No Longer A Secret book, written by Doreit Bailer and Lucy Jane Miller, carries forward the treasure chest of information from where the earlier book, Helpful Book – Sensational Kids stops. In the earlier book, you are given a brief idea of implementing A SECRET, but this book delves in depth into this amazing technique of helping kids with SPD. This concept helps parents/therapists to devise strategies that support the child in times of sensory challenges. Its not a static list of activities like a sensory diet, instead this concept is dynamic system, wherein, we troubleshoot any sensory challenge and come up with tailor-made solutions for your kiddo.
The first chapter is The eight sensory systems, sensory processing and SPD, which provides a brief introduction ( Refer Sensational Kids for detailed information). The six types of SPD discussed are :
Sensory Modulation Disorder – Sensory Overresponding
– Sensory Underresponding
– Sensory Craving
Sensory Based Motor Disorder – Postural Disorder
Sensory Discrimination Disorder – Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, Vestibular, Proprioceptive, Tactile and Interoceptive.
“A SECRET” is an acronym and stands for a dynamic way to assess and problem solve a sensory challenge for a child.
A = Attention – ways to make the activity more interesting for your kiddo so that his attention increases.
S = Sensation – how some type of sensory input can help your kiddo ( eg. Heavy work)
E = Emotional Regulation – ways to help the child’s emotional regulation before or during an activity (eg. Listening to music)
C = Culture/Context or Current Conditions – figuring out a way to change the current situation to make it easier for your kiddo ( eg. modifying his routine to provide sensory breaks,etc.)
R = Relationships – keeping a positive and encouraging relationship with your kiddo.
E = Environment – modifying the environment or surroundings to make it more sensory friendly.
T = Task – Simplifying the task and teaching it in small steps.
Let me elaborate with an example from the book, helping a girl with sensory over-responsivity go on a movie date with friends – using the ‘ A SECRET’ system, you can help the kiddo by using weights and pressure to calm her during the movie (modifying sensation) , using deep breathing, chewing gum/popcorn during movie time ( modifying culture/context/current situation) , give her a mobile phone to call and ask you to pick her up when necessary ( relationship), etc. I guess you got the general idea how this works.
All the six types of SPD listed above are discussed in separate chapters, with how it manifests in visual domain, auditory domain, etc. along with principles of intervention that are of immense help to a parent to problem-solve a sensory challenge, elaborating the system of ‘A SECRET’ with an example and last but not least, activity suggestions. This is my favourite part of the book as it gets to crux of the problem – implementing ‘A SECRET’ and does a wonderful job of explaining it.
If you are parent of a sensory kiddo, read this book, you will learn a wonderful way to help your kiddo face challenging sensory experiences. You will learn to trouble shoot the problem on your feet and most importantly, help your child handle the situation.
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