if you're doing vibration so like an electric toothbrush, how the mechanism that we register, if anyone's interested, Alyssa and I are nerdy and probably like this, hopefully other people do too. It's actually a little mechanism in your inner ear and vibration is one way to tap into it is sometimes when like have your been near like a really vibratey truck and you, I feel dizzy sometimes I have a really sensitive movement system, but that vibration can kind of fake out your movement system. So in general putting general things in your mouth wouldn't activate, your vestibular system, but certain things can. 


00:07:29    Alyssa

Okay, that makes sense. Also made me think with Sage is super sensitive, doesn't need a lot of vestibular input, love proprioceptive. And we were at a wedding this past weekend, and we used the noise canceling headphones, but if he was still clearly like would get dysregulated by the sound and there was for sure, vibrations from this music. I was, I said this to someone, like have weddings always been this loud and I just didn't notice? 


00:07:57    Lori

And I work with adults that, you know, they're describing things and I'm like you have a sound sensitivity, and you also have a movement sensitivity because sound comes in through, air and comes in through vibration, so you're getting it through two. And that's the bone, it's called bone conduction, but like you can be overwhelmed by both of those or one of them. So it's not super surprising that headphones will block out sound, but they're not going to take the, they're not going to take the vibration part out. 


00:08:23    Alyssa

Yeah, that is so interesting. And then Zach, who loves and craves vestibular input, is a drummer. And so I'm like yeah, this is all adding up... 


00:08:32    Lori

It kind of depends on what you want to move towards. Like, I know I've worked with, I work with lots of kids with different needs and like, sometimes the kids older and the parents are noticing like, you know, it's their only strategy or yeah, maybe their food progressions not happening the way they want it to, you know, and there's, pacifiers are totally fine. I don't have anything, I don't have an issue with pacifiers sometimes, the movement pattern, you're getting out of that can get in the way of eating patterns. It's not a definitive, like, if you have pacifier, you're going to have feeding problems but sometimes those things go hand-in-hand. So having I also think having a variety is always good for kids, but like, some people my colleagues and I joke like we like different fidgets. I like ones that move really rhythmically and they like squishy ones., like that come in different things that like some people really like sucking and some people like chewing and both have a regulatory benefit. So sometimes it's paying attention to like, what are my kids, what did they seem to really go for and even those, you know those like, they're like, they make mesh ones and like silicone ones that you can put food inside of and suck? I mean we want to do food at night but you know, something like that just to like if you're like we're trying to break out of the pacifier and like no pacifier might be too tricky. Like things that are variation, variations that look like pacifiers or a good way to kind of just get away from the one thing and move away from something as you're trying to work towards things. 


00:09:59    Alyssa

Yeah, yeah. Just as, Katie I think is in our sleep program but for us for sleep, we're totally fine with mechanisms for sleep, but like, it's not something that we're like we need to move from mechanisms to strategies, which is what we try to do throughout the day for kiddos as much as possible. Just with the idea of like, you might not be in a boardroom with a lovey down the road. What are you going to tap into? But you can sleep in the lovey forever. 


00:10:23    Lori



00:10:25    Alyssa

My Super Active, almost six-year-old still jumps on me all the time and attempts to climb me like a tree. I have a bad back and it scares me when I get jumped out of the blue, fair, I have an extremely low tolerance for this behavior and remind her every day that she can't do this to my body, and I have other great options available for her. An indoor climber, swing, trampoline gym mat, circus rings, yoga ball, a hammock, you name it. How do I make her stop? I sound like a broken record and it hurts. 


00:10:50    Lori

Yes, yes. I have an 8 year old nephew. Who does that with my sister, and I'm always like, thank goodness, that's not me because I have a really bad back. Like he would probably actually hurt me. She's okay with it to a degree and then she was like, get off of me, so that's great. It sounds like you really thought about like, what are some great options for different sensory tools? It sounds like you have so many going on there. Sometimes families that I work with the kids are, they're seeking input but they're also seeking connection. So if you're like wow I'm giving them all these input choices and they really not using them. It might be what they want is, you know, input plus connection. That doesn't mean jump all over me. It could be. What can we do together that's physical. So, you know, if you were doing like the yoga ball is a great example of like let's play steamroller. Like I roll the ball over you then you can roll you know or maybe you can roll the ball over me, things that are still going to be that sort of relational connection along with the sensory input might be something to try. I also know from my nephew the longer he's been doing the things that he does for as long as I can remember. And he's like big he's like 75 pounds. He's not little. I just saw him. It was like, when did you get so big! Knowing that it takes a long time to, like, break patterns that you're in. I think, for all of us as humans that like, if a person has been doing something with it, that's a child or no over and over and over again, just takes time to kind of get in the habit of, you know, get moving away from that and building up other strategies. But I would try pairing. If you haven't already, tried it pairing the input with connection and relationship and seeing if that changes it to a degree, 


