In Case You’re Wondering… I’m Still HERE!

Written on April 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

WOW – it’s been a long time since I blogged and all I can do is be honest and apologize…  I kind of disappeared for a while and that wasn’t my plan – but, as you know, what do they say?  “Gd laughs while you’re making plans?”  Anyway, as some of you may know,  I fell of the map back in Oct of 2012.  Dad had lung cancer and mom was ill as well, luckily, I’m happy to report they caught the cancer early, so dad is now cancer FREE and mom is on the mend!  As for me, I was on the east coast tending to family for four months and came back needing to re-vamp, re-group and pretty much “re” everything. A new place, new business plans and the beginning of a new me… more balance, more health, more fun and making even more of a difference in the world… So please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can help YOU!

As I’ve just mentioned, LIFE happens when you least expect it, so BREATHE DEEP and often and focus on what you can change to support your life and the gifts you’ve been given no matter what it package it comes in – some of the best and most worthwhile gifts go completely unrecognized…

Thank you for all your continued support and your  interest in Sensory Design… Your COLOR COACH aint’ goin’ anywhere!   www.brushoflove.com / lauren@brushoflove.com

What Are You Wearing?

Written on August 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

Another day of, “what do I wear?” You check the day’s weather, consider how you feel, what your plans are and what mood you’re in. All that contemplation in less than 2 minutes in most cases, for others, it’s a never ending question without a clear consistent answer.

Now, let’s consider your kids. Many of them waiting for the moment they get to pick out their ensembles for their day at school. However, all the aforementioned questions you deal with now become theirs in one overall question, “what’s everyone else wearing” OR depending on their age, how different can I be from everyone else? Who am I? How do I want to express myself?

For kiddos with autism, it might be some of the above combined with, “how does this feel on my skin?” “What patterns, colors, designs do I like or dislike?” regardless as to whether they “match” to the rest of the world… Overwhelm. It can look different and take on different forms for all of us, but universally, it just leaves the individual feeling helpless, frustrated, even lost in the idea of having to choose. After all, what will happen if we choose “incorrectly?” Will there be a repercussion of some sort? Will I be judged in some way? Will I be making some sort of statement about myself I didn’t intend to make? All these thoughts about making one simple decision… what do I wear?

You may think your child’s age has a lot to do with this topic, and of course, this is one of those issues that can become rather subjective. That being said, there is a thought process that isn’t based on your child’s age, but rather your approach as the parent, cheerleader, caregiver and protector.

Step out of your own experience and work on being in theirs. Period. I know that may not seem as easy as it sounds, but you must realize that what is obvious or makes sense to you most likely has nothing to do with what your child is considering as important to him/her.

Get rid of the phrase “you have to.” Kids are smart. They know the difference between “you have to” and “you get to.” “Have to” has only negative connotations. It states they are going to be told to do something they don’t/won’t want to do. Why set your child up for an anticipated negative experience? Why set yourself up as the bad guy making your child do something upsetting to them? (when it’s not necessary) There are so many “have to’s” in life, what we choose to wear doesn’t need to be one of them.

If you want to test the validity of what I’m saying, just replace the phrase “have to” like “I have to get dressed” with “I get to get dressed” it shifts your entire attitude… “Get to” is automatically a privilege. Why not remind your kids of that fact whenever you can!

You may be thinking, “sure, like it’s that easy” and no, I never said it was that easy – But I can say, it’s not really that hard. Here’s how to start.

Depending on age or ability – if they are desperate to pick out their own clothes, set them up for success. Make sure of a few things. Set their closet up in sections, almost like a silent “color code” – patterns in one, solids in another, all tops together, all bottoms together and take out the inappropriate clothing based on season. If you don’t want them selecting summer dresses and shorts and perseverating on them, then don’t make them available. Put them away before it becomes an issue. One of my favorite and most successful solutions has been to select 3 options and set them out for your child. Tell them they can choose from any of the items you laid out and they can even mix and match them changing them all around. That way, they have ownership, did “their own thing” and you feel certain that their creativity doesn’t put them in a position of inevitable, unnecessary ridicule. At the same time, if your child is older, allow them some leeway in discovering their personality and establish boundaries after you know they’re physically comfortable in anything they choose. You might even like utilizing these ideas as well.

Women’s Speakers Association says… “LAUREN HENRY IS A WOMAN YOU NEED TO KNOW!”

Written on July 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

CHECK IT OUT!!!!!!!   http://www.womenspeakersassociation.com/2012/07/6524/

Top 10 EASY Ways to Improve Your Child’s Life NOW!

Written on June 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist


10.  Be clear about what you want your child’s room to inspire. Identify what the goals and challenges they presently have as well as in any and every space in your home.

9. Always be decisive about who will be using the room, if it’s going to be shared by more than one person or be utilized for more than one function.

8. What are you and your child listening to?  Figure out what you want your child to be able to accomplish in their space and if need be, make a list of what scenarios you can change and what you can’t. Then you can slowly begin to deduce what sounds you can change from what sounds you can’t.  At that point, you can design the natural “sound system” in your space.

