Last week we talked about how the ‘D’, the ‘I’, and the ‘R’ interact with the Floortime session: namely, that we need to know where the child is Developmentally to begin, we need to know their sensory profile (Individual differences) to guide our interaction, and we need to make our Relationship a safe place for them to feel at ease.
Much has been written about co-regulation, which is the way we attune ourselves in our interactions with the child in order to maintain a regulated state between us.
Our responses might be to say “You’re ok!” or we’ll negotiate, we will give explanations, and we will basically try to rectify whatever it is we think is making him/her uncomfortable when what we really need to be doing is co-regulating.
Occupational therapist Maude LeRoux agrees. In her talk about moving from sensory processing to executive functioning, she explains that if our children cannot put their bodies in a place where they can be alert and aroused enough to learn, then they withdraw and we get a fight or flight response in the brain.
The self-regulation work of Dr. Stuart Shanker describes this experience and how to help children attain self-regulation through relationship.
- we need to stop all agendas we have
- show them with our body language that we are in the moment with them
- mirror what they are feeling with our facial expressions and gestures such as nodding
- use minimal words or vocalizations to let them know they are safe with us because we understand
The next step is bringing co-regulation into the Floortime session because as you are working along the developmental ladder, there will be many times where your child will become dysregulated and need to co-regulate with you before you can resume a playful interaction.
Until next week, here’s to affecting autism through playful interactions!