Helpful Book – Building Bridges through Sensory Integration

                                                         The best introduction I can give for this book is that it is written by three Occupational therapists, Ellen Yack, Paula Aquilla and Shirley sutton and each of them has more than twenty five years of experience! This book is a great tool for both parents and therapists as it offers a unique combination of both theory and strategies for helping children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.

The book starts off with a brief introduction to pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) and occupational therapy. The second chapter is all about sensory integration – how it occurs, what you can expect from sensory integration and most importantly what not to expect. The next chapter gives indepth detail of various sensory systems like tactile, vestibular and propioceptive system and describes how a dysfunctional sensory system functions with examples.

Chapter 4 is ‘Identifying problems with sensory integration’. This one helps with sensory screening as has the most exhaustive checklist for identifying difficulties in self care skills and includes dressing checklist, eating checklist, school/work checklist, play checklist and social skills checklist. Let me explain what I mean by the most exhaustive checklist. For example, the dressing checklist has several questions covering all sensory systems individually as responses to touch, propioception, vestibular, visual, auditory and smell/taste.

The next chapter is ‘ Strategies for managing challenging behaviour’ is my favourite one. It deals with sensory diet, Wilbarger protocol for sensory defensiveness, general calming, alerting and organizing techniques, a relaxation technique for children and strategies for solving specific problem behaviour where many behaviours are discussed as to why they occur and what we can try. The sixth chapter is ‘Ideas for self care skills ‘ and sensory strategies and other tips for sleep, dressing, grooming, washing, toilet training, teeth brushing, hair brushing, hair cutting, eating and play.

The seventh chapter is adapting home, school and child care settings, communication between home and school and keeping calm in the class room. The next chapter is ‘suggested activities for sensory diets’ and has numerous suggestions for tactile activities, oral motor activities, fine motor activities, gross motor activities like roughhousing games, silly animal walks, big ball section and scooter board section. The last chapter is ‘ Equipments and resources’ and has many make-it-yourself equipment ideas and resources like suppliers, books, videos and websites.

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