*NOTE: Excuses (fear based or safety based) are not the same as situations that cannot immediately shift or change due to something that is out of our personal control, so pay attention to the difference.

7. Look at all of the lighting in your entire home. Pay close attention to how different each room feels.  A general RULE to live by:  stay away from all florescent lighting, period.

6. Scent. Whatever fragrance is attractive to you and is in alignment with the function you intend to accomplish is what you should surround yourself with at any given time. It has a much more significant impact than you might think!  Candles, incense or natural oils are all acceptable just make sure they’re all natural.

5. Plants. Do you have any? OR, do you usually say, “I don’t have a green thumb?” Whether you do or you don’t, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have some, period. Silk, plastic or real (the ladder, most preferred of course) – Plants make a very big difference in the home. They bring the outdoors in and create balance. They also ground us, particularly your kids – (just notice the next time you’re in a waiting room or an office that don’t have any plants – you will see how unsettling it feels. As an added benefit, keep in mind that certain plants also act as a natural air purifier as they rely on many of the chemicals in the air as their main source of food.

4. Space.  We all need it and rarely feel we have enough. That said, it is very easy to create unnecessary clutter and become accustomed to it.  When it comes to your child, don’t purchase furniture or use your favorite “hand me down” pieces to furnish the room until you’ve figured out exactly what he/she needs emotionally, mentally and intellectually (as well as the obvious storage needed.) Be wary of the corners, what it’s made of and that you remember that less is more. Keep as much space available as possible to avoid closing off the portions of the room.

3.  Pleasing your child. Of course, we all want to make our kiddos happy, ease their anxiety and alleviate their fears. However, just because they inform you they love a particular color, theme, superhero, animal etc… (you get the picture) it does not mean you should make that request the plan for the design in your child’s room. Not everything translates to working well on a grand scale. (mainly because the design can actually exacerbate their anxiety.)

2.  Containers.  A big misconception about storage is that using transparent bins is helpful and saves time. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t do either of those things where your kids are concerned, especially for our children with autism.  Rather, it can create visual chaos, over stimulation, anxiety, and frustration.

1. COLOR. The cornerstone to creating a room that is truly supportive of your child’s unique needs and begins to transform a space into an “assistive technology.”  Imagine a room that slowly guides your child into the emotional, mental and intellectual state they need to decompress, self-soothe, concentrate, focus and connect.  Imagine the same for you and the rest of your family… when done properly, the results are like night and day –

*NOTE – keep away from big bold primary colors on large spaces (unless your child is excessively lethargic) & use MYTHIC paint (1st choice) or Benjamin Moore NATURA (2nd choice)

**green, toxic free, V.O.C. free, organic, won’t harm the environment

THIS is HOW you DO IT!

Written on May 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

HOW – it’s what we all want to know.  The way in which we accomplish a goal, a desired result.  The dictionary defines it as “in what manner or by what means…”

I notice that when I have a moment to contemplate what I’m feeling most pressed about (which usually has to do with my work) the question of “how” I move toward accomplishing a particular goal can become one of my most overwhelming concerns.

If you can relate to this feeling, (and I’m pretty sure almost everyone on the planet can) then you understand where I’m coming from.  It doesn’t matter what you’re goal may be – but when it comes to assisting your child, there are more than a few ways to support them.  We can often get wrapped up in deciphering the “how” rather than simply taking action.

So now what?

Well, here are some suggestions that have helped me and many of my clients…

- STOP.  Always remember that getting stuck in the “how” of any goal or activity is a way to subconsciously avoid taking action due to fear -fear of failure, fear of success, fear we are not enough.  All around plain old fear.

- Detach from the worry and concern about the “how.”  Taking action and making the first step forward is really what’s most important. If you make a mistake, you can pause and tweak your direction.  Ultimately, what’s important is the movement, not the manner in which you make it.

- Relax. There is no perfect solution, answer or outcome. Each child is like a fingerprint and therefore there are many paths to achieving their ultimate and unique potential. You will only discover that on the journey of trial and error.  What’s revealed along the way is what’s important, not the “how.”

If you don’t already, you should know about VALERIE’S LIST!!!!

Written on May 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

Valerie Saraf is the owner of Valeries List Newsletter – if you want to know what is happening withing the ASD community, all the new and cutting edge options, resources, supports and celebrations occurring in Southern CA, than you need to be a part of the Valeries List community!!!  You won’t have to search all over the internet and google, you can just subscribe and peruse her newsletter and you’ll immediately be in the know!

Valerie Saraf
Owner/Editor of ValeriesList Newsletter
5694 Mission Center Rd., PMB 436
San Diego, CA 92108
Winner COMPASS Family Center STAR Award, 2011
Winner 10News Leadership Award, 2010


Written on April 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

HI EVERYONE!  I’m officially introducing our new Personal Coaching Series!! From now on there will be an hourly rate available OR a 6 hr. package available that includes a 20 min. FREE consultation as well as all color, furniture, lighting, and tactile selections as well as sound and scent based elements as it pertains to your child’s needs. This way you’re able to acquire all the pertinent and individualized information necessary to transform your environment at your own pace and… location is never an issue!

