Top 5 Sensory Processing Disorder Books & Top 5 Resources for Parents of Kids with Sensory Issues
Do you have a loved one with sensory issues who is highly sensitive or has an overwhelming need to wiggle, chew, bite, or fidget? We did and decided to do something about it. For ten years we have been reviewing books for children and parents on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Autism, ADHD, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, etc. The positive comments we receive from parents all over the world on our recommended books and proprietary sensory tools have motivated us to tell you about five more books and other resources to make the life of your highly sensitive (or sensory seeker) loved ones easier.
Sensory Processing issues are lifelong conditions that can be successfully treated, usually with occupational therapy using a sensory integration approach (OT-SI). Adults can still benefit by the strategies described in the books because making permanent changes to the brain is always possible. Sensory issues may not completely disappear, but youth and adults can develop successful strategies to make life more comfortable at home, at school, at work, and in the community.
Striving for a Sensory Lifestyle
Putting into practice the numerous suggestions found in these books can lead to a sensory lifestyle. This is an individual’s way of living that incorporates –or eliminates– sensory stimuli to help the person function smoothly in daily life. It includes sensory integration techniques that an occupational therapist develops to help the person become more self-regulated, alert, and engaged. Getting out there and getting in sync with others takes a lot of purposeful practice for young people with SPD. It takes resolve and work, great information from good books. The rewards of a satisfying life are worth all the effort.
5 Sensory Processing Disorder Books
Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration, 3rd Edition: Therapy For Children With Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders
-by Paula Aquilla BSc OT, Ellen Yack BSc MEd OT, and Shirley Sutton BSc OT
This resource is written by three occupational therapists with over ninety years of combined experience and knowledge on Sensory Processing Disorder. They updated and reorganized a third edition of their practical guide book for caregivers, occupational therapists and other professionals who work with both children and adults. This latest edition has over 100 extra pages of material, as well as a dedicated website of free downloadable forms and exercises for easy printing!
It is very well organized in two sections with nine chapters. The first part explains the role of the occupational therapists in treatment and examines sensory integration theories. Part two offers methods of identifying sensory problems in children along with numerous strategies and activities.
With pages 27.9 x 21.6 cm or 11 x 8.5 inches in size, the text, photos, charts, lists, etc. are not crowded. The large book opens well and stays open. A very good binding assures use for many years. More detailed review.
The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years
– by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA.
The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up is the long-awaited follow-up to the million-copy bestseller The Out-of-Sync Child. It has excellent advice for tweens, teens, and young adults living with Sensory Processing Disorder, and their parents. This reader-friendly resource addresses common concerns such as:
Dealing with daily activities: establishing a routine, grooming, dressing, eating, driving, sleeping
Coping with relationships: family, friends, dating, daily social interactions
Living an in-sync life: treating sensory issues, gaining self-acceptance, finding an OT
It’s a parenting book you will turn to many times. The index and table of contents lets you find information quickly. The GLOSSARY explains all the unfamiliar terms used by specialists. More detailed review
Growing Up with Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism
-by Jennifer McIlwee Myers
This is an educational and entertaining book! Ms. Myers is autistic and so is her brother. The author has taught herself to overcome, or perhaps should I say live with, her sensory challenges. She has found many unique, innovative ways to navigate the world of “normal” people. Her experience living with sensory challenges and her solutions are invaluable.
Through her personal stories and information on sensory issues grounded in science, we learn what it is like to have SPD and how to survive and succeed in spite of these constant challenges. Every page has great parenting tips that can make life much more pleasant in any home with a child with sensory issues. She has tips for caregivers on how to build life skills and self-esteem in kids, tweens, and teens.
Growing Up with Sensory Issues is a must read for all teachers, caregivers, therapists, family and friends of autistic individuals who most likely also have sensory processing disorder. Full review
The Special Needs School Survival Guide: Handbook for Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, & More!
-by Cara Koscinski MOT OTR/L
This is a concise, simple to follow guide for navigating the special education world. It has “tricks of the trade” on how to level the playing field so our kids with different needs and abilities have the chance to reach their potential.
It’s written by a momOT parenting two boys with special needs. With only 185 pages, it is filled with a wealth of immediately doable strategies, accommodations and treatment ideas for all things school-related. It is THE guidebook you need that also answers how to work with school personnel for government assisted programs.
The Q & A format makes the book user friendly and one that you will use over and over again. It covers a wide range of special needs and learning disabilities like Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), autism, ADHD, behavioral concerns, fine motor delays, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc. Parents will appreciate the information on Individual Education Programs (IEPs), problems with transitions, and homework concerns.
A great feature of this handbook is the “Out of Pocket Activities – Practical on the Spot Solutions”. These bulleted sections woven in each chapter are tips to make their life or work with children with special needs a bit easier. There are nine chapters and each chapter has 4 or 5 “Out of the Pocket Activity” sections! Full Review
Self-Control to the Rescue! Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life
-by Lauren Brukner, OT
Does your child need of a little boost of self-control? Is it difficult for him to slow down, unwind and have a restful sleep or, in the morning, to get up and face another difficult day at school? The series of children’s book by an OT named Lauren Brukner are the books we recommend. The series is excellent for all children, but especially those with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties. Each book has extra tips and resources for parents, educators or therapists.
