Articles

(2004) In Praise of Mud

Published in S.I. Focus (Winter issue), and adapted from a 1990 article originally in Carol’s column, “Gentle Reminders,” in Parent and Child magazine

A child comes to school on a soggy day. Tentatively approaching a puddle, she sticks in one spotless boot, watching with interest as her foot sinks into the mud. She puts in the other boot. She is entranced. Looking up, she says to her teacher, “Is this mud? It’s fun! Is it okay?”

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(2005) Indoor Obstacle Courses for Parents and Teachers

Published in Sensations, Volume 3, Issue 2, September, a newsletter for the benefactors and friends of The KID Foundation (now STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder)

 
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and kids gotta climb, jump, and balance. While dangling from banisters, scooting under turnstiles, teetering on curbs, and jumping into puddles may dismay grown-ups, children persist with good reason.

How do kids learn to think and relate to the world around them? By scanning their surroundings; touching wooden, metal, rubber, or concrete surfaces; grasping and releasing handholds; changing body positions; maintaining equilibrium; and experimenting with different movement patterns. Furthermore, they are having fun, and “fun,” Dr. Ayres wrote, “is the child’s word for sensory integration.”

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(2010) Revelation from a Paper Plate

Published in S.I. Focus, Summer issue

Imagine coming to one of my “Getting Kids in Sync” presentations. You are here to learn new strategies for supporting children with SPD. At the door, you receive a warm welcome, a hefty handout, and two paper plates.

Get a cup of coffee and snack, but please, do not put food on the plates. We’ll use them in many different ways — just not for bagels and berries!

During our synergetic day, one activity is drawing on a paper plate.

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(2010) Two “Look-Alikes”: Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder

Published in National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Beginnings — A publication dedicated to the young minds of America from the NAMI Child & Adolescent Action Center, Summer issue

Brian is inattentive, impulsive, and fidgety. Does he have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – or Sensory Processing Disorder? Recognizing the differences between these two disorders and providing appropriate treatment can greatly benefit children and adults like Brian.

Like ADHD, SPD is a neurological problem affecting behavior and learning. Unlike ADHD, SPD is not treated with medicine. Instead, occupational therapy using a sensory integration framework (“OT-SI”) helps most. This therapy addresses underlying difficulties in processing sensations that cause inattention and hyperactivity.

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(2012) Be Still: Tips for Keeping Squirmy Kids in Their Seats

Published March 15, on StrollerTraffic.com

Squirmy, wiggly kids can really try a mom’s patience. Sit still. Pay attention. Be polite. Uh-huh. Good luck with that.

“Scolding a child probably won’t get him to sit quietly,” says Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out-of-Sync Child, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, and co-author of In-Sync Activity Cards.  “It’s frustrating because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, but wiggly kids are just trying to get their bodies organized; they’re seeking sensory input. So let’s get them some input.”

With that in mind, here are Kranowitz’s tips for getting the wiggles out.

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(2014) Focus on Survival Skills: When the Lights Go Out

Published in Sensory Focus, Summer issue

An advertisement from an electric power company dropped through my mail slot today, shouting, BLACKOUT: Could It Happen Again? It got me thinking about survival skills. When an outage occurs and we can’t switch on the electric power, we must switch to our own power to get from place to place, prepare meals, communicate with others, and entertain ourselves.

Will we be prepared? Especially those among us with SPD and other physical challenges?

Alas, so much is done for us these days that we all are becoming “do-ees” instead of “do-ers.” Learned helplessness is everybody’s problem.

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(2013) The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up

Published in Sensory Focus magazine, Winter issue

If you are seeking information about SPD’s effect on children, you are in luck. An abundance of books is available to help parents, teachers, and other non-OTs learn to recognize SPD characteristics and support “out-of-sync” kids at home and school.

Alas, should you seek information about SPD’s effect as children mature, you will find fewer choices. Reader-friendly resources that describe “what happens next” are hard to write and hard to find.

Worrying and wondering, parents and teachers have many questions about their kids’ future.

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(2012) Growing In-Sync Children

Co-authored with Joye Newman and published in TYC – Teaching Young Children/Preschool, Vol. 6, No. 1, October/November

Between birth and about six, children learn about their world by feeling it and moving their body through it. The more opportunities children have to move, the more they will feel comfortable in their bodies — and “In Sync” with the world.

Are your students In Sync? Consider them as you look at the quiz below. The more checks, the more likely your classroom is filled with “In-Sync” children.

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(2012) Three Children Get ‘In Sync’

Co-authored with Joye Newman and published in The Educational Therapist, Vol. 33, No. 2, October

Imagine what it is like for children who are expected to do more than their bodies are ready to do.  Any one of the In-Sync components that is immature or lacking can significantly compromise a child’s ability to succeed in the world.  (“In-Sync” components are the three interrelated sensory, perceptual-motor, and visual systems, described in Growing an In-Sync Child, Perigee, 2010.)

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(2002) Wisdom from a Preschool Teacher

Posted on Child.com, September

A mother tells me how excited she is about her toddler’s “educational” computer game. Just click the mouse and presto – one, two, three oranges bound into a bucket. Click again, and they reappear, one, two, three. Isn’t that a fabulous way to learn counting? What is my opinion, as a preschool teacher?

“How about giving him a bucket and three oranges?” I ask. “Then he can touch and hold them, smell them, toss them, and enjoy a real experience.”

“That seems so old-fashioned!” she says.

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(2001) Taking Care of Yourself When Your Child Has Special Needs

Unpublished – Written for the now-defunct clubmom.com, August 2001

Before takeoff, you buckle your seatbelt and listen to the flight attendant review emergency procedures. You hear that if the oxygen masks drop, you should adjust your own before assisting your child. Likewise, if you are on a lifelong journey as a special mom, you must care for yourself so you can effectively care for your child.

Self-care, however, requires TLC (Time, Liberty, Cash), resources often in short supply.

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