(2010) Help Your Child Develop Motor Skills, by Amy Phelps


Help your children develop their motor skills in The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz, M.A., and Joye Newman, M.A.

Child development occurs at different stages, but what can you do to help your child if he or she is a little behind, or “out of sync”?  Based on the authors’ experiences working with children, this book gives you many different, fun activities to do with your children to help fine-tune their development skills.

Because sedentary activities can be a problem, the authors’ In-Sync program requires children to get up and move.  The activities are organized into beginner (skills of a typical preschooler), intermediate and advanced.  There are also “menus” of things to do when your child is out of sorts, at the grocery, getting ready to do homework, instead of going to the playground or video games, just because, before bed and for those interested in music.  There is also a week 1-3 checklist before getting started.

Activities run anywhere from “Amazing Delivery Kid”  to “Arm Circles” to “Singing String,” and much more.  Each activity tells you what it will help your child develop and enhance, what is needed, what to do, how to make it more challenging and what to look for.

The Out-of-Sync Child is published by Perigee, a division of Penguin.  It is $15.95.

(2010) Being an Editor: A Feast for All Senses, by Marian Lizzi

May 4, published in Perigee Bookmarks: Improving Your World One Book at a Time

In my (gulp) twenty years as an editor of nonfiction, I’ve learned countless things from the authors I’ve worked with. Thanks to these amazingly varied and knowledgeable writers, I can hold my own in cocktail-party conversations about the differences between cirrus and stratocumulus clouds, how to carve a pumpkin using a power saw, the history of the phone book, and how to pop a Champagne cork with a sword — among many other topics (I could go on, and I often do, especially after a whiskey smash or two).

But one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned comes from what also happens to be the first book I edited when I came to Penguin in the summer of 2004 — the revised edition of a special-needs bible called The Out-of-Sync Child, which has sold more than 750,000 copies to date.

Here’s what I learned: We have seven senses, not five.

Sure, we’ve got sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. But we also have a sense of what our body is doing, even when we can’t see it (the proprioceptive sense), and a sense of balance (the vestibular sense). When the brain isn’t processing sensory information efficiently, these two senses, along with the others, can be a bit “out-of-sync.”

Working with an author like Carol Kranowitz – whose book has been translated into a dozen languages and has touched countless special-needs parents, educators, therapists, and of course kids – is truly a privilege, and a learning experience.

Now, twelve years after The Out-of-Sync Child was first published, I have the added privilege of working with Carol and her talented new co-author, perceptual motor therapist Joye Newman, on book that, we all hope, will touch an even wider audience.

The Out-of-Sync Child takes the principles of the first book to a new level, because it turns out that ALL kids, not just those with special needs, need to run, jump, roll, skip, and balance on their tip-toes. Why? Because these movements help the brain develop as it’s supposed to.

So take your kids to the park. And let’s go out for a cocktail sometime (but only one, or else my seven senses will start to get a little foggy).

(2009) Making Sense of the Senses by Cynthia Ramnarace

Children who have sensory processing disorder find it hard to take in
the world around them.  By Cynthia Ramnarace
Kiwi Magazine: Growing Families the Natural and Organic Way, January/February 2009

At first, Lisa Copen thought her then-2-year-old son, Josh, was just a high-spirited boy. So when she had trouble keeping up with his endless running and jumping, Copen initially blamed her rheumatoid arthritis.
But as Josh got older, his symptoms became more pronounced.  In preschool he constantly leaned on other children and wanted to hold something in his hand at all times. During mealtimes he refused to eat anything but crunchy foods. “As a mom you think, ‘This
is just a phase’,” Copen says. “But then you’re around these mothers whose kids are eating tofu like it’s the best thing ever, and you start to wonder why your child is different.”

Copen searched for an answer. Autism screenings came back negative, and doctors advised against testing for ADHD until Josh was at least five. But when Copen read The Out-of-Sync Child, by Carol Kranowitz, she learned that kids with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) have difficulty organizing information from their senses into appropriate actions. Josh fit the description perfectly.

