By Brigitte Shipman
In this week's informative and insightful episode, I interview Joye Newman, author of Growing an In-Sync Child, about the importance of movement for children to become more confident and competent in everything they do.
Joye Newman is the co-author (with Carol Kranowitz) of the best-selling book, Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow and an expert in Perceptual Motor Development. She earned her M.A. in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University.
She integrates behavioral optometry, occupational therapy, movement, and psychology to help kids feel more comfortable in their own bodies so that they’re in control of their bodies and their bodies work for them.
She explains that children on the spectrum tend to be clumsy and not comfortable in their bodies because they are often not comfortable in their sensory or visual systems, which causes them to receive information haphazardly and react accordingly.
She talks about the importance of understanding the underlying causes of a child's inability to do certain activities and address those things first before he or she can learn to do the actual activities. She tells us that behaviors are not things we have to act against or change but what we have to learn is to understand what the behavior is saying.
She says that children are too often taught to do things when they’re not ready to learn them and if you try to get your child to do what he’s not developmentally ready to do, it becomes a splinter skill. She urges parents to meet their kids where they are and stay with them until they're comfortable and ready to move on to a new skill or activity.
Instead of thinking about how we can get these autistic children to function in the “normal” world, Joye asks us to change our perspective and concentrate on getting our kids comfortable in their own bodies. Joye says that when they're comfortable in their bodies, they’ll be able to navigate through the world just fine. But if they're not comfortable in their bodies, they can’t be expected to navigate. "Try to forget what someone else told you and let your child guide you," Joye says.
She also offers simple activities like "Hold Up the Wall" and "Paperballs" you can do with your kids at home from her In-Sync Activity Cards that incorporate "push, pull, lift, or carry" that are so important for your kid's development.
And finally, Joye leaves us with these wise words: There is no norm. Your child is not wrong. There is nothing wrong with your child. There is something different with your child. Find a way to embrace it.
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