Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: The Out-of-Sync Child

Title: The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction
Author: Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

I had been teaching for 19 years before I ever heard of Sensory Processing Disorder, which is called Sensory Integration Dysfunction in the book (copyright 1998). That is a sad commentary on the press that SPD gets.

Have you ever had a student who grips the pencil too tightly?
Have you ever had a student who is clumsy?
Have you ever had a student who is overly sensitive to sound?
Have you ever had a student who appears to be withdrawn or seclusive in large groups?
Have you ever had a student who is too rough with other kids during recess?
Have you ever had a student who didn't have an inside voice?

There is a chance that student has SPD. Basically, a child who has SPD has one or more senses that are either over-sensitive or under-sensitive, but it goes beyond the five senses we all know and love. Balance, body awareness, and skin are all tied in too. (Technical words: vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile)

I finally found out about SPD because I had a student whose mother made it her mission to educate his teachers. Sadly, he was on sensory overload all day long at school.  The stress was too overwhelming for him and they had to withdraw him to be homeschooled -- where he is thriving.

SPD can manifest itself a lot like ADHD, but they are two separate entities. Medication does not work with SPD.  A child's best solution is to get connected with an occupational therapist who can help create a sensory diet to give the child coping techniques.

This book is written mainly for parents, and is something of a Bible to those whose kids have SPD. I highly recommend it to teachers so you can better understand some of your students. (It is estimated that up to 16% of all children have some sort of sensory disorder.) A great partner book to this one is The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.

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