Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson

Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson

Do you have a child with sensory issues in your home? Are you looking for answers to help you understand sensory processing disorder (SPD)?  Special Needs Book Review found just the right parenting book to recommend.  Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years:  School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson is the book to buy.

Written by a pediatric occupational therapist and by a parent of a child with special needs, this easy to read guide book addresses most topics you will encounter while raising, caring for, or teaching a child with different needs. Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years is a sequel of sorts to Sensory Parenting: Newborns to Toddlers published in October 2010.

Please Note: This post was updated in May 2016 to include information about Britt Collins latest book, Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities  and to update information about Ms. Collins and how to follow her.

The authors explain that “Sensory Parenting” simply means parenting with your child’s sensory system in mind.  And it also means taking care of your own sensory systems so you can feel good about yourself and you take care of yourself so you may do your up-most for your family. A sensory-friendly parent knows he is in for a long haul because their child will not simply “grow out of” his problems.  Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years has information on finding the right sensory-integration therapy and other resources to help any child with special needs.

Parents learn that acceptance of lifestyle changes and a different parenting style to suit their child’s sensory needs is required. Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years with its wealth of information is the resource book that will guide you to help your child with sensory issues and your family.

About the Book
Sensory Parenting – The Elementary Years: School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy!

Do not let the number of pages intimidate you.  There are 285 pages divided in eleven chapters with four appendixes. The 21 page index makes it very easy to find information quickly; therefore, Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years is a resource that you will refer to often.  Then you have seven pages of resources and references. There are photos, figures, lists, checklists, Mom Tip and OT Tip sections, Social Stories, and above all excellent content well organized in chapters with lots of bold subtitles. Unfortunately the photos are only black and white and some are of poor quality.

This book is for adults who care for children with a range of complications, including but not limited to, sensory processing disorder (SPD), the autism spectrum in general and Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), etc.

Readers will appreciate the numerous bullet formatted lists that allow you in a quick glance to retrieve information. The authors have not left any stones unturned! Here are just a few of the  topics:

  • Games that stimulate the mind and sensory systemsDVD's OT for Children with Autism, Special Needs and Typical,” by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson
  • Possible signs of autism
  • Signs of ADHD
  • What to look for in a child’s yoga class
  • When getting a pet, what to consider
  • Craving  proprioceptive output – heavy-work activities
  • Tips for waiting in line
  • Accommodations for an IEP

The authors are very thorough! They have touched on most issues a family will encounter raising a child with special needs. Britt Collins and Jackie Linder Olson entertain and inform you with their case studies and mommy stories and common sense approach to helping your child. Some of the chapter titles are as follows:Yoga for Children with Special Needs by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson

  • Developmental Milestones
  • Sensory Needs at Home
  • Sensory Needs at School

Many parents will appreciate their four appendices taking twenty-five pages:

  • Sensory-Friendly Meals and Special Diets
  • Pets
  • A Parent’s Role in Play
  • Coexisting Conditions

Throughout the book readers will find ten Q & A Interviews with specialists, experts in their fields, which reinforce the information on various topics. After introducing their “special guest” the authors have a Q & A format that makes these sections very interesting.  Some of their invited guests are:

  • Marla Roth-Fisch, author of Sensitive Sam shares How to Talk to Your Child About SPD
  • Susan Diamond, a licenced speech-language pathologist and author of The Top 100 Social Skills Kids Need to Know
  • Aviva Weiss, pediatric OT, president and cofounder of Fun and Function explains Classroom Sensory Products
  • Randall Redfield, cofounder and CEO of iLs is asked what is the difference between iLs,  AIT, and Therapeutic Listening program.

Collins and Olson shine the light on other experts often in their book.  For those who would like more information on certain topics, the authors often include in their paragraphs the title of books and the name of the authors, company names that sell certain products they mention, and useful web sites.

For all who think their child’s sensory systems are not in sync and who want to learn strategies that teach their child how to self-regulate, grow emotionally, and be healthy and happy do read and keep handy Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years: School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson.