SPD is unrecognized by the American Psychiatric Association, despite the fact that it was first identified nearly 4o years ago. Today, occupational therapists receive training on the topic, and a movement is afoot to add SPD to the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. Since many doctors (including Copen’s pediatrician) are not fully versed on the treatment of SPD, Josh goes to an occupational therapist to learn the skills he needs to cope with the disorder.
SPD can manifest itself in different ways. For kids who over-respond to sensational input, stimulation such as lights, noise and touch can be unbearable.  On the other hand, under-responsive children (like Josh) crave constant stimulation.

In general, kids with SPD display “unusual responses to touch and movement,” says Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out-of-Sync Child. According to Kranowitz, these symptoms usually appear early in life. “Some babies don’t like being touched,” she says.  “In other cases, the baby is into everything — he wants more touch and more movement. The child is often either avoiding movement or is only satisfied when moving.”

SPD can lead to motor and behavioral problems, failure in school, anxiety and depression.  “Kids with SPD have low self-confidence,” says Kranowitz. “They say things like, ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I’m no good at that’ before they even try.”  But therapy can help these children succeed at simple activities such as playing on a playground. “The whole attitude improves,” Kranowitz says.  “Suddenly the child is saying, ‘I’m going to try that’ or ‘I’m good at that.’”
Treatment for SPD varies according to a child’s needs. Some kids go to occupational therapy in order to tolerate new foods or permit being touched by other people. For others, physical therapy helps improve balance and reduce clumsiness.

If parents suspect their child may have SPD, they should seek help right away. State departments of health offer early intervention services, and parents can find an SPD-trained therapist through the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, at www.spdfoundation.net.

Sensory processing disorder affects how a person interprets information that’s delivered by the body’s senses. Here’s how the symptoms of SPD manifest themselves in various body systems.

THE TACTILE SYSTEM Some children are over-responsive to physical sensation and avoid being touched or touching new objects. Other kids want to touch everything — and with as much force as possible.

THE VESTIBULAR SYSTEM Children with SPD either love motion and are thrill-seekers who fidget constantly, or they dislike motion and may lose their balance easily and be generally clumsy.

THE PROPRIOCEPTIVE SYSTEM Children might deliberately crash into objects or constantly chew on pencils, shirt collars and toys.  It is difficult for them to plan the necessary steps to complete an action, such as putting on a shirt.

THE VISUAL SYSETM Eye-strain headaches are common, as is moving the head instead of the eyes when reading. These kids also have trouble repeating patterns, such as in a block tower, or stringing beads on a thread.

THE AUDITORY SYSTEM Everything from loud, sudden noises to soft background music can be distressing. SPD kids are also easily distracted by other sounds they hear while trying to participate in a conversation.

(2005) “Great SI Resources for Families” — Review by Trinell Bull

Published in Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners (February 21, 2005)

Finally, a book written in “kid language” to help children with sensory processing disorders understand their senses! The Goodenoughs Get in Sync is a charming story that will delight young readers and adults alike as they learn about sensory modulation disorders, sensory discrimination disorders, and sensory-based motor disorders.

The book describes a tough day in the life of the five-member Goodenough family and their naughty dog, Filibuster. Darwin, 11, who has a sensory-processing disorder, describes a “meltdown.” Edward, 5, is sensory unresponsive, and because of his poor oral-motor skills, has difficulty with his speech. Carrie, age 13, is a “sensory slumper and fumbler,” and she enlightens readers with her challenges with dyspraxia and postural disorders.

The author has cleverly used two different size fonts – one for the main story and another in smaller print that provides technical information on what being “out-of-sync” means. And the story explains occupational therapy by describing how the family benefits from the valuable input of Grace, the Goodenoughs’ occupational therapist.

