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I interviewed Allison Davies on the PakMag Parents Podcast to find out more about our brains and how they impact our behaviour. She is a highly qualified Sound Therapist who holds a Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of  Teaching and a Master of Music Therapy, and uses her training to support brain function and reduce anxiety. Her approach is unique in the sense that she promotes personal awareness so you can become aware of your behaviours and mould yourself through brain care.


Whilst we can sometimes only see the behaviour as being the problem, it is never the problem – can you explain why?

Any behaviour is always a byproduct of what is going on in our brain. So when our brain is regulated, when it feels in control, when we feel safe, the way we behave reflects that. We can do the things that people ask of us and we can do what’s expected of us because we’re cruising. When our brain is hyper or hypo stimulated, or when our brain is just like ‘what the hell does that mean?’ we feel unsafe. The brain’s only goal in life, its only job is to keep us alive. So whenever there is something new, the brain is like ‘Okay, I’ve got to work this out, I’m going to make sense of this so that I feel safe and in control’. When our brain is dysregulated, doesn’t not feel safe, is confused or overwhelmed, our behaviour reflects that.

What is brain care?

My definition for brain care is giving our brain more of what helps it run and less of what shuts it down. We know there are things that our brain loves that will help our brain feel safe. And then there are things that just lead our brain to feeling overwhelmed, out of control or confused. One of the big things that leads our brain to this state of overwhelm is sensory input. A lot of people, and especially children, have specific sensory needs. For example, let’s go with noise, a lot of  people experience overwhelm from too much noise. It’s not because we’re doing anything wrong, but because we live in a modern Western world that’s rushed, fast and loud. It’s not like it used to be, made up of natural sounds like trees and birds.

Think of the sensory system as an email inbox; receiving input from every single thing we hear, see, smell, etc. So with visual input for example, I don’t just mean ‘I see a computer, wall and couch’, I’m talking about
every single molecule of visual input. Every time you move your eyes even a tiny bit it all changes, the angle changes, the dimension changes, the colours change, every single piece of sensory information is coming to the brain.

Like an email, the brain has to open it and decide, ‘Is this safe? Do I need to action it? Or can I delete it?’ So our brain is mostly going to delete, delete, delete, because most of the sensory experiences we have are not important. But because the brain’s only job is to keep us alive, any sensory input it receives is questioned. If overwhelmed, it can’t be convinced that we are safe, and won’t get through the inbox fast enough. Once that happens, you’ll go into survival mode and into a state of fight, flight, freeze or fawn. You’ll be shutting down or running away, or people pleasing just to keep the peace.

So we’re doing certain behaviours because the sensory input in our world is causing our brain to shut down. I believe it is one of the biggest problems we face in terms of why so many of us are in survival mode and the reason our brains are struggling so much. We need to look at understanding how a child’s brain develops – what’s going on in there, and look at emotions, executive functions, hyperactivity, meltdowns and communication. Look at it from a point of supporting our child’s brain, rather than trying to focus on the behaviours that come from children struggling with those things.

How can we take better care of our brains?

I believe awareness is key. Our brains don’t come with chargers so the only way we can re-energise and revitalise our brain is to pull back from stuff that clogs it up and makes it tired. Most of us can regulate as adults, and that means when we sense that we’re getting overwhelmed or when we’re in survival mode, we can find ways to bring us back to our centre and let go of what overwhelms us. But as parents, probably one of the most important skills we can give our children is to allow them to bear witness to our self care and regulation so that they can learn to self regulate.

We can do this by singing to them, reading a story, hugging them etc. It’s the connection between us and the safety that it brings that allows the brain to feel safe. When our children see us doing what we think might help our brain function, when they see us have a lifestyle that reflects those kinds of things, we are showing them how to self regulate and apply those strategies themselves as they get older.

Go easy on yourself, because ultimately you can learn all the science, you can understand the brain, you can understand regulation and work out what your kids need… But in its most simple form it comes down to whether your brain feels safe or not. And if you’re giving yourself a hard time and trying to sort out everything, it can add to the overwhelm. So, be gentle on yourself, understand that it’s not going to happen perfectly, because that is how you get to experience a sense of safety, and that’s how your children will experience a sense of safety too.

Tips For Improving Brain Function

1. Check out The Brain Care Café with Allison Davies.
2. Brain Training, games, puzzles and riddles
3. Meditation and mindfulness
4. Use it or lose it
5. Rest!

Allison Davies creates online resources for parents, educators and support staff, and works with schools to deliver professional development around the topics of childhood brain development and the use of music as a  regulatory tool. Allison holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Teaching, a Master of Music Therapy, and Neurologic Music Therapy training. As an autistic person with attention, sensory processing and executive functioning difficulties, she works within a neurodiversity framework promoting acceptance and regulation over assimilation and intervention.

Learn more about parenting, music therapies and childhood brain development with Allison. Tune in to Episode 122 of the PakMag Parents Podcast with Allison Davies joining Bree.


  • Bree James

    Bree James, epitomises ‘entrepreneur’. From starting her first official business at the age of eighteen, to running one of Australia’s most successful regional publishing companies, Bree has entrepreneurial DNA in every fibre of her being. The eternal solution finder, Bree’s innate ability to seize opportunity and fill market gaps has attributed to her huge success in the business world. But she’s more than just the driving force behind her own enterprises. Working with organisations around the country, Bree is also an acclaimed presenter, author, podcaster, travel writer, YouTuber, performer, and an inspirational mentor to small business owners everywhere. Her philosophy in life is to be brave, be bold and be brilliant.