April 12, 2016

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are you a Loud or a Pitterpat?

Ida Zelaya, happy Poetry Friday and welcome to Author Amok!

We’re talking about Carolyn Crimi’s picture book, The Louds Move In!

If you’d like a mini-lesson on using the book to teach onomatopoeia, check out the previous post. You’ll also find an overview of the story there.

Ida and I spoke about Sensory Processing Disorder, and how The Louds might help younger kids understand SPD.

For a brief explanation of SPD, check out this piece from CBS News:

Ida, as an advocate who helps parents understand SPD, what was your reaction to The Louds Move In?

I loved how real the Louds were. They were open. They were out there. They didn’t notice that the rest of the neighborhood was quiet. Maybe they didn’t see beyond their own loudness.

They liked who they were, and that sort of spilled out to the rest of the neighborhood. The Louds brought these quiet folks out of their comfort zone.

Very sensitive kids can become rigid in their rules and routines in order to maintain control. The Louds helped whittle away some of that fear of the unexpected and showed that it’s okay to give up a little control.

What was interesting was that the community was so quiet. Any unexpected noise startled them and really sort of rocked their world

We’ve talked about how my kid used to be very sensitive to loud noises. An unannounced fire drill at school would send him into fight or flight mode.

They [the Earmuffle Ave residents] were afraid, bothered and annoyed by these changes that were going on in their neighborhood. This equates to kids with sensory challenges who need to control their environment to feel safe. They don’t like unexpected noise. It’s an intrusion.

I also saw the sensory seeking person in the Louds themselves – stomping, chewing.

That’s who they are. They are seeking. They are under-responsive [to stimuli].

And over-responsive, sensory-avoiding kids are like the neighbors.

When the children’s nervous systems are exposed to more sensory stimulation, their nervous systems are rewired to learn to accept that stimulation. So if a child has trouble with sound, noise . . . a therapist would start a program to help their nervous system desensitize or get used to certain frequencies. It’s highly successful.

And that could be what happened to the neighbors. After a while, they got used to those crashes, bangs, unexpected noises. It almost becomes part of the background instead of something loud and annoying.

What message do you think The Louds has for kids?

It could help kids see themselves as one of the characters, from the Louds to Miss Shushermush. Maybe with a little guidance from parents, they could start talking about how the qualities match between the child [and one of the characters]. And they can open up a really nice dialogue about how the children are feeling.

It’s hard for the lower school children to relate [what they’re feeling], but with these fun names that are fun to say, and with the pictures of the different people, they could probably all understand how they fit into this book.

It would also give the parents an understanding of how the kids are thinking.

What about the use of onomatopoeia in the characters’ names?

When we’re introduced to the characters we get an understanding of who they are just by their names. I know what a Shushermush is. Just by hearing the shhh, I know the person probably likes it quiet. These are people that don’t like to speak up normally. They like their own places, because if anything out of the ordinary happens, Kaboom!

When SPD kids get overloaded, they can have a tantrum or feel anxious. How might it help to have a name for how they're feeling?

For instance, “I like to be a Shushermush when I’m reading.” It’s kind of a fun way to describe themselves without negative connotations. Pitterpatter – “I like to have a very quiet, gentle day. I don’t want to rock the boat. I’d better step lightly.” Instead of a label like sensory-seeking, [kids could say] “Oh, I’m like the Louds.”

These characters are qualities that people develop to cope with their sensory issues. It’s how they’re reacting to the world because they are quiet like Mr. Meekerton. [Whether they are Louds or Pitterpatters] they’ve developed these qualities as a result of how they need to interact with their environment.

Thanks, Ida.

If you’d like more information on SPD, Ida’s website is

For recommended reading, pick up Carol Kranowitz’ The Out of Sync Child. Have a sensational Poetry Friday.

1 comment:

Edie Hemingway said...

Thanks for this very interesting post! THE LOUDS MOVE IN was always one of my favorites of Carolyn Crimi's books, but I had not thought of using it in this way.