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August 3, 2021 About Us0

 

Parenting is your biggest job but your child may be huffing and puffing about how they are experiencing your interactions. Building great relationships with children can expand beyond “work”. What would it be like to discover “the joys of parenthood”? Truthfully, there are a million opportunities to be on your kids side. We are offering you the skills and tools to help dodge the destructive cycles we often find ourselves in while parenting. We will work with you to dissipate the conflict and get into empowered, joyful parenting

 

This month we are rolling out a new service to empower you as a parent! We will be offering our free virtual Parent Huddle on August 26th. This parent coaching workshop, created by licensed BCBA, Ericka Smith, of Shape Our Village, is a social-emotional learning curriculum that teaches practical parenting tools using the CASEL framework.

How many of these sound familiar in your home?

  • communication struggles with your children
  • tantrums
  • homework drama
  • sibling conflicts/rivalry
  • defiance
  • disrespect
  • name-calling

This initial workshop will introduce you to actionable strategies you can use to side-step these behaviors at home, and provide you with a workbook you can reference again and again. 

We know you probably want more support, which is why we will also give you the opportunity to get onboard Ericka’s six-week parenting course, taught by skilled educators who know about parent advocacy. This weekly course will teach you the art of effective communication with your child/children that fosters peaceful bonds and visible results

Your child may need more than you can give them at home. If you suspect your child needs educational support in addition to behavioral changes, our multisensory evaluation can determine where their greatest academic needs lie. 

Next school year will be here in a few weeks, and we want you to be prepared now, not after your stress has been piled high. Let’s start! Sign up for our initial Parent Huddle here!

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July 16, 2021 About Us0

 

When we experience environmental stress, it is important for us to regulate the amount of arousal we experience to match the environment. This process involves sensory regulation strategies. In this blog, we want to show you how you can use these strategies to help your child. 

While adults may be generally well-adjusted in regulating their arousal to fit their desire, children cannot always do this with ease. They may not know what is causing them stress, or be able to tell us about it. Sensory dysregulation in a child can manifest as hyperactivity, lack of focus, irritability, difficulty sleeping, or acting out. These non-preferred behaviors are stressful for parents, but they may be a sign of something beyond “kids being kids”. They may be a sign of some type of sensory dysregulation. Dr. Kevin Johnson, a pediatric and family chiropractor of the Center for Human Potential, enlightens causes of dysregulation and what parents can do about it. 

Causes

The top of the spine controls the autonomic nervous system. Dysregulation can be caused by misalignment of vertebrae at top of neck, causing an interference with the nervous system. This interference, called a subluxation, is caused by stress, whether it’s physical, chemical, or mental. 

Once a subluxation occurs, the body lives in a constant state of stress response. A prolonged state of stress response is taxing on the body, and can lead to long-term problems. Proper alignment of the spine removes the interference, allowing for free flowing sensory regulation. Getting an adjustment to the upper neck can return our body to its natural resting, healing state it can function in long-term. Some children display a decrease in hyperactivity and greater ability to focus after a vertebral alignment. 

Sensory overload

Sensory dysregulation can lead to overstimulation and eventually overwhelm. Prolonged overstimulation is stressful even for adults, whereas it can be especially troubling for children who do not know how to communicate their needs or advocate for themselves. 

Overstimulation leads to many problematic behaviors and conditions: anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping or focusing, hypersensitivity to the neck and head, and/or hypersensitivity to noise. Have you noticed any of these issues in your child.

Accommodations 

If you’re a parent, it’s important to keep in mind realistic expectations for your child. Between school and the therapies they need, some children have maxed out schedules. The busier your child is, the more important predictability is: create a visual schedule for your child so they know what to expect out of their day. Reduce physical strain on the eyes by breaking up reading into short periods, and limiting blue light exposure, particularly after zoom calls and before bed. 

Sensory overload is even more imminent during distance learning. Maintaining calm and well-being takes a parent’s intuition of what their child is capable of given the expectations placed on them. 

Watch Dr. Kevin’s full video interview here!

For more information about Dr. Kevin’s work, please visit The Center for Health and Human Potential.

 


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June 30, 2021 About Us0

 

Sometimes children are quick to make friends, but building friendships through communication doesn’t come naturally for every student. If you’re a parent, you are about to discover the top 5 ways that you can help your child develop social skills and build friendships!

Pragmatic language is the way we understand and use language in our daily routines and interactions with others. What have you noticed lately about your child’s pragmatics? 

You may notice regression in your child’s pragmatic language compared with one year ago, due to the effects of distance learning. Without the dynamic interactions children regularly have with their friends, teachers, caregivers, extended family, and even strangers in public, social communication has declined. 

Language pragmatics involve verbal and nonverbal elements. Verbal communication involves using basic skills like initiating conversation and forming appropriate questions and responses, as well as higher skills such as interpreting sarcasm, jokes, and metaphor, and using language to reason, negotiate or persuade. 

Difficulty with pragmatic language can look like interrupted thoughts or difficulty maintaining a topic, starting or ending conversations, or difficulty using appropriate body language. These pragmatic issues can sometimes show when a social communication disorder is present. 

There is no known cause or “cure” for a social communication disorder (SCD), but skills can be enhanced with speech language therapy.

Students with a SCD work on mock situations they find particularly challenging within the safety of therapy. They may practice the following: 

  •  interpreting social situations through stories
  •  identifying what is “right” or “wrong” about a mock social situation
  •  role playing
  •  being exposed to new social situations that enhance their skills

 

Speech Language Pathologist, Heather Ismay, gives her tips for parents looking to help their children at home.

  • Have a family game night

This should involve all members of the family and require everyone to contribute. Something as simple as playing Candyland brings everyone together and requires group effort. 

  • Plan weekly playdates

Social interaction with a peer is crucial for each individual child. These should be no less than once a week, even if a child has siblings at home. Being in a new environment allows your child to experience situations that may not come up at home.

  • Include children in visits with family members

Allowing your child to take part in visits that involve people of all ages is a great way to expose them to novel situations. These provide opportunities for growth. 

  • Plan family outings

Changing the place of where children spend time exposes them to situations in which they need to use different reasoning skills, as well as see different types of people. Get fun ideas for outings, recipes, games, and more at www.macaronikid.com!

  • Talk to your child about social communication

Sometimes children need explicit instruction to understand proper social communication. Teaching etiquette in the safety of the home will give your child the tools they need to apply it to a real-world situation. 

Watch Heather’s interview here.


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June 14, 2021 About Us0

 

This school year, our children have experienced academic regression unlike ever before. Most students have lost a lot of ground in the due to an entire year of ill-equipped virtual learning. Skills they once mastered long ago now present a challenge for them; and it’s showing up in more than one area. 

Parents have watched students’ confidence and motivation decline drastically, their discouragement at attending “class” without personal interaction with their peers, and their overall learning declining. Besides the learning recession, this has become a larger mental health crisis for many students. 

Parents of children with special needs have grave concerns about their child’s development. The social and academic loss for special needs students is so significant, many parents fear the past year will have caused a lifelong impact on their children. Many little ones within the sensitive age window of 3-6 are most at risk. 

If we aren’t addressing this learning loss now, when are they going to catch up? 

Triton is here to step in when it comes to academic regression. Triton is offering a free online activity for parents who want to know what they can do right now to address learning loss. This 30-minute activity helps parents identify areas their child has regressed, and what their current skills are. 

Triton’s offerings include:

  • Multisensory evaluations 
  • Educational Therapy
  • Ongoing Parent coaching

This summer is the time to act! We want your child to enter their new school year in the fall with confidence, ready to tackle the academic and social challenges ahead of them. If your child needs a boost before school begins again, please reach out to us about their needs. Fill out this form to speak to our Parent Representative for more information. 


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June 2, 2021 About Us0

 

The past year and a half of educating children during a pandemic has highlighted exactly how important it is for parents to play an active role in their child’s education. It’s a struggle I can empathize with, due to my own struggles as a young wife and mother. 

After I gave birth to my first son, I quickly learned which sources to trust because they were aligned with my intuition as a mother. I was amazed to discover how many things I “knew” how to do. The more I observed the process, the more I marveled in awe at the miracle of motherhood. I quickly learned to trust my own intuition – above anyone else – as a parent. As traumatic as this “trial by fire” was, it jump-started my passion and life’s journey into the discovery of parent/ child relationships. 

The biggest question I have for you right now is, do YOU feel empowered with your child’s education?

If 2020 taught us anything, we learned that the problems were there but hadn’t been identified pre-pandemic. As parents, we are the ones to solve the education crisis and it’s not a “one size fits all” solution. With home learning, parents are developing new ways to offer education, therapy, and socialization in ways that create a more balanced way of learning. These include letting children explore and create, making real and supportive connections in a smaller environment and developing real life skills that foster independence, along with creative and crucial critical thinking skills.

Historically, we have looked to experts to guide us when we are facing problems with our children. Due to these recent shifts in education, we are now listening to our own parental instincts to foster a new type of education. Make no mistake, we are all experiencing massive change. Humans are becoming more fluid, which directly parallels education; one of our children might thrive in traditional school while another might struggle. If there has ever been a time for parents to customize a new way of working, playing, and discovering with their children, that time is NOW!

Parents have a whole new understanding about how much they can do to support their children’s learning, and at the same time, the immense influence that a teacher can have in the lives of children. Going forward, educational systems will need to be more flexible to adapt to students’ needs.

What do you desire in your child’s learning experience? Does it include:

  • Ability to self-pace
  • Flexibility with schedules
  • Fewer distractions
  • Deeper social connections
  • Increased opportunities for critical thinking and movement

Triton Support Services can assist your school on this educational journey through multisensory learning and educational therapy. Fill out this form to speak with a Parent Rep or learn more about how Triton is helping schools improve education as we enter into a new era.


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May 10, 2021 About Us0

 

When you hear the term “sensory regulation” you might automatically think of special needs children. But is that all? While children with autism or sensory processing disorder may have very unique sensory needs, sensory regulation skills will affect all children, every day! An individual’s sensory regulation skills allow them to maintain an appropriate level of alertness in order to respond appropriately across environments to stimuli presented.

Let’s explore three categories of sensory processing, and how parents can meet their child’s needs in each area. 

Proprioception

Movement activities should be chosen based on a child’s sensitivity to movement. Some children avoid physical sensation while others are sensory-seeking. Sensory-seekers are often the more active children, and may display behaviors that are often interpreted as “bad”, to receive the input they need. This can look like hitting, stomping, yelling, jumping, fidgeting, horse-play, etc. While these kiddos can give their parents and teachers a run for their money, directing their sensory-seeking tendencies into productive physical movement can change “hyperactive” behaviors into healthy, safe activities–and provide a child the relief they are craving! 

Which of these toys does your child prefer?

  • mini trampoline
  • rocking horse
  • scooters
  • bicycles
  • sand/water tables
  • playground equipment (swings, merry-go-round, sides, etc.)

Even if these props are not readily available, simple exercises such as pushups, somersaults, or yoga poses can be practiced almost anywhere. 

Check out these guided dances kids can do at home! 

Oral motor activities

This isn’t just for toddlers! Every child will have different individual needs, but all ages need tactile input through the mouth to concentrate or reduce anxiety. Keep some toys on hand like harmonicas, whistles, and kazoos kids can play with during breaks. While usually something we may discourage, the oral motor motion og chewing gum while working on a task can help a child concentrate. Other activities children can try are sipping yogurt through straw or blowing bubbles through straw. 

Visual stimuli

We typically want to reduce visual stimulation as a whole, or at least take breaks from the bombardment of visual stimuli we receive all day long. Provide spaces for your child that are away from visual clutter. This reduces distraction and will help them feel at ease in their environment.

Take an “unplug” break! When your child takes a “break”, let this be a visual break as well. Reserve times for them where no blue light is present. This could be resting in a dim room or one with only natural light without screens. Simple relaxation activities like coloring or painting, watching fish swim, or looking at a lava lamp can help a child recharge from “visual overload”. 

Implementing these changes at home and school contributes to a child’s sense of well-being–regulating the stimuli in one’s environment helps us create the peace and composure we need to thrive every day!

Watch our Parent Rep’s Parent Huddle all about sensory needs here!

 


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April 20, 2021 About Us0

 

Focused attention is one of the main concerns parents of young and tween children have been expressing to educators. While absenteeism has risen during the 2020-2021 school year, the students who are present in class may still be struggling to be present. Are they attending to and retaining the lessons being taught virtually? Here are some signs parents can look for that shows a child may be struggling to pay attention in class:

  • Fail to give close attention to details
  • Not following through in tasks
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities 
  • Blurting out an answer before a question is completed
  • Difficulty waiting their turn
  • Wiggly, fidgeting/squirming
  • Leaving their seat
  • Lose belongings
  • Being forgetful 

The best way to support a child when you see these signs is to look at the cause of the behavior. If it’s hard for your child to listen, understand, and follow through with an activity, let’s ask: are these symptoms of inattention an imbalance, or is the task just not interesting to them in the way they’re doing it? What distractions may be impeding their attention, and perhaps most importantly, why should they complete this task?

Incentives can make a world of difference in how engaged your child is in a task at hand, and what they are able to accomplish. Here are some changes you can make to your child’s day that will set them up for success. 

 

Give kids breaks throughout the day. 

Just like a regular school day, breaks should be part of a regular schedule, and be a true mental rest. A healthy break should involve changing the physical space from where they work to where they rest. Encourage them to involve movement such as stretching, walking, taking a quick bike ride, or jumping on a mini trampoline. 

Want some variety to choose from to make breaks dynamic? Students can follow along with these group videos. 

 

Implement a sticker system

This is especially helpful for younger children (10 and under) to support follow-through. With a simple DIY poster or chart, your child can earn a set amount of stickers or tokens for each task as they complete it. When they’ve earned them all, they get a reward (e.g. break, toy, game). The great thing about this motivator is that it can be tailored exactly to your child’s interests. The “tokens” they earn can be nearly anything they like: pictures of their favorite character, food, sport ball–the options are endless. 

For older students and teens, a more mature version of this that still packs a punch would be to list out the responsibilities they have ahead of them for the day so that they can see it and check it off as they go. Write what they will earn on the list when they are finished. 

 

Involve others

Talk with your child’s teacher about what your child liked in the classroom–it may be something you don’t have at home! If possible, try coordinating breaks or lunches with neighbors. Why take breaks alone when peers in the neighborhood may be looking for someone to have “recess” with as well?

 

Keep in mind that what may work one day may not work the next. It’s important to keep a robust toolbox to choose from when motivating attention. It’s normal for a child to find something motivating at one point and then lose interest in it later. The most parents can do is set kids up for success. 

 


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April 7, 2021 About UsRegression0

 

Triton exists to serve families and students where they have the greatest needs. Triton began this journey in the midst of a pandemic last year–a time when parents were desperate for school support. Now, over a year after school closures, select schools are just starting to return to classes in person, with many continuing distance learning. This is why Triton focuses on educational therapy that is one-on-one, and is designed to target a student’s needs and challenges as an individual. 

Why education therapy?

Learning Loss

The duration of distance learning has greatly impacted students’ academic growth and social-emotional development. According to a report on high school students in Los Angeles, 40,000 of them are at risk of not graduating this year, 6,000 of them this year alone. “In middle school, about a third of students in the district are currently on grade level in reading and math. Some of the worst learning loss was found in the early grades, where reading skills declined the most in kindergarten and first grade compared to the 2019-20 school year” (Yahoo! News). Great Public Schools Now describes the losses L.A.’s youngest students are experiencing according to annual assessments.

According to early literacy assessment results from the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, 49% of students in grades K-5 were on track in early reading skills, compared to 59% at the be- ginning of the 2019-20 academic year, just before the pandemic. When K-5 students were tested again in the middle of the 2020-21 academic year, results remained stagnant with 49% on track. Students in kindergarten and first grade suffered the biggest learning losses, with the percentage of students not on track increasing by 13- 20%. Literacy skills in those early grades are critical for students to learn how to read. Without additional support, there is a 90% chance that a struggling reader in first grade will remain a struggling reader.

Strengthening sensory cognitive skills

Triton offers the intervention struggling readers need, and we offer a multisensory approach to instruction that typical classrooms do not incorporate. When it comes to teaching reading, the average student is expected to learn to read using phonics and memorization. For a typical student, this may be sufficient for literacy; yet it is taught with the assumption that the underlying sensory cognitive skills that support literacy are stable. Orthographic processing and phonological awareness are two key skills essential for literacy. For students who have weaknesses in these areas, reading will be a struggle until they are addressed. With Triton’s approach, students work one-on-one with instructors to strengthen these underlying functions, allowing literacy to become possible. 

Literacy, however, is only the beginning of learning. Comprehension and critical thinking can present challenges for students even if they are strong readers. This is because understanding what you language relies on a different skill than reading words. Concept imagery is the ability to hold a mental image or picture of an object or idea. This is an essential skill to understanding what you read and even how you use and interpret spoken language. Without strong concept imagery, a student will rely on memorizing the words they read, rather than picturing it in their mind’s eye. Memorization without imagery will not sustain understanding. 

What does Triton’s education therapy look like?

Education therapy is not tutoring. Traditional tutors focus on academics and typically act as a second teacher to help a child complete work already assigned to them from school. Educational therapists use a broader approach. This illustration from Understood explains, “If your child has dyscalculia and math anxiety, a tutor might practice math problems over and over. An educational therapist, on the other hand, might see that your child struggles with number sense. She might teach your child strategies for recognizing basic number facts, or suggest accommodations. She might also teach your child coping skills for anxiety.” Triton’s education therapy focuses on providing students with the tools they currently lack so that they can become more independent in school and life. 