00:12:35    Alyssa

I love the note of not just connection, but connection with imput like, what can we do? That's not just are you trying to connect with me? And like we can go draw which cool that works too, but maybe they do also need that input in pairing those together. I finally listened to the Voices of Your Village podcast. So the episode with us Lori, episode 4, and was so interested to hear about the social component. Can you say more about how sensory plays into something like, asking for a toy back if another child takes it? For example, seeing my two-and-a-half-year-old struggle with this and I'd ascribed it to the pandemic, lack of social interaction, but I wonder if I should be looking for patterns. 100%, this was an issue for me as a child and persists as social anxiety in adulthood, tips for supporting my kiddo and tips for me. So I'm wondering if what she's saying is the organizational planning and like being able to navigate that social group of like sharing a toy or connecting with others. 


00:13:35    Lori

Right. Just talking to a colleague of mine that's a speech therapist about how complicated social skills are, you know, as as children that are learning them and as adults that are still continuing to like, you know, have different relationships, you know, with different types of different people and different dynamics that play out are super complicated. Certainly sensory processing is not the only one, so I just want to be clear about that. That it's not like oh this is the only thing that matters there's lots of other sort of, you know, communication skills, language skills, reading nonverbal. There's a lot of things that come into play for social skills from from a from a sensory perspective, some of the big things I think about is and Alyssa I know the triangle when we when you were like evolving that I was like, think of it like sensory is at the the bottom, to me, the bottom of like, it's how we function as humans. It's, you know, not just for motor skills or paying attention or sleep it's like how we just function in general. So, if I'm thinking about social skills, I'm thinking, like, wow, that's a really integrated skill that requires a lot of things to be happening. But like, what do I know that I can tap into how to support someone doing their best in that? And the one of them, biggest one is being regulated. So, if you're going into and that could be regulation from too much stimulation. It could be regulation from I'm feeling anxious and I know this is hard for me and that could be a child or an adult. That's not exclusive to any age. 


00:14:59    Alyssa

Yeah. I was wondering how the interoceptive system might play into this, 


00:15:04    Lori

Right? Yeah. So it's like, do I know that I get dysregulated? You know, that could be, I'm a young child wouldn't necessarily be fully tapped into that, but we do want to be thinking about so interoceptive is like, you know, butterflies in your stomach, you know, or for me like tension in my jaw, you know, things that like reading them, your body cues or how you're feeling and then those connect to a like they connect to your emotions, right? So like me knowing butterflies in my stomach it means I'm nervous about something. So there is a being able to read body Hughes and for younger child that still expectedly. Developing those skills. That might be an adult thing. I know they're getting nervous about this. How can I help down regulate their nervous system so they have the best chance of accessing their best skills other things that come into play that Alyssa just mentioned are like you're planning your motor planning skills which is like I can figure out how to do something, that could be like a dance move or like, someone's asking you to do something. And I can take that verbal information and compute it to like a motor function. So like I want to play with the toy or like, how do I actually do that? Or can I even be flexible enough to know? Like if I give that toy, I'm going to get it back. Now, those are expected things, all kids go through the like, I don't want to share, give it back. I'm gonna like, pull on your hair, all kids do all those things. But sometimes when it's, if you're looking at other kids that you're like, you know, other kids are sort of developing the area, they seem more comfortable with it. You know, those kind of things that might be like, hmm I'm wondering what's getting in the way, you know, is it that, there's language pieces of like, can I organize my language enough to explain what I'm asking for? There's a lot of things that come into play with social capacities, but from a sensory perspective, the two that I'm often thinking about our is this person in a regulated enough state to even access doing this? If that's the, if that feels like the thing that's going on with the kid, I might do like some regulation activities beforehand. Depending on what works, it could be some of the oral motor things we've talked about, it could be, you know, bouncing on a yoga ball or sometimes, just riding in a swing, can be really regulating for a child before they get into that situation. Might be something to think about and then if there's a planning challenge of like, I'm having a hard time understanding this, I like practicing with adults. A lot of the kids that I work would do well with, you know, they're getting the skills data. They just need to polish, you know, what do I say and what do I do? Kids are less predictable that we are. So it's not always the easiest thing to like mimic the thing. But just getting some languaging down in like what to expect and what you know what might happen. They might say you can have the toy and they may say, you can't have the toy, you know, just so they have idea of what might actually happen in a given situation. 


