Every once in a while, a book comes along that changes your life.
My seven year old was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder at age 2 1/2 – almost a year before his autism diagnosis. So over the past five years, I’ve read a million books on the subject of sensory processing. The Out-Of-Sync Child was the first, followed by many others. I’m also the managing editor here at the SPD Blogger Network, so I thought I had read everything I needed to know about helping my kid with his sensory issues.
And then came this book. And my whole perspective and world changed.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I received this book free from the publisher for the purposes of this review and giveaway. However, the opinions in this review are mine and mine alone.
I would pay full price for this book and buy copies for anyone who comes into contact with my son on a daily basis. Here’s why.
First of all, the author gets it. She’s a parent of a child with sensory issues so this is personal to her. She’s also a professional organizer so she brings that into the equation. So it’s not a surprise that she developed this book with those perspectives.
Secondly, the book makes sense. It’s described as a way to help parents make “simple yet powerful changes to help their sensory child thrive at home, in the classroom and in the world.” The book is filled with ways to create organization, structure and visual supports to help with the more challenging sensory based behaviors.
The book starts off with Part 1: Understanding Your Sensory Child. Again, I thought I knew everything about my kid and what makes him tick. But in the book, Carolyn lays out the different diagnoses that can create sensory issues – ADHD, Anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, SPD itself and then something she called “A Little Bit of Everything”. She describes very simply how each of these diagnoses can cause sensory systems to overload and/or shut down and how it can be different for every child. As I read, I not only saw my seven year old described to a T, but also my oldest son who has mild anxiety issues. And, if I may be so honest, I saw a little bit of myself in these descriptions as well.
Carolyn creates a “Sensory Organizing Worksheet” – a questionnaire tailored to your child’s specific needs to help figure out the ways in which your child thrives while identifying the areas that are the most challenging. This worksheet serves as the basis for the rest of the suggestions in the book. Once you know your child’s needs, you can pick and choose the organizational strategies that will help them the most.
It sounds simple, right? But for many of us overwhelmed and out-of-sorts parents, actually getting to the point of figuring out how to put these strategies into practice is harder than it sounds.
That’s where the next parts of the book come in and are so amazing. Carolyn creates step-by-step instructions for sensory organizing, starting with creating sensory spaces at home. But she doesn’t just tell you to do it. She shows you how and tells you why it works. As I read her section about how to organize your child’s room, I happen to catch a glimpse of my oldest’s bedroom. His drawers were half open with clothes hanging out. His shelves were cluttered with half made Lego projects and books that he hasn’t read in years. There was no calm space, no order to the mayhem. Is it no wonder he’s overloaded and distracted while doing homework at his cluttered desk? I made a mental note to work with him using Carolyn’s strategies to create a more organized, more sensory friendly and more orderly space in his bedroom.
And I think that’s why this book works. The plans for sensory organizing aren’t so broad that they don’t make sense, and they aren’t so specific that one could say “well, that couldn’t work for my child.” She has visual support strategies for non-readers. There are ideas for helping to educate babysitters and ideas to help our kids adjust to a babysitter. Suggestions for teaching flexibility. A whole section on educating spouses, family members, teachers and others about sensory processing and sensory organizing. Help for vacation planning. And she gives the reasons WHY these systems work.
The book reads both as a cover-to-cover read in one sitting book and as a reference book for future use. I couldn’t put it down. I bookmarked pages to go back to for more ideas for every member of my family.
It’s said that you can’t just go on a quick diet and hope to keep the weight off. You have to make lifestyle changes to see long term results. This book is a lifestyle change for us. And it couldn’t come at a better time.
Once I finished with my copy, I gave it to my son’s aide at school.
And now I want to give it to you.
Thanks to the publisher of The Sensory Child Gets Organized, we are giving away FOUR (yes, FOUR) copies of this book.
The book comes out to the public on Tuesday so our contest ends at midnight Eastern time on September 3, 2o13. So it’s a quick one. Here are the rules: