I know, I know…on first glance, my book Raising a Sensory Smart Child, coauthored by Lindsey Biel OTR/L with a foreword by Temple Grandin, does NOT look like summer reading. It’s got a lot of pages and a lot of type (although if you page through, you’ll see we really broke it up with lots of headers and bullet points). But it may be the perfect summer reading for you.
1. Summer is a time when the pressure is off with you and your child. No homework notices, suspensions, calls from the school about unacceptable behaviors and frustrated explanations by you of the sensory issues underlying those behaviors–you get a few months off from those headaches. What’s more, if you’ve got a simple routine going for your child, he or she may be able to be less dependent and clingy than during the school year. That buys you more time to hunker down and do what you’d like to do for yourself. And I am sure that learning some keys strategies for making your life MUCH easier is on your To Do list.
2. Summer’s a time when you want to read a book that doesn’t demand your full attention. Personally, I struggle to dip in and out of fiction and keep track of all those characters, but a book I can read for 1 minute here, 5 minutes there? Love love love it. That’s what Raising a Sensory Smart Child is. Sure, read the first chapter or two to get an overview (why not read a page at a time every time you go to the bathroom? Seriously–I got through the entire first Harry Potter this way! Stay hydrated this summer, pee a lot, and work your way through those pages!). But then just dip into the Practical Solutions for Everyday Problems chapter anywhere and pick up a few tips. Page through til a header grabs your eye and read a page or so. Check out those bulleted lists. You might be surprised at how easy it is to understand the material in the book even without reading an entire chapter, or reading the book front to back.
3. Do the bibliomancy trick. (Excuse the big words–as a writer, I just love to use an obscure word! Bibliomancy is a way of randomly using a book to find information you need). Close your eyes, open Raising a Sensory Smart Child to a random page, plunk down your index finger, open your eyes, and read what you are pointing to. Does it have meaning for you? Don’t be surprised if it is exactly what you need to read today.
Developing sensory smarts doesn’t have to be some big overwhelming project that you mean to get around to and feel guilty about because time has a way of getting away from you. All it requires is learning a little bit, then a little more, then a little more, and applying what you’ve learned. Frankly, it takes time to process it all. You can’t just “inhale” all there is to know about sensory processing disorder and related issues and become an expert overnight (although being prone to anxiety, that’s what I tried to do years ago–the result was a fabulous book and the realization that shoot, it takes time to really “get it”!). I found that even just watching my son play offered the perfect opportunity to relax and begin to muse about what I was learning from my OT and other moms as I was first developing sensory smarts. You have to have time to take it all in, to observe your child, and start finding ways to do just a little better today than you did yesterday. So relax, have a great summer, and dip into Raising a Sensory Smart Child as you would a bag of M&Ms or potato chips–only without the guilt!