Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration

Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration

Looking for practical advice on sensory processing disorder, sometimes called sensory integration dysfunction? You need this resource book, Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration: Forms, Checklists, and Practical Tools for Parents and Teachers by Jane Koomar, Carol Kranowitz, Stacey Szklut, et al. The authors provide teachers and parents information how sensory issues affect a child’s abilily to learn and their behavior.

Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration should be in the hands of all who work with and want to make the world a better place for sensory challenged individuals. I have three scenarios that show that using the numerous, reproducible forms, checklist, charts and practical information about sensory integration in this book could really improve the lives of many families coping with sensory processing disorder (SPD).

The first edition of Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration came out in 2000. Then new editions came out in 2001, 2004, and 2005. The booklet was the Winner of a Learning® Magazine 2004 Teachers’ Choice Award! Future Horizons, Inc. published the 3rd edition in 2007. This booklet is surely a timeless, tried and true resource for parents and teachers.

The authors list a number of problems in learning, motor development, or behavior that may be obseved when the process of sensory integration is disordered. The checklists are different for different age groups. You will find four checklists from an Infant and Toddler Checklist (Birth to Age Two) to an Adult/Adolescent Checklist (Age Twelve to Adult). If the children under your care exhibit any of the following have your child evaluated.

  •  Overly sensitive to touch, movements, sights, or sounds
  •   Under-reactive to sensory stimulation
  •   Unusually high/low activity level
  •   Coordination problems
  •   Delays in academic achievement or activities of daily living
  •   Poor organization of behavior
  • Poor self-concept

Scenario 1: Early Intervention Is KEY!

Early intervention is key! How often do parents hear this? How often do we hear how difficult it is for parents to get professional help for their special needs child when he/she is a toddler? Often when finally a diagnosis is given, the parents say they had a gut feeling that all was not right. If it is their first child they are not really sure what is normal or not. Sometimes parents are not sure what symptoms to look for or how to explain to a professional, therefore before things get done their child has missed out on important, early intervention. What could prevent this?

The booklet, Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration, contains numerous, reproducible and charts that will alert parents of young children to the red flag signs of sensory processing disorder. By completing these checklists and consulting their family doctor to get the ball rolling they can access the wonderful early childhood intervention programs paid for by our governments to give a head start to our special needs children.

The Infants and Toddlers Checklist (Birth to Age Two) and the Preschool Checklist (Age Three to Four) provided by the Occupational Therapy Associates—Watertown, P.C. gives parents of young children with a very detailed evaluation of sensory integration issues. When meeting with a professional, armed with these completed forms/checklists, they are surely going to be listened to and obtain faster results. Copies of these placed in safe keeping in the child’s folder will also serve as a reference to compare their child’s progression.

When this child, who has been receiving help already for a few years, reaches school age he will be much more ready to sit in primary class with his peers. Moreover the files and early intervention care already started will be passed along to the school and accommodations will be put in place immediately for a seamless transition to school.

Scenario 2: Getting Parents and Professional on the Same Page

Parents, teachers, and therapists sometimes have communication problems. Sometimes regular classroom teachers, music or gym teachers, and special needs teachers in the same system have trouble getting their message across to each other.  Why? All are child-focused and dearly wish to help the special needs child or student but they are not using the same words or description of the problems. What could be the missing link? A common checklist would be a practical tool for all parties involved resulting in efficient, expedient help for the awaiting child and overwhelmed parents.

What could be better than being evaluated by the team of experts who wrote the booklet? So school boards do not have to reinvent the wheel! Each board does not have to hire professional consultants to draw up evaluation forms or checklists. The common link, what can get all parties involved in the care of a child talking the same language is in this booklet.

Scenario 3: Homeschooling Families

The dedication of homeschooling parents is remarkable. One of the strong points of homeschooling is that the child does not have to measure up to all the others in a regular classroom. He can advance at his own pace. However often for special needs children professional help is required and earlier the better.

For homeschooling parents who want to make sure their child has no sensory processing problems and especially for those who have a gut feeling all is not right with their child the checklists in Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration are just the resource they need… inexpensive, easy to fill out, and written so all parents can understand.

Balzer-Martin Preschool Screening—Teacher Checklist

Also found in this booklet is the Balzer-Martin Preschool Screening—Teacher Checklist comprising of eighteen questions soliciting only a yes or no answer with space for added comments. When a student raises a red flag, this screening tool would be filled by the teaching staff and the completed forms become the basis for meetings about how best to serve the needs of the child. For busy school staff this is a time saver that delivers concrete, doable solutions.

Checklists of Characteristics of Most Sensory Dysfunctions

These lists are to help the user gauge whether a child has a particular dysfunction. As you check recognizable characteristics you will see an emerging pattern that may suggest your child is affected by SPD.

Much More Than Forms and Checklists

In the Introduction, Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out-of-Sync Child and The Goodenoughs Get in Sync, writes that Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects up to 20% of students. Also called dysfunction in sensory integration, SPD interferes with a child’s motor coordination, muscle tone, fine motor skills, visual perception, and relationships with others. Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration will help teachers become more skilful in reaching and teaching these challenging children.

As an added bonus the booklet ends with two pages of Heavy Work Activities List for Teachers, a glossary and twenty-five resource entries. The Catalog list points you to companies that sell educational and therapeutic materials for clinics, school or home from award winning audiotapes, CD’s, videos, and books related to sensory integration and sensory processing disorder to products that facilitate calming and focusing. The twelve Organizations listed have contact information regarding federally funded programming, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping parents and professionals learn strategies for helping special needs children, and foundations that focus on research, education, and advocacy related to SPD.

About the Authors:

Carol Kranowitz, MA, has been a preschool teacher for more than twenty-five years. She has developed an innovative program to screen young children for Sensory Processing Disorder, and writes and speaks regularly about the subject. She has an M.A. in Education and Human Development. She is the author of the bestselling book The Out of Sync Child, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow and other excellent resources.

Jane Koomar, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is owner and executive director of Occupational Therapy Associates – Watertown, in Watertown, MA. There they train university students and therapists in occupational therapy, and treat about 250 clients a week. They diagnose and provide intervention for children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities, ADD, fine & gross motor disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. She and her colleagues have also established The Spiral Foundation in 2002, to support continuing research on Sensory Integration Disorder.

Stacey Szklut, MS, OTR/L, Deanna Iris Sava, MS, OTR/L, and Lynn Blazer-Martin, PhD, OTR, are all expert occupational therapists.  A Teacher’s Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder was written by Carol Kranowitz and Stacey Szklut.

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This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.