Category: Books

I’m All Right Book Review by Larry Haddock, a survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury

I’m excited to share Larry Haddock’s book about his life and experience with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Larry and I met at Brigham Young University during our freshman year. He and his friends were just as Larry describes them in his book. Since I’ve known Larry, he’s always had a zany sense of humor and has no shame about it. Larry loves to make people smile and laugh. Larry and I were acquaintances during this time and I’m grateful that we knew each other well enough to remember one another when we met again 5 years later. After graduating from OT school in Colorado, I started my first job as an occupational therapist in Ogden, Utah, where I’d grown up and Larry’s family had recently moved. In that small circle of therapy in Ogden our paths have crossed many times in the past decade and a half.  I loved reading Larry’s book and recognizing his humorous optimism among the names of BYU college friends and therapy friends from Ogden. Larry has often reminded me as we’ve crossed paths, that my OT title really stands for “occupational terrorist”.

Larry survived a car accident after he had recently returned home from a mission in Spain for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was attending Brigham Young University. His book shares his life story, highlighting important experiences and people before and after that have kept him strong through his life-altering traumatic brain injury.

I am inspired by the picture of Larry’s determination in the rehab gym, wearing a sweat-soaked t-shirt, walking on a treadmill while an uneven thump of his left foot is heard in the background. Larry’s friend, Hope, describes this scene so perfectly in the forward of the book. Larry inspires me to keep pushing through life’s challenges, even at a slow pace and in my sweaty mess.

Larry and I started out on similar life paths. Our paths look quite different now. I’ve often pondered this. But as I read his book, I realize that our life’s missions are still the same. We are still striving for the same purposes: serving others with Christ-like love,  enjoying and caring for our spouses and families, and continuing to progress personally and professionally. Larry and I (and many others) are all still very much the same in our purpose despite the difference in our life’s circumstances. Larry gives me hope and inspiration to keep going despite my challenges, with a smile on my face.

This book is quite an accomplishment for Larry and I only expect more from him in the future. He not only inspires, but gives a realistic picture of life after a TBI. Anyone in the Utah area who reads this will also be introduced to a variety of community resources that Larry has found to support his quality of life to continue to participate in fulfilling his life roles.

Larry truly has a gift of optimism to inspire others. Larry’s voice in this book is the real, authentic Larry. He’s been blessed with such a wonderful support system of family, friends and professionals who have made possible his determination to reap the rewards of accomplishment. All will be inspired as you read Larry’s story.

You can buy Larry’s book at lulu.com. He also did a short interview about his book on Good Things Utah.

Sensory Processing 101 Book Review

The odds are that you know someone with Sensory Processing Disorder, also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. You may not yet understand, but some of their strange, annoying and aggravating behaviors may have a basis in Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD.  I´ve been treating children with Sensory Processing Disorder for 15 years and I recognize that when parents have finally sought out a diagnosis or answers to questions about their child, it’s been after years of confusion and frustration. When they are at this point, they are exhausted and need some desperate help.

The reason I love Sensory Processing 101 is because it is full of quick and helpful explanations, ideas and resources to get you started, even before you finish the book. The appealing and playful visual layout of the book makes it easy to skim through, find what you need most, then come back and read more thoroughly later. There are many great books about Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction that are thorough with detailed explanation of the neurology and theories of sensory integration. I highly recommend many of these books to parents and other professionals. But many parents don´t usually have the time or energy to read through detailed neurology before they understand how to help their children. Sensory Processing 101 is a great resource for overwhelmed parents who need some ideas quickly.

The authors of the book are 2 occupational therapists, a physical therapist and an early childhood educator who has a child with Sensory Processing Disorder whom she home schools. Almost every chapter is focused on a different sensory system with a therapist perspective, a parent perspective and teacher perspective.

I highly recommend this book for teachers wanting to understand students with sensory processing difficulties in their classroom. The research incidence indicates every teacher has a student with these challenges in their classroom. I understand that teachers are busy and are in need of constant learning to be better teachers, so their time is limited. Sensory Processing 101 is such an easy resource for teachers to use to understand some of their students, as well as gain helpful ideas to start trying immediately.

The book has great suggestions of sensory activities that are easy to implement with all children in a family or in a classroom setting. They have even created supply lists to easily start these activities in your own home or school. All children will enjoy and be excited about participating. No fancy or expensive equipment is needed for these activities!

The end of the book is full of accessible resources for Sensory Processing Disorder, including books, websites and online support groups. It also includes screening checklists for SPD if you are concerned about a certain child.

You can order Sensory Processing 101 in paperback from Amazon. Or at sensoryprocessing101.com, you can buy it in print or digital formats.

Start with Sensory Processing 101 for a quick jump start to understanding, screening and helping children with sensory processing difficulties! If you ever need help in your home with sensory processing concerns, I’d love to help you in Weber, Davis, Morgan counties in Utah!

 

*I am part of the Amazon Associates Program. If you choose to buy this book from Amazon, I’d love for you to purchase it through the link on my website to help support the work I do with Yums Theraplay! Thank you!

Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating Book Review

Parents of children with feeding difficulties need to take advantage of this book, Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating by Katja Rowell, MD (family doctor and feeding specialist) and Jenny McGlothlin, MS, SLP (speech language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding disorders). I’m a reader and reading is a preferred learning method for me personally. Repetition in learning feeding therapy strategies is always beneficial for parents. I’ve not seen a book so appropriately written, specifically for parents, to address feeding difficulties for children before. This book would be a great addition to participating in feeding therapy with your child. Really, I feel like this is a great summary of what I teach parents during a 3-4 month period of weekly feeding therapy.

Often, I remind parents of recommendations I’ve given in the past and they have forgotten. This book would be great to read before, during or after a child has received feeding therapy. It would really solidify the information given and parents could refer back to it easily.

If your child hasn’t started feeding therapy, I suggest reading this book one chapter at a time. Remember that I said it’s a good summary of what I teach parents over 3-4 months at a time? It is a large amount of information and could possibly be overwhelming all at once. Read a chapter, then take a week or two to really think and start applying the suggestions at home. Then go on through chapter by chapter like this until you’ve finished the book.

The philosophy of feeding therapy presented in this book addresses the importance of decreasing anxiety around food first, then to encourage and facilitate building skills in a trusting and safe mealtime environment. It mirrors my own feeding therapy philosophy. Towards the end of the book, the authors also discuss finding a feeding therapist and program that is a good fit for your child and family.

The book is written with a compassionate and realistic understanding of what children and parents go through when a child isn’t eating well. The authors structure the book around Jenny McGlothin’s STEPS+ feeding therapy approach.

STEP 1: Decrease Anxiety, Stress and Power Struggles.

STEP 2: Establish a Structured Routine

STEP 3: Have Family Meals

STEP 4: Know What to Serve and How to Serve It

STEP 5: Build Skills

Buy this book! Here is the Amazon link: Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating. The book’s publisher, New Harbinger Publications even has digital downloads to help implement book suggestions.

I provide feeding therapy services in children’s homes in Davis, Morgan and Weber counties in Utah. If I am not in your area, Feeding Matters has compiled an extensive list of international feeding professionals. I’d love to help your family!

 

*I am part of the Amazon Associates Program. If you choose to buy this book from Amazon, I’d love for you to purchase it through the link on my website to help support the work I do with Yums Theraplay! Thank you!

 

Wonder Book Review

I read a delightful book, Wonder, over the holidays, written by R.J. Palacio. I had a friend tell me how much she loved it and then my 5th grader told me they were reading it in class. I’ve seen it highlighted on Goodreads and Audible (my two very favorite reading apps). I needed something light-hearted and easy to listen to (I’m the biggest fan of audiobooks by Audible) during my Christmas break, so I decided to try it. I had no idea what a gem I’d found! (You can Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks here.)

Because I work with children with special needs, this book immediately grabbed my attention from the beginning. It begins with Auggie’s voice as he begins 5th grade as a new student, in fact, it is the very first time he’s gone to school outside his home. Auggie has a variety of medical complications that gives him significant craniofacial abnormalities. Auggie says, “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” He has always been homeschooled by his mom because of his many surgeries and recovery periods until now. He and his family are too familiar with the reactions of others when they see his face, which is why he spent much of his childhood wearing an astronaut helmet out in public.

Some of the hardest cases I’ve worked with as I’ve seen children with special needs, are the children who are aware of how very different they are. Many of these children are very bright and aren’t fooled into thinking they fit in with their peers. They understand the expectations and norms of adults and their peers and also are very aware that they are not meeting those expectations and norms. It’s emotionally heartbreaking as you watch them work so hard to fit in, but many times you realize, they probably never will. Auggie would be an example of this. I love hearing his thoughts and emotions through his reality.

After settling into the book and getting acquainted with Auggie, I absolutely was surprised with excitement to hear Auggie’s sister, Via, to take a part in Auggie’s story! Every child with special needs is part of a family and many times we forget that larger unit and how perspectives change when you look from another angle. Siblings of children with special needs usually carry an unseen load that is rarely recognized. I was the oldest sibling in a family that had a child with special needs. Even as an adult, as I listened to Via, my own memories and emotions were echoed vividly in her voice.

R.J. Palacio continues offering realistic and different voices from childhood friends surrounding Auggie and Via. Hearing only children’s voices, thoughts and perspectives was refreshing and enlightening. We often hear too much talking from the adults and rarely listen to the children who have valuable lessons to teach us.

This is a book that I will definitely have my own children read. I want them growing up seeing many other perspectives so they are at ease building relationships with many different people. I’m so happy that my child’s own 5th grade teacher was wise enough to implement this into her curriculum already! I can’t think of a person I wouldn’t recommend this book to!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God…or whatever politically correct spiritual representation of universal goodness you happen to believe in.” –Mr. Tushman

Thank you R.J. Palacio!

Have you or your children read Wonder? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

*I am part of the Amazon Associates Program. If you choose to buy this book from Amazon, I’d love for you to purchase it through the link on my website to help support the work I do with Yums Theraplay! Thank you!