My clients and my blog readers know that I started using a therapeutic sound treatment called Quckshifts earlier this year Quickshifts: A Simple, Successful, and Easy to Use Treatment For Regulation, Attention, and Postural Activation. I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for this treatment. It has made easy sessions more effective, and difficult sessions workable. Kids that are struggling get a boost, and kids that needed a lot of preparatory sensory activity to regulate and engage rapidly find their footing.
Could this be useful for parents too?
There is no age limit on the use of Quickshifts, and the creators at Vital Links write and speak about treating adults using this program in their training materials. But thus far I haven’t heard them talk about the use of Quickshifts with the parents of their clients. I wonder why.
If you have a child with sensory issues, even one who attends mainstreamed programs and is doing fairly well in social activities, your days have a certain level of stress in them. Sensory diets work, but they also take work to use and monitor. Children aren’t crockpots, so you are actively administering or at least setting up the activities the comprise a sensory diet. Kids reach bumps in the road, and kids with sensory issues can have bigger meltdowns over smaller bumps. Parents have to help them manage things that other kids shrug off. And parents always are thinking ahead, wondering what effect a new summer camp or new school with have on their child. Even when things are going well, parents can feel some stress about all of these things.
It is well known that if you are a therapist treating children with sensory processing issues, at least one parent could say to you “Wow; I used to have the same problems, and everyone told me I was just being difficult/stubborn/picky, etc.” Treatment options picked up in the early 90s, so we do hear this less and less. But not in every community or school system. And if a parent’s parents refused to “believe” in sensory treatment, then these kids got nothing. Or perhaps they were sent to a psychologist. When I describe their child’s experiences using sensory processing terms, some parents recognize that their responses are very similar. They have been told, or they have assumed, that they are reacting psychologically to events or stimuli. They now are thinking differently about themselves as well as their children.
Finally, in this era of #MeToo, there is growing awareness that many of the parents of the children we work with bring their own trauma with them into parenting Are You a Trauma Survivor AND the Parent of a Special Needs Child?. I just did a presentation in FL (Feb2020) on using sensory processing treatment to help adults with traumatic dissociation. The dysregulation that accompanies trauma doesn’t disappear after delivering a child. At times, having a child can bring past traumas up to the surface and create problems that seems to have been handled or forgotten. These parents need our support and assistance.
Which brings us to the question: Should the parents of kids with sensory processing issues, especially the parents that have problems with self-regulation, use Quickshifts as well?
My strong opinion is that since there isn’t a downside, they should give the Regulation albums a try, and see how they navigate a typical day after listening. The changes in adults are more subtle because their lives are more complex. Parents need to know what changes to look for: usually the ability to remain calm with transitions, to focus on a task or to think a process through more easily.
Parents with more anxious tendencies might use Gentle Focus successfully, and parents that need to up-regulate would love Synching Up or Rockin’ Surf. The decision to use Quickshifts and how to select albums really is easier when you consult an OT. Wasting money and time buying and using the wrong album is unnecessary! I love working with adults that have regulation issues or sensory sensitivities. The relief in their faces tells me that they are getting the help they need to be their best.