This book is a quick read for students and parents alike, and it can help explain the valuable role OT plays in unraveling sensory processing challenges. In the appendix, Darwin Goodenough describes the family’s indoor and outdoor sensory diet activities for “self regulation,” along with equipment suppliers, web sites, and a glossary.

This book can be obtained from Sensory Resources, 2500 Chandler Avenue, Suite 3, Las Vegas, NV 89120-4064. www.SensoryResources.com

Trinell Bull is an occupational therapist with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit in Lewisburg, PA, where she serves preschool and school-age children.

(2005) “A Wonderful Book” — Review by Jillian Copeland and Lois McCabe

Published in Washington Parent’s supplement, “All Kinds of Kids” (Spring/Summer, 2005)

The Goodenoughs Get in Sync describes the varying degrees of sensory processing disorders that each of the five Goodenough family members faces. This well written, uniquely styled book catalogs Sensory Modulation Disorder (Sensory Over-Responsivity, Sensory Under-Responsivity, Sensory Seeking), Sensory Discrimination Disorder, and Sensory-Based Motor Disorder (Postural Disorders and Dyspraxia).

Each of the five members of this family describes, from a first person’s point of view, how their bodies feel, how they deal with their differing sensory feelings, and the different activities, strategies and coping mechanisms they use. They detail the exercises, equipment, body movements and dietary changes that enable them to have better control over their sensory systems.

This is a book to read to your children, or for your children to read on their own. It is written in an interactive form so that children with similar processing disorders can understand not only that other people have the same feelings that they do, but they can also begin to understand the reasons their bodies are acting a certain way.

Carol Stock Kranowitz has written a wonderful book that explains, in easy-to-read language, the many troubling and confusing issues that make up sensory processing disorders.

(2002) Review of The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by Maureen Bennie

Review by Maureen Bennie

Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc.

Review of The Out of Sync Child Has Fun

Carol Kranowitz, a former preschool teacher, made us aware of sensory integration dysfunction in children in her first book The Out Of Sync Child. After the success of that book, she then came up with hands-on ideas to help with sensory integration dysfunction. The result is The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, packed with interactive games and activities to help integrate the sensory system for children ages 3 to 12.

If you haven’t read the first book or need a reminder of what sensory dysfunction is, Ms. Kranowitz devotes the first chapter to what it is, the types of dysfunction, and what SAFE activities are. SAFE stands for S= sensory motor, A= appropriate, F= fun and E= easy. All of the activities in the book follow the SAFE principle. There are no expensive materials to buy and the materials are easy to make, some requiring basic sewing, cooking or carpentry skills.

Each activity includes the following information: developmental age which is not the same as chronological age, a list of materials needed, what to prepare, what you can do as an adult in the activity, what the child can do (these are suggestions only), how to vary the activity, the benefits of SAFE activities, coping skills if the child is having difficulty and needs your help, and sometimes there are tips from mothers and what they have tried.

Ms. Kranowitz also outlines the do’s and don’ts of the program to ensure success. Her suggestions such as incorporating the child’s interests, do activities outdoors whenever possible, begin where the child is developmentally, and letting the child “do” are all common sense ideas, but it is surprising how often we stray from these basics for success. Another group of easy tips are called the Seven Drops, again common sense but good reminders. For example, drop your voice even when the child is loud, drop your body and get down on the physical level of the child, and drop the batteries – put away those electronic toys and gadgets and let children use their bodies.

The SAFE activities are organized into two groups: sensory systems which encompass touch, balance and movement, body position, seeing, hearing and smelling/tasting and sensory related skills comprised of oral motor, motor planning, fine motor skills, and bilateral coordination.

Because this book is well laid out and easy to follow, anyone can use this resource effectively such as educators, occupational therapists, educational assistants, speech pathologists, therapists, and parents. One great idea is to leave a copy of this book inside a teacher’s desk for a substitute teacher because there are so many mini lesson plans within the book. The SAFE activities are also fully inclusive and can be enjoyed by all children. There is an excellent cross-reference chart in the appendix which lists each activity, what sensory systems are involved, and what age they are suitable for. The glossary of terms, recommended materials, suggested books, and websites are helpful too.

