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Suggestions for Holiday Happiness

Written on December 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

So, what do you do when you find your child’s mood swinging back and forth for no reason, or a holiday “funk” arrives at the most unexpected time OR, you’re finding that you are stuck and don’t know why?  Well, while there may not always be an overnight cure, there are some fairly simple “overnight-ish” remedies… here’s just a few.
  • Be introspective.  (a bit like oxygen for you) to then share some with your child.  Then, if and when possible, observe.  In our excessively busy and over-scheduled days, there must be a point when you STOP and take the time to connect. Particularly at home, with your child.  If they like to sit on the floor, sit on the floor with them.  Place yourself physically, at their level rather than the other way around. That way you are entering their world not pulling them into yours.  By doing so, it will be much easier to discover the things that are affecting them, both good and bad.
  • Pay Attention.  Do NOT follow the aforementioned steps, begin to participate in their world and then bring your smart phone along for company. Suffice it to say that the only focal point should be that of your child and the rapport, trust and consistent relationship you’ll be building in his/her world rather than the other way around.
  • Believe it or not – you are laying a different kind of foundation with your child.  While there is an inherent and organic trust between child and parent, this is a different kind of trust. It’s a trust earned by the parent that let’s your child know that you “get them” you “see them” just as they are. (thanks “AVATAR”)   Not only does it diffuse their personal feelings of possible inferiority but it also assures them that you will find ways to communicate with them and meet them where they are no matter what. In turn, they feel safe, validated, heard and at ease that they are not “wrong”, “less than” or “lacking” and will feel more self-confident to try things that do not come as easily to them as it may for others. You will notice patterns of behavior based on their feelings and experiences throughout the day and you will also notice what their “go to” is to express their feelings. Colors, crayons, music, puzzles, words, stimming etc… but rather than it seeming random and frustrating, it will become more of a language between you and reveal what’s happening for them. They will also feel ok to share those forms of expressions with you if you show them and assure them that it’s allowed and welcome. They will start to feel comfortable in their own skin and appreciate the unique gifts they will discover about themselves much sooner!  You will also begin to feel more connected as a parent in ways you may not have expected as well as in ways parents of “neuro-typical” kids aren’t even aware of!
  • HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Your Sensory Designer & Color Expert!

Lauren S. Henry :-D


The Holidays are Here and…

Written on November 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

First let me say, NOVEMBER!! Seriously?!!   Where does the time go?? I realize it’s been quite awhile since my last post, and all I can say is that I’ve been traveling since mid September and ended up being away longer than anticipated, so my apologies for being off the radar for so long!  That being said, I’ve no doubt that you all understand how life can take hold and side track you and consequently, I find myself catching up just before the holidays arrive! and then, it dawned on me… no matter what time of year it is, there always seems to be a holiday lurking around the corner. There’s also a ton of anticipation, fun that lie ahead! However, it’s not always so easy for our kids to take part in all the excitement. Bright colors, loud sounds, visual chaos and over stimulation and even claustrophobia…. so how does a parent deal with these challenges while still maintaining the joy of the holidays??  Here are some suggestions… but feel free to email me with your own fabulous ideas and suggestions!  It’s always helpful to learn more creative ways to make a difference and empower one another!

1. Know your child’s patterns and anxiety levels.  Be aware of what colors, sounds, textures and level of stimulation they can handle and use that as your guideline.

2.  Don’t go overboard with the theme and decor of the holiday.  Consider selecting 2-3 colors and stick with them rather than utilizing several all over the place.  Make sure whatever you do select is not too bright, or is only used as an accent, regardless of what your child requests. It’s important to remember they don’t know what their triggers are, but you do and if you’re not sure, you should be.  Not everything they want will support them on a grand scale, so when in doubt, less is more.

3. Bring the outdoors inside.  Incorporate nature into your decor, i.e. pine cones, leaves, twigs etc… you can spray paint or hand paint them, glue a little bit of glitter on them, ribbon, etc… The outdoors are a source of balance and help to keep us “grounded.”
and here’s to a happy, healthy, holiday season!!   Look forward to hearing your holiday tales -

Your Resident Sensory Designer / Color Expert
Lauren S. Henry

How “friendly” is your favorite color??

