Books offer suggestions for helping children cope

Posted March 15, 2012, at 2:08 p.m.

MIXED SIGNALS: UNDERSTANDING AND TREATING YOUR CHILD’S SENSORY PROCESSING ISSUES by Mary Lashno, published December 2009.

Sensory processing disorder, also known as sensory integration dysfunction, is common in children with autism, cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorder. Sensory processing disorder makes it difficult to integrate information from the five senses, along with the senses of movement and of knowing where parts of the body are. Recent research shows that about one in 20 children today is diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder.

In this book, occupational therapist Lashno shares her extensive experience working with children exhibiting various sensory processing disorders. The author seeks to teach parents and educators about over- or under-stimulated children and what can be done to assimilate those suffering from the disorders into more productive and less stressful daily routines.

Case studies of children exhibiting a wide array of sensory processing disorders include some who are sensitive to light, have oral or facial sensitivity, have poor balance and more. The book offer blueprints for therapists and families to learn how to work with children to develop an individualized sensory plan, which can calm or awaken sensory receptors so kids can function better and begin to tolerate a wider range of sensory information.

Charts throughout the book provide a quick checklist and description of sensory concerns to aid in the diagnosis of processing disorders. The resources section offers suggestions for toys, games and activities to aid in treating sensory issues. Also included is a listing of organizations that provide information about sensory processing, parental support, advocacy and treatment approaches.

THE PARENTS’ GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID: HELPING CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS COPE WITH PREDICTABLE LIFE CRISIS, edited by Gerald P. Koocher and Annette M. La Greca, published November 2010.

This book offers sage advice on a host of everyday problems that have psychological solutions. The authors submit more than 40 research articles by recognized experts in children’s mental health and education that can help parents navigate many common coming-of-age issues.

The contributors cover such topics as body image and physical appearance; cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol; overeating and obesity; bullying; the birth of a sibling and sibling rivalries; avoidance of school; developing self-esteem; overcoming shyness and social anxiety and dozens more. Each article offers tips for parents for supporting their child and strategies for crisis management.

More importantly, experts in the book point out the warning signs that indicate professional help may be necessary. Any parent needing additional information may consult books or websites cited by each author.

Many parents may find this book helpful as a means of working through difficulties a child is already experiencing or as a predictor of issues a child may develop growing into young adulthood.

Patrick Layne is a reference and ILL librarian at Bangor Public Library.

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