You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 182. In this episode I got to hang out with Speech Language Pathologist Emily Lesher and we were chatting about the phrase, "use your words" and why it's not helpful to say to tiny humans in the moment when they're upset when their dysregulated and what else we can do. Emily does incredible work at this organization in Massachusetts where occupational therapists are working together with Speech Language Pathologists. The cool part about this is that then SLP's, Speech Language Pathologists are taking into account sensory regulation and then nervous system regulation when they're working on speech and language with kiddos. It's super awesome and I've had the pleasure of working with Emily in real life. She also did a workshop for our teachers in the Seed Certification, all about how regulation and language coincide and why we cannot focus on language development without talking about sensory regulation and how to help kiddos regulate their nervous system in order to access the language centers of the brain. So without further ado, let's dive into this episode.
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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.
Hey everyone. Welcome to Voices of Your Village today, I'm hanging out with my friend, Emily. She's an SLP and she'll tell you a little bit more about herself in a second, but I'm jazzed to bring Emily on. I've had the privilege of working with her in person in the classroom and she's working on some really cool jazz and we have talked her into coming out to Mama's Getaway Weekend to do a workshop. She's also a part of our Seed Certification for Child Care Centers and home daycares and nannies. So I'm really jazzed for her to share more about what she's working on in the speech-language world that so closely is connected to everything that we do. Hey, Emily. How you doing today?
I'm good. How are you Alyssa?
I'm doing well, thanks, surviving pregnancy right now, but doing well. Can you tell folks a little bit about your background and what you're working on now?
So I am a speech pathologist. I've been working for, this is my 10th year, and right now. I'm working pretty closely with some of our occupational therapist. And we're really thinking a lot about using language within this, within play and kind of using language and how that ties to the sensory system.
That's like the dreamiest thing in the world. If you follow along Seed for a little while, you'll know that we have what I call the triangle of growth, I totally made it up. It's not based on research, it's just what I've observed with kiddos and the only things I'm really looking at when I'm assessing their development and at the base of the triangle is our sensory system, sensory regulation like that's the basis for us being able to function and move through the world and then above that, I have emotional regulation and at the top of that language development but these are all going to feed into each other. And any time I would see maybe a language delay in a kid like then I'm looking at their sensory systems and trying to dive deeper. One connection, our village might enjoy, is that you get to work in and hand with Lori, our favorite OT, quite a bit. You guys are at the same place that's pretty rad. Tell me more about this model of yours and how you're tying sensory systems into language development.
So we've been looking a lot at the idea of regulation and that's a kind of a concept especially within the speech world that is not really well understood. So thinking about that quote unquote being calm and how we are not necessarily come on, our everyday, in our everyday lives and you go out to the playground and a kid is looking calm or what someone might think of as regulated and actually that's a mismatch as to what the environments expecting from you. So I think, I think, I think a lot about this idea of is our idea of regulation matching the environment that we are in and we have been, I've been researching this a lot with one of my co-workers Lauren and we've been really thinking a lot about the how language and play and regulation all kind of come together and it kind of develops in this really nice developmental pattern of develop as you develop skills and you can see their play developing and their language developing. It's also our regulation and being able to match the environment really starts to tie together.
Yeah, that makes total sense to me. I just want to kind of come back to you on what I think I hear you saying here that like, there are some kiddos who were like, oh, they are dysregulated there off the wall there, like a Tasmanian devil in the classroom, or they, they clearly look to us as though they're not calm. And then, there are other kiddos who might kind of be like reserved or subdued and inside, they're not calm, actually was having a conversation with a mom recently and I was man, you're one of the calmest humans I know and she was like, oh my gosh inside, that is not how I feel. She's like inside, I feel like anxious and I'm like, oh my gosh are they going to be okay over there? Is he going to fall off of that when he's climbing whatever and she's an inside, that's not how I feel but it's how it comes off to the world or how I was perceiving it was that she's calm man there's so many kids like this too where it might seem right now like they're calm, but they're not.
Yeah, I think this idea of you mentioned the Tasmanian devil, that's kind of going all crazy in the classroom, and I think that's the person, the person that screams the loudest often gets the most attention. So I think this idea of that necessarily isn't the only idea of dysregulation that you can see. And I think it's kind of being able to see both the kids that are talking way too much or the kids that are not talking at all is such a huge indicator of what this kind of state of regulation and state of emotional regulation could be. And I think that's kind of why I've been thinking a lot more about this play idea and how you can really tell a lot about the childs state of regulation by looking at what they're playing. And kind of, if a kid is playing with something, and then, there's a quick shift from and they're not able to play anymore, it really gives us a clue as to what their regulation state is.
