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Gloria: Jan van Dijk and Tapping into the Emotional Brain
The second day of Jan van Dijk's presentation was about the critical role the emotional brain ought to have in our assessments and interventions. He discussed how our senses not only make us think about information (the cognitive element about perception processed mainly in the cortex) but also that the perceptions elicit emotions (the emotional element about perception processed mainly in the limbic system). So, perception from our senses can trigger feelings. He also talked about how just by watching another person's emotions, your own emotional system is triggered, made possible by our mirror neuron system.
van Dijk encouraged us to connect with a child’s emotional brain in our assessments, and later in our interventions, because by doing so the child would be more available and receptive. Some of the strategies he follows to connect with the emotional brain are to:
1. Mirror the emotions of the child.
2. Sing rhythmically to the child to reduce anxiety.
3. Make sure the child feels safe and good about him/herself
4. Smile, talk with friendly intonation, manifest a happy and friendly expression.
5. Closely observe the child's responses and respond accordingly.
6. Depending on the situation, introduce rhythmic movement to the child.
7. Be aware of the importance of the sense of smell and touch for children who are deaf-blind.
He discussed several other ideas as well, so please feel free to share with us what resonated with you.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, please have a look at this webcast: