How an organised, well functioning sensorimotor system helps prepare your child’s brain and body to be an effective and efficient learner to thrive in class and play.
It is incredibly important for school readiness as it allows a child to receive feedback from their body effectively so that they can effectively perform new skills they’ll learn in class and play.
What do I mean by those big terms? The sensorimotor system forms part of the cortex or big brain.
This section of the big brain is responsible for interpreting how the body is moving and what’s going on inside and around it. It then produces an appropriate response by sending signals back out to the body.
This can be as subtle as a slight correction to the hand to catch a ball or something quite complex like altering posture when changing direction when moving.
What’s important when considering the sensorimotor system is the accuracy of the input and output.
If sensory feedback in can be received and interpreted clearly, and the signals that go back out to the body are accurate, then the sensorimotor system is well organised.
If your child’s sensorimotor system is working well you’ll notice they are capable of performing complex movements and actions with their body in an age-appropriate way. Riding a bike, climbing and playing in the park, tumbling and gymnastics, pushing and pulling things to make cubbies or forts, running and keeping up with friends happen without any thought or struggle. Handwriting and computer skills also relies on a well functioning sensorimotor system.
How to recognise if child may be having trouble with the organisation of their sensorimotor system?
If a child might be having trouble with their sensorimotor system, you may pick up on the following:
- They may seem to be challenged by movements and activities that require them to use their body to move
- They may seem to fatigue quickly
- They may be clumsy and slip or fall easily when climbing or using their body physically
- They may struggle with learning to write clearly or type on a keyboard.
In many cases, the main effect for a child who’s sensorimotor system is disorganised is frustration. A child frustrated with their body and how it isn’t responding can look like tantrums or meltdowns at the time of frustration causing classroom disruption or after school when they decompress at home.
This system is a crucial part of the brain as it affects the way a child can use their body to participate in their world. A well organised sensorimotor system makes it a lot easier to be an effective and efficient learner in class and play.
When each area of the lower brain is functioning well it allows the higher, clever cortex to work optimally so a child can think and play well. This is what we want for your child as they continue through the schooling system this year.
We want all the energy to be used for learning, creativity, social engagement, movement and play.
We want little brains and little bodies to be working so well that all a child has to do when they enter the classroom or playground is use their clever big thinking and doing brains to learn and play.
You may also have noticed that each element seems to stack upon the last and that there’s a lot of linking of elements. This is the perfect design of the brain, and how it develops. It develops from the bottom up, and each part really does stack onto of the last. Then what happens, around 2 to 3 years of age and beyond, once the foundations have been laid, is that all the parts begin connecting and integrating. We become more ‘human’ in our ability to think and analyse, create and achieve more complex tasks and skills.
So much of the struggle we see children having today stems from having holes in the foundations of their development. This is no-one’s fault and there is no blame or judgment on children or parents when I make that statement.
It’s simply a commonality, and for a reason! The challenges that can arise when a child enters the schooling system with a brain and body that is disorganised and hard for them to control whilst trying to meet the expectations in this new arena to concentrate, learn and be social.
The elements we have talked about over the past few weeks in our blogs help to combine and to promote a calm, confident child who is ready to be an effective and efficient learner in class and play.
If you have any questions about your child’s brain and body you can book in a free 15 minute phone consultation with me, Dr Amanda, to find out how you can support your child as they continue on their home and schooling journey.