Sensitive Sam by Marla Roth-Fisch
Sensitive Sam is the story of Sam, a young boy with sensory over-responsivity. He is more sensitive to the way things smell, sound and feel and has difficulty with daily life activities such as getting ready in the morning and playing at school. The book describes many of the sensations that Sam experiences as overwhelming. At times, the language can sound a little negative, but by the end of the book Sam works with an occupational therapist and discovers sensory diet techniques that help him tolerate the sensations inherent in his day. In the end, Sam concludes: Take it from me, Sensitive Sam, That things will be okay. By doing things a little differently, I can have fun EVERY day! Sensitive Sam would be an appropriate book for children who have sensory over-responsivity. They may feel alone in their experiences, and the book offers comfort that they are not the only ones who hate the feel of clay or the sound of a toilet flushing. We appreciate the author writing this story about a boy with sensitivities, as young boys may face more social stigma than girls with sensitivities. The book does not go into detail about the sensory diet activities Sam uses to help with regulation, but the book would be a great jumping off point for a family to discuss the sensory strategies that work for their child.
Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload
by Jennifer Veenendall
Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? is a thoughtfully written children’s book by a school based occupational therapist. It is told from the perspective of Izzy, a first grader with sensory processing disorder (SPD). Izzy finds many everyday sensory experiences, from the sound of peers talking, to being bumped in the hallway to be completely overwhelming. Izzy is able to explain how her sensory system reacts in concrete, easy to understand language.
I’m a smart kid, but my brain messes up the signals sometimes. I have
a sensory processing disorder. When a friend brushes up against me,
sometimes my brain can’t tell the difference between a bump that
happened by accident and a threat to hurt me. That’s why I hit Alexander
one time, I didn’t mean to hurt him, but my brain thought I was in danger
so I defended myself by hitting.
The majority of the book is focused on the environmental changes and sensory diet activities that help Izzy to better cope with her classroom and be an active and happy learner. Her teacher is flexible and adjusts the decorations in the room and allows Izzy to switch the location of her desk. Izzy uses simple adaptations such as earplugs when she needs them and she discusses activities that help her with regulation in the class and in the OT room.
This book would be an empowering resource for elementary school aged children who deal with sensory over-responsiveness. A child with SPD may feel that he or she is the only one who struggles with the way things sound, feel or move, but this book may help to show that there are many children who experience the world in this particular way. This book would also be useful for siblings or friends of a child with SPD, to help them be more understanding and supportive. Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? is a must read for any family with a child with sensory sensitivities.
Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions that Build Success
by Jennifer Veenendall
Arnie and His School Tools is a charming children’s book about a boy with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The book was written by a school based occupational therapist and describes the difficulties a child with sensory under-responsiveness faces in the classroom. Arnie is a mover. He is a wiggler and a fidgeter who is easily distracted by sounds and sights within his classroom. Arnie explains his challenges and sensory solutions in clear language with examples children can relate to:
Recess is easy! I love to jump and climb and swing. But coming back
Inside is not always so easy. That’s when I have what we call my “job
time.” Mr. Dave is our custodian, and I am his special helper. Sometimes
I help him sweep the cafeteria floor. I also push a heavy cart to deliver
boxes of mail to teachers. Then when I go back to my class, my motor
isn’t running too high anymore, and I am ready to concentrate and do
Arnie acknowledges the fact that it may always be more difficult for him to concentrate and pay attention in his classroom, but he feels confident in the sensory tools he has available to help him succeed. This book is a great match for any child with a high engine, to help them understand they are not alone and there are strategies that may help them participate in the classroom and in daily life.
On Our Bookshelf: Making Sense of Your Senses: A Workbook for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, by Christopher Auer, MA and Michelle Auer, MS, OTR/L
Audience: Children with sensory processing disorder and their parents
While there are many books on the market for parents to better understand sensory processing disorder (SPD), there are few books designed to help children understand SPD. Although children’s fiction books are an excellent way to help a child see that there are other children who also experience SPD, Making Sense of Your Senses takes this a step further. This workbook includes 40 different activities for children and their parents to explore what types of sensory input are difficult to tolerate, what types of input are beneficial and what can be done to help them participate in every day activities. Each activity begins with a short vignette about a child who faces this difficulty. The activities are short and provide the child opportunity to identify the different sensory systems and how they impact daily life at school and home. While the workbook is primarily text-based, there are hands-on activity suggestions and areas for the child to use drawings to describe their sensory experiences. This book is best suited for ages 5 and up, with the guidance of a parent or caregiver.
Available from major booksellers.
On Our Bookshelf: Raising a Sensory Smart Child, by Lindsey Biel, MA, OTR/L and Nancy Peske
Audience: Parents and caregivers of children with sensory processing disorder
Raising a Sensory Smart Child is written by a pair with strong ties to children with sensory processing disorder (SPD): a pediatric occupational therapist and a parent of a child with SPD. While the book does dive into some of the neurological processes behind sensory processing, the main focus is to provide practical guidance for parents, caregivers and service providers of children with SPD and related difficulties. Everyday sensory solutions are presented in quick, easy to read lists, with topics such as trimming nails, expanding food preferences and how to navigate dentist appointments. The book also includes chapters highlighting developmental milestones, nutrition, sleep and stress, and advocating for your child at school. Perhaps the best part about Raising a Sensory Smart Child is that it is not a book which must be read cover to cover, but it can act like a playbook to provide guidance for the area of difficulty your family is currently facing.
Available from major booksellers.
On Our Bookshelf: Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guild for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum, by Teresa Cardon, MA, CCC-SLP
Audience: Parents and caregivers of children with sensory processing disorder or autism
Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guild for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum is just that: a set of over 50 “Top Ten” lists relating to a wide range of practical, everyday topics. Although the title focuses on children with an ASD, much of the information presented in this book could also be appropriate for a child with sensory processing disorder or other related difficulties. The lists were compiled by Teresa Cardon, MA, CCC-SLP, with contributors including parents and siblings of individuals on the autism spectrum, occupational therapists, special education teachers, speech therapists, social workers and others who interact with individuals with autism. Top Ten Tips is a perfect book for the busy family who does not have the time to sit down and read a long narrative, but is looking for useful ways to manage daily events. The book consists entirely of easy to read lists with tried and true ideas to handle the difficulties that can arise around potty training, winning and losing games, homework, grocery shopping, birthday parties and more.
Available from major booksellers and the Autism Asperger Publishing Company.