Ohh I want to dive in more to that. I had like, a kiddo come to my mind who was in my one-year-old classroom, had a language delay and we had noted this, parents were on board with this. Like she was also second kid so they had like a comparison here and knowing like oh our first kid was chatting a lot more at this point and what we realized was for her she was in a state of dysregulation a lot and she ended up qualifying for OT as well but we noticed it in her play. She was one of those like quiet or kids who for me as a teacher. I think for parents as well, it can come off as like oh, they're so easy. They aren't like getting in your way. They aren't causing a scene. They don't add stress to my life, like she was somebody that we almost didn't have to think about. She was fine. She could like, come over here and put on her coat and go outside and it wasn't a big to-do, which personally was really nice, and then started to realize she wasn't entering playgroups. She wouldn't go up to the table and paint if other kids were there because she didn't know how to enter the social group. And actually we worked with Lori on this a little bit and Lori was like let's pull her in early from being outside and playing and see if when she's the only kid in the classroom, if she'll go paint or if she'll go do the activities that she's not able to enter when other kids are there and sure enough, like she could when she was more regulated and I that's exactly what came to mind. Is that what you're saying here?
Yeah, I definitely think. I think anytime that you add other kids into the mix, can be really hard. So this is kind of like the kid who just like, you were saying, who could play and do everything at their own house, and they could have this wonderful pretend play and wonderful, imaginative play, and then as soon as you bring them to the playground, they just sit there and they don't know what to do. And I think it's this idea that and I always try to go back to one if they have the skill to do the play or the language. And if they have the skill, then we have to look at why they might not be showing us that skill. But then I also think about if they don't have that play and they don't have that language skill, then we have to think about teaching that skill. So in the case that you were mentioning with that kid, if you had noticed when she went back into the classroom that she didn't have that play skill. Then you have the then that gives you a better idea of like Oh, I actually have to teach this level of play. When I put these materials out here, this is what I can do with them. But then she showed you that she was able to think and she was able to use the skills. She had those play skills, she had those language skills. So then you have to think about how do I navigate the environment to help her feel more comfortable. Whether it's an environmental thing, whether it's a social peace or whether it's a sensory piece. So you can kind of really think back about some of those other things to see where you go with her.
Yeah, that makes total sense for her, it was organizational planning. Yeah totally okay so let's chat more about this. How do you, if a parent's tuning in what I don't want for a parent right now tuning in is for them to hear this and have a really calm chill "easy" kiddo and they're like oh shoot am I missing something? Are they actually dysregulated? Because there are so much to obsess over and be anxious about in parenthood that I don't want to add more to that plate. So if somebody's tuning in right now and they're hearing this and I'm like, yeah, I do have like, what seems like a calm chill kid. What are they looking at to see or their skills that we should be working on and building that they might not yet have like language play, sensory, Etc.
Yeah, I think it's always something that I always go back to I always try to think of developmentally where they should be because I think everyone's always trying to think about what's next, what's next, what's next? And I think sometimes just being in that moment of whatever stage of play, is there at, or whatever stage of language they're at just staying with that sometimes is okay. So I feel like that's a, it's a key thing to be like, oh, I put the blocks out and they're building a tower with a block that's great. That's developmentally where they should be. So we might not have to think about what's next. I think if they're stuck in that for a year and not moving beyond that, that's when you want to look at. Okay, what what they, what should they be doing next from that. But I think it's super easy to think. Okay, I have to move my kid forward, I have to teach them a skill when in reality when we take a step back, that's when the pressure comes off, that's when kids are probably going to show us more than when we're trying to teach them like, okay, okay, you take those blocks here, try to make them, make them look like mine, and they might not want to, and they might not, that might not show their best skills.
Yeah. So what if you did have that kiddo, who at home is like playing and going wild, and so creative and you're like, whoa, like they've got this play part down and then you go to that play group or the playground Etc. And all of a sudden, they're really reserved and aren't really sure how to navigate that.
