Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book review: Starting Sensory Therapy, by Bonnie Arnwine

Today I’ve got another book review! This one is a MUST HAVE for everyone who is in some way affected by autism. There are all kinds of books out there that give us ideas on ways to play with our kids, but many of those advocate very expensive toys and therapies. For the first time, I’ve found a book that makes home-based sensory activities easy , affordable, and most of all- FUN.

Starting Sensory Therapy is a fantastic resource. The chapters are organized in a way that makes it super easy to flip right to the activities you need, rather than searching through the book. The book is divided into eight chapters, beginning with a very informational chapter that discusses different types of sensory processing disorders, evaluation and diagnosis, therapeutic options, and even goes into getting services through either insurance or through an IEP with the public school system.

The main chapters in this particular book are all based around the different areas that sensory therapy works on. Included are tactile, gross-motor, visual, auditory, olfactory, oral-motor, and fine motor activities. Each chapter contains many different activities (rather than just a couple), and even include ways to modify each activity to fit kids who do not yet have the skills required to complete the activity as it is written. That activities can be modified, and that the book explains HOW is really wonderful- it’s something I have very rarely seen in these types of books. My frustration a lot of the time is in finding all these great activities that my son can’t do yet. In the past I’ve tried myself to modify the activity and it’s do-able, but I cannot describe my excitement to see that this author already did this for me! The activities are easy to modify to make them easier, or to make them more difficult. There are wonderful suggestions on how to further extend each activity by adding it to a task or skill being worked on.

The coolest activity in the book is one that would never have occurred to me to try- a scent necklace. My son loves to sniff things, and we made him one of these simple, cheap necklaces. He LOVES it. It cost almost nothing to make, was a whole lot of fun, and it makes our lives easier. He wears it to the store, and we are spared spending half an hour letting him sniff candles to avoid a meltdown.

Some other pretty nifty activities include “shaving cream fun” with colored shaving cream and toy dinosaurs, “hair gel bags” made with glitter or sequins inside, “blubber” recipe to make cool rubbery play-dough, and “sticky bracelets” made with interesting objects found outdoors. The book even offers a variety of food related activities, from making simple peanut butter cookies to creating “banana bugs”- and these are things Jaymes just adores doing. He is, after all, an aspiring chef!

This is a book every teacher, therapist, mom, grandma, or friend of someone with on the spectrum or SPD should own. It is without a doubt the jewel of my collection and it is dog-eared, marked up, and has some shaving cream glued to it after referring to it so many times to keep Jaymes entertained and learning!

You can get your own copy of the book here- check it out!

No comments: