The How Matters
While the “what” we do to support our children’s progress is very important, how we go about scaffolding them – the language, the environment and the grading of the task can make the difference between an enjoyable experience and a struggle.
On this page we will be providing examples, resources and ideas to make the “how” not only for your home program but for everyday life easier.
If you have any specific questions or challenges you would like us to address that we haven’t yet covered here, please use the contact form on this page. After all, what helps you will help others too!
Managing Noise Pollution
Noise pollution is a real and increasing concern in modern life. When noise stresses us, it compromises our nervous and immune systems and when exposure occurs for long enough or to people sensitive enough to it, can affect the ability to learn and perform.
Repeated and sustained exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels can damage hearing. Persistent loud noises have also been linked to a variety of physical symptoms including headaches, tinnitus, irritability, loss of sleep, difficulties with learning and concentration, heart disease and high blood pressure. Is it any wonder some of our little ones struggle so with it? Can you think of children you know for whom the world of sound is a challenging thing?
Synchronizing To The Right Frequency
It is not only the volume of the noise that is to be considered but the frequency as well. In nature objects try to “get in synch” with each other – everything has its own natural frequency and together there literally is harmony. This isn’t the case with the predominance of modern technology, the buzz and hum of very high frequencies can wear on all of us at different time, but particularly those that are most sensitive to it.
Some children who have significant sensory processing difficulties (such as those with autism or attention deficits) are physically distressed or very much distracted by noises that beyond our conscious awareness. We have had many children who alert to the sounds of ultraviolet lights and electricity running through the walls. They are even irritated by the sound of their own blood gushing through their veins and arteries!
Measuring Noise Levels
In order to reduce the effect of noise on the children in your life, it can help to measure it at the noisiest times in your homes or centres – you might be surprised how loud things get! Fortunately with the help of modern technology that is an easy thing to do! If you want to involve the kids then try the Too Noisy App or if you want one for your own purposes this review identifies 3 of the best (there are loads of them online). Once you know what the baseline is, you can work together with your children and with the environment to manage it.
Reducing Noise Levels
Looking at the research, the main ways to reduce noise is to add soft surfaces – particularly to ceilings and walls. A simple way to provide relief is to provide “chill out zones” – it can be as simple as a sheet or a blanket over a table or a pop up tent, or putting aside a room where the lights can be dimmed and the door can be closed to all the din – any of these strategies can provide relief to the overwhelmed child – add some soft cushions and perhaps some favourite music through headphones and a quiet book or toy – recovery won’t be far away…
A quiet spot outside away from electronics for a few minutes can help too! A more expensive, but very effective option in classrooms are sound field systems – which we often recommend, as everyone benefits in the environments in which they are used! Lisa talks about this topic in our free podcast series Learning Made Easier.
The Nose Knows – The Power of Scent
The nasal membrane is a thin line between the outside world and our brain, and scent has a powerful ability to influence attention, memory and mood as a result. The PDF below lists a range of aromatherapy scents that can benefit your child. Please be sure to follow the guidelines, as some scents can have significant health impacts for some individuals.
Easy On The Eyes
The strong contrast of black on white can make reading more difficult for some children. A simple adjustment of background colour can reduce this difficulty significantly. You can screen for your child’s preference by using the Pale Colours Test.
Simply ask your child which feels better for their eyes. If it’s not a problem, any will do and they won’t notice much of a difference. If your child shows a definite preference, then we recommend using that colour for worksheets from school. For reading you can use a coloured transparent folder cut to be used over printed text.
A review by a behavioural optometrist could also be beneficial.