Yeah, and I think this is such a common thing. I think, especially early on, I think early on play is not, it's pretty, you start to develop it pretty early on and you start to explore the objects and you start to use them very functionally and then you start to use them and put them more symbolically, and then you get some pretend play. But I think it's a system that's not really that well defined in kids. I think it's something that it breaks down really easily. So I think it's something that once you move it to a different environment, it's almost like you have to teach all over again because they can't generalize from one, they don't have the conceptual knowledge of what these toys are until you're about two and a half to two and a half. You really start to build a cognitive representation in your brain of what an object is. So one, once you have that then you can start to think about objects outside of the ones that are in front of you, you can start to think about, okay, I've seen this before, I know what to do with it. So until kind of that to two-ish age range, you don't have this knowledge of what these toys really are, unless they're in front of you. So if you bring a kid to the playground and there's a thousand things going on around you, what'd you bring them to another kids house and there's a thousand things around you. They might not see a toy that they know. And then unless they do that, then they might look like they're overwhelmed and you might not know what to do with them. Yeah, they might not know what to do what those objects.
Totally I'm thinking of like, my husband started, he was at home, only child at home with his mom until he was four and then started preschool and went part-time off the bat. And at school was like, not really talking to other kids, at home, like, wouldn't shut up. So chatty, love to play. He's one of the most creative humans I know and then would go to school and was very reserved, wasn't engaging in like social play, a lot Etc. And I think sometimes there can be this assumption that like, oh, because he was an only child because he was at home with just Mom, that that might happen. And I personally professionally don't see that to be true. That, like, there are kids that walk into my classroom, who at two or five, or wherever they are in their stage are just like, hey, I'm here, let's chat, let's play, whether they've been around other kids, a whole lot or not and and for him at home, like he had neighbors that he hung out with quite a bit that they would play like every single day and he was comfortable with that. But then, in that classroom setting, it looked like he didn't have this language. Can you speak to that? Like, what could be happening from a sensory perspective? That even though he has all that language, that at school in this other setting, he can't access it.
Yeah, and I think I think this is something that's pretty common. And usually I think this is kind of where the breakdown can happen. That kids are talking and they're playing, and then they're not in one one environment happened, so frequently, and these are the families that probably their kids could be using a little bit more support to help them in that environment. But because they're talking and they're walking, they might think, oh, their systems are intact. So, this is kind of where we might, not get a referral until they're five six years old. Which happens so frequently at the clinic that I come is they're, they're talking they're walking and everything else like that but then this social stuff kind of comes in and it's not, they're not showing their best skills in those other areas.
Yeah, I also from a teacher perspective like we'll often say like, hey, this is what we're seeing at school. I think it's so huge for teachers to make sure they're asking and genuinely listening to what are you seeing at home? Because if they are seeing those skills at home so often I hear teachers like discount this of like okay great like you think that they have all these words but we're not seeing any of it at school almost like a I don't believe that it's true sort of thing and I think it's a teacher's job to make sure we're really listening to parents and trusting them in, what are you seeing at home? Because if you are seeing a skill set at home that you aren't seeing at schools our job as teachers is to figure out why and to get this kiddo support in, moving forward in the classroom setting.
Right, I think there's whenever there's this mismatch between what they're doing in one place and not doing it in another place. That's always when it's like something something else is going on and it may be a language piece. It may be a social piece, it could be the sensory piece. Could be a regulation thing and it could just be an emotional thing or there's so many different things. I think that's the key to think about is, let's think about the why. So we never want to see this mismatch between something that they're doing outside at home and then outside in the environment. So you always want to look at. Why is this happening? And you might not have an answer right away. I think it's a lot of detective work of like just watching and looking and I think that's the the key of what what I try to tell parents and talk to parents about very frequently is this idea of observing waiting and listening. So I've learned this through the Hanen courses that I've taken and this idea of observing waiting and listening is really hard to do, it's really hard to just take a step back and watch. We're all doers, we all want to do something to fix it but we usually can get a lot of information just by watching what they're doing.
Yeah, I mean it's huge. Also Hanen. I'll plug that to in the blog post. It's a fantastic resource here for speech. When I look at my husband now, I'm like, oh my gosh, it was organizational planning for him. And it was definitely a sensory route. Like he and I even see it now. And like, conflict, I was just coaching a client last week and we were chatting about partner conflict and she is struggling to like they have very different communication styles because she is like me where she's like, let's go. We're going to check this out. We'll keep going. I can process pretty quickly and keep firing my thoughts, right? I can like auditorily process and I can process the information coming in pretty fast, my husband and her husband are the opposite. We're like the more we talk when they're not ready, the quieter they get. And I think we see this in partners, we also see this in kiddos where like we are filling that space and there isn't room for them to jump in and have a comment or when we're, like, emotion coaching, you see this a lot or people are like what can I do to help you feel calm after we've just filled them with, like, five sentences where we tried to connect and validate their emotion and then we're telling them why this is happening. Then we're like, and now how can I help you feel calm and in their head? They're probably like, when you could just stop talking for a second, would be helpful for me to feel calm is literally what my husband probably wishes. He could say in a regular basis and It took me a while to learn like oh he needs that time and space and at this point for him as a 30 year old dude that's not going to change, with our tiny humans after having the privilege of working with Lori on this, we can see change where they can start to process things faster, if we can get them that OT support young. But at this point, it's really, and then it's looking at like, how else does that affect them in life? Which is, I think the key part here, I had some people who reached out and were like, okay, so what my child takes longer to process that information. They're still getting there. How is this going to affect them? And I mean, just today, my husband who's going to be in a meeting and I was like, oh, it's like a big meeting and I was like, what do you think is going to be coming up? What do you think their questions are going to be etc? And he was like, I don't know. And in my head I was like, oh, you have to know a little bit because otherwise it's going to take you a while to come up with an answer. And I've seen this with him, like it's harder for him in a group setting to be able to like throw ideas out and continue that conversation going because he needs time to like pause and process. And not all of our systems are designed that way.
So as we're looking at this with kiddos, I want to take a turn here and start to look at this when we have a child who's like having a tantrum or having a meltdown and we use things like use your words because we know that they have the language to communicate about this, right? If we know that when they are regulated they know all of the words to say, but now they're dysregulated and we're asking them to use those words. Can you speak to that a little bit?
Yeah and I think I want to speak one second to a point that you're saying before of, that of the language system that language can be regulating to help, kids know what to do, but then language can also be very dysregulated. So I think when we try to, the kids usually give us a clue that when you say something to them, they're like they're going to scream no! Stop talking! And that's a really huge clue to that, they that language might be dysregulating to them in that moment, that can be hard as adults, to take on that, like, oh, I'm doing something that's making them dysregulated and they don't want to listen to me right now. So that like sitting with that emotion, is really hard to sit with that of like, oh, I'm doing something that may that my kids don't need even though I know this will help them.
I think also what can feel like for the adult is that like, oh, they just know they did something wrong and they don't want to talk about it. But some in some people will say like my kid never wants to talk about the fact that they hit their sister or the behavior aspect of this actually have a podcast episode number, I think it's 105 or 106 that is "When to talk about the behavior" because so often we're filling them with so much language when they are dysregulated whether it's from an emotional root or a sensory root and there not ready to talk about the behavior yet, right?
And I think about us as adults we often, I often try to think about things that are acceptable for adults to do, but sometimes, as adults when we, when I'm dysregulated, I don't want to talk about it either and that's ok, right? So it's like thinking about this adult expectation, that kids don't have to meet that meet a higher expectation than what we would do. I think it's really easy to think we not the kids to do, we want the kids to talk about it. We want them to solve every problem. We want them to when they hit someone to go back and say I'm sorry, but I think we don't do that as adults. So why do kids have to do that every single time? I think if it starts to be a pattern, you want to think about how to to address those things. But I think keeping expectation for kids where they are developmentally is super important.
Yeah, absolutely. And where they are in regulation right now, our very first Tiny Humans. Big Emotions group, I ever did the like tagline that came out of, it was like, talk, but less. We're talking too much to kids especially when they are expressing an emotion. All right, so let's chat about this. Use your words.
Okay, so thinking about the idea of use your words and often kind of, when I think about this, they kind of discredit a couple different things. So I think if kids, I always think about the idea that if kids have the words, they would use them. So, in that moment, they would use the words if they could. And then I think about another thing is expression, doesn't have to be verbal. So, most of our, a probably about 70 to 75% of our communicative message is nonverbal so thinking about tone of voice gestures. So anything like that is most of our communicative measures messages are come out across as nonverbal. So if we discredit that part, they're never going to learn some of those other aspects of communication and it doesn't usually give a child enough information about what you need from them. So there's millions of like, by the time they're two, they have hundreds of words. So for you to say, use your words, it's kind of like we need to be more specific about what you actually need for them. So if we want them to use a word we need to be more specific of like if they're crying and pointing to the milk because they want some milk, tell me what you want to drink or tell me or giving a choice of like, do you need the water or the milk? So something that's more specific than use your words because that has a thousand different meanings.
