We all experience different levels of stress in our days. Stress experiences can occur in utero, shortly after birth, and/or throughout the lifetime. The list of possible stress and trauma experiences are innumerable, and the impact of an event will depend on a child’s previous experiences and how he perceives the current stress.
When a child experiences a stressful or traumatic event (separation from a birth parent, death of a loved one, medical intervention or emergency, a changing home environment, abuse, loss of a pet, etc.) this causes his nervous system to release neurochemicals that trigger the fight-or-flight response. Once the stress is resolved, his body returns to a calm state. If the stress is not resolved or when the stress or trauma becomes too intense or ongoing, it can alter how the body responds, creating changes in the brain and an inability to effectively deal with new challenges.
His brain will retain a memory as the emotion, along with the sensory experiences that were present (i.e. the smell of the environment, the sounds, the visual stimulation, the touch from a situation). Therefore, exposure to sensory input may trigger an implicit memory and cause his body to enter into fight-or-flight. This leads to a state of hyper-awareness and hyper-sensitivity and challenges with sensory processing, all of which contribute to negative behaviors.
At Leaps and Bounds, we recognize that a child’s stress and trauma experiences are contributors to his ability to process sensation, therefore impacting his reactions to situations and his behaviors throughout the day. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive program to address not only the current sensory processing challenges, but also the underlying nervous system responses.