Excerpt from Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years

Winter Clothes
New winter coats can be bulky and stifling, or, worse, too tight and constricting. It’s best if you purchase a coat a size or two too big, and let your child grow into it instead of having it fit snugly right away. Don’t forget that your child will be wearing layers underneath the coat, too. The texture of the coat is very important. Wool may keep you warm, but sometimes wool can be itchy. Think about how the fabric will feel if it gets wet as the snow melts. Remember that your child will be putting the coat on and taking it off again several times in one day to go to school, play outside at recess, come home after school, play outside before dinner, and so on. You get the idea. Make sure the coat is functional and that your child is able to maneuver the zippers and buttons by herself.

Take into account that in the winter, your child will likely need to wear layers. Again, soft, breathable fabrics are a must. When you’re sizing gloves and mittens, make them snug without being tight. As tempting as it is to go big and have your child grow into these items, you don’t want the mittens falling off her hands into the snow. You also have to remember to check the fabrics used and the seams, to make sure they’re comfortable and that they don’t get rough or soggy when wet. Scarves should be made with soft materials. If you can’t find a good pair of earmuffs, you could even use your child’s noise-reduction earphones to help keep her ears warm.

OT Tip: Can’t get your sensory-sensitive child to wear a hat or scarf? Take her to the mall and let her pick out an animal-shaped hat or whatever she thinks is “cool,” and she’ll be more likely to tolerate it. Or, start with trying to put a big silly hat on her during dress-up time, even if it’s only for a few seconds. You can also try to get her to wear sunglasses on top of her head to help her get used to having something touching her head and ears.

About the Authors

Britt Collins MS, OTRBritt Collins, MS, OTR/L:   Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Britt Collins, graduated from Colorado State University over 10 years ago and since then has worked tirelessly on OT and Sensory Integration awareness, research and application. Britt has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric hospital inpatient, ICU, rehabilitation, outpatient clinics, homes, schools and skilled nursing facilities. With her award-winning OT DVD series and two books, “Sensory Parenting: Newborns to Toddlers and Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years,” she’s among the cutting-edge leaders in the field. Her book has received enthusiastic reviews from Dr. Lucy Jane Miller and Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L, and she presents nationwide alongside experts Temple Grandin, Paula Aquilla, Diane Bahr and Carol Kranowitz.

Britt’s professional specialties include: working with children with sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Down syndrome, feeding disorders and more. Britt is also certified to teach yoga for children with special needs ages 0-12. She is working to complete her full yoga certification and her children’s yoga certification. Currently, Britt is practicing in Denver, Colorado in the Cherry Creek School District as well as providing in home early intervention for children ages birth to three for Results Matter Therapy.

For more information on Britt Collins:


Jackie Linder Olson:  Jackie found out upon the birth of her child that “something was wrong” and has spent the last nine years learning about sensory processing disorders to help her son and other families. Upon celebrating the results that her son has had with Occupational Therapist, Britt Collins, Jackie decided to combine her career and passion for OT and created a DVD series to help other parents understand their children’s sensory needs.

The results have been overwhelming and rewarding.  Jackie and Britt co-authored, Sensory Parenting: Newborns and Toddlers, and have now written the next book in the series, Sensory Parenting: Elementary Years.  Recently Jackie has started teaching a class to educate parents on their children’s sensory systems, what to look for and how to help, titled “The Great Parent Sensory Detective.”

Jackie and Britt created an occupational-therapy DVD series for parents, caregivers, and educators, to visually learn the basics of occupational therapy and how to implement it into a child’s daily life. The DVDs include “OT in the Home,” “OT in the School,” “OT for Children with Autism, Special Needs and Typical,” and “Yoga for Children with Special Needs.”

Sensory Parenting: Newborns to ToddlersThe duo co-founded Special Needs United, with the goals of bringing occupational therapy to families of children with special needs. Britt currently resides in Denver, Colorado, and works at the STAR Center with Dr Lucy J. Miller. Jackie resides in Los Angeles, California. Both can be found touring the country, speaking about the benefits of occupational therapy for children.

Read Also:


Buy:Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities - Dec 1 2015 by Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L

  • Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years:  School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson – Oct 5 2012
  • Sensory Parenting, From Newborns to Toddlers: Everything is Easier When Your Child’s Senses are Happy!  – Oct 1 2010 by Britt Collins, Jackie Linder Olson

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.