On July 4th Julie Davis decided to give a little back to the parents, carers and teachers of the children we support, and invited them to our Thornaby clinic to attend a free sensory workshop. And as a brand-new member of the team, I was invited to come along. The workshop aimed to give a deeper understanding of sensory processing challenges and why they occur, as well as how these difficulties may present in a child’s behaviour and challenge them academically. It intended to demonstrate strategies that can be used at home, and in school to encourage regulation and more positive behaviour, leading to a calmer family life and an increased academic success.
On the day of the workshop, I had been a member of the Future Steps team for 4 weeks. As a non-clinical member of staff and not being a parent of a child with sensory difficulties myself, I presumed I was going to struggle to understand the science and the terminology or recognise any of the behaviours. So, there I was, amongst 18 parents, carers and educational professionals, feeling a little daunted and a little out of my depth. But Julie’s patience and willingness to explain without the use of confusing, technical jargon meant I found myself nodding along in a state of fascination.
Julie sat amongst us and shared just a small fraction of her expertise and knowledge of sensory processing, how our brain and senses work and how they control everything we do and feel. Julie explained to us all that when a child suffers from sensory processing challenges, their brains struggle to interpret what their senses are saying. Because of this the world, to them, can feel and appear too large and intimidating. With the use of practical demonstrations, Julie helped us all to experience and understand how the world may look and feel to a child with sensory processing difficulties- an eye opening and thought-provoking experience for us all! Alongside Lynn our Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist and with the help of a volunteer, Julie closed the workshop by demonstrating therapeutic strategies that can help a child to regulate. Strategies that were surprisingly simple and could easily be done within the classroom, or at home, without the use of expensive equipment.
I came away that evening with a much clearer understanding of the challenges some of the children at Future Steps face daily, and a much stronger motivation for the part I play in supporting those children and their families. If you are a parent, carer or educational professional who has an existing or past connection to Future Steps and this workshop sounds like something you would like to attend yourself, I urge you to come along. We have 3 more workshops coming up before the end of this year on 15th August, 10th October and 5th December. To register your interest, please get in touch and provide us with the following information: Your name, email address, connection to Future Steps and date of workshop you would like to attend.
Tel: 01325 254 688