This picture was sent to me by a parent, after a treatment session this past summer. You can see my car driving away, far off in the distance. I wasn’t sure how to feel about this picture when I received it. Aside from his cuteness, I was left wondering.
Looking at this picture, he seems content enough because he’s waving but I have no idea. He is standing, vs. running and he’s not flailing on the ground crying, but how he feels? I have no idea. He’s watching me go, so perhaps he’s also wondering…when I’ll be back, where I’m going, why I left…but what he’s really thinking? I have no idea. He seems like he wants to wait and watch but is he looking forward to what happens after my car disappears, or is he glad the session is over, or is he sad it ended? I have no idea.
What also strikes me now, as I try to remember driving away, is that I had NO IDEA he was back there, waving after me. I was likely processing what went on in the session or moving on mentally to where I was headed next. Was I looking forward to what happened after I drove away or was I glad the session had ended? I have no idea.
This picture reminded me that during transitions, there are a LOT of unknown’s. Everyone has their own ideas, thoughts, feelings and expectations. Thus, everyone has their own experience of an unknown time. We will often never know what’s truly going on inside for another person, BUT…we can make transitions easier by:
- making them more predictable
- managing expectations of all involved
- establishing a plan
- communicating before, during and after
- and slowing down the process
These strategies are helpful because they make transitions less threatening for a child. They are also strategies that can be refined in the context of polyvagal theory…the science of safety (Porges, 1994). In my upcoming webinar (Jan 27, 2021), “Supporting Transitions for Children with Sensory Challenges” I’ll be sharing more specifics about how to implement these and other strategies, how polyvagal theory informs our use of such strategies, how to collaborate with parents to make transitions easier (for them and their sensory child), and we’ll discuss types of transitions children (and therapists and parents) encounter. Knowing why transitions are challenging is only the first step to managing them. Identifying the type of transition can lead to more effective solutions and it’s easier than you may think.
During the webinar I will also be sharing information about “The Sensory Collective” membership and group coaching program. My goal with ALL my webinars and with the sensory membership, is to help OTs translate sensory knowledge into practice. It’s an affordable, enjoyable, and practical way for OTs to become more confident and competent in their practice of sensory processing, right away! We have WAAAY too much self-doubt and practicing alone let’s that fester.