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Silver Winner, National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA)—Parenting Resources
Gold Honoree, Mom’s Choice Awards—Parenting–Special and Exceptional Needs
Every year, tens of thousands of young children are diagnosed with disorders that make it difficult for them to absorb the external world. Parents of sensory kids—like those with sensory processing disorder, anxiety disorder, AD/HD, autism, bipolar disorder, and OCD—often feel frustrated and...
Silver Winner, National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA)—Parenting Resources
Gold Honoree, Mom’s Choice Awards—Parenting–Special and Exceptional Needs
Every year, tens of thousands of young children are diagnosed with disorders that make it difficult for them to absorb the external world. Parents of sensory kids—like those with sensory processing disorder, anxiety disorder, AD/HD, autism, bipolar disorder, and OCD—often feel frustrated and overwhelmed, creating stress in everyday life for the whole family. Now, with The Sensory Child Gets Organized, there’s help and hope.
As a professional organizer and parent of a sensory child, Carolyn Dalgliesh knows firsthand the struggles parents face in trying to bring out the best in their rigid, anxious, or distracted children. She provides simple, effective solutions that help these kids thrive at home and in their day-to-day activities, and in this book you’ll learn how to:
-Understand what makes your sensory child tick
-Create harmonious spaces through sensory organizing
-Use structure and routines to connect with your child
-Prepare your child for social and school experiences
-Make travel a successful and fun-filled journey
With The Sensory Child Gets Organized, parents get an easy-to-follow road map to success that makes life easier—and more fun—for your entire family.
“Every year tens of thousands of children are diagnosed with disorders that affect their ability to process sensory information and deal with their everyday environments. Carolyn Dalgliesh has skillfully identified techniques, strategies and practical organizing solutions that will provide these children – and their families – the much needed structure, peace and calm they need. The Sensory Child Gets Organized will enable parents to better deal with their child’s challenging sensory behavior and connect more deeply with those we love the most – our children.”
“Carolyn Dalgliesh has provided a much needed guide book to help parents meet the challenges of raising a sensory child. … The book bridges the gap between therapeutic support and practical organizational strategies by guiding the parent … with compassionate solution oriented techniques. Carolyn's book is a must for any parent who is tired of nagging and wishes to help their child become self-reliant.”
"Carolyn Dalgliesh offers us a clear picture of the many behaviors exhibited by children with sensory issues, more importantly she offers practical suggestions and systems parents can use while helping their child succeed in school and life. Keep this book close at hand; you will refer to it often."
“Carolyn’s accessible style and practical examples empower parents with knowledge of simple strategies that will make meaningful differences in the lives of their sensory children, and in turn their own. The Sensory Child Gets Organized includes a breadth of strategies covering the routine (e.g., morning schedule) to the not so routine (e.g., the family vacation)… readers will find relatable examples and realistic advice for implementation for these events and everything in between. Carolyn’s passion for sensory organizing is clear throughout the book. It is apparent that she lives by these principles, personally and professionally, and that they have revolutionized her life and the lives of her clients.”
“Packed with superb strategies for creating calming sensory spaces, reassuring routines and checklists, organizing overwhelming environments and more, this is a sensational book for helping kids with sensory challenges to feel and function better every day.”
“Carolyn Dalgliesh braids her organizing expertise with evidenced-based practices to give the reader a road map on how to help their child be more successful at home, at school and in the community. Her proven systems are easy to understand and to set up. I think parents and professionals alike will find many important strategies in this book for their children, students or themselves!”
“A brilliant book. From the opening paragraph and throughout, you know you are in the hands of a master tactician, an expert who knows her stuff cold, and a loving parent who's been there and back. Hugely practical, chock full of pearls, and written with sweet tenderness, Dalgliesh's book immediately becomes the go-to book on the subject."
"Kids with SPD live in a chaotic world paved with bumps at every turn that sabotages their efforts to do ordinary tasks needed to succeed in the world and creates on-going frustration, failure, distress and anxiety. Carolyn Dalgliesh’s well organized and easy to follow book offers strategies to greatly help smooth out their path so these kids can navigate their day to day world more smoothly and successfully."
