Episode 26: Let’s Talk All Things Sensory – An Interview with Wendy Bertagnole

by | September 6, 2019

Episode 26: Let’s Talk All Things Sensory – An Interview with Wendy Bertagnole

by | September 6, 2019

The Fresh Start Family Show
The Fresh Start Family Show
Episode 26: Let's Talk All Things Sensory - An Interview with Wendy Bertagnole


In today’s episode Wendy & Terry interview Wendy Bertagnole, who is a mom and former special education teacher, turned parent mentor. Inspired by her own parenting challenges with three very different children, Wendy spent years researching and found a way to parent each of her kids in their own unique ways that suited them best. Now she helps other parents understand and address really challenging behavior in their homes as well!

Today’s episode takes a deep dive into all things sensory processing related:

  1. What it really means to need help regulating your sensory system & how to know if your child might be struggling in this area
    • One of the main four functions of behavior is the sensory system
    • Everyone has the ability to “tolerate” the 7 senses differently:
      1. Vision (processing what you see – clutter, bright lights/sun, bright colors, etc.)
      2. Hearing (processing what you hear – loud music, squealing children, etc.)
      3. Taste (processing what you taste – desire different/strong flavors vs. only eating bland food)
      4. Tactile/Touch (processing how things feel on your body – pain, textures, etc.)
      5. Smell (processing scents within your environment – food, other people, etc.)
      6. Proprioception (processing how things feel in your joints – hard touch vs. soft touch, pressure, etc.)
      7. Vestibular (processing the body being in motion – spinning, running, swinging, jumping, etc.)
    • Your body goes into “fight, flight, or freeze” when a sense gets overloaded and this can lead to misbehavior
    • When our senses are balanced it feels very calming, which leads to improved behavior
  2. Mindset shifting away from “something is wrong with my child” towards “my child needs more support in this area”
    • It’s vital to seek to understand & empathize with our child’s sensory needs (because everyone has sensory preferences)
    • Strike a balance between “blowing off” vs. “catering to” how each person’s sensory system in the family is wired
  3. Steps to make your days more peaceful with your children, especially if your child struggles to regulate his sensory system
    • Create opportunities on a regular basis to meet your child’s sensory needs or escape their sensory aversions (bringing earplugs & headphones to a loud concert and being prepared to leave if it gets overwhelming)
    • Create an environment that meets their natural sensory needs rather than trying to fight against them (allowing the couches to be jumped on to fulfill a proprioception need)
  4. The difference between melt-downs vs. tantrums
    • Allow your child to speak to her own sensory preferences in a way that empowers her & helps her feel safe
    • Honor your child’s body and physical & emotional needs, especially during times of extreme overwhelm

Mentioned in this Episode:


5 Positive Parenting Tips to Help Gain Cooperation & Dissolve Power Struggles with Integrity

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Topics covered will include:  

  • How to gently guide your kids towards action, even when they don’t want to move or do what’s asked of them
  • Ways to see kids who push back a lot as incredible blessings & future leaders 
  • The importance of paradigm shifting with thoughts & beliefs about power seeking misbehavior 
  • How to implement a Pause Button or Heart Connector to ignite creativity & model self-control 

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If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at [email protected] or connect with me over on Facebook @freshstartfamily & Instagram @freshstartwendy.


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