Please note: BrainWorks is most effectively used under the guidance of an Occupational Therapist or another professional who has been trained in assessing and treating sensory processing disorders.
The BrainWorks Tachometer
The colors on the tachometer correlate with the colors on a stop light. Keep the tachometer nearby and refer to it frequently during the learning phase. Point out the child’s behavior and what color on the tachometer is represented by those behaviors
RED ZONE: Red means Stop. When our brains and bodies are on stop we may be feeling sluggish, sleepy, unmotivated, or sedentary. Use terms appropriate for the child’s age and developmental level. If you are familiar with the Alert Program for Self-Regulation, you may want to use the engine analogy. For younger kids, you can use Pooh characters as an analogy, with Eeyore being the character on red. This is when green activities are needed to rev up the engine.
YELLOW ZONE: Yellow means Just Right. When our brains and bodies are on yellow, we are alert and able to focus, not going too fast nor too slow. For younger kids, Winnie the Pooh is usually Just Right. Typically, no extra sensory activities are needed when a child is operating in this zone but yellow arrow activities could help to maintain this level of alertness.
GREEN ZONE: Green means Go! When our brains and bodies are on Go! we are moving quickly, our engines are going fast, and we are much more like Tigger than anyone else in Pooh-land. Green isn’t always happy and fun though. If we are going too fast, we can lose control. At this speed, a child might be agitated, irritable, hyper, unfocused, or fidgety. The child may find it hard to think clearly or focus appropriately.
Over-responders are functioning in the green zone when the sensory environment is too over-stimulating for them. The lights may be too bright, the noise level might be too high, or the visual stimuli might be too much for them to process effectively. Over-responders need red arrow activities to slow down their sensory engines during these times.
Sensory seekers are functioning in the green zone when they are trying to get the extremely high level of sensory input they need for their brains to be satisfied. Although our instincts tell us we need to help the child calm down, the best way to achieve the calm is by providing the high-intensity green arrow activities. Once that level of intensity is reached, the result will be a calmer state (yellow zone). So even though their sensory engine is already on green, they should still be encouraged to choose green arrow activities.
If you are a parent and are uncertain whether your child’s behaviors are due to over- or under-responsivity, consult with an occupational therapist or fill out the Sensory Symptoms Checklist for insight.
The BrainWorks Arrow System
Green arrow activities are best for under-responders and sensory seekers. These will be alerting for most kids and will help them reach the necessary threshold level for input to be meaningful for their brains.
Yellow arrow activities encourage focus and attention. These are “just right” activities and tend to bring both over- and under-responders to the appropriate level of arousal for learning and productivity.
Red arrow activities help a person slow down or calm down. For over-responders, these activities help the person modulate the sensory input more effectively and feel less overwhelmed.
After joining BrainWorks Online, you will have access to an extensive User’s Guide and step-by-step instructions for creating effective sensory diet tools.