Written on August 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

I was just curious… do you know how significant color can be in terms of affecting both you and your child’s focus, concentration, mood and overall ability and attitude?  I’m guessing like most of us, it probably hasn’t dawned on you. After all, with all the things there are in life to be concerned with right now, color and your surroundings are generally not something that would be at the top of your list. That being said, I’ve a feeling you wouldn’t be at all surprised to know that everyone is dramatically and subliminally affected by color, particularly when different types of light enter into the equation – So, consider these few things and let me know what you think, especially if you relate to anything I’ve mentioned, I’d love your feedback!
 
 When you enter a particular room in your home, ask yourself what the goal for that space is – whether it be for you, your family, or your guests, especially if it’s meant to be a multi-purpose space for all of the above. Then, see how you feel, what you’re drawn to and what makes you even a little uncomfortable. (but, pay attention and don’t “blow off” whatever feelings may un-nerve you) ask other family members as well.
 
Again, ask yourself some more questions (you’ll start creating a much more intimate relationship with yourself!) What do you consider you’re favorite color and why… and  when you say, “i don’t know why” I’m promising you, you absolutely do! Ask yourself how this color makes you feel, (good, bad etc…) and really notice your immediate reactions. Your answers can be very telling and revealing in terms of how you’re affected by certain colors as well  as particular shades of that color.
 
Once you have the answers to some of the aforementioned questions – I’d like you to consider a few more things… whether for you or your child, remember that just because you’ve now identified your favorite color,  that doesn’t mean it should surround you on a grand scale or will work for you emotionally in any room. Rather, it helps you understand how and where it will work best.  You should also be aware that just because you find a design that’s aesthetically appealing to you, that also doesn’t mean you don’t need to consider whether or not that design supports both you or your child’s individual mental, emotional and psychological needs within that space, not to mention the intended function of that space.
Hope this helps!  Get back to me and let me know if it does…
Your Sensory Design & Color Expert!
Lauren S. Henry
Remember, “Color Creates Change!”

With a Brush of Love presents… Keri Bowers, Tuesday – July 26th ! 10am (PST)

Written on July 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

Tomorrow – Remember, KERI BOWERS of NORMAL FILMS – 10am (PST) Tues, July 26th, will be the guest on my show, “With a Brush of Love presents…” on Blog Talk Radio via Family Network Radio!! Filmmaker, Mother, Author, Autism Advocate, Artist you DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!! Call in at 424-220-1804

Which Crayola Crayon are YOU today??

Written on July 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

I was just wondering, do you ever notice how you feel when you begin your day? Does your child’s attitude or behavior ever mimic your own? Do you wonder what kind of day it’s going to be for both of you OR do you decide what kind of a day it’s going to be?? What if you took some control back and determined the course of your day? YOU Choose your experience – You could even use color as a form of communication in establishing the way he/she might be feeling as compared to the way he/she wants to feel… Here are some suggestions, let me know your thoughts as I’m always interested in your feedback!!

- Use colored pieces of construction paper or crayons and ask them to pick the color that best expresses how they’re feeling at that exact moment. Often, if the vocabulary isn’t always there and social cues are challenging with regard to emotions, utilizing something else to represent an emotion is much easier to use to determine an emotion; and therefore, how they’re feeling. You can work on there state of being by using the colors and what they represent to your child to connect, express and determine how they feel vs. how they want to feel – the same goes for as well.
- When your son or daughter delves into an activity on their own, see if you can quietly join in! Emulate exactly what they’re doing, mimic the same activity and create connection in that way. Whether immediate eye contact takes place or not, he/she will be highly aware of your presence,
That’s what’s most important!

Remember, Color Creates Change!

With Love & Light…
Your Favorite Sensory Designer/Color Expert!
Lauren xo

How are YOU Doing

Written on June 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

I realized, or perhaps… remembered something today.
Since it’s Sunday, it makes sense that it seemed to hit me
on the day typically dedicated to respite. To retreat,
re-group; and rejuvenate preparing for the week ahead. It
dawned on me that we rarely remember that while the weekend
is meant for relaxation and family, it’s often filled with
errands, the needs of our kids and responsibilities. But,
when do we remind ourselves that if we don’t replenish
ourselves, we can’t take care of anyone else?

Clearly, not often enough.  I want to give you permission… before you give
your oxygen mask away to anyone else, breathe long and deep
and make certain you tend to yourself first – You must
practice being there for yourself before focusing on anyone
else…

Guilt is an unnecessary and wasted emotion. When it
comes, acknowledge it, be civil and let it go just as
quickly as it came. Don’t bother interacting with it or
offering it any attention.

Trust Yourself. One of the gifts and the burdens of
having a woman’s DNA is that gut feeling, that
“sixth sense” of ours. The ability to continue the inherent
physical connection between mother and child, the one thing
that never dissipates with age. Don’t question
your gut or allow other people’s personal biases or
opinions taint what you feel in your heart to be true.
We can lie to others, but we always know the truth in our
heart. Pride has no place in making decisions that effect
our children. So, trust yourself.

I hope this is helpful, let me know if you relate and what YOU think…

Remember, Color Creates Change!

With Love & Light…
Your Favorite Sensory Design Specialist!
Lauren

Ready, Set, Lights!

Written on June 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

I was in a local restaurant with a friend the other night and was reminded once again how the elements of one’s surroundings can change one’s entire experience.  While it was lovely, and the lighting was somewhat dim, the sound started to become overwhelming with the noise of enthusiastic discussion, the lights changed again, making it hard to read but clear that we were entering late evening and I felt as though my experience was being controlled by a “puppeteer”, a “wizard” if you will…(I didn’t have any ruby slippers though :)    someone maneuvering the lights, sound, temperature – the overall construction of the room even changed throughout the night.  Then, as quickly as everyone entered and the lights went down, all at once the lights became brighter, the sound began to ease and the crowded room dissipated quickly, the evening was over and no words were ever spoken to convey that message.  The environment did all the talking…

Do you ever notice how  important finding just the right “ambiance” is when you’re choosing  restaurant for a special occasion?  Creating a specific atmosphere at home or simply want a place to relax?  Well, lighting is the star of that show – every other decision we make when creating a space is going to be dramatically affected by the type of lighting you select.

So take time to consider how you want your child to feel in each space they spend time in and what function they need to accomplish in that space as well.   If you are focusing on all the right elements, you will be able to create the most optimum and individualized surroundings for your child, yourself and your entire family!

If you find yourself in a space that has any kind of florescent lighting that can’t be easily replaced, this is my suggestion. GET RID OF IT! and you’ll even save money! Simply turn off the lights and purchase cheap stand alone lamps i.e.(Target, Walmart, Ikea)as well as soft light and white bulbs. Use these stand alone lamps in place of the overhead florescent lights whenever possible. When combined with the natural daylight, you’ll have the most optimum lighting possible!

– Another thought – rather than selecting the typical switches, I find that dimmers often work a bit better in terms of convenience, controlling the exact type of lighting you prefer, as well as supporting your mood or when necessary, assisting you in changing it!

- Finally, just keep a few things in mind. Of course, we all want to keep costs down, be “green” and do what is best for our family’s – but, there’s so much discussion about energy consumption that some important facts tend to be overlooked. While those big curly light bulbs, Compact Florescent Light bulb (CFL’s ) are wonderful at saving on your energy bill, please remember to be cautious about where you use them. They contain mercury and if and when broken, it is not something that can be easily “cleaned.” Dispose of them with gloves and use a couple of trash bags when removing them from your home. This is important, don’t be fooled by the “minuscule” amounts of mercury quoted on the light bulb labels, if at all. It’s too easy to avoid unnecessary complications and health issues in your home.   So jump in, make small changes and allow yourself to feel empowered, you CAN make a difference!

