Hi! I’m Callie, an Interventionist at The Energy Source’s Early Intervention Programme (EIP). My colleagues and I have been working on improving our concept of ‘How My Body Helps Me Listen,’ in order to make our classes more inclusive. It is a tool used for helping children understand how different parts of our body contribute to our ability to listen well and how there are different ways to help them listen best; be it, having a short movement break, holding onto an object, or making sounds.
Learning this can help kids grow into active listeners as they get older, by caring and thinking about what is being said by a family member, peer, or teacher who is speaking. As we practice this concept with our class, we believe it may be beneficial to explore strategies and accommodations at home that help kids understand how their body helps them listen best, by firstly adapting to how they listen rather than restricting them to how we would like them to listen to us.
Understanding how your child ‘listens’
‘Listening’ is not solely determined by how one’s body appears; just as how we have the urge to click our pens or twirl our hair during a long talk, many, particularly neurodivergent learners, benefit from rocking back and forth, fidgeting, or scribbling as they may require this type of sensory input to be regulated, and being regulated prepares your body to learn more effectively.
Here are some useful resources to help get you started on understanding what whole body listening is and how you can practice it at home with your children.
How to help your child to ‘listen’
Here are some languages we may start practicing to help kids understand how their body helps them listen best:
- Allow them to look away rather than requiring eye contact as it can feel overwhelming to some. You could suggest, “I notice you are having difficulty looking at me while I speak. That’s fine; the next time, you can look down or close your eyes as long as you can still hear what I’m saying”.
- Allow them to fidget rather than asking them to be still and saying, “calm hands”. You could suggest, “Oh, it appears that your hands need a job. You may scribble on this piece of paper as you listen to the story”.
- Allow them to walk around to get movement breaks rather than sitting still. You could suggest, “Oh, your body doesn’t appear to be comfortable at the table. You can walk around the room and sit when you are ready”.
If you liked these tips, don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends. And if you’d like to know more about our Early Intervention Programme, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
This article was written by Callie Lee, our Interventionist.