We're delighted to bring you this guest blog from Christel Seeberger*, occupational therapist and founder of Sensory Friendly Solutions.
Many parents seek out sensory books for special needs children. Parents are sometimes looking for sensory books for autism. And then there are many parents wondering if their child is a ‘sensory kid.” They are just looking to understand that concept on its own.
While there is a link between autism and sensory, many children simply have a sensory disorder.
In my former practice as a pediatric occupational therapist for over 25 years, I read many, many books about sensory processing disorder and sensory kids. Some were written for occupational therapists. Others for parents. A few for children and teens themselves. Lastly, there were books for teachers and educators. I had a growing lending library of books at my practice. If I recommend it below, it is because I’ve read it!
Recommended Books for Parents on Sensory Disorders
The Explosive Child. Emotional regulation is also a common problem for children with sensory disorders. This book explores the topic of children whose emotions seem to explode.
Raising a Sensory Smart Child. Co-written by an occupational therapist, this book shares very practical sensory information and tips for parents.
The Sensory Sensitive Child. This book is another great go-to resource for parents. In particular, for children whose emotional responses seem to be more sensitive. This one is written by a psychologist.
Sensational Kids. Written by an amazing, experienced occupational therapist. This book explores the types of sensory disorders.
The very first book I ever read on this topic was Building Bridges through Sensory Integration. Written by a trio of occupational therapists, it is helpful to both therapist and parent alike.
Sensory Integration and the Child is written more for occupational therapists. However, it is also good for parents as its latest update is more parent-friendly. It is for those who want to understand about sensory integration in-depth.
Love Jean, Inspiration for Families Living with Dysfunction of Sensory Integration. A. Jean Ayres was a pioneering occupational therapist. She developed the theory of sensory integration. This short book captures a series of letters she wrote to her nephew. He struggled with learning. She wrote to support him. It provides additional insights into sensory integration. It is a nice introduction to the topic.
The author mailed me this book when she first published. That was many years ago, for me to review. So kind of her! It is fantastic for older children and teens to read. Likewise, it is very helpful for their parents too. The Sensory Team Handbook.
A Popular Series of Sensory Books for Parents
Teacher Carol Stock Kranowitz has written a series of books. They are all very helpful. She uses and expands on the term “out of sync.” She helps answer the common question parents ask, “what is a sensory issue?”
The Out of Sync Child. A good first book to read.
The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. A book that is full of activities for children with sensory disorders.
Parents often wonder, “how do you explain sensory processing disorder to a child?”. Well, here’s help with this particular book: The Goodenoughs Get in Sync. This book is designed for pre-teens to learn about sensory processing disorders. But it is also helpful for parents to read themselves. Furthermore, it is great for parents to read to their children too.
101 Activities for Kids in Tight Spaces. I loved this book for its activity ideas. I would scour the book for activities to introduce in therapy in my former occupational therapy practice. However, it truly gives parents helpful things to do with their ‘sensory’ kids!
Answers To Questions Teachers Ask About Sensory Integration. Although this book is written for teachers, I include it here because parents often have the same questions as teachers about all things sensory.
My “To Read” List.
These books are not quite yet recommended, but are on my reading list and look promising. I’ll keep adding here as I find more.
Growing an In-Sync Child.
Books on Sensory Processing Disorder in Adults
I haven’t read this book either. Nonetheless, given my fondness for how simply the author, Carol Stock Kranowitz explains the topic as mentioned above, I think it would be a good sensory book for adults or youth. The Out of Sync Child Grows Up.
Finally, parents are sometimes confused by seeing “sensory books” in their searches. What is a sensory book? It is a book for infants or toddlers, It often has different materials embedded for the infant or toddler to touch and feel. And, it isn’t about sensory processing disorders. Sensory books like these are about exploring the senses.
I am going to be publishing my own children’s book. It will have an accompanying journal. And, together they will help children understand that it is OK to have different sensory preferences. Moreover, that everyone likes or dislikes different sensory experiences.
* Thanks to Christel Seeberger for her kind permission to publish this article. You can find Christel's Sensory Friendly Solutions blog here.