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Thursday, July 23, 2015

smart & savvy kids - book - Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book

This was an awesome resource about sensory concerns. It's literally a book of questions and answers! It answered tons of questions about every topic imaginable, as well as offered great tips for parents of kids with sensory concerns. A great resource for parents!

Book image from 

Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book
by Tara Delaney, MS, OTR/L

  • Sensory processing = "the nervous system's job of taking in all the information around us through our senses (movement, touch, smell, taste, visual, and hearing) and organizing that information so that we can attach meaning to it and act on it accordingly. Sensory integration is the basis for learning." (page 2) 
  • Sensory-seeking/craving "is when a person's nervous system requires unusual or intense amounts of stimulation. This is the kind of kid who crashes into things or takes a lemon and sucks on it, or who may even bite himself, or is constantly touching things to get more input. The child 'just can't get enough' sensory information." (page 6) 
  • Some infant-related sensory issues could include: (page 13)
    • unable to be consoled by others
    • arches away
    • screams when rocked
    • prefers to be laid in bed or calm himself to sleep instead of rocked
    • has difficulties with sucking or breastfeeding
    • aversion to textures and foods 
"Social interactions are just about the most complicated sensory activity for humans. True social effectiveness relies on the ability of the nervous system to process all the said and unsaid information, interpret it, and then - in seconds - act on it... If your child is having sensory processing issues, she is probably overwhelmed by all the sensory stimuli and as a result, she may be shut down or appear inappropriate in social situations." (page 40)

  • Some kids who are sensory seeking may run into other kids on purpose or constantly be touching them, not realizing the other child doesn't want that type of input. One way to handle this could be to incorporate rougher play at home "so your child will be less aggressive in social situations." (page 41) 
  • "A healthy sensory system is the foundation for productive behavior." (page 43) 
  • Many times kids with sensory issues are described as "disruptive, non-cooperative, impulsive, unwilling to listen, unable to sit still, or unwilling to work." (page 43)
  • Bilateral coordination and crossing the midline are things that OTs oftentimes talk about with kids with sensory issues. These are very important things for gross and fine motor skills. It is basically using both sides of the body to do a task and crossing over the body to the other side, such as with catching and hitting a ball. 
  • Fine motor skills are "everything you do with your hands," such as zipping and buttoning clothes, writing, cutting, etc.
  • For kids with oral concerns, they can use a battery-operated toothbrush, suck on straws, blow bubbles, eat textured snacks like popcorn, apples, etc. 
My favorite answer in the book was on page 48 for a question about why the child with sensory issues gets so angry or upset at a change in routine. The author explained as an adult if we were driving our car in the dark and the lights went out, but you know the road and how to get there no problem. But then someone changed the road so you no longer could do it. For kids with sensory issues, the author wrote that they "rely on outside structure" to get through their day (set schedule, cues, etc.). 

"When the set schedule changes, he may not be able to see himself doing whatever the new thing is, because he ad prepared his body and brain to do what was originally planned. To one child, it may be seen as an exciting new activity, but to a child with SPD, it is like being pushed out on stage in front of a live audience without a script." 
  • On page 68, the author explains the key differences between Sensory Processing Disorder and those with ADHD. "For instance, children with SPD seek activity that is directly related to the sensation they crave, and when they get the sensation they need, there are changes in attention, restlessness, activity levels, and self-control." Kids with ADHD will not have a pattern of input. 

The author ends with some great resources at the back of the book, including Web sites to purchase sensory supportive tools:

Overall, this was a fantastic resource. I highly recommend this book if your child was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. It appears to answer all questions you could imagine - at least 250 of them! 

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