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Thursday, July 23, 2015

smart & savvy kids - book - Raising a Sensory Smart Child

As we continue with the "smart and savvy kids" series, learning more about sensory processing issues, I've read a few great books this summer that give awesome information. This one was a great read!

Book images from

Raising a Sensory Smart Child - The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues 
by Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske

This book has tons of information! What I liked most about this book was all of the real and descriptive stories about real children experiencing sensory issues. It's a very thorough book, too, it seems every single topic you'd want to learn about regarding sensory issues is included in this book. A great read!

  • "Sensory processing refers to how people use the information provided by all the sensations coming from within the body and from the external environment." (page 12) 
  • For most of us, sensory processes just happen, we don't think about the things we're seeing, hearing in the background, etc. We can stay focused. For those with sensory issues, this doesn't work so easily. "People with sensory issues have great difficulty figuring out what is going on inside and outside their bodies, and there's no guarantee that the sensory information they're working with is accurate. In response, a child may avoid confusing or distressing sensations - or seek out more of the sensation to find out more about it." (page 14) 
  • "For some children, sensory processing does not develop smoothly. Because they can't rely on their senses to give them an accrete picture of the world, they don't know how to behave in response, and they may have trouble learning and behaving appropriately." (page 15)
"The essential first step toward helping your child with sensory issues is to develop empathy for how he experiences his world." (page 15) 

  • For kids with sensory issues, "The world seems like an unpredictable, frustrating, even dangerous place, and yet people expect her to happily go about the business of learning and focusing, and doing what Mom asks the first time she asks. No wonder kids with sensory problems are often highly distractible, anxious or irritable." (page 16) 
  • Kids may become controlling or demanding. They like to be in charge, have it their way because that feels better to them. They don't like changes in routine. 
  • Some concerns for kids with sensory issues include: (page 17)
    • sensitive to touch, sight, sound, taste, smell, etc.
    • high distractibility
    • unusually high or low activity level
    • frequent tuning out or withdrawing
    • impulsivity with little or no self-control
    • difficulty transitioning from one activity to another
    • rigid, inflexible at times
    • clumsy, careless
    • discomfort in group situations
    • social or emotional difficulties
    • developmental and learning delays
    • insecure, feeling stupid or weird
    • trouble handling frustration
"The child who is always on the move is telling you something about how his body processes sensory information. He may be constantly on the run because his body just loves moving, or because his nervous system is so sluggish that he is forced to bounce around like Tigger simply to feel normal." (page 51) 

  • Swinging is a good activity to help provide positive sensory input to children. Similar to jumping on trampolines, hopping, skipping, etc. Pushing heavy objects is also a good way to get positive input. Cleaning the house is a good way to get input and help out, too! 
  • A child with sensory issues needs a "sensory diet," which is described as a "personalized schedule of sensory activities that give your child the sensory fuel his body needs to get into this organized state and stay there." (page 103) 
  • Just like adults feel focused, centered and energized after a workout and shower, so, too, do kids with sensory issues feel after getting sensory input (page 103). 
In chapter 7, the author provides "practical solutions for everyday sensory problems." These are great ideas for any child, but particularly those having a concern with sensory issues. For example, for car rides, offering hand fidgets or juice boxes where the straw is good input into the mouth area. Also, crunchy snacks like pretzels are good for oral sensory feedback. 

I like in chapter 14 where the author acknowledges how difficult it can be to be the parent of a child with sensory issues, where parents need more "patience, organization, etc." She suggested it's important to focus on what matters and what's great about your child, and to realize you're human if you make mistakes along the way. 

"Open your mind to your child's possibilities and her challenges will feel less overwhelming." (page 314) 

In the end of the book there are tons of resources listed - toys that are great for kids, Web sites and organizations that are supportive resources for parents of children with sensory issues, stores to purchase sensory-supportive items, etc. 

I found this book very helpful in learning more about sensory processing issues. It's hands-on, very easy to follow and includes worthwhile to read stories about real children and families going through difficulties with sensory concerns. A great resource! 

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