Prior to instruction, every student is assessed with a multisensory evaluation that determines where their current skills lie in areas of language comprehension, phonics, literacy and comprehension. Based on their performance, students receive specialized instruction tailored to their needs. Their education plan can focus on everything from literacy to social emotional skills to language acquisition. Triton’s instructors work one on one with each student to strengthen their sensory cognitive skills through imagery techniques. These techniques develop a student’s mental acuity in picturing letters, words, and concepts. Read more about our multisensory instruction here

Triton’s multisensory instruction is founded on the principle that imagery is the key to learning. Without intensive instruction, students who fall behind rarely catch up on their own. It’s no secret that performance in school is not merely a matter of willpower. Students who are disengaged or completely lost in a virtual setting can’t rely on a prayer. Triton’s in-person educational intervention is designed to help each student perform to their potential in an environment they are excited about. Reach out to our Parent Representative here today. 

 


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March 30, 2021 About Us1

 

Multisensory instruction is a powerful alternative to standard practices for teaching reading. Especially for children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities, multisensory methods open up a new world of opportunity on the road to literacy and education. Triton takes a multisensory approach to instruction, and coaches parents on how they can incorporate these simple strategies at home.

Literacy involves the use of two key cognitive functions: orthographic processing and phonological awareness. Let’s dive into what roles these functions play, and how a multisensory approach strengthens them. 

Phonological Awareness

This function also contributes to the ability to know how many sounds are in a word, how many syllables are in a word and what each syllable sounds like, and how many words are in a sentence. Read more here about phonological awareness.

Phonemic awareness, part of phonological awareness, is the ability to distinguish individual sounds within words and hear the differences between them. For example, some sounds that are commonly confused are -ch and -sh, or the short vowel sounds for i and e. This also helps a child identify singular sounds within words and being able to manipulate the sounds. This ability to hear the differences in sounds will help them sound out new words. 

Orthographic processing 

Awareness of sounds is not the only skill we need to read. Given that only one third of all words in the English language are phonetic, it would not only be arduous to sound them all out, it would be impossible. Hence, literacy cannot happen without strong orthographic processing. 

This is the ability to create mental representations of letters, and therefore recognize whole words upon sight. This process is essentially what we would call visual memory. Visual memory is essential to reading fluency. Students who struggle with reading fluency may struggle to recognize common words that cannot be sounded out, such as you, of, what, come, etc. Imagine the difficulty with reading if every time you saw a word, it felt like the first time! 

“Students with weak orthographic processing will rely heavily on sounding out very common words that should be in memory, leading to a choppy, halting style of decoding sometimes called “spit-and-grunt” decoding. They will likely confuse simple words like ‘it’ and ‘on’, and may not be able to apply their knowledge of root words to decode a variation of the word. The student’s ability to image individual letters is linked to orthographic processing as well. If the shape and orientation of a letter is not firmly rooted in the student’s visual memory, she may reverse letters and not notice that they look wrong.” (Applied Learning Processes)

So let’s get down to how we can strengthen these processes with multisensory learning. Here are some methods Triton uses in instruction that parents can easily try at home!

Airwriting

Students employ this practice to aid in visual memory. They “write” the letters to a word in the air, imagining what each letter looks like. The child says each letter as they write it. A modified form of this for students just starting to practice imagining letters and words, they can write with their finger on a surface, such as a table or wall. Airwriting can be done by spelling out the letters to a given word, or writing given letters and then saying the word they spell. 

Sand or shaving cream writing

This practice is great for so many reasons. Not only does it make reading a game, it involves a tactile component to word formation. Children write out letters in sand or shaving cream on a baking sheet, saying the sound for each letter, then saying the whole word at the end. This is a fantastic technique for children who show anxiety or resistance when it comes to reading. It can be presented as just messing around for fun without any pressure to “get it right”; after all, it’s just sand! It can easily be wiped away! 

Sandpaper letters

Writing letters on sandpaper adds a tactile component to letter imagery. Adding the tactile component solidifies the mental imagery of the letter they write. For very young children, using a letter stencil on a piece of paper can help guide them fingers in the letter formation. 

Word Building 

Letter tiles or magnets help children build basic words. Rather than simply giving the child a word and asking them to read it, children build their own words, which provides them more variety and simplicity. These words do not have to be real. Practicing word chains with a single change, such as fă, tă, să, dă, yă, allows a child to focus on only one letter while still blending sounds together. One-letter changes can be necessary for very young or severe students. 

Learn more here about multisensory techniques your child can practice!

Triton’s multisensory approach to teaching reading uses simple and effective techniques that really work! One of the best parts about Triton’s instruction is that parents are at the center of growth! Through consistent parent coaching, these practices can be applied effectively at home for lasting transformation! 

If you have a child who needs intervention, fill out this form to get started! 

 


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March 22, 2021 About Us0

Does your child understand personal space? Do their friends? Young children can sometimes be unaware of what personal space is, and why it’s important for interacting with others. We know we need to teach children about personal space if we see them invading others’ personal space, or showing signs of discomfort or stress when their space is invaded. 

 

When we talk to kids about personal space, using a metaphor can help them understand why we need it. For instance, when we see cars on the highway, they are all moving together and yet they never come close enough to touch each other. They each give each other enough space so everyone feels safe. People are the same way!

 

Our Education Specialist, Julianne Bigler, gives some examples of games and props anyone can use to illustrate personal space in an engaging way for kids. 

 

Provide a concrete representation

Use a carpet square, mat, or hula hoop to represent a child’s personal space. Tell them to imagine there is a bubble surrounding their space that only they can be inside. Children can explore the bounds of their space in many different ways. Tell the child to imagine they have a paintbrush in their hand and they are going to paint the inside of their bubble. When they get to “paint” their bubble how they want, this gives them a sense of ownership around it, making them more likely to preserve it.

 

Bring awareness to their body

While inside their personal bubble, have children bring awareness to their bodies by acting out movements that explore high, medium, and low, as well as what their body can do inside their bubble. They can show how high and low they can get, how far their arms reach and legs stretch while remaining inside their bubble. Children can pretend they are plucking a star from the sky, playing a board game, or picking a flower. The song “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” is a perfect song for this activity. Bring as much fun into this as possible! The more differentiated motor skills they practice, the more control they begin to gain over their body. 

 

Play personal space games

“Shrinking Room” is a game that requires children to adjust their bodies to accommodate for personal space in a changing environment. Children hold hoops and must be careful not to touch anyone else’s hoops while playing. The adult acts as a moveable wall with their arms out to the side. When they take a step forward, there is less space available, and the children must move so that they and their neighbors have enough space. 

A modified “Red Light, Green Light” can also teach personal space. Have one child who will demonstrate their need for personal space stand at one end of the room, and the others stand at the opposite end. One child advances (not running) toward the one who is “it”. The child who is “it” will hold up their hand in a “stop” signal when the child walking toward them gets close enough. To gauge the appropriate amount of space, use a carpet mat, or establish the “arm’s length away” rule. 

Some children may struggle more than others with personal space due to vestibular processing difficulties. The vestibular system helps our bodies detect and interpret movement. Children with a vestibular dysfunction struggle with motor skills and can present as clumsy. These children tend to invade others’ personal space without realizing the discomfort it causes other people. Simply telling a child with these difficulties what they “should” do to respect this space is not effective. Presenting a physical model for them develops the vestibular awareness they need. The following exercise can bring awareness to personal space by experiencing their own space being invaded. 

 

While the child stands inside a small hoop they are holding, have someone else come inside their hoop. Note how the child responds. Do they back up, shy away, or in other ways establish personal space? This exercise gives them a good metric of the space to give others. If they are uncomfortable when their space is invaded, this is a perfect time to help them advocate for themselves by requesting space or backing away. 

 

Using a social story is a tool many children find helpful. A personal story should outline what personal space is, what good personal space looks like, social cues for a child to look for to determine whether or not they are personal space invaders, and what to do when they need personal space.

 

One aspect these activities do not address when first teaching personal space, is that our bubbles fluctuate. After a child has mastered their space with concrete objects, teach them how our abstract bubbles shrink and expand depending on who we’re with. Talk with your child or student about the differences in how close we get with our family, friends, acquaintances, and community members. Role playing can make this a fun to practice while in a safe space. When implementing this task, take turns playing different people the child may encounter any given day. 

 

This visual from Social Skilled Kids illustrates how personal space changes depending on who we are with. This is a helpful visual to hang in a classroom for children to reference when they need.

Watch Julianne’s talk on personal space here!


MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to provide a multisensory educational care platform for students, while providing support and coaching for their families. We use a team approach to provide efficient and effective services, helping special needs children to thrive.

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