Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday (Vol. 5): Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers, A Rich Resource Review

I am so grateful for the rich resources available for parents and educators and have been reading so lately about Sensory Integration, Early Education, Curriculum Planning and Homeschooling that I have decided to create a rating system to help me decide whether each might be a resource worth buying – or at the very least taking out of the library again – to peruse once more. I thought I would share my reviews here on the blog in case anyone is feeling blessed by rich resources, but also wants some personal opinions and guidance as to which to dive into first.  So, here goes:

I based my ratings on five things that are important to me:

1. READABILITY: Is the book an easy read based on its style, formatting and the information it offers? It gets one star if I can read and digest it even while interacting with the kids as they explore playdough, build constructions or otherwise work “independently”.

2. RELEVANCE: Does the book provide information and ideas I can use right now, or in the relatively near future? It gets one star if I find myself thinking “Do now,” “Think about soon,” or “Ah-ha! That’s it!” while reading a portion of it.

3. PRACTICALITY: Does the book provide practical suggestions or solutions for challenges, activities, etc.? It one star if it pushes me to take an actual step on my parenting and homeschooling journey, rather than getting lost deeper in “Theory Jungle”.

4. LONGEVITY: Will the ideas in the book help me in a year, two or ten? The book gets another star if I spot something in it that I know I will want to revisit at a later point.

5. VALUE: Is the book one that would be worth tipping the budget to buy or will borrowing it from the library periodically suffice? If I think I will be taking the book out of the library for more weeks in a year than I leave it on the shelves, the book gets another star.

And for my first official Rich Resources review:  Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers by Christy Isbell and Rebecca Isbell: A Parent’s Review
Written in conjunction by a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with specialized training in both Sensory Integration and Neurodevelopmental Treatment and a professor of Early Childhood Education, Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers provides a knowledgeable, yet easy-to-understand study of how to identify and offer practical support for young children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Aimed at pre-school teachers, the book, in my opinion, is a great for parents of young children with possible SPD issues who have not already read more comprehensive volumes or who are looking for easy-to-explain, practical ideas for working with their pre-K children and helping others to do so.

Wide margins, well-spaced and sized fonts, short sections, photographs, bulleted checklists of information, a descriptive table of contents, an appendix summarizing red flags for different SPD types and a comprehensive index all make Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers easy to navigate and digest even with a busy parent’s schedule.

Information is plentiful and useful for parents who wonder if their child might have SPD, those who have a child that has recently been diagnosed with SPD and and those who are looking for further ideas for activities and resources to use with their SPD child. The book provides a concise and clear explanation of:
  • what Sensory Integration is
  • the three main types of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
  • the possible impact on learning of SPD
  • red flags for identifying sensory avoiders, seekers and under-responders for children with visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular and proreceptive issues
Further, it offers relevant information for parents just beginning to understand SPD as well as for those looking for concise ways to explain its implications to others. Rich in suggestions for activities and approaches to use with each type of SPD, as well as in general considerations for such things as selecting manipulative for fine motor activities, creating fun and functional work spaces, encouraging movement experiences and helping children move through daily rhythms, with tips for snack time, toileting, rest time, etc., the book offers a variety of relevant ideas for helping all children in a parent’s care to be sensory smart. And – bonus even for knowledgeable parents of SPD children – there is a section of the book with clear descriptions and photographs to guide folks in creating their own low-cost sensory integration aids – a body sock, a carpet roll, a crash pad, an incline board, a picture schedule, a plexiglass painting wall, a sand pillow, a sound panel and a tire swing. References and resource lists for those seeking further information are also provided.

With all this wonderful information, I find the book quite practical. After reading it, on I have put making choice cards of some of the calming and organizing, alerting and vestibular-seeking children’s activities mentioned in the book on my to-do list. Plus, using the considerations in the book to assess and tweak our home environment, making it more supportive of sensory development, is now even higher on my think-about list. And, I had an ah-ha moment when I realized how easy it would be – using this book as a guide – to create an effective sensory diet for my child, and possibly, a sensory room/space. As all parents and children are unique, I cannot say other parents in my position would have the same to-do’s and think-abouts in mind after reading the book. However, I am confident that with the practical ideas, suggestions and solutions provided in Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers all parents would come away with something.

Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool TeachersI also believe that many parents would find this a useful book to revisit. I know I will be checking in with it again as I continue to develop my son’s sensory diet and ensure my daughter experiences in a sensory smart home environment. Also, as time and resources allow, I would love to make some of the low-cost sensory-support items, following the clear instructions in the book.

Without a doubt, this book earns four stars for me for readability, relevance, practicality and longevity. I know I will be renewing it and taking it out at least a couple more times from the library. As I note how many times I do this, it may even earn its fifth star.

And, since I love sharing great resources with others, I am happy to post this review (and ones to come!) so that others might benefit, deciding if a resource I find worthwhile might be valuable for them, too.  In return, all I ask is that if you have an opinion about a book I have written about, you add a comment - you might have noticed something I didn't that would prompt me to revisit a book - and that if you know of a great resource on Sensory Integration, Early Childhood, Homeschooling, etc., you share it.

Thanks and have a blessed week.

To see what others are thankful for today, please visit the links at Women Taking a Stand.


Denise said...

Such an informative post.

Rocks said...

Thank you so much for leaving kind words in my Thankful Thursday post :) You are so right about the importance of hygiene especially with the kids living in depressed areas. WE really count on your prayers for this ministry with the kids :)

and oh..someday If ever God will give me and my hubby kids I do plan to homeschool them also...

Melissa said...

Your detailed review is sure to be a blessing to someone who needs this book. Thanks for taking the time to post it!

More Than Conquerors said...

Hi Martianne,

Your post is so rich with resources. Surely it is a blessing to those who need these information. So glad to know you are for home-schooling and especially grounding in God's Words. Thank you very much for your visit, prayers and kinds words of encouragements. I am praying that God will continue to bless your ministry and your blog, and make them blessings to many. Take care and have a very blessed weekend.

Warm regards,

Joan said...

Martianne - very informative post. I can tell you care about providing the best education for your children.

Thank you for visiting me and your words of encouragement.


Ladynred said...

Sounds like a good and informative resource. Bless you!!


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