“It is imperative that all professionals, parents, and family members understand the intricacies and special talents of those with sensory processing disorder. In her book The Sensory Child Gets Organized, Carolyn Dalgliesh provides an insightful, creative, and most positive look at a child with sensory processing disorder. This work will soon be a 'go-to' book to learn how to support this very sensitive, delicate and often gifted child.”
The Sensory Child Gets Organized
Imagine your mornings at home with your child running more peacefully. You knock on the door, ask him to get dressed, and head down to the kitchen. He selects a shirt from one bin, jeans from another, and has time to run downstairs and enjoy a quick breakfast. When it’s time to head out the door, he grabs his backpack (packed the night before) from his backpack hook, grabs his shoes that are waiting in his shoe bin, and leaves for school.
In the afternoon, he comes home, has a snack, and pulls out a homework plan sheet that helps him map out a homework time/break time schedule. After getting through some of the hardest homework, he takes a planned fifteen-minute break in his room playing with his action figures. At dinnertime, he is able to engage in conversation and stay seated by playing dinner conversation games. After dinner, he runs seamlessly through the evening routine of a chore, finishing homework, packing his backpack, and enjoying some free time, finally making the transition to bedtime relaxing and calm.
If you are supporting a rigid, anxious, or distracted child, this scenario might seem like a fairy tale. I’m here to tell you, as a professional organizer and as the parent of a sensory child, that this can be your reality. It’s all about learning how to tap into simple systems, routines, and visual guides to support and organize your sensory child: tools that can empower both your child and your entire family.
The numbers are staggering: thousands of young children are being diagnosed each year with anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism spectrum disorders (autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified or PDD-NOS), pediatric bipolar or mood disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or sensory processing disorder (a behavior profile commonly seen with kids who have these diagnoses). There is also increasing evidence that some environmental factors like Lyme disease and PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with strep) can trigger or exacerbate some of these neurological and behavioral challenges.
The treatment options for kids who present with these types of sensory issues are vast. Much success can come from a combination of supports such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, accommodations/supports at school, and medication. However, there is so much that you as a parent can do, as well. That’s where this book comes in. As a parent, how do you learn how to support your “sensory” child in the home and make your day-to-day living experience less stressful and more meaningful?
“Sensory” kids—including those with AD/HD, anxiety disorder, OCD, sensory processing disorder, bipolar disorder, and autism—often look at the world through a different lens. There are so many questions parents have when learning to live with and support these sensory kids.
• How can you develop simple ways to communicate and connect with your child?
• How can you learn to anticipate and deal with the seemingly simple activities that create a major challenge for your child?
• How can you create spaces in your home to help your sensory child feel comfortable and at ease?
These are the kinds of practical, everyday issues that your doctors or therapists might not address. That’s why I wrote The Sensory Child Gets Organized: to help bridge the gap between essential clinical support and practical in-home solutions.
Through my experience as the parent of a sensory child and as a professional organizer, I know that sensory kids need special organizing solutions. Parents want to connect with their children, want to learn their “language,” and have peace at home. These Sensory Organizing techniques will show you how to use simple organization, structure, and visual aids in your everyday life to address some of your child’s challenging sensory behaviors. This book offers practical, easy-to-implement strategies that can be life changing for you, your sensory child, and your entire family. Our sensory kids are smart, perceptive, connected, and loving when they feel understood and supported, and this is our goal!
My journey into the world of sensory kids and Sensory Organizing began in 2002, as my husband and I were learning how to live with and support our own sensory child. For our son, who was born healthy and happy, things seemed to take a sudden turn between eighteen months and two years of age. He started to show signs of some developmental delays, such as regression in speech and a new hyperfocus on certain activities and repetitive play. He also had explosive episodes, became overwhelmed with playgroups, and seemed to be much more internally focused. We then began the sometimes-frustrating process of evaluations, reports, and appointments trying to get a diagnosis. We were looking for answers. What is happening to our child?
