Posts Tagged ‘sensory processing disorder’

Is Your Child Ready to Read? A Checklist

ToddlerReadingWe live in a culture deeply devoted to getting its citizens to read at the earliest possible ages. Whether it’s flashcards, alphabet-focused toys, or “teachable moments about letters” sprinkled throughout daily life with toddlers and preschoolers, we seem hellbent on early reading.

And parents feel little choice in the matter: sadly, a 5- or 6-year-old kindergarden student in public or conventional private school who isn’t quite fluent with letters is already behind the 8-ball.

Child psychologist David Elkind has devoted his professional life at Tufts University to studying the costs of “hurrying” children. He points out that true reading readiness only emerges once a child has attained the neuro-cognitive milestone of syllogistic reasoning (“All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; thus Socrates is mortal”), which dawns during the concrete operational stage of cognitive development.

This “con-op leap” happens around age seven, and is a biologically based milestone, just like the shedding of baby teeth or the onset of puberty. How many parents fret if their son hasn’t managed to lose his first tooth as soon as his friend did… or if their daughter at thirteen “still just has not been able to get her period”? {Read more at}

Image by tornatore through a Creative Commons license

Five Facts About the Body That Can Make You (& Your Kids) Happier

A paradox: our culture is rabidly preoccupied with physical form, and we bully our forms mercilessly so they’ll conform to truly weird standards…and yet we don’t respect or even have much understanding of the central role our bodies play in shaping our basic experience of life. Here are five empowering insights into how our bodies fundamentally shape our lives; use them to literally be happier, and to help your children thrive in an era in which our disrespect for the life of the body may be putting them at great risk.

1. The body is the first to know — The first three facts here were inspired by a fascinating RadioLab episode entitled “Where Am I?” featuring famed neurologists Robert Sapolsky and Antonio Damasio. For sake of dramatic illustration they use the example of walking into a friend’s house and finding him…dead. Many nanoseconds before your brain registers what’s happening and you experience feelings (terror, disbelief, sadness, etc.), your body (with the help of your most primitive, reptilian brain structures) reads the situation and undergoes instantaneous physiological changes: heartbeat and respiration quicken, pupils and capillaries dilate, blood pressure goes up. This produces instant sensations. The brain responds to those sensations with corresponding feelings. {Read more at}