“Situational Awareness”

If anyone remembers the movie “The Bourne Identity” that came out in the early 2000s, there was a scene where Jason Bourne (a spy) rattles off a list of things he has unconsciously picked up since entering the restaurant where he and the woman were in at the time.. 

“I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you there are waitresses left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside. And at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half-mile before my hands start shaking….” 

What Jason did in that scene was to demonstrate his fantastic aptitude for “situational awareness.” Situational Awareness is our ability to determine where we are so we can adapt our behavior to match the situation at hand. 

This seems simple enough, but why do so many kiddos struggle to “read a room” or match their behavioral or energy output to their environment. Why are they loud when they should be quiet, or withdrawn when they should be engaged? Why do they hop from thing to thing, never finishing the thing they are working on? 

The ability to match behavior to our environment is completely under the control of our brain and nervous system. The brain and nervous system are constantly scanning and taking in sensory input to help us form a coherent picture of where we are and how we should be behaving. Kiddos who are struggling to self-regulate and match their behavior to their surroundings have a nervous system that is stressed out and no longer able to appropriately control their actions. In other words, their brain is “noisy” and they can’t make sense of things. 

Gentle and specific chiropractic adjustments to remove subluxations in the spine have been shown to impact the brain and nervous system, calming the “noise” and allowing for better regulation. Parents commonly report better emotional stability, better eye contact, less impulsivity, and better ability to “read the room!” 

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