Yeah. I love that and and again like back to us as adults, man, like there's so many times where like oh yeah, you know perfect world what? I'm so regulated this is what I would have said, but with kids were like, we want it to always be a perfect world for them. Like their responses, our expectations for their responses are for them to be perfect, but ours, don't have to be. I actually in another coaching call recently. I had a parent who was has an 18 month old and she was like, oh I'd cleaned up the living room and I put this squishy ball up on a shelf and she was like I wasn't putting it away so that he couldn't reach it on purpose. I had just like was cleaning and put it up and then later he saw it and he is crying and screaming and he's pointing at it and she's like, I know what he wants there but I also know that he can say ball please and instead he's like screaming and crying. She's like I don't want to reinforce that like oh you can just scream and cry and point to it. She's like so I don't want to give him the ball but at the same time, I know that's what he wants. I know that's what he wants. Like how do I handle this? And I'd love your thoughts on this, but I essentially told her like I would for sure give him the ball and would tell him like, oh, it looks like you want the ball. You could say ball, please as I'm handing it to him. I'm not making him say it right now. I'm letting him know essentially like going forward, here's what you could say, as I hand it over to him.
Yeah, I think this idea of I think this is a really important example because I think the best time to teach someone to have a skill is not when they're in this dysregulated moment of this in this high emotion because our brains can't actually physically access the information that we need that, we want them to do because all the chemicals are being flooded into their brain and they actually can't do they can't use the language. So I think this idea of your ability with your program to think about, okay, how do I get calm first before I then teach the skill and do the problem solving that I need to do is so important so the idea of giving them the ball is great so that they can then become calm and then you can go back when they are in a more regulated state to then talk about how to problem-solve through what they need to do.
Totally and there are going to be times, I want to add this caveat because I know this question will come up like what if it was something that they can't have right now. Like, I put this up and it's not a choice right now for them to have, then I don't want to just hand it to them, to make them stop crying so that they're calm and then we can talk about it, in this instance, I would, I would let them know. Like, oh, it's really hard to be able to look at it and not touch it. I'm going to put it in another space and then when you're calm, we can talk about it and then you might go through the emotion coaching steps of helping them feel calm but it doesn't necessarily mean that they will always get the thing because I just like as we were talking about that, heard that question already come up.
And this happens probably once or twice a week at my clinic with the kids that I'm working at is that it's really hard when it's something that they can't have and you have to say no to the kid and in that is so hard, it's so hard for everyone to do because it's easier to give them what they want and move through the move through it. But then, but by what, by doing that we're just, we don't want to reinforce them doing that screaming and crying that, they will get everything that they want. And I think when we think about early on babies that when they cry, we give them what they want because they don't have any other means to get that way. But as they develop, we expect that they can do other things to get that. So I think thinking also going back to that developmentally as being able to kind of change our expectations as they go along so a kid, that's not that doesn't request anything, finally request something you want to give it to them but then as they learn and have that skill,
you can learn to set that limit of like, no. But you always want to acknowledge the intent that, oh, you want whatever it is like, you want that ball. You want that candy in the store. You want. You want to bite this. Whatever it is. So we can acknowledge that intent, but then holding that boundary of not right now or this is when we can do it or giving them an alternative, something else that is acceptable at that moment.
Totally. And I think that's what you just hit the nail on the head there in that it is setting and holding the boundary. So she didn't put the ball up because he couldn't have it. She put the ball up because she was cleaning and didn't even realize she had put it up. And so in that aspect, it's not like, oh, well, the ball was taken away or I purposely put it up so they couldn't have it. So yeah, go ahead and give it to him and then we can chat with him later about how else to ask for that or that, that was really frustrating. And she could even own, like, oh, what? I was cleaning, I put it up high and I didn't even realize I did that next time if it's up high and you can't reach it, you can say ball please. But when it is something that they can't have, it's us knowing that man, it's going to be so much harder, but we have to hold that boundary. Cool. So we as you were saying like they can't always access all of these words. What can you say in the moment? If you have that child, who is throwing a tantrum? Because they want milk, and it's in the fridge and maybe you're not even sure what they want. They're just like crying in the kitchen and you're not sure and you're like oh you I think this is a lot where use your words comes in is when we don't know what they want. And we want them to use their words to let us know.
