Do you have a sensory sensitive child who is bothered by every little noise or texture? How about a child who hurtles through space, seeming not to notice obstacles in their way? In either situation, you probably find yourself struggling to understand their sensitivity – or lack of sensitivity – to the world around them. Why can’t the highly sensitive child be more flexible and adaptive? Why can’t the child running around a breakneck speeds be more careful and aware of those around them? It also isn’t as simple as a child being either sensory hyper- or hypo-sensitive; a child may be very sensitive to textures but hypo-sensitive to where they are in space. Fortunately, there are some great sensory integration resources for educators and families these days; here are some of my favorites.
Children who struggle with sensory integration issues can be given a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) diagnosis. The resources below were written with these children in mind. I think that much of the information in these books will be helpful to parents whose children have some sensory issues that make their lives difficult but that are not serious enough to warrant an official diagnosis, and that is why I have stuck with the term “sensory integration” for this post rather than “Sensory Processing Disorder”.
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Sensory Integration: Helpful Books for Educators and Families
There are some great books out about sensory integration! Here are some favorites of mine. The first two books are placed first because they don’t seem to be as well known, but they are wonderful resources. They are also much shorter reads than the other books I list, which can be a very good thing for already-overwhelmed parents, caregivers, and educators!
Sensory Processing 101 is a brand new book that was created as a collaboration between a parent, educator, and therapist. This three-author approach is a wonderful way to see how different adults understand and interact with sensory processing issues based on their role in your child’s life. The book is written in a very practical way. Sensory processing is explained, sensory activities are provided, and the book has a wonderful resource section. It is a beautiful, full-color book that you can also buy as a PDF and print yourself.
I bought Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and Teachers< on my sister’s recommendation, and it is an excellent book! Written by an occupational therapist, the book provides concrete ways of dealing with all sorts of sensory issues – many of which parents might not by default see as a sensory issue. For example: “Does Not Like Having a Picture Taken”, “Holds It Together at School, Then Melts Down at Home”, “Very Rigid in Color Preference”, and “Loves Gathering and Collecting Objects”. The book also has plenty of topics that most parents would see as sensory in nature, including: “Socks and Seams have to be Just Right” and “Refuses to Walk Barefoot on Grass, Sand, or New Surface”. Other topics cover issues that are frequently described as bad habits, such as nail biting and thumb sucking.
The Out-of-Sync Child is the earliest sensory processing disorder resource I have found that was created for the general public. First published in 1998, we owe a great deal to Carol Stock Kranowitz for raising awareness and providing education on a topic that affects so many families but is still often misunderstood. This book continues to be an incredible resource, particularly paired with its sequel, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is one of the definitive books for parents of children with sensory issues. First published in 2006, it is a wonderful, timeless resource for parents, caregivers, and educators.
Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues is another definitive resource for families. Published in 2005, it has stood the test of time, and has – like the other older books in this list – been updated as research has progressed and more resources have become available.
Do you know of a book that should be on this list? Please let me know in the comments!