Interview Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA. Expert in Sensory Processing Disorder, Author of “Sync” Series

Interview Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA. Expert in Sensory Processing Disorder, Author of “Sync” Series

Our Author Interview Series goes up a notch today with an interview with an expert in sensory processing disorder, Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA.  Her mission is spreading the word about sensory processing disorder (SPD) and how it affects children’s learning and behavior. She has a master’s degree in special education from The George Washington University Graduate School of Education. A former preschool teacher who first noticed sensory challenges among her students, she is now world-renowned as a speaker and expert on the subject of Sensory Processing Disorder.

Her new book in the “Sync” series is “The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years.”  It presents information and advice for tweens, teens, and young adults living with Sensory Processing Disorder, and their parents, and it only came out in the Spring of 2016. It is the long-awaited follow-up to the million-copy bestseller, “The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder.” Now Carol Stock Kranowitz will guide and give parents wise counsel for the next leg of their journey of raising a child with sensory challenges.

For 30 years, Carol has been writing and speaking about SPD, a neurological difficulty in processing sensory information coming in to one’s central nervous system and using this sensory information to function smoothly in daily life.

The first book by Carol we reviewed in 2010 was “The Goodenoughs Get in Sync: 5 Family Members Overcome Their Special The Goodenoughs Get in Sync ~New Edition~ 5 Family Members Overcome their Special Sensory Issues by Carol Knanowitz, Sensory Issues.” It is still one of my favorite books on SPD, and it left a lasting impression on me. I have referred to it often and recommended it numerous times.

All Carol’s books are so reader friendly that any overwhelmed parent looking for hope and help about sensory issues will immediately think she is sitting with a trusted friend giving her advice.

Lorna: Congratulations on another wonderful book on Sensory Processing Disorder!  I am sure parents who had been relying on the information in your other books in the “Sync” series to help them raise their children with sensory issues were happy to learn of your most recent book,” The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years.”

Hope and Help are what parents, therapists, and individuals with SPD will find in “The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up.” I love the way you included personal accounts by contributors. Why did you decide to do this and how did you go about to finding the contributors?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

The clearest describers of growing up with SPD are people who have “been there, done that.” Because they either have SPD or have lived alongside someone growing up with SPD, they truly own that experience. I don’t. So, to write a valid book I borrowed others’ experiences and wove them together through my narrative.

I found the contributors in various ways. Some came to me when they read my first book and said that they had SPD but had never known what it was, until now.  Other contributors introduced themselves to me at conferences, or read about the book project on the Internet, or heard about it from their occupational therapists.  Everyone has a compelling story but not everyone can find a way to tell it, and I wanted to provide that opportunity.

The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years – May 24 2016 -by CAROL STOCK KRANOWITZ, MA,Lorna: Your book has been out for five months now. What comments have you received that have made the effort of writing a 300 page book with an index, a glossary, an appendix about the contributors, lists and links to resources, etc. worthwhile?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

Parents and therapists on write, “We’ve needed this book for years,” and “there is so much [in the book] about your own child that you aren’t even aware of,” and “this book is a MUST READ.” Such comments warm my heart!  In conversations, several readers who are not familiar with SPD have said that first the stories made them sad, because the writers’ lives have been so challenging — and then they came around to view the stories as hopeful and heartening.  The readers realized that almost all the writers have moved forward, growing stronger and wiser every day.

One of the contributors wrote me a thank you note, which says it all.  (Her letter is framed and sits on my desk.) She wrote that she was immensely helped by putting her experiences down on paper.  Additionally, reading about others’ experiences gave a new meaning to many so-called “failures” in her life.  With that understanding comes peace and freedom from self-blame.  She says that now she views her past through a different, more kindly lens and looks forward to her future with renewed anticipation.