What’s more exciting?  I’m offering a HUGE discount throughout the month of April, then it will return to our standard rate.  There has already been a great deal of interest since we’ve shared this new series and spots are filling up (as I have a limit each month) so sign up now for your FREE consultation!! lauren@brushoflove.com Looking forward to working with you and transforming your family’s lives through the art of sensory design!

Your Resident Sensory Designer / Color Expert!



Nature / Nurture!

Written on April 10, 2012 at 12:00 am by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

Today as I walked through the backyard I couldn’t’ help but notice all the brilliant colors and beauty there was to observe and appreciate.  Natural vibrant magentas, soft pinks, warm yellows and lush greens… flowers and plants of all sizes and shapes completely carpeting the entire area and the constant aroma of lilacs lying atop of every breeze.  An instant smile suddenly appeared on my face and in my body that sat with me for quite awhile…  I was reminded, as organically as one can be, just how integral our sensory environment is to our moods, attitudes, thought processes and personal productivity, albeit on a subconscious level.

Having said that – some of the colors we love and enjoy looking at don’t always translate as positively on a grand scale – so you might want to consider the following questions before you make any specific decisions about the color combinations you choose for your home and how they surround you.

  1. How do you want to feel in the room you’re in?
  2. What is the result you’re looking to accomplish? (the intended function of the space) these are the first questions to ask of yourself and/or your spouse./partner.  Then, take a few minutes to jot down the specific mental / emotional aspects of the space and how you want it to effect you and that of your partner / spouse.

Before you do anything regarding color and design – evaluate your space. Be completely clear about the function or function(s) of the space, how you want to feel and /or others to feel when occupying the space and what is is intended to occur there.

Check in with yourself.  If you find yourself gravitating to a certain color or conversely, repelled by one – notice those patterns and ask yourself why – (while this may seem corny) it isn’t. It’s rather a simple and very revealing process regarding our own psyche and what affects us.

Once you’ve discovered what motivates you and how you’re affected, you can make better choices to support your personality. Ultimately you will create an optimal and fundamentally supportive space that also reflects who YOU are, and therefore, you will be at your best in all aspects of your life!

What does your “LOVE” look like?

Written on February 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

February, the month synonymous with “LOVE” – except, I’ve noticed it’s become more about pressure than simply expressing the tender warm & fuzzy way we feel about one another, especially our uniquely fabulous kids – I wonder why…
Don’t you?
I do, and it doesn’t need to be that way. After all, we all express our emotions differently. Whether it be an actual gift of some sort, an unexpected “good deed,” a kind word, something yummy or a big, gushy hug – just making the concerted effort can get the point across. But… how often do we attach ourselves to the more “grandiose” displays of affection and miss the simple but precious efforts made to convey our feelings??
Don’t fret! We all have those moments, but there’s NO need to miss anything or put pressure on yourself, your partner, spouse, significant other or more importantly, feel slighted or personally hurt if your child can’t express themselves in the traditional ways we’ve all come to expect… The love is in the effort, the progress, the commitment, the determination and the one moment that your child does something small, even trivial to others… but – in that moment, all the love and appreciation for you is expressed and you’re forever assured of the love your child holds for you.
That’s when your child truly becomes your teacher. That’s the kind of “valentine” that never gets old… it’s often in these moments that we’re taught about the word “expectation” and that it’s something we could all do without- (at least once in awhile.) It can really set us up for failure and cause us to continually compare ourselves, rather than just stand confidently where we are and move forward at our own pace… then our journey is about discovery and the finish line is whenever we want it to be. Success and fulfillment is inevitable that way…

Happy LOVE day EVERY day !  ”expect nothing and receive everything…” xoxox
“There is no greater power in the Universe than the power of Love. The feeling of love is the highest frequency you can emit. If you could wrap every thought in love, if you could love everyone and everything, you’re life would be transformed.”
-Rhonda Byrne, “The Secret”

Your Resident Sensory Designer / Color Expert  - Lauren S. Henry / Color Creates Change !


Written on January 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

Hi Everyone!

Hope you’ve all taken some time to ring in the New Year in with JOY, GRATITUDE and OPTIMISM - after all, no matter where you may have found yourself at the end of 2011, or now, at the beginning of 2012, you almost assuredly have something to be grateful for… just that should be enough to keep you smiling!  Friends, family, and health are tremendous gifts – appreciate any and all of these “presents” and know how much more lies ahead. :-D

I’m so tremendously thankful to have all of you as a part of my life and the With a Brush of Love community… you are the reason we’re here.  As long as we can make a difference, offer support, guidance and information, we are committed to doing so! Thank You for sharing your lives with us and offering friendship to one another. Together, we’ll continue to change lives and inspire each other!

Bring on the NEW YEAR!

Your Sensory Designer & Color Expert

Lauren S. Henry

“Color Creates Change”