At age two, our son began getting speech and occupational therapy support through Early Intervention. It was extremely helpful for some very specific tasks that were challenging for our son and gave him some critical sensory input that he needed. I remember being so overwhelmed with all the other difficulties during our day: getting him to take a bath, cutting his nails, preparing him for a change in schedule, getting him to sit through dinner, and taking him to a birthday party, just to name a few. Many seemingly simple tasks were anything but simple. I was continually bombarding our speech and occupational therapists for information about how to support the way he was seeing the world, and how to make the days run more smoothly for him and for our new daughter, who arrived when he was two years old.
Our son was like many children whose presentation comes down to “a little bit of everything.” Because his symptoms present as a combination of many diagnoses, I developed a real appreciation for what families were living with when supporting sensory processing disorder, AD/HD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s disorder, mood disorders, as well as strep-triggered tics and obsessive-compulsive disorder (PANDAS), and neurological symptoms (including attention problems, short-term memory loss, depression, mood swings, and/or learning disabilities) as a result of late-stage Lyme disease. I also began to develop a few key concepts to help my son deal with some of the challenges he faced, such as getting ready for school in the morning or doing homework in the evening.
Over time, I began to see the power of structure and routine for my son in helping him navigate his day. He was a visual learner (like many sensory kids) and we began to tap into visual supports to help him with simple tasks inside the home. When we gave him labeled clothes storage bins, he was able to put clothes away and pick out clothes for school independently and without frustration. This became life changing for us. We made a conscious effort to concentrate on what was hard for him, and then develop a system or strategy to support him in overcoming the challenge. By picking a few challenging behaviors at a time and coming up with simple visual supports and routines, we could help him slowly modify his behavior.
I also noticed how helpful it was to have his environment set up in a way that made sense to him. When he had a defined homework space, a visual homework plan with built-in breaks, and graphic organizers for difficult homework, he could be successful. The internal confusion could be countered externally with spaces that were clearly defined, had systems in place, and had visual supports incorporated. The impact of these simple changes was incredible. He slowly began to learn what systems worked well for him and when he needed a plan in place.
The power of structure and routine provided an additional benefit that I had not planned on—it also supported me! The sensory parenting experience for many involves a journey from denial to acceptance that can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, even for the most well-adjusted, typical adults out there. This stress is magnified tremendously if the parent has their own challenges around anxiety, emotional regulation, or distractibility and needs to learn how to help their child manage similar challenges. Sensory Organizing gives us parents the added gift of structure, routines, and visual aids that can support the process of managing life, our executive functioning challenges, and our overwhelmed days. When we support ourselves with simple organization, structure, and routines, we are infinitely better at supporting our sensory kids. Sensory Organizing can truly become a gift for the entire family.
When I started my professional organizing business a few years ago, I knew there would be a piece of this kind of “sensory organizing” involved. Because the need is so great, that “piece” turned into a separate business, and Systems for Sensory Kids (SSK) was born. Recognizing how many overlapping behaviors there are in many different pediatric neurological and behavioral disorders, I wanted to focus on those challenging behaviors that families were living with daily. There is no doubt that these kids are extremely bright and can be very successful in almost anything they do as long as they have a plan in place that supports their way of processing information and sets them up to do well. Success breeds confidence.
The main goal of The Sensory Child Gets Organized is to empower you and your family with a few simple, effective techniques that will help you and your child be happier, calmer, and more successful. I am not a doctor or clinician, and I never make a diagnosis. But from my own experience, extensive research, and working with so many other families, I know there is an enormous need for parent-based, practical solutions for the everyday challenges of raising a rigid, anxious, or distracted child. This book gives you a game plan for learning how to live with and best support your sensory kids at home which, in turn, will give them increased self-awareness and confidence. I also believe strongly in the power of a team, and part of the team in supporting most sensory kids is going to be that essential clinical support from psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, pediatricians, neuropsychologists, and the many other professionals who work to support sensory kids. Early, consistent clinical support is so important in helping our kids reach their potential.