I think this is it kind of thinking about making our best guess as to what their intent is. So I think this is where you can use your knowledge of your child, use your knowledge of the environment. So kind of thinking about what's kind of in the environment that you might, that they might be wanting right now. And then thinking about giving them some of those choices of they're at the fridge and they are crying because they might be hungry of thinking like, oh, is there, do you want the apple or do you want the cookie or whatever it is? So giving those choice questions are so helpful because you're also in control of what those choices are. But then, you can also your modeling the use of language that they could be using in the very specific way of what when they say milk that is really helpful it but then also, when the words don't come giving them access to if they can point to it. So if if you try and giving them some choices or and then you can even go back to if they can't give you if they can't answer the choices and that's not enough kind of going back to like maybe a yes or no. And offering them ideas of like oh is it, is it the milk? Is it, is it that? And they may be able to give you a head nod or a shake and knowing that in that moment the head nod and the shake, that's enough of a message than it's like a word so we can treat that as a word and adult in addition maybe some pointing they can point to what they're looking for, show me what you want but sometimes that might not work at all and we just kind of have to go back to. Let's, how do we I always try to go back to that physical system of like in that moment when they're they, kids kind of work themselves up into these frenzies of like they're crying and they're screaming and all the words in the world might not actually work. So I think being able to look back at that physical system of let's look to calm them first and then we can give them some of that vocabulary of then we can ask them some more choices or ask them some questions to see what they might be looking for. That can be super important too.
Yeah, I absolutely love that. I love the idea of like they're definitely times where I said to kids. I'm not sure what you want. Can I give you a hug? And then when you're calm, we can try again letting them know like I'm in this with you babe. I'm not leaving you high and dry here and I don't know, like we've played the guessing game for a little bit here and we can't figure it out. You're not in this space to even point or communicate in any other way and you're escalating now, and we're not moving in any manner. My job now is to help you regulate. And sometimes it's also like me being able to like pause and take a step back. And be like, oh man, it has been 2 hours since we've eaten. Maybe they're really hungry and dysregulated and a hug isn't going to help them feel calm because they're really hungry. And so it might be that they're like in my lap having a snack while they're getting calm. And then we're going to chat about this afterwards or try again afterwards but it that's the hardest part for me is when you're like in it in the moment to be able to find that calm and be like, man, what could it be like, are they tired, are they hungry looking at those sensory roots first like, is there some dysregulation here that all the hugs in the world aren't going to solve?
Right, I think, I always think back to this, that a dysregulated adult cannot regulate a dysregulated child, right? So, I think that first thing is we really have to look at what do we need as adults, to help in that moment before we can think about helping helping the kids. So even on an air an airline when they say that the whatever those things are going to their oxygen masks, put yours on before you help someone next to you. It's kind of that same thing as like we have to help ourselves first so that we then can be in a state to think about what what they need and that also leaves a huge, like it leaves a lag time of like this kid is still having this tantrum while you're trying to do that and that's okay. I think that's I think as much as we can be, we want to fix their problems, it's okay. If they're if they're not fixed right away and it's so hard to fit with that though.
Yeah, because we want to fix they're problem because now we internally have a problem too. And and I mean like yeah the oxygen mask thing is so true and so hard to do because especially if you've had these babes with you since they were born most of their like early years is actually putting their oxygen mask on first. Like, if it was yours, you'd be like, great, then I'm just going to sleep and feed that baby when I feel rested and whatever. And, and that's not realistic, they need to eat all the time. You are sacrificing your sleep and your body and your routines and your patterns in order to keep a human alive, because they're so dependent on us from the beginning. And then you can come out of this fog and they're a little less dependent on us to stay alive. And this is where we work with a lot of parents and like making that shift from like yeah you were giving a lot of yourself and sometimes taking care of yourself and that newborn phase is like changing your pants once a week or something like that might be it. And then down the road we're looking at, like, okay now now they're, they're staying alive now, they're mad. Now, it's not that they're hungry and they need you to eat physically sometimes need your body to eat. But now it's that they're mad because they can't access what they want and that those are different forms of communication and now it is really important. I love what you said. A dysregulated adult, cannot help a dysregulated child. And then he,
I was just going to interrupt for a second because I'm I have the thought of what I'm thinking about. So, you have this four year old child that screaming because they want something. And it's so my coworker Lauren always talks about this. But inside of a four-year-old, there's a three-year-old in fact, and there's a two-year-old and there's a one-year-old and there's a baby. So in in that four-year-old, you have all these levels of skills of dependent and non-dependent within this level. So there's kind of this fluctuation of like, so they don't they may not need me to put on their shoes, but they do need me to help when they're crying in front of the in front of the fridge needing me needing something. So I think that's the, it's so hard to realize that this state of dependence changes over the course of an hour of a minute of a day. There's so many different times that as they're learning to be left depending on you. There are certain it's easy to think, okay? They've got it, they don't need me as much, but when this moment happens in front of the fridge, it's sometimes hard to shift back to. Okay. Here's this, there's this level of a kid that still needs me. They're depending on me in this moment. So it's super hard to shift out of that, out of those states.