00:17:42    Alyssa

Yeah, that pre-teaching, you know, I, part of Lauren and I diving into the CEP method and getting to where we are now, was that we were noticing that everything we had access to in social emotional learning was so heavily social focused and you can't do that work. As you said, there are so many things that go into it without doing the emotion work first. And that like it is not going to be able to share if they don't feel safe or whatever the scenario is, if the emotions aren't addressed first and furthermore, with that kind of growth, its are sensory systems are dysregulated. And so that came up for me of like, at two and a half. I'm largely focused on the sensory and emotional component, and not super focused on the social component yet. So like, when we build that body awareness for them and help them build that relationship with themselves, then we can move into the social component in a whole different way. 


00:18:47    Lori

Yeah, that's totally true. I think, if I understood that question, right it sounded like maybe the parent was also feeling a little bit, like not sure about what to do about it. You know, I think sometimes I know I've had situations that I'm like, whew I'm working on this skill as a therapist because I need to be able to help kids. I think some to some degree, there's some empathy that you can connect on. Like, you're like this is hard and it's different for everybody, social development. 


00:19:12    Alyssa



00:19:13    Lori

But yeah, those are situations that like, if you're in a like a preschool or like a toddler classroom, you're seeing the adult intervene a lot more and support. Because they, kids can't do it themselves. You know, they need us to be in there helping. 


00:19:28    Alyssa

Almost scaffolding. 


00:19:30    Lori

And then as you get into the older classrooms, you see that still exists. But you're seeing kids start to be able to do some negotiation on their own because they've had all that modeling, you know, and their sensory emotional systems are you know more developed than they were, you know, a couple years ago so it's weird. I think expectation setting, I know I feel like sometimes we expect little kids to act like adults. They're not, you know they're just not, no matter how verbal they are their skill sets are different than ours. So I think like, you know, realizing that those are things to expect for young kids is also important for us as adults. 


00:20:03    Lori

Yeah, I also one of the things that I have found helpful, when they are working on those social pieces as you mentioned, you mentioned the preteaching, and also getting curious about, tell me what your plan was, we give that child has a plan for their toys. Maybe they have this whole train set and it's all set up and they envisioned this play to go a certain way and now somebody else is stepping into it and it's messing with their plan. But like it, and this happens with adults too, like let me know what your plan is. Between my husband and I all the time of like oh I had a plan and an expectation and I didn't communicate it. I didn't maybe wasn't even aware of it and now he's stepping in and doing something else and it's messing with my plan and being able to have that cognitive flexibility. First, we need awareness around what was our plan and what are we nervous about if this person comes in and uses this toy you mentioned like maybe they aren't sure they're going to get it back or maybe they're nervous if they give that kid the car, it's that kids going to knock down their block tower with that car, you know, like really diving into that curiosity with you to find out more about what's happening inside that maybe we aren't hearing from them yet, 


00:21:12    Lori

Right. I love that. The way I think about that sometimes, when I'm with kids in this. It's like, it could be any age kid. It could be a little kid. Could be an older kid that like they really haven't figured out what;s getting in their way. I sometimes will try to, I'll guess what I think it is. I wonder if it's this? And honestly, I, when I work with kids of all abilities, if you start talking about things, they feel connected in that, and like they do start to build, you know, one of my kids today who's three, he said, I'm sad. I'm sad that we're leaving, you know, like - like that. You know, he's like he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know what to do with this. And you know, we probably kind of just talked about like how much we were going to miss...I'm on vacation next week. We're going to miss each other, and like me, helping to lead him through this multiple times before, as opposed to him, just throwing himself on the ground crying, which was pretty well, because he was still building emotional capacity of understanding and also, like, when's Lori coming back. You know, there's a lot of things for him that he was working out. 



I hope you enjoyed that little sneak peak into our expert Q&A from The Village Membership. It's one of my favorite things, to hang out with Lori and get nerdy about the sensory systems. And if you would like to join me, in asking your questions live to Lori, come join us at Mama's Getaway Weekend in September, the last weekend of September, we're hanging out in Watertown, NY. And we have a few tickets left. Come join us and ask Lori your burning questions, she'll be there live to hang out with me for a Q&A. Go to to snag your ticket today, we have just a few remaining. 


00:23:00    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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