The Bottom Line
By Mary Lashno, OT; 198 pages. Subtitle: Understanding and Treating Your Child's Sensory Processing Issues
If you've ever wondered why occupational therapists do what they do, you'll enjoy reading all the secrets shared here by the OT author. Of course, you'd never know by the cover copy that this is what the book's going to be about -- or that it focuses on kids with sensory integration as part of an autism spectrum disorder. Misperceptions aside, it's worth adding to your SI library.
- Interesting look at what goes on in an occupational therapy session
- Explains a lot of those evaluations your child goes through
- Writing is easy to read and relatively jargon-free
- Case studies, lists, and charts enliven the text
- Offers some good tips for things to do at home
- Cover copy does a poor job of explaining how this differs from other sensory-processing texts
- The book focuses on autism, which is mentioned nowhere on the cover
- Photos seem dark, and it's sometimes hard to tell what they're illustrating
- Chapter 1: What Is Sensory Processing?
- Chapter 2: History and Terminology of Sensory Processing
- Chapter 3: The Sensory Systems: Comparing Normal and Abnormal Processing
- Chapter 4: Does My Child Have a Sensory Processing Disorder? The Evaluation Process
- Chapter 5: How Does Sensory Dysfunction Affect My Child?
- Chapter 6: Is Sensory Integration Therapy Right for My Child?
- Chapter 7: What Happens During Therapy?
- Chapter 8: Treatment Approaches
- Chapter 9: Your Child's Sensory Diet
- Chapter 10: Sensory Strategies in the School Environment
Sensory Assessment Tools
Bibliography and Recommended Reading
Guide Review - Book Review: Mixed Signals
Talk about mixed signals. The book by that title is an interesting look at what sensory processing therapy looks like for kids with autism, and will be of interest to parents who've observed sessions and read evaluations and wondered why the therapists do what they do, what's behind the different tests and interactions, what's the deal with all the equipment, and how they can carry over the same sorts of things to their child's play at home. It is less parent-focused than a lot of books on sensory integration or sensory processing, but that's okay -- there are a lot of those books. This one has a different approach that, while not a stand-alone resource, nicely complements those other guides that most of us with sensory-wonky kids already have on their bookshelves.
Yet the title and subtitle of the book make this look like any other successor to The Out-of-Sync Child or any of the many alternative guides to understanding and parenting kids with sensory issues. There's no indication that the book focuses primarily on the sensory-processing problems of children with autism, so readers of an early section titled "Can This Book Help My Chid or Student?" may be surprised to learn that "the information covered in this book will be useful for all children on the autism spectrum, from those that display the full range of ASD symptoms, including those who are nonverbal and have limited interaction with people and objects, and those that are less severely affected by ASD." What about those who are not affected at all by ASD? Chances are, if you have a non-autistic child whose symptoms overlap with those of autism, you've grown used to reading autism books and taking what you can get from them, and there's certainly plenty of value here.
These may seem like minor quibbles -- but the combination of misleading cover copy and content that differs somewhat from the norm for sensory-processing books may leave readers stumbling to get their bearings, like a kid with proprioceptive challenges who's never quite sure where his body is in space. The book is nicely written and structured, with a no-nonsense tone and some solid suggestions for parents. Once I did the reading equivalent of bouncing on a trampoline and rolling in a ball pit, I could see that the information offered was interesting and of value. I think it's doing the book a disservice, though, to so mix the signals between what it appears to be and what it is.