Totally. Absolutely. And I love that, you brought that up because it a, we all have an inner child. That is going to come out and need more support in different areas. So, I'll social programming and biases, that have led us to where we are in adulthood, but also like, I remember coming home from work one day and I had my period, And I had a long day at work and I was just like spent I was so done with the day and Zack was in his master's at the time and working full-time. So, he would work during the day and do school at night, his world was kind of crazy and I came home, and he had dinner ready, and we're eating dinner. And he was like, hey, Lys after dinner, could you just do the dishes? I'm going to go in the office and do work and I just started sobbing at dinner and he was like I guess it's a no on the dishes like of course as like a regulated adult human, I know how to do the dishes. It's not a big ask for me to do the dishes when I get home and like, have dinner made for me and whatever. But in that moment like it just seemed like such a big task to do when I just needed to crash. And if this happens with kiddos all the time that it's not that the putting on of their shoes or they're zipping up their jacket or whatever is something that they can't do sometimes were like I know that they could do it. We see this a lot with maybe there's a new sibling introduced into the family Etc. And now we're like what we often call them, regressions, when tt's really this kid saying like I need a little more support right now because I'm trying to figure out what my new life looks like. And even though I knew how to use the toilet before I knew how to put on my own shoes before. Now, I just need a little more help and I think everyone in family in that time period needs a little more help, but being able to give kids that grace that just because you have this skill and doesn't mean you always can access it. If I as a adult, can't do the dishes sometimes.
Right? I had this moment when I was on a trip to Amsterdam this summer and I went and I was getting a train from Amsterdam to London and I got on the train and we couldn't find our seats. We were looking at what our ticket said. And we could not find our seats for the life of us, we couldn't find. So I end up sitting down in someone else's seat who they eventually came and said, you're, you're in our seat. And at this moment, I break down in tears. I have no idea where I am. I'm in a foreign country, I don't speak the language, which is pretty typical for our kids that don't speak our language yet. So I have no idea what to do. And I'm so dysregulated myself. And I eventually plant myself in the front of a car sit there and thinking of like I look to my boyfriend is like I need you to deal with this and figure out where we go. And we eventually figured out we were on the wrong side of the train and we had to like, get off on will at one stop and like, run to the front part of the train because you couldn't get to this part of the train, but I couldn't access any. And I can problem solve through that right now, you ask me what to do and I could tell you 15 different things that I could have done in the moment but I but I couldn't access those skills. So, Yeah.
Huge. That's exactly this. That is the "use your words." I feel like to a tee like, yeah, totally. When I am regulated, I've got this. And if I'm dysregulated, I don't and that dysregulated can mean a number of different things. And I think also, as we just noted there, any time there's a transition for kiddos like we talked about new sibling but it could be moving houses with little girl who would whose parents were going through a divorce. And we saw, she needed more support during that time. And I think if we think about ourselves as adults, I mean Zack and I bought a house in June last year and by like August, I turned to him and I said I was like I just can't wait to fall back into a routine like we were so out of routine, we were even just the like, we're now driving from a different house to the same like appointments, we would go to, or to work or to wherever and now I have to like, look up the route, I have to learn something new that at that point before had been something you didn't have to think about. And so, when we're looking at any sort of transition kids, starting a new classroom, new school even and we get this a lot of it, but they're in the same school, they've always been. It's just a new classroom. They know the teacher, they know the kids, but the routines are going to be different where they're going is going to be different. We're changing things for them and that's dysregulating. And sometimes from a regulation standpoint time is of the essence like we just need sometimes we just need more support in this time period. And that's not going to be forever.
Yeah, I think I think about why why we use routines for kids. So we use routines that are predictable so that they don't have to think about it. They just automatically can do certain things. So anytime that transition or routine changes, they now have to think about what they need to do and that thinking is taxing to your system. So that thinking is taking away from later being able to go into the school with without crying or whatever it is. It's thinking about anytime that you now, those routines are no longer inside of you. You don't know what to do now, you have to think and it taxes your system to have to do something. Even just the slightest bit different. So even the idea of like I now have to getting a new car like going into a different car than I usually go into or often at our clinic. The kids are usually they might be brought by one parent and then that day the other parent might bring them and it throws them off for the entire session and just that simple, a simple person. It's not who it's not the parent, that's bringing them. It's not whoever. It's just the idea that they now have to think or do something just the slightest bit different which puts it puts this stress on our system and that stress does not allow us to go outside and do something new and ask us something that might be harder for them.
Yeah. And I think one of the biggest things we could do for kiddos, if you know, you are entering into a in period, is to give them a visual aid, support and pre-teaching. So it might be a little book of we had one family who was doing a new bedtime, they were moving from room sharing to this kid was going to be sleeping in their own crib in their own room and so in prepping this kiddos to and then prepping the kiddo, they made a little book of what was going to happen and what this kiddo could expect because of course the child, the child's whole routine and system is going to change they were like we didn't know that sleeping in that room was even an option. And now we're going to say like yeah that's what it's going to look like and so of course there's going to they're good. They're going to be what I consider question asking which isn't necessarily in the form of a question but it might be crying. It might be throwing their lovey out of the crib, they're going to be asking questions about like what's going on here and I don't understand this routine and so they made this book and then for a week, before they started, they had a calendar and they had a little picture on the day that he was going to sleep in his new crib and every single day, leading up to that day, they read the book and they talked about it. And then the very last night of room sharing this is the last night that will share a room and then tomorrow you're going to go in and it didn't mean that there was no crying, but it gave that kid of at least a heads up of what's coming and what to expect.
Yeah, I write social stories on probably once or twice a week. I write these social stories to help give kids what that expectation is for whatever skill, your is hard for them. Whatever. You're trying to teach them, whatever might be new. And I think that idea of having the visual aids and I think this could be something that really trying to make sure that those visual aids are as close to what the real representation is, is super important. So having like a stick figure of a person for someone that's one. They might not be able to know what that is, but if you put a picture of them of themselves, they might be able to understand that thinking about the idea of a photograph trying to use photographs as much as you possibly can, because kids don't really have a good representation in their mind of what things are. So it's not until they're probably 3/4 when they can actually see something. See a picture of a dog and realize. Oh, that's kind of like, the dog that I have at home.
Yeah. Right and and that will change come like 2ish. So any kid under two? Yeah. Photographs are going to be huge and making sure that it's as close that representation and then it can evolve and in fact like from an imagination standpoint, I think should potentially evolve in their play and all that jazz. But thing to note here, oh we had, we had a kid, we have a transition schedule, we have to for purchase on our website. And we had a kid who the transition schedule had was like pajamas that were red or a shirt that was red or something. And he was like, oh, but mine's blue and he's just turning 3. And so Mom is able to say, Yep, this picture is a picture of one that's red. The one you're wearing right now is blue and sometimes you could wear red one, this picture just means shirt, it can be any shirt in the whole world and then could explain that to him because he was almost three and was at a place where he could comprehend that. But when we teach kiddos like this, picture means this in the same way that we teach them for sign language. Like this means more and I guess everybody can't see what I'm doing when I put my hands together. This means more. And when I'm shaking my hands above, this means all done. They learn those visual cues, as long as we are consistent with our response to them,
I like the way that you're saying you have to teach those teach with that visual means teach with that photograph means. Teach what that sign means because that is putting it putting a visual schedule in front of the kid is probably going to be meaningless until you teach them what it is and it may not work the first time. It may not work the 10th time, but it may work that 11th time or that 12 time, that you're trying it. So, I think keeping at it, keep working with it. And kids kids don't have this robust language system to know that, like I can do something once and then I've got it. It's kind of like going back to the idea of play that kids don't play with blocks one time then they're like okay I got it. I've got everything blocks can do so then I can move on to the next thing. It's kind of the idea that like early on kids are playing with things 500, 600, 700 time and usually the adults are the ones that are getting bored with it. Oh, we're going to read this book again. It's like that being bored. Like, if adults are bored, that means the kids were learning.
Yeah, totally. And it's the same with the let's do like we don't you know it's not like you go to the gym you like alright, I lifted weights once and now I know everything you can do with weights, right? Like know there's so much more here and and in order to actually build routines and habits and it takes time and consistency, man, consistency. All right, I feel like we have crushed the "use your words" here, Emily is there anything you would like to leave our folks with? And can you let them know where they can connect with you outside of joining us at Mama's Getaway and the Seed Certification?
So I'll give you my email so that they can connect if they ever have any questions and I work at a clinic called, the Koomar Center so they can find us on our website.
Yeah, it is the dreamiest place. I feel like I never stop singing its praises because it really does this job of combining sensory and language together it's dreamy that's fantastic. Awesome. Thanks Emily so much. We will put your email in the blog post and Emily. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. Thank you. Alyssa.
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