The most important team, and the team that will have the biggest impact, is the team at home. Our whole family thrived with these supports, and it has helped us all have a better idea of who we are, what works for us individually, and how we can best support each other.
I know firsthand the power of learning your child’s language and translating that knowledge into tangible supports for everyday life. We know that our sensory kids are bright, creative, and long to be successful in their daily tasks. I will teach you simple ways to learn your sensory child’s language, as well as universal approaches to creating visual aids that will support current challenges.
By the end of this book, my goal is to have you seamlessly observing, prioritizing needs, and creating supports for all types of different experiences. Having the correct sensory supports at home, and available for out-of-home experiences, will have a dramatic impact. These tools will also help our sensory kids feel capable, successful, and well on their way to a clear self-awareness of their own strengths.
So let’s start learning a new language, educating your team at home, and Sensory Organizing!
Posted August 29, 2013
Carolyn Dalgliesh is a genius.
Did I enjoy this book: I liked the book. It was a bit wordy, and I felt that Dalgliesh was uncomfortable writing the first few chapters – they covered the basics on various sensory disorders, which are clearly not her area of expertise – but otherwise it was great!
When I’m reading a Special Education book I review it two different ways – once as an Applied Behavior Analysis professional and once as a parent. As an ABA professional there were a few things that irked me – mainly Dalgliesh’s statement that “sensory kids are aware…that something is ‘different’ about them,” along with her assumption that ‘sensory kids’ are always verbal. They’re not – in either situation. But Dalgliesh makes no claims of being a Special Ed professional, so I’ll give her a pass.
All the way through the book I kept saying to myself, “Um, yeah, duh.” “Obviously.” “Well OF COURSE you would do that! Why wouldn’t you?” I thought I was being a Special Ed snob, but then I realized something. Carolyn Dalgliesh is a genius. She’s taken her organizational skills (which, as someone with OCD, I utterly appreciate), and used them to help parents – the parents of any child – streamline, simplify, and relax their lives. She focuses on long-term lessons, not specific tasks or behaviors, so by reading this book you’ll end up with an overall strategy for parenting, not one program designed to target one specific behavior.
Dalgliesh conveys the basics of ABA in an informal, friendly tone: be an objective observer and understand your child rather than trying to fix him. She’s also figured out that a lot of what we, as Special Education professionals, DO is common sense: break down problematic tasks into easy steps, get rid of the distractions, and use visual aids. She calls it the ‘Golden Tool,’ and she’s right. A Behavior Analyst would tell you the same things, only with more lingo and at $150/hr.
I enjoyed her socially acceptable terminology, especially her use of the word “fascinations” as opposed to stims, self-stimulatory behavior, or obsessions. I appreciated her checklists (though I’m not sure I needed examples on how to fill them out), and I loved that she told her story without ever once labeling any of the children she used as examples. Children are children, not labels, and Dalgliesh gets that.
Would I recommend it: Absolutely. If you’re the parent of a child with special needs, or even if you’re just dealing with a particularly obstinate little human, The Sensory Child Gets Organized gives concrete, manageable advice for how to organize every room in your house (as well as outings, vacations, and holiday get-togethers) to minimize strife and maximize enjoyment. You may not need specific examples of all the different types of journals (spiral bound? Leather? Online?), but if you’re a parent – regardless of your child’s diagnosis or lack thereof – you need this book.
Will I read it again: I will certainly refer to it for ideas; it’s a treasure-trove!
As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.
(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
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Posted November 21, 2013
The Sensory Child Gets Organized is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2013
As a teacher who is always looking for different ways to support and care for all of the students in my classroom, The Sensory Child Gets Organized, is an easy read that is packed full of helpful information. Knowing how to help and support students who are
anxious and distracted at school is just as important as knowing how to assist a child who is struggling academically or challenging a student who is exceeding the academic expectations of school. When teachers and families work together a child will be most successful. Teachers who are organized and use visual clues will be assisting all students to make smooth transitions throughout their busy days in school. Thank you for writing such a helpful resource, I will gladly share this book with both parent and teachers.