Jessie Ginsburg: The Sensory Communication Connection

· ·
young boy playing with blocks and animals in the sand table

I had the honor of talking to Jessie Ginsburg, the Sensory SLP and I’m so happy to bring the conversation to you! We discussed the connection between sensory and communication and how the two can increase engagement and progress for autistic children. We also chatted about Jessie’s brand new book, “Ready, Set, Connect.” Run to get your copy today! Read part of our conversation below or listen to the podcast here.

Introducing Jessie Ginsburg: Sensory SLP

Tara: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into sensory-trained speech language pathology?

Jessie: Absolutely! My journey into sensory-trained speech language pathology began over a decade ago when I started my career as an SLP assistant. Through hands-on experience, I discovered the profound impact sensory strategies could have on communication. This realization led me to pursue further training and eventually establish my clinic in LA. Today, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with fellow SLPs and parents to empower them in supporting individuals with sensory needs.

Building Bridges Between Sensory Input and Communication

Tara: How did you come to realize the importance of connecting sensory input with communication?

Jessie: My understanding of the connection between sensory input and communication developed early in my career as an SLP assistant. Working closely with children, I witnessed firsthand how sensory strategies could enhance engagement and language development. This insight stayed with me throughout my journey, guiding me to prioritize sensory integration in my practice.

Tara: Can you share a memorable experience that illustrates the impact of sensory strategies on communication?

Jessie: One unforgettable moment occurred during a session with a child who struggled with engagement. I had a little boy who had so much energy and I didn’t know what to do with him. I didn’t know how to engage with him. The only thing I knew was that he loved cars. One day I let him get up on the table and dance with me. I looked at him and said, “Ready, Set…” and then he said, “go!” It was one of the first words I heard from him after months of working with him. By incorporating sensory activities like dancing and movement, I witnessed a breakthrough! This highlighted the transformative power of sensory-based approaches in fostering communication and connection.

Tara: Yes, you’re taking that sensory piece and movement and combining it with communication. You building that connection is such a positive relationship builder.

Jessie: It all starts with regulation. A huge benefit to using sensory strategies is that it helps our kids to get regulated. Another huge benefit is it’s fun. It’s fun for kids, it’s fun for therapists. Your goal could be to go into a session and ask “How can I have fun in this session?” Once you turn it into that you’ll realize that the child’s having a lot of fun if you’re having fun.

Tara: Kids pick up on our vibes, especially autistic kids, they know who’s the fun one, who’s going to come and meet them where they’re at. They’re going to back away from somebody who is more compliance-based without that relationship building piece in there.

Understanding Sensory Strategies

Tara: What are sensory avoiders and sensory seekers, and how do they impact therapy and learning environments?

Jessie: So sensory avoiders and sensory seekers are two of the four sensation patterns that were researched by Dr. Winnie Dunn who is an OT and author of The Sensory Profile. Kids who are avoiders have a small sensory cup. They tend to be overwhelmed quickly. They are more sensitive to the world around them. Kids who are seekers have a big cup. They desire adventurous, intense fun and have a lot of energy. With avoiders, if we fill their cup to capacity and keep adding more sensory input it will cause them to become dysregulated. With sensory seekers they may not be regulated until their cup is full. So they might need a lot of those big experiences. Understanding these patterns is crucial for tailoring interventions and creating supportive learning environments, whether in therapy sessions or classrooms.

Tara: You mentioned the sensory seesaw analogy and the optimal learning zone. Could you elaborate on how this concept applies in practice?

Jessie: Visualizing a child’s regulation as a seesaw helps us understand the importance of maintaining balance for optimal learning. When a child’s seesaw tips towards dysregulation, it hinders their ability to engage and learn effectively. By proactively addressing triggers and incorporating sensory breaks, we can help keep the seesaw balanced, creating an ideal environment for learning and growth. So in those moments, we need to think about how can I get the seesaw back to center? How can we bring our kids back to this optimal learning zone because otherwise we’re not getting as much out of them and they’re not getting as much out of what we’re doing.

Tara: What type of sensory activities do you recommend for special education teachers or SLPs in a school setting?

Jessie: In my book, I talk about three different ways we can help kids using a sensory-based approach. Activities that children can actively engage in (jumping on a trampoline or an obstacle course), modifying the environment, and adjusting the child’s routines.

The Journey to Neurodiversity Affirming Practices

Tara: How do neurodiversity-affirming practices shape your approach to therapy?

Jessie: Neurodiversity-affirming practices emphasize embracing autism as a unique neurotype rather than a deficit to be fixed. This lens guides my approach, focusing on supporting individuals based on their strengths and preferences. By prioritizing respect, understanding, and accommodation, we can create inclusive environments where individuals with autism can thrive.

Creating Regulation Plans For Young Autistic Children

Tara: What tips do you have for creating a regulation plan for young autistic children?

Jessie: Start by identifying the child’s triggers and daily routines, then develop a personalized regulation plan. Write down their daily routine and take note of how regulated they are, how much energy they have at different points in the day. This might involve incorporating sensory breaks, modifying environments, and establishing calming routines. By proactively addressing sensory needs, we can support the child’s regulation and overall well-being.

Jessie Ginsburg’s Sensory Trained SLP Course

Tara: Can you tell us about your course for sensory-trained SLPs and your upcoming book?

Jessie: My course equips SLPs with the knowledge and skills to assess sensory needs and integrate sensory strategies into therapy. Additionally, my book, “Ready Set Connect,” shares stories and practical tips based on my experiences working with children. It’s a resource for professionals and parents seeking to enhance communication through sensory-based approaches.

Tara: How do you personally regulate your sensory system, and what advice do you have for others?

Jessie: I prioritize self-awareness and proactive self-care to regulate my sensory system. When I feel my seesaw tipping, I take movement breaks or connect with nature to reset. My advice to others is to listen to your body and recognize early signs of dysregulation, then implement strategies that help you find balance and rejuvenation.

We extend our gratitude to Jesse Ginsburg for sharing her expertise and insights on sensory processing and neurodiversity. Her dedication to empowering individuals with sensory needs is truly inspiring, and we look forward to learning more from her in the future. You can find her at www.sensoryslp.com and Sensory SLP on Facebook and Instagram.

Watch the interview here:

Related Topics:

Self-Regulation

Strength-Based Learning

If you use visual supports in your classroom or home, you are going to want to sign up for this free Visual Supports Starter Set ASAP! Click here to have one sent to your inbox. Also, be sure to read more about visual supports and how they can help autistic children here.

Visual supports starter set

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *