It makes sense to us that parents of children showing signs of autism, Asperger’s, PDD, and other neurodevelopmental challenges might be interested in looking into brain integration exercises to improve their child’s behavior and brain development, but what about seemingly neurotypical children? And what about their parents? Are brain exercises really only for kids with a diagnosis?
If you’ve read some of our other blogs, you already know the answer to that. Not only can anyone of any age benefit from developing their pons and midbrain, but many kids (and adults!) who seem to be doing “just fine” may have found ways to compensate so that they are holding it together until something major comes along and causes a crisis.
Is compensation not a good thing? From the outside, it may seem like the child or adult is managing well, but on the inside it could be another story entirely! We have all heard of straight-A students that excelled in many activities and then one day had an emotional breakdown, seemingly “out of nowhere,” because the anxiety and pressure was simply too much.
We might feel that we are managing challenges at work well, but struggle with reviews and feedback, igniting a fight or flight response that we can feel as our blood pressure rises. This is also a common occurrence in the world of parenting as we attempt to manage our days with irrational little humans! It is in these moments that our compensations fail and our danger system is alerted. With the majority of adults in the United States experiencing stress and anxiety, despite being high functioning, it is natural to conclude that there is a lot of compensation going on. A lot.
Let’s talk about a couple of body systems that help us with compensation:
The Vestibular System: The vestibular system is a sensory system that detects motion, head position, and spatial orientation.
Proprioception: Proprioception is our ability to perceive different parts of the body and where these parts are.. It’s how we know our place in space, and the brain uses this information to facilitate movement and maintain balance.
Sometimes, compensation looks like jumping, spinning, or rocking to regulate the vestibular system. Other times, compensation looks like roughhousing or chewing on things to regulate proprioception. It can also look like tapping a pencil, twirling a lock of hair, swinging a leg, or non-stop talking. Adults can take it a step further where it can manifest as a variety of addictions from smoking to drug or alcohol abuse, constant gum chewing, or overindulgence in caffeine.
Compensation is like a detour in the brain circumventing other, more constructive areas, when someone does not have the skills necessary to deal easily and successfully with life’s challenges. It is a testament to the brilliance of the brain, but it is not a long-term solution. Compensation naturally forces the brain to work much harder than it needs to in order to function. It can make the brain feel very very tired. This brain fatigue can ultimately take energy away from the cortex and higher level tasks like focus, learning, memory, and decision making.
This is where we can help. Through a simple assessment, you can learn if your brain or your child’s brain is compensating. You can learn if the brain assessed is working too hard to carry out common daily functions such as having the ability to sit still and pay attention, read and write, and regulate behavior and emotions. Then we will give you a proven and easy-to-follow program to fully connect the neurons that will allow the brain to become the most energized, efficient, and productive version of itself! We believe you will be amazed at how much easier life can be, even if you already think you are doing “just fine”. 😊