Saturday Seminar: Ready, Set, Learn: Tools to Build Self Regulation

A captive audience representing a broad range of disciplines attended Therapro’s September Saturday Seminar featuring Lise Gerard Faulise, MS, OTR/L, BCP. Lise is the founder of Rehab New England, a private sensory integration-oriented practice in Rhode Island, and co-founder of the Wolf School in East Providence, Rhode Island, designed for K-8 children with learning differences. Her presentation, Ready, Set, Learn: Tools to Build Self Regulation, provided a clear view of how self regulation develops from in utero and beyond, how dysregulation might occur, and how treatment can affect function.

Lise’s discussion of foundational skills that impact somatosensory experiences of a child before, during, and after birth was comprehensive. She led us through the developmental process where sensory and motor development are intimately linked, and showed how they help develop cognitive skills efficiently from the “bottom up.” She referred to the “Pyramid of Learning,” developed by Occupational Therapists MarySue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger, authors of the Alert Program – How Does Your Engine Run?, which teaches children how to identify and change self regulation using the analogy of an engine.

When there is a problem with self regulation, where the child either seeks or avoids sensory input, we may see behavioral changes in the child, which should raise red flags and further questions. Lise recommended the book, Is It Sensory or Is It Behavior? to help us examine if the behavior is intentional or whether it is a by-product. She suggested observing the timing of the behavior and whether it is limited to specific environments. For a child who experiences sensory modulation issues, Lise suggested providing the child with a large dose of sensory input activities so that behaviors don’t escalate and/or the child doesn’t feel threatened. For a child who experiences sensory overload, she suggested a quiet area or space at home and in the classroom that has things available that comfort the child, like a Cozy Caterpillar Sock, and comfortable clothing like Compression Clothing. She noted that oral or hand fidgets can help with self regulation as well. In addition, Lise identified somatosensory activities that involve deep tactile pressure, heavy work, rhythmical movement, music, breathing, and mindfulness as research-supported activities that are calming. Treatment materials to use may include scooter boardsDeluxe Peanut BallsRainy Day Playground: 2 in 1 Rotary Platform SwingHeavy Work Bands, to name a few. When a child is self regulated he/she is ready to tackle higher level function.

We were engaged fully in Lise’s seminar and wanted to hear more as the two hours of her presentation evaporated. Her skills as a clinician, researcher, and lecturer in the area of sensory processing disorders were evident from her solid and inspiring presentation.

Attendees offered these positive remarks:

“What a pleasure! Great presenter and excellent information.” – Beth B., Occupational Therapist

“So much information that I can really use in my classroom. Clarified a lot! Could have been 2-3 classes!” – R. B., Teacher

“All educators should be equipped with tools to help children with self-regulation.” – Anonymous, Teacher

“Very informative and relatable to all disciplines.” – Amanda S., Behavior Analyst (ABA)

“Great seminar – loved the specific examples, backed by evidence-based practice.” – Marianne T., Occupational Therapist

Thank you, Lise!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L
September 9, 2017