Episode 16

The Chaos of Sensory Input

Published on: 29th March, 2024

Sensory Input and Chaos - Interview with Dr. Rebecca Jackson

Today, our guest is Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist and Author of the book “Back on Track,” which is a practical guide to help people of all ages thrive in this age of sensory overload. Dr. Jackson will give us examples of sensory input, help us understand sensory overload, and suggest some ways we can calm the chaos of sensory overload.

Key points and Timestamps:

What are the things we DO have an influence on in this chaotic world, and be the best version of ourselves?

2:48 Tracy displays Rebecca’s book “Back on Track”

3:16: “The more I learn, the more I feel like I know nothing” ~ Rebecca

4:16: Rebecca’s description of herself, who she is and what she is doing in neuropsychology. “I want to understand why things are here in the first place.”

Rebecca started out as a chiropractor. As a young mom, she was interested in human development. She also has a passion for learning.

As Rebecca learned more, parents would ask Rebecca, “Is this on track for my child?”

Rebecca asked the question, “What can we do today so that we don’t have to worry about whether our children are on track?”

7:40: “We’re sensing things all the time”

7:55: What Rebecca does at BrainBalance - Chief Programs Officer (Builds and Develops new Programs for creating change in kids)

10:10 Rebecca’s Book: Back on Track. “It’s all about hope and action plan.” Rebecca helps determine why things are the way they are, and what people can do to change it.

“I feel like the pandemic took fire and poured fuel upon it.”

“What are we prepared to do about the problems?”

13:00 – The research about the infants born during the pandemic – different brains??! “Structural changes in the brain.” Tracy wonders about the children, pre-teens and teens during the pandemic and the changes in brain structure…even in adults!

Could ALL of our brains have changed during the pandemic?

What happened? “A change in our sensory experiences” happened during the pandemic

We all experienced a limited sensory experience during the pandemic – “It’s the same, every day.”

We cut off our rich and varied sensory experiences every day.

It can disrupt attention, increase anxiety, disrupt our ability to regulate our moods

17:36: “When we’re tired and hungry, our brain is more negative and has a harder time processing information.” We become vulnerable to emotion.

20:20 Rebecca differentiates between

• A sensory Overload

• A Sensory Disregulation / Processing Disorder

“We rely on our senses to give us accurate information”


ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Feeding Disorder)

The lights in Target

Am I overly sensitive

“My sensory experience is not your sensory experience”

26:33: “When there is a trauma experience, it puts the brain into a higher sense of sensory alert.”

27:00 (Tracy) “The Bulls and the Butterflies” spectrum

Sensory-Seekers and Sensory-Avoiders – Both a sign of maturity

29:11: Should we use Tik-Tok to self-diagnose as neuro-divergent?

DON’T go to Tik-Tok for Diagnostics

DO Talk about Mental Health Concerns

Sensory overload threshold doesn’t equal a Sensory Processing Disorder

If you are wondering if you struggle with a Sensory Processing Disorder, go to the specialists for a Diagnosis

31:45: Major Life Domains Palm Tree – if your condition is affecting your Life Domains, you might

32:24: The Domains of Brain Health are Sensory, Motor, Cognitive, Social/Emotional and Behavioral

Everything in the brain is so interconnected, so if something affects one area, it affects all of them

34:20: How to approach being overly tired or sluggish: The Reticular Activating System has a direct impact on how we take in sensory information opens when we are standing, and closes when we lay down / sleep. Stretching “opens the gate” to core postural muscles and increases alertness. So if you want to be alert, move your body and engage your muscles.

37:00: If we are overloaded, overtired and in chaos, what can we do?

A variety of sensory experiences, and repeating them over and over during each day. “Enrich your taste in sensory experiences by being intentional about varying your sensory experiences.”

39:07: What about Tracy’s infatuation with true crime? Is she breaking her brain if you listen to court cases? Is there a healthy limit?

Not all screen time is created equal – look at the levels of engagement you have when you listen or watch

Moderation is the key to everything – Every moment you scroll is a minute that you are not varying your sensory experience. Finding balance is the way to get brain health and wellness.


Rebecca’s Website: www.drrebeccajackson.com

Brain Balance Website: www.brainbalance.com

Instagram: @drrebeccajackson

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-jackson-148461b/

Melinda Moyer is interviewed on this podcast. She is the one who researched how the pandemic affected kids’ brain development during COVID-19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcQMK99i5CQ

#Neurodivergence #Sensoryinput #mentalhealth #sensoryoverload

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About the Podcast

Calming the Chaos
Helping You Find Peace in a Chaotic World!
Calming the Chaos is a podcast by Licensed Mental Health Counselor Tracy Kenela, who interviews a variety of professionals around the world in an effort to find different ways to help people (and herself!) find peace in a chaotic world. Each episode contains Information, tips, tools, and resources that come from different schools of thought, and are presented as a fun and entertaining way to help you move toward a more peaceful and enjoyable life.

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Tracy Kenela

Tracy Kenela is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist in Olympia, Washington. As the Host of "Calming the Chaos" Podcast, Tracy has made it her mission to help people (and herself!) find peace in a Chaotic world! Her podcast interviews, YouTube Channel and short videos are an entertaining way to find self help for all things that cause you chaos!