Kids Brain Tree (FoCo) | 3932 John F Kennedy Parkway, Suite 10 F, Fort Collins CO 80525 | +1-970-818-8768

Occupational Therapy at its best

- training the skills for living and learning

Surprising as it may sound, one of the big factors with emotions is being able to control your head. This has been proven by numerous studies. If you can’t control your head, it drops backwards, and the act of dropping backwards produces a cortisol spike within the body. It’s a physiological response. It’s like getting a fright or having an accident. If that is happening, and you can’t control it, you immediately go under stress, and it’s all because you don’t have enough musculature to hold your head still.

Being under stress causes all sorts of problems. If your cortisol spikes then your stress hormones go up. If your stress hormones go up, then you physiologically shut down certain functions, and you stop being able to do several things that you can do when you aren’t stressed. You tend to become highly focused on one particular function only. So left brain dominant kids and people become highly sequential and have to carry out one task followed by another. They’re not able to jump out of that sequence. Right brain people and kids become highly scattered, and find it next to impossible to do one thing after the next. Getting any task done without having access to both sides of the brain is hard because we need access to all the ideas and creative responses, but we need to sequence them at the same time. So left brain people would become rigid and not be able to get creative and right brain people will be creative but not able to sequence.

Most kids that suffer from meltdowns and are extremely disorganised, are right brain dominant. A left-brain dominant child under stress, will just do the next thing and then the next. But a right-brained child will become scattered, and will struggle to do anything in a specified order. This can be made worse if their stressed parent is a left-brained person trying to get their child to perform the task in a set sequence. Because OT looks, not just at the child but at their whole environment, they can help the parent manage the situation too.

If your child suffers from meltdowns or has difficulties handling their emotions, you wouldn’t necessarily assume that has a physical component. Many kids in this situation are taken to see a child psychologist and most times they will do talk therapy, traditional interpretive play therapy or they will prescribe medication.

But if we address the child’s problems from a slightly different bias, and address it developmentally, and create the neural structures that bring about brain maturity, an OT can get amazing results without needing to implement behaviour interventions. An OT will help the child to grow the mechanisms that would bring internal control and internal motivation instead of external control and external motivation.

An OT can provide specifically graded movement and play that will help a child learn to manage their emotions.

Why should you consider an OT as well as a psychologist if the problem appears to be emotional?

How can physical movements change emotional behaviours?