Remember, Color Creates Change!

Your Favorite Sensory Design Specialist & Color Expert,

Lauren

Artism!

Written on June 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

This Tuesday, June 28th, With a Brush of Love presents… Debbie Hosseini, Founder of artismtoday and the Author of “Artism” – a beautiful book of art – various styles, subjects and interpretations by artists diagnosed with autism!  Debbie’s work has been inspired by her incredibly talented son Kevin and the journey she’s been on with him.  Her attitude,l viewpoint and website have been an inspiring resource within the community for a number of years and we’re thrilled to have her with us!  Remember to jump on the blog talk chat room (family network radio) the facebook chat room (family network tv) or call us directly at 424-220-1804, we’d love to hear from YOU!

STOP Doubting Yourself and…

Written on June 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

I was listening to a friend share her experience at a playdate with some other parents of autistic kids… she was struck by how many mom’s doubt themselves to such an extent, they second guess almost every choice they make. She was telling me how sad that made her. Of course there are always doubts and questions, even more when unexpected challenges arise- however, she was saying how much she wished women would give themselves a break and trust both themselves and their gut a little bit more. Here are some thoughts – here are some simple suggestions…

- Pay Attention to yourself, the whispers in your ear, the quiet requests your heart makes…listen to them, your soul knows what you need, trust your gut, not your head.
- Journal often, at least several times a day for one full week and you’ll begin to notice-what’s happening with your child on a more consistent basis… their habits, patterns, attitudes; and reactions to things. These kinds of specific observations can help make all the difference in understanding what actually works to support your child.
- Take time to nourish yourself – Remember, you can’t help your children if you don’t care for yourself first!

So, remember ladies… TRUST YOURSELF!

Did You Remember to Breathe Today?

Written on June 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm by by Lauren, your Sensory Design Specialist

So throughout my crazy day today I realized that I had completely forgotten to breathe. I mean really breathe, ya’ know??   It’s so easy to just get into the “go, go, go” and being present becomes a “nice phrase” but completely forgotten… Ironic since taking some time to breathe, (like the deep kind where you close your eyes, breathe in and out, and you feel your shoulders ease…. Relate?   Rushing around making sure to accomplish all the things on your daily/weekly “to do” list? I’m sure most are relating and shaking their heads in acknowledgment to this all to familiar behavior! But… I’m here to remind you, while you may think that’s the way to accomplish all you need to and be there for you kids, that routine is taking away from your family time, not adding to it…  I thought I’d share some ideas.
 
1. Take a moment every day, and before you even get out of your warm, cozy bed – take some deep breaths and immediately begin to remind yourself of what you’re thankful for, right now, in that moment. Don’t think for a minute what is missing, what is wrong or what you think youdon’t have – ONLY what you’re in gratitude for, no matter how big or small and sit with it. Don’t recite it, butsee and feel what brings a smile to your face. Once you feel that, you can sit up and take that feeling with you as you begin your day. It will change EVERYTHING and no matter how your day may go or what you cross off your proverbial never-ending list, you’ll feel better and therefore, the time you spend w/ your family will be as well, and everyone will notice! Especially YOU!
 
2. Share this new way of being as you start your day with your partner and children, and you will single-handedly shift the overall attitudes of your family and the joy in your home.
 
3. Listen and when you listen, really Hear. No matter how much effort we place on the basic notion of being in gratitude, we also must work toward mastering our ability to truly listen and hear. Especially when  it comes to our children. Regardless of their special and unique qualities, strengths and/or challenges – we as parents are always convinced they know better -period. But, the fact is that sometimes, our kids know themselves even more than we realize. If we can train ourselves to stop – then look, and then choose in, we can also allow those moments to educate us and help our kids to help us  – in turn, we’ll support their needs even more!
 
Have a week full of gratitude, joy and inspiration my friends!

Your favorite Sensory Design Specialist!
Lauren