Lorna: When kids with sensory challenges become teens and young adults, you wrote that for many individuals “It Does Get Better.”  Can you explain why their sensory issues seem to be less severe?  What is really taking place? Can SPD be cured?In-Sync Activity Cards: 50 Simple, New Activities -by Joye Newman and Carol Kranowitz

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

Growing up means developing better coping skills (usually).  SPD doesn’t get cured.  Its severity may decrease with maturity, and often does, but that is not a given.  The message I want to get across in “The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up” is that SPD gets more manageable over time.  Young people with the condition become self-aware and learn to anticipate and deflect a sensory hurdle ahead.  They can make choices, such as leaving a noisy room or wearing silky, seamless pajamas.  They can push themselves to be more social or physically active because they understand that the effort reaps great benefits.  They can practice skills they want to improve, on their own schedule.  Thus, as their self-awareness and independence develop, they learn to support themselves.  In addition, those who cope the best usually have deep support from others, such as observant, attentive parents, educators, and therapists.

Lorna: Throughout the years, over 500 sponsors have brought you to their communities for presentations, both in the United States and abroad — including Australia, Canada, England, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, … Do you still do presentations?  Is there a common concern among parents, regardless of the country they live in, about the future of their children with Sensory Processing Disorder?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

Yes, I still do presentations.  I LOVE doing presentations.  And no matter what town or country I visit, the concerns are always the same.  Parents everywhere seek assurance that their children will be able to make it in the world.  One mom said, “My son has made incredible progress and will be going to college soon.  I really believe he has the skills now to function autonomously — without me as his prefrontal lobe!”

We all want our kids to survive successfully— to be observant of their surroundings, to be self-protective when necessary, to learn, to have friends, to enjoy life, to be productive citizens, to be valued.

Lorna: Once sessions are set up for a child with an occupational therapist, how important is it for the parents to follow through with appropriate sensory activities at home. What could be some of the “homework” required to speed along sensory integration?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

What cements new learning?  Practice, practice, practice!  The more committed families are to incorporating the therapist’s techniques into home life, the better the child’s progress will be.  One or two hours a week at the clinic will be greatly enhanced by “homework.” This may mean putting the baby on his tummy to develop bilateral coordination and upper body strength.  It may mean hiding coins and buttons in Theraputty and encouraging the preschooler to pull the treasures out to promote fine-motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and tactile processing. As kids grow, it may mean going to the playground or the swimming pool every day for some vigorous gross-motor activity, or providing heavy-work activities like raking and vacuuming, which most kids actually love.  The more our kids move, the harder they put their backs into their activities, the more they’re outdoors, the less time they spend (or waste, rather) on video games and TV, the more competent and confident they’ll be.

Lorna: When a teen that has been diagnosed with sensory issues starts looking into a field of study or work, should he be guided in his choice for a future career taking into account his SPD?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

It all depends.  I suggest that adolescents “follow their bliss,” as the mythologist Joseph Campbell advised.  Temple Grandin believes that a person should be not just allowed but also encouraged to learn everything possible about the subject in which he or she is most interested, even if that subject is unusual, such as her early interest in sliding doors.  “Fixations can be tremendous motivators,” she says.  On the other hand, many young people with SPD tend to get a little too fixed in their favorite enterprises and need to be shoved gently into new realms.

Lorna: After such a successful career and all those award winning books, CD’s & DVD’s, workbooks, presentations, etc. and grandmahood, do you still have projects in your future for parents with children with SPD?

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz:

The next book percolating is “Grandma Goodenough Gets In Sync” about a judgmental, know-it-all grandmother who becomes enlightened after a weekend babysitting for her sensory grandkids.  And maybe after that, “The Out-of-Sync Adult,”  for which I already have tons of wonderful stories that wouldn’t fit in “The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up.”  All I need is the time!

Lorna : Thank you so much for this interview and for your invaluable  resources used by folks all over the world to make the lives of sensory challenged individuals better.

<<Carol Stock Kranowitz: Lorna, answering these questions has been my pleasure.

Follow Carol Stock Kranowitz:

Buy Books by Carol Stock Kranowitz or co-authored by her: Growing an In-Sync Child Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman

  • The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years – May 24th, 2016
  • In-Sync Activity Cards: 50 Simple, New Activities to Help Children Develop, Learn, and Grow! – May 16th, 2012 
  • Growing an In-Sync Child – Fun Activities for Kids to Develop, Learn and Grow – May 4th, 2010 
  • The Goodenoughs Get in Sync: 5 Family Members Overcome Their Special Sensory Issues – April 1st, 2010 
  • The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder Revised Edition by Carol Kranowitz (Author), Lucy Jane Miller (Preface)Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder  – April 4th, 2006 

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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.