2011 October 30 – Ruffntuff

October 30, 2011

“Since sensory input is the raw material – the ONLY raw material for brain development and learning, it is vital that the multi-various sensations be organized quickly and accurately.

While most of us are used to thinking about vision and hearing as the main senses involved in learning, they are actually small in quantity compared to large pervasive inputs like the sense of balance and weight (vestibular system) and the sense of touch from the skin, which covers the whole body (tactile system). Other large sources of sensory data are the tendons, muscles and joints, known as the proprioceptors (proprioceptive system). These big sensory systems provide the essential unifying foundation for the organizing of vision, hearing, taste and smell.”

The Children’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies

Play is nature’s way of helping children develop, organize and integrate sensory experiences for optimal functioning. It’s also not hard to see how rough and tumble play fits in as it clearly meets so many of these needs in just one single playdate/mate!

Rough and tumble play is an exciting and fun way for most children to play and engage with parents and with all there is to be gained, see if you can find the “yes!” and go for it more times than not!

Many children love to be tossed, swung, twirled, flipped around, chased, faux tackled/captured and tussled and if not, attempts to engage in this type of play can provide rich learning experiences about your child’s particular needs and preferences.  A conversation begins that can strengthen your relationship and help you engage with your child in ways that are not only fun for them, but respectful OF them.

Rough and tumble play also leads to a greater variety of learning that spans social and emotional development as well as the senses.  Of course, as parents, we too learn in new ways to listen to needs, attune to body language and facial expression, talk about feelings and motivations, ask questions and model restraint, compassion and “good sportsmanship.”

So find the yes when they’re on the prowl to ruffemup and if you need a little boost, put a bid on an autographed copy of Larry Cohen’s new book “The Art of Roughhousing” available in the API online auction.

Proprioception relates to deep pressure to the muscle and joints. Gravity, heavy work and compression of the joints activate the proprioceptors. Proprioception is a building block for organizing sensory information.
Proprioception usually has a calming and organizing effect. Heavy work activities – any activity that uses the big muscles and compresses the joints.

Vestibular input is related to the balance system and the middle ear. The vestibular system is activated through movement activities. Vestibular: movement activities that stimulate the middle ear. Can organize or bring to heightened alertness.

Tactile: Activities that involve touch or oral choices. Light touch is usually not organizing. Tactile exploration can be beneficially coupled with deep pressure activities.

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