Self-Control to the Rescue! is her fourth self-help guide book for kids. It has won the Mom’s Choice Award Gold! It is a hardcover book for children aged seven through twelve at a 2 – 7 grade level. We love Ms. Brukner’s books and have reviewed all four. Read a full review on Special Needs Book Review.
Ms. Brukner uses illustrations and simple language to describe breathing exercises, stretching, and visualization techniques to help kids keep calm and in control. It is divided into two parts, one for children and one for caregivers. The first part teaches simple strategies to tackle the difficult emotions and challenges your child has to face every day. It will get him through his morning routine to making friends at recess, paying attention in class and getting a quality night’s sleep. This resource will keep your child stay on track and save the day!
The team at Special Needs Book Review made up of parents and a grandparent of children with special needs, among them Tourette syndrome and sensory issues, highly recommends these five books on Sensory Processing Disorder. Teachers, occupational therapists, and other professionals will also find them indispensable. The biggest winners will be all the children who can be helped by caregivers who have taken the time to learn how to help them.
5 Resources for Sensory Sensitive Kids
Sensory tools or toys are strategies and resources for helping individuals who struggle with arousal state regulation or other problems in sensory processing to get to a “just right” state for being ready to do what comes next in the day’s schedule. It could be getting ready to go to school or work or, in the evening, being able to wind down and be sleep-ready.
Sensory Integration involves processing and organizing sensory information from all our senses. Sensory tools are used to both calm and stimulate an individual’s sensory system. Sensory Toys are specially designed toys to engage a child’s attention both cognitively and physically by stimulating the senses.
Individuals of all ages and abilities can benefit from the use of weighted blankets and other weighted items like vests, lap pads, etc. Weighted blankets are a non-medical, sensory-based intervention to support regulation for diagnoses like sensory processing disorder, ADHD, autism, emotional regulation difficulties, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychiatric disorders. Weighted blanklets can help improve Mood and sleep.
The concept of the weighted vest or blanket is based on the technique of deep pressure. Deep pressure is used to assist the user to self-calm and relax so that sensory stimulus can be processed. Your central nervous system responds to the deep pressure of a weighted blanket by releasing the “happy hormones” serotonin and melatonin and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol. Here is another post we previously wrote (HOW WEIGHTED PRODUCTS PROVIDE PROPRIOCEPTIVE SENSORY INPUT).
Some weighed blankets are specifically designed for children, others for adults and sizes, weights vary. So how to choose? Alescia Ford-Lanza MS OTR/L, ATP wrote an great article on Friendship Circle titled Weighted Blankets: What, Why, and How to Find Your Match.
Oral Motor Tools and Chewelry:
These tools are designed to help with self-regulation and to help manage sensory overload. Oral motor tools are great for speech therapy and feeding programs as well. Chewing, fidgeting and stimming can aid in regulating emotions, relieving pressure and feeling more in control. These tools support children, teens and adults with ADHD/ADD, sensory integration disorder (SPD), autism, dyspraxia – and can even benefit neurotypical people who fidget too!
With the urge to chew, fidget or stim occurring at any time or place, choosing carefully to support individual needs is important. There are a variety of oral motor tools and chewelry on the market and the many designs range from discreet to bold.
When my middle child was 4, in 2007, she had severe sensory issues. With a background in Human Kinetics and jewelry design, I created KidCompanions Chewelry , a 2-part colorful chew with a heart version that has a “worry stone” soft dip. Then I designed SentioCHEWS, a more pliable, tougher and economical chew. Our products are made in Canada and we conform to Canadian, US and EU safety standards. After testing we chose Themoplastic Elastomers. There are other brands and many silicone versions now as well. Each person is unique so you might have to try a few before finding the “perfect chew”.
Sensory wiggle seats are great sensory tools that are similar to therapy balls but smaller and less intrusive (portable). They help youth stay focused by allowing for the opportunity to fidget with calming or alerting sensory input. They are used for self regulation and can help a child attend to school work or sit to participate in functional tasks.Wiggle seats come in a variety of styles with some of the most effective being inflatable or firm gel.
While others are bean cushions or wedges. Personal preference and budget will be important factors in choosing your perfect wiggle seat but generally inflatable seats are best. Bean bag and wedge seats may be a bit more unstable.
COMPRESSION CLOTHING: As a complement to therapy, compression clothing can have a calming effect due to deep pressure stimulation and its positive effects on children with autism. Some children with Sensory Processing Disorder dislike hugs, tight clothing or blanket wraps. Others, however, seek out snug fitting clothing and love to be wrapped in a blanket or hugged. Each child is unique and compression clothing may be a solution for sensory issues requiring additional input.
SEAMLESS CLOTHING: Children with autism and sensory challenges can have great difficulty with clothing tags, itchy socks, waist bands etc. Sensory friendly seamless clothing can come to the rescue. With SDP awareness more and more seamless, soft, tagless clothing brands have developed and today you can find a range of styles and colours for your child.