Customer Review

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely helpful book, BUT..., March 31, 2005
This review is from: The Sensory-Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out-of-Bounds Behavior (Hardcover)
This is a well-researched book that discusses in detail how a child's senses can fall short and "short-circuit", and how this malfunctioning of the senses can be misdiagnosed by clinicians as ADHD or ODD. It gives many helpful tips on how you can help your child thrive at home, in school, with peers, and with your extended family. This is a book that you can keep well into your child's late teens as a reference on how to be your child's best advocate, and how to be the best parent you can be to your child, who has to face unique challenges throughout the rest of his or her life.

I take a star away from my rating because the authors are not clear on whether they endorse occupational therapy as an effective means of dealing with DSI. Granted that this book was born from the personal experiences of both authors, and that both their sons went through occupational therapy, I cannot see clearly their position on the OT treatments needed for DSI.

I understand that both authors are clinical psychologists, i.e., scientists, and that being so, they need to step back and give an objective feedback about certain treatments. So I can appreciate their views on the research that has been done on DSI, its treatments, and the treatments' possible effects on learning.

However, as a parent, I am not looking at rigorous scientific processes, as validating as these are. I want a method or a system of methods that will work with and for my boy, who was diagnosed by a certified OT with DSI.

The authors are right in saying that DSI can be just one of a child's problems, and it would be helpful for both parents and child to consult with a team of professionals, and not just an OT. My son is also working with a therapist who is helping us with behavior modification, such as teaching my son to use words to describe how he feels instead of just lashing out. My son's OT deals with fine-tuning his nervous system, motor skills, and vestibular processing.

The book does give what it promises: practical solutions for meltdowns, tantrums, and unacceptable behavior. What it doesn't give me is the reassurance that the treatment my son is going through is the right one, or that it will work for him. The authors say that their sons improved with OT, but they don't give clear credit to OT as the treatment that helped their sons. In the question-and-answer portion of the book, the only thing I got is the idea that the OT methods used to treat my boy are not related to any study that can demonstrate their effectiveness.

From one mother to another, my question to the authors is: What do YOU think? What is YOUR opinion regarding the effectiveness of OT?

Another issue that boggles me is their statement saying that you can design a sensory diet for your child without consulting an OT. I know that given one stimulus, some children will be hypersensitive to it, others will be hyposensitive, and others, like my son, will erratically go from one reaction to the other. Children will also differ in which sense or senses fail them. I do not regret consulting a professional to guide me in coming up with such a diet for my child. His OT has been incredibly helpful not just in treating his vestibular dysfunction and dyspraxia, but also in helping us understand how this will affect my son's learning (he's in preschool), given his limitations.

All in all, this is a good book. However, it would be better to start off with Carol Kranowitz's book, "The Out-of-Sync Child", which has a clearer stance on the importance and effectiveness of OT.

As for what I think about OT for DSI, I think it has helped my boy considerably. I was fortunate to find a therapist whose son also went to an OT (but for another problem) and is well-versed on DSI. We see his OT more often than his therapist. His OT even helped us find a preschool program with a wonderful, sensory-based curriculum. Four months after he started treatment, my son got into this school and is doing very well academically and socially.
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