The Need To Move – The impact of sedentary technology use on toddlers
The Need To Move The impact of sedentary technology use on toddlers
The advent of technology has caused profound alterations in childrens development and their capacity to learn. Delays in printing, reading and a decrease in the capacity to pay attention are increasing at alarming rates. Attachment and developmental disorders seem to be todays norm. As toddlers spend more and more time connecting with technology, relationships are disconnecting, at a totally speedy pace. North American toddlers watch on average eight hours of TV and videogames per day, and parents spend on average 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their toddlers. By the time toddlers graduate from high school, they'll have spent more time in the front of a TV than in school. Is virtual reality now home and teacher to our toddlers? By allowing our toddlers to watch this much TV, are we literally draining the life force from of our toddlers?
Cris Rowan, a Paediatric Occupational Therapist who spent a decade working with toddlers in a faculty-based setting, observes that 30% of primary classroom toddlers have attention problems, with vitality levels ranging from sleepy and lethargic to charged and stressed out, while 20% have printing delays, primarily in the places of planning movement. Changes to home and school settings have contributed to these delays. Continued budget cutbacks have resulted in overcrowded classrooms with subsequent caged animal symptoms in toddlers (anger, anxiety, chewing, and depression). Sedentary home life, as well as decreased school gym, supervised recess and organized sports activities, have contributed to observed delays in sensory and motor development. Consequently, these delays have an impact not only on childrens capacity to print and skim, but also impact their vitality states, creating either hypo- or hyperactive toddlers with sizable attention difficulties.
So how do we learn, and how can we improve printing, reading and attention skills? We take documents in through our sensory channels, we make sense of that documents, and we produce an output which could be how we behave, feel, move, and learn. The principles of Sensory Integration Theory, and Cris Rowans Body Energy Model, posit that sensory input is vitality, and can either charge, expend or ground body vitality. Movement, in the form of heavy work, is an vitality outlet. In vitality terms, what goes in, must come out…because vitality is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred. When sensory input is balanced with movement output, the vitality body is at its optimal state for studying.
In order to assist our toddlers, we need to go back to the basics of our nature. For generations, human beings have engaged in heavy work, and sensory stimulation used to be nature-based and calming. We moved to continue to exist; chopping wood, hauling water, plowing fields…listening, looking and smelling nature. Advances in technology and transportation have resulted in a physically sedentary human body that is bombarded with chaotic and complicated sensory stimulation. While TV and computers may be compelling and nice looking, burying our heads in technology is causing sensory deprivation and a disconnect from our worlds. Dr. Gabor Mate, M.D. creator of Scattered Minds, A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, brings to gentle the importance of quality of attunement between parents and toddlers and states, The letters ADD may equally stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder. Dr. Mate features out that happy interactions between parent and infant generate motivation and arousal by activating cells in the midbrain that produce endorphins, and activating cells that trigger the release of dopamine. Dr. Mate goes on to say A relative scarcity of dopamine receptors is thought to be one of the important physiological dimensions of ADD. How well have we evolved to accommodate to these alterations? Human evolution takes time, many the assorted time. Have we adapted as a species to accommodate to this sedentary yet frenzied existence? Are we pushing evolution? What will be the consequences for our toddlers if we continue?
As a society of folks, teachers and mavens, we need to work together to deal with how we are able to assist toddlers to balance sensory stimulation with heavy work, to extend attention and minimize sensory overload (fright, flight, fight). For example, at home, a parent might enable one hour of box time (TV, video recreation, computer) for one hour of heavy work (bike up hill, haul wood, dig in garden). Schools could work toward increasing classroom-based resistive type movement through desk isometrics (hand push/pull), or through recess/gym hobbies (tug of war, climbing ropes). Schools could also minimize sensory stimulation by decreasing classroom visible and auditory clutter, creating sensory hideouts, as well as could improve childrens capacity to attend by using sensory tools and tips for optimizing vitality states.
Parenting and educating sorts of the beyond no longer seem to work for todays infant, causing frustration and apparent resignation of teachers and parents. While we know that observing TV results in obesity, aggression, addictions and detachment, little has been done at schools or in the house to deal with this turning out to be concern. Dr. Susan R. Johnson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of Southern California, describes how childrens developing nervous systems are adversely affected by observing TV and gambling videogames. Dr. Johnson in her article Strangers in Our Homes: TV and Our Childrens Minds states that Watching TV has been characterized as multi-level sensory deprivation which could be stunting the growth of our childrens brains. Brain size has been shown to diminish 20-30% if a infant is not touched, played with or talked to. Technology is now the teacher of our toddlers; virtual reality is now our childrens home. Dr. Johnson goes on to states that observing TV weakens the eye muscles essential for reading.
Teaching guides at universities no longer instruct teachers in printing acquisition skills. Dr. Marvin Simner, Psychologist and Professor at University of Western Ontario, and creator of Promoting Skilled Handwriting, states Handwriting is an essential skill, despite modern technology. People present themselves to the world through their handwriting, and are inevitably judged by it. Dr. Simner goes on to say that toddlers who experience difficulty printing, are most likely to be delayed in spelling and reading as well. While newer educating styles appear to have a greater emphasis on analytical thinking, creative writing, and communication skills, printing efficiently will always be essential to realize higher level thinking and studying. Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, PhD., Educational Consultant with Read Naturally, states I cannot imagine a global whereby printing wont join what we do. There is still a necessity for printing, so the logical conclusion is that we should TEACH it!
So while the pace of our society may not enable us to stop pushing evolution, we must start listening to our bodies, if we favor to successfully accommodate to recent advances in technology and transportation. We need to intersperse our day-by-day lives with increased heavy work and need to moderate day-by-day amounts of sensory stimulation to get back on the natural evolutionary observe. Increasing essential touch and movement sensation can be achieved by day-by-day hugs, playful wrestling, nature games and by truly simply reattaching to our toddlers! Now is the time to plant the seed for toddlers to learn in a new and conscious way. Teaching toddlers to be aware of their bodies, so they know who they are, creates a powerful and healthy foundation for studying. Using their vitality in positive and productive methods, toddlers learn to create balance and wholeness of body, mind and spirit.
Cris Rowan is an impassioned occupational therapist who has first-hand understanding and knowledge of how technology can cause profound alterations in a childs development, behavior and their capacity to learn.
Cris has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and is a SIPT certified sensory integration specialist. Cris is a member in good standing with the BC College of Occupational Therapists, and an authorized supplier with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and Autism Community Training. For the beyond fifteen years, Cris has specialized in pediatric rehabilitation, working for over a decade in the Sunshine Coast School District in British Columbia.
Cris is CEO of Zonein Programs Inc. offering products, workshops and training to enhance infant health and enhance academic performance. Cris designed Zonein, Movein, Unplugin and Livein instructional products for elementary toddlers to deal with the rise in developmental delays, behavior disorders, and technology overuse. Cris has performed over 200 Foundation Series Workshops on topics together with sensory integration and attention, motor development and literacy, attachment formation and addictions, early intervention, technology overuse, media literacy guides, and school environmental design for the 21st century for teachers, parents and health mavens all around North America. Cris has lately created Zonein Training Programs to train other pediatric occupational therapists to deliver these integral workshops in their own community. Cris is an expert reviewer for the Canadian Family Physician Journal, authors the monthly Zonein Development Series Newsletter and is creator of the following initiatives: Unplug Dont Drug, Creating Sustainable Futures Program, and Linking Corporations to Community. Cris is creator of a forthcoming book Disconnect to Reconnect How to manage balance between hobbies toddlers need to grow and prevail with technology use.