~I received a copy of The Pocket Occupational Therapist and The Special Needs School Survival Guide for review. Opinions and stories are my own.~
This past school year has been the first year that we’ve had to navigate the Special School District (SSD) with Tot. Having him in Early Education for a few years prior helped us to understand a great deal about the IEP (Individual Education Plan) and what different therapies and services were available, however, there are many families going into their first year without any help. Sometimes it can be seriously overwhelming and if I’m honest, it still is. That’s why I want to share The Special Needs School Survival Guide by Cara Koscinski as well as her previous book, The Pocket Occupational Therapist. This book offers more insight into Occupational Therapy, in and out of school.
Both of Cara Koscinski’s books are valuable resources for families, but let’s begin with her newest The Special Needs School Survival Guide. This is not only a handbook for parents, but also for those teaching, working or living with different special needs. This includes: Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral concerns, handwriting difficulty, fine motor delays, trouble with transitions, homework concerns, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and more.
It’s written in an easy to read Q&A Format that makes it simple to navigate and each section includes “Out of the Pocket” Activities that are designed to be used in a group or individual setting. Chapters the book covers are:
- IEP 101 – What You Need To Know (Includes 504 Plans)
- Therapy in School
- Fine Motor in the Classroom
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Sensory Processing Disorder in School
- Behavior and Transitions
- ADHD and Organization
- Learning Disorders
I personally benefited a lot from the section on Handwriting and Fine Motor in the Classroom. This area isn’t Tot’s strong point, although he loves writing! Fine Motor and writing are both areas that are covered by Occupational Therapy, otherwise known as therapy designed to help a student perform activities of daily living independently. It not only strengthens fine motor, but helps strengthen vision and perception skills and sensory processing.
The Special Needs School Survival Guide goes over a list of possible signs that your child may need one or more therapies, however, Cara Koscinski’s first book The Pocket Occupational Therapist delves into this section more.
The Pocket Occupational Therapist offers an overview of occupational therapy and issues that might be addressed with a child of special needs, or in rehabilitation from illness or injury. This includes core muscle strength, feeding, fine motor skills, sensory sensitivities, transitions and life-skills; interspersed with simple activities. This book covers a whole lot and if your child is attending OT at home or in school, this is an amazing little handbook to have on the shelf. Chapters that are covered are:
- What is Occupational Therapy? My Child Doesn’t Work!