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun is a timeless classic that will provide years of activities as the child grows. Because of the flexibility of these simple activities, one can increase the level of difficulty as the child develops. No resource library is complete without this affordable and user friendly book.±

(1999) “A Great Start” — Review by Lee Pennington Neill, PhD

Published in Sensory Integration Quarterly, a publication of Sensory Integration International, Inc. (Spring/Summer 1999)

Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A., has done us all a favor in writing The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I think the title is inspired. Ms. Kranowitz should be very proud of her accomplishment, because she has helped many parents who previously approached their child’s teachers and doctors with “gut feelings” that something was wrong, but with little support for those feelings. She has done a fine job of explaining sensory integration for parents and teachers.

While I may not agree with every explanation or recommendation, I am glad to have this carefully written reference. There is plenty of information shared, a healthy index, a much-needed glossary and some excellent referral sources. The questionnaires offered will help educate users and recipients as to what behaviors may relate to sensory integrative dysfunction.

Dr. Larry Silver, who served as a board member for SII, writes a compelling introduction to the book. His statement, “We need to remember that behaviors are a message, a symptom, not a diagnosis,” should be posted in every classroom and doctor’s office in the country. I believe that educators in particular, but also professionals in ancillary fields, will benefit from this resource…

This is the first comprehensive book about sensory integrative dysfunction for parents and teachers, and it’s a great start. I hope more books follow. I will recommend this book as an accompaniment to Dr. Jean Ayres’ revised and updated book, Sensory Integration and the Child (2005, www.wpspublish.com ) and to the audio cassettes, Making Sense of Sensory Integration (2004) and Teachers Ask About Sensory Integration (2005) (www.SensoryResources.com ).

(1999) “Optimistic Appraisal of Children” — Review by Marcia Rubinstien, M.A., C.E.P.

Published in The Support Report, A Newsletter for Families with Unique Children (A Publication of SHARE Support, Inc.) (August/September 1999)

As the mother of a child who lives his life in polar opposition to most of society’s norms, I am constantly scanning the literature to make him feel better about himself, and equally importantly, to make me feel better about his future. I didn’t have to scan multiple chapters of Carol Kranowitz’s informative book to know that this was a volume I would read, underline, reread, quote, and ultimately idealize.

The front cover states, “If your child has been labeled with words like difficult, picky, oversensitive, clumsy, or inattentive… there may be a new explanation – and new hope.” Hope is a commodity I constantly seek to replenish. After all, I am the mother of the child who walked off the soccer field at age six, while motivated members of his peer group were scurrying up and down as though their lives depended on it. “Mom,” he asked, “What is the point of this?” The same child refused to join any line initiated by a teacher, insisted on placing periods after every word in a sentence because, “We stop after every word, don’t we?” and divided much of his classroom time between balancing precariously on his chair like a clumsy acrobat and picking himself up off the floor after the chair had succumbed to the pull of gravity.

So when Carol Kranowitz talked about Sensory [Processing Disorder], I listened.

I learned how children with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) have problems developing the ability to process information through their senses. I learned about the exquisite subtleties of sensory processing difficulties. I began to understand how my child could look fine and have superior intelligence, but still be awkward, clumsy, fearful, withdrawn, and hostile. I developed new hope and compassion for my son as I learned how [SPD] affects children’s behavior.

Kranowitz teaches parents to recognize Sensory [Processing Disorder] by including case histories and checklists of common symptoms. She describes the senses in a clear and thorough manner, and explains how to tell if your child has a problem with the vestibular or proprioceptive sense. But most of all, I welcomed the author’s optimistic appraisal of children who may seem out-of-sync with their environments. To parents who wonder if their children will become out-of-sync adults, she says, “Your child has a good chance of developing into a competent, self-regulating, smoothly functioning grown-up if he or she receives understanding, support, and early intervention.”