"I think for the first time in many years, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. MacKenize is still the same spunky, quirky kid; just happier, less moody, and it seems is blooming in front of my eyes." Jeanie Colp, Parent
HANDLE®, Development, Deafblindness, and Behavior
Simply referring to a combined vision and hearing loss, where vision cannot compensate for the hearing loss, and hearing cannot compensate for the vision loss, deafblindness is a disability of access to information. Many people with deafblindness also have additional sensory impairments, such as smell, touch, balance, movement, and body awareness.
As parents we know these sensory impairments interfere with our child's ability to connect, communicate, and learn. We're often told to provide sensory stimulation, and so we do, providing as much sensory information as possible, attempting to make up for the lack.
The trick is, sensory input is not enough. We must find a way for the brain to create meaning out of the information it receives. Without meaning, the input is often perceived by the brain as stress, and our sensory input risks becoming sensory bombardment. From a developmental perspective, we know that pairing touch and movement with what is being seen or heard, helps to support learning and memory. (Check out information from Mille Smith to learn more about this.)
HANDLE activities are based on developmental principles and help integrate touch, movement and other sensory input. Paying attention to the body's responses, the activities are stopped at the first indication of physiological stress. Thus, through repeated, organized, non-stressful movement patterns, HANDLE provides a way to introduce organized sensory input, often resulting in more organized output or function. And what is function? Function is what we do, how we walk, talk, sleep, behave etc...
Recognizing the synergistic impact of all types of sensory input, HANDLE provides a map for understanding how each of these sensory systems influence human behavior. Looking at behavior through a sensory lens, behavior that at first glance seems random, now appears logical, leading us to which sensory systems need gently enhanced and where stressors need minimized. HANDLE guides us to what we can do.