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The Brain Awake Program is a set of practical activities used for adults and children to help the individual become as organized as they possibly can at any given time. This program uses a “Bottom Up” approach to increase alert organization to help the body work more effectively. It results in calm, focused, attention. This information may be presented as a workshop or customized for individuals in therapy to use at home, school, and work.
There are things you can do to help your body calm down, get focused, centered, and organized. We receive information from the world through our senses. Most sensory processes take place on such an unconscious level that we are not aware of them or their interplay with each other, much less the behavior choices we automatically make as a result.
These sensory systems dictate the functions of other systems like respiration, digestion, elimination, and circulation. It is the organization of these sensory systems that we call sensory integration or sensory processing. Sensory Processing Dysfunction is like having the underpinnings of a chair unsecured. All the pieces are there, but if they are not fastened together, the organizational structure falls apart. With sensory processing dysfunction, the anatomical pieces are there and are usually working independently, but the body is not communicating clearly between the systems in an organized, consistent way. Organized thinking and reasoning, communication skills, and social/ emotional behavior can become unraveled.
If you look at the body’s processing system from the analogy of a hill, the basic sensory systems lay the foundation of the function and regulation of other systems.
Perceptual Motor Development allows these systems to intertwine in a meaningful way to create purposeful movement and adjustments. Areas dependent on this level of development include:
Gaining precision in Perceptual Motor skills allows the emergence of:
The brain’s ability to ignore or screen input keeps me from being overwhelmed with too many signals at once. A problem occurs if the brain learns to screen out the wrong signals and doesn’t allow important information into my awareness so I can make a volitional decision. Then I have an Attention Deficit Disorder. The harder I try to make myself pay attention, the more difficult it becomes.
An opposite problem occurs if the brain does not screen input, allowing everything through. This creates another kind of attention challenge, because now I cannot make sense of any one signal with everything coming in at the same intensity. I can understand easily in a quiet environment, but I can’t make sense of the main message when there is background noise.
Some activities enable the person to become centered. Centering is the ability to cross the dividing line between emotional content and experience and abstract thought. Nothing can be truly learned without feeling safe and purposeful. The inability to stay centered results in irrational fear, fight or flight responses, or an inability to feel or express emotions. Activities which relax the system also prepare the student to learn and to deal with information without eliciting intense emotions. These will help me to get centered, grounded, and stay focused on the task at hand.
Most healthy individuals intuitively choose behaviors and activities that help them feel centered, focused, and organized. Some activities help calm down. Other activities help me feel more alert. Organizing activities include things I put in my mouth, movement, fiddling with things I touch and feel, looking, and listening. Energizing activities include things like neck rolls, belly breathing, stretching, humming, and tapping on specific acupressure points.
Energy exercises used in the Brain Awake Program come from Acupuncture theory which describes the electrical circuits of the body as currents of energy that flow throughout the body. In the same way that electrical circuits in a house can become overloaded, these currents can become blocked or switched off deterring the normal flow of brain/body communication. Energy activities assist the body in unblocking a neurological switch so that system is working more effectively.
Learning to regularly use these Brain Awake activities help the individual become calmer, focused, organized, and ready to learn and work more efficiently.