In the new ELG book reviews section, our specialists share their perspectives on the books available in the ELG book shop.
The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders
Reviewed by Rachael Caruso
Penguin Putnam Inc, 2006
The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders is a follow up to Carol Kranowitz’s first book The Out-of-Sync Child. Not only does the book continue to increase awareness about Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) but it offers activities and suggestions to target all of the child’s senses.
As a speech language pathologist, I have heard the terms “sensory processing”, “sensory processing disorder”, “sensory integration” while working in the school system and clinic both in the states and abroad. Several of the children on my caseload in the US school system had sensory diets or received services from an OT or PT. Even though we collaborated as members of the school team, I did not have a complete grasp on what these terms meant or how the sensory diet helped develop or organize the child’s brain and body. In general, the extent of my knowledge about sensory processing disorder was to give a child a fidget or chew, which was provided by the OT, when they would become distracted during the session. Since working at the Essential Learning Group my opportunities to collaborate with our OTs and PTs have increase my desire to learn more about Sensory Processing so that I can support these “Out of Sync” children.
The book starts by giving an overview and review of key terminology. This includes what are the senses (there are more than five), what sensory processing disorder and sensory integration therapy are, descriptions of an “out-of-sync” child, and defines what a SAFE activity is. The chapters are divided into the different senses (touch, vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory, taste, and smell) and sensory related skills (oral motor, motor planning, fine motor, bilateral coordination and crossing the midline). Each chapter starts with a case study (I though “I know you” on a few occasions) and includes not only a list of activities but also what characteristics to look for a child who is over responsive, under responsive, a seeker, has poor discrimination, and dyspraxia for each of the senses. The language used to describe the activities in concise and in laymen terms, with advice from parents and experts, as well as a list of Do’s and Don’ts. By providing the information this way, the author give the reader the confidence that they too can help support the development of the senses using these various activities.
While reading, I realized that I had previously used some of the activities, such as blowing paint with straws, in speech sessions to improve lip rounding, maintain a seal, and respiration. During sessions I have always incorporated a language aspect by having the children request, using picture symbols, or increasing utterance length (e.g. I want paint, I want red paint). However, after reading this book I learned that these blowing activities also enhances visual-motor skills, bilateral coordination, fine motor, self esteem, and motor planning. In addition, different variations to this activity were listed which will not only expand the child’s vocabulary but also support differentiation for children based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Some other activities, which were kid approve based off of the giggles, request for more, engagement included:
- Shaving Cream Car Wash- shaving cream road made the toy cars all dirty. Bowls of water were there to make the cars all clean. This activity targeted the tactile sense
- Magic Tissue Transfers- tearing tissue paper and then spread glue on it, press to paper, and then remove leaving the color. This activity targets the tactile sense
- Citrus Balls-variety of activities using different citrus fruits. Targets the visual sense
Again, as a speech therapist, the target of the sessions was not the activity in the book but how the child was using their express/receptive language or speech skills during the session. All of these activities provided great hands on activities, and the explanations lead to easy planning and preparation. Since these activities require movement, it supported the introduction of various vocabulary words such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Throughout the session I was able to not only introduce vocabulary but then also support the children in expressing and identifying these words on their own. In addition, social language and using language for a variety of intents, such as requesting, protesting, describing, commenting, could also be supported in the 1-1 and group setting.
Overall, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, would be an excellent resource for any parent, teacher, special educator, counselor, or therapist. The activities in the books are great for a wide range of children and can be modified so that all children, regardless of their abilities, and the special adults in their lives can have fun together.
Rachel graduated from the University of Alabama in 2010, and specializes in interventions concerning language learning disabilities. Prior to coming to Shanghai, she worked in the Maryland public school system in the US.
Parenting with Love and Logic (Chinese Edition)
Review by Julia Huang
Navpress Publishing, 2006.
Qunyan Press, 2007
Parenting With Love and Logic contends that parents should let compassion and consequence do the teaching. Often, this means that parents must restrain themselves from intervening directly, even as they see their children making questionable choices.
This approach can be challenging for some Chinese parents to adopt; frequently, Chinese parents do not feel comfortable allowing their children make mistakes or to have too much freedom in making choices. The value that Love & Logic offers to such parents is its emphasis on independent decision-making, and its way of enabling children to make wholesome choices for themselves without prompting or assistance.
Love and Logic Parenting does resonate closely with Chinese values in another way. A child who has learned from Love and Logic Parenting will closely resemble the responsible, conscientious adult that any parent would hope to raise. Moreover, Love and Logic’s emphasis on listening to children with patience and compassion may be useful to parents seeking to maintain the kind of affectionate parent-child relationship that is difficult to accomplish for so many.
Parenting With Love and Logic is a very valuable text for parents at the beginning of their journey together with their children. The principles it contains offer much to consider, by both offering practical advice and by offering a distinct and potentially clarifying perspective on what to value most as a parent.
Julia has experience in working with both individuals and families dealing with various issues and disorders. She also holds a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Graduate School.
Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
Review by Jose Tapia
Paul A. Offit, M.D.
Columbia University Press, 2008
In Autism’s False Prophets, Dr. Paul Offit presents readers with insights to the conundrum of autism though an extensive scientific critique of past treatments, pseudo cures, and some individuals who have come to influence the public discussion surrounding Autism. Dr. Offit recounts the numerous ways hopes have been vested over history in various supposed causes and cures for the neurological disorder, along the way offering his readership a wealth of knowledge, clarity and reassurance on a very important, occasionally contentious set of issues.
Dr. Offit deals at length with the notion that mercury found in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination is linked to autism, on the one hand carefully explaining to the reader how this claim has grown in popularity, and on the other hand exposing the reader to an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to refute it.
Autism’s False Prophets explores both sides of the controversy, using anecdotal records and real-life situations. The author recounts the stories of individuals who claim that the lives of their children have been adversely affected by MMR vaccinations. After granting all sides a respectful hearing, Offit posits that these claims are dubious, since people are exposed to mercury every day in the water we drink, the food we eat, and even the air we breathe. He supports his claim with a long review of the scientific literature that has accumulated since claims concerning the MMR vaccine first surfaced, which reflects a strong consensus that there is no connection between vaccination and Autism.
Dr. Offit goes on to discuss how these ideas affect media and society. For example, he explores how it is that influential television personalities such as Jenny McCarthy have focused a wave of attention on this neurological disorder. This is a critical element of the book, because it encourages the reader to wonder where our information is coming from. As intelligent readers, we ask ourselves: Is our information coming from snake-oil pushers? Lawyers? Specialists? Or is our information coming from those who dedicate their lives to improving the lives of those affected by this devastating disorder? In conclusion, the author does a good job planting the seed of curiosity and critical inquiry while remaining hopeful for the genuine breakthroughs that may come at any time.
Jose has worked as an Educational Specialist in the United States since 2009. He also has his Teaching License in Moderate to Severe disabilities with Autism Authorization.