Why Kids May Have Trouble Transitioning – Part 1


When we address what's going on with the lower centers of the brain, kids transition easily.

An underdeveloped pons or underdeveloped midbrain or poor proprioception can make it really difficult to shift from one activity to the next. Here’s why.

As soon as kids with an underdeveloped pons perceive something as a threat (it doesn’t have to be real), they react with a fight-or-flight response.  Demand that something needs to happen RIGHT NOW, and the fight just escalates.

If those kids go into flight instead of fight, they delay or postpone the upcoming perceived threat—which makes sense.  How quickly would any of us transition if the next activity required us to jump into a pit of rattlesnakes?

Kids with an underdeveloped midbrain get stuck on a recurring thought (“I want to play with Legos! I want to play with Legos!”).  With that thought spinning in their brain, any new message (e.g. “Time for dinner.”) has slim to no chance of being processed.  Such kids also have trouble filtering unimportant sensory stimuli.  That then makes it difficult to focus on transition directions or to switch activities without being distracted.

Kids with poor proprioception don’t always navigate successfully from Point A to Point B—especially, if there’s a large open space involved in the transition.  So they drift everywhere but in the direction they need to go.

And, of course, a child can have an underdeveloped pons and an underdeveloped midbrain and poor proprioception . . . making the task of transitioning especially challenging.

Can kids make smooth transitions even if the lower brain development is incomplete? Yes.  Such approaches then offer new solutions for parenting kids with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and other children who experience difficulty switching from one activity to the next.

Helping Kids Transition  – Part 2 will appear in the next post.  Photo courtesy of parents connect.com

Sugar-Free Halloween

The cortex parent takes Halloween candy away  . . . and their kids smile!

The cortex parent takes Halloween candy away . . . and their kids smile!

Can your kids really enjoy a sugar-free Halloween? Yes.

Americans eat an average of 25 pounds of sugar—and much of that is trick-or-treat candy. But sugar consumption can weaken the immune system and increase hyperactivity in kids with and without ADHD.

That’s why the cortex parent doesn’t just cross her fingers and hope there’s no fallout from eating tons of Halloween candy. Here’s a solution that eliminates the candy binge–eating.

Once the kids return home from trick-or-treating, they go shopping at their very own sugar-free Halloween home store.  Everything here can only be purchased with candy.

At the bargain end, your child buys inexpensive non-edible items.  Sugar-free goodies are also for sale here. Such treats can be theme-based, such as eyeballs (peeled grapes with raisins in the holes for pupils) or those bought from companies who specialize in sugar-free candy.

But the bargain aisles won’t put much of a dent in your Halloween shopper’s candy bank.  That’s why there’s always a wrapped, mystery item—one for each child—at the far end of the store.

That item’s sale price? Whatever amount of candy remains in your child’s bag. Of course, the item is something your child has been wanting.   When my girls were young, their friends thought the store was “cool,” and they were never pitied for skipping Halloween’s sugar-fest.

The answer doesn’t have to be a store. Regardless of the solution, the cortex parent accepts the broader challenge of the question: How can we preserve the best of Halloween (trick or treating) without succumbing to the worst of it (eating all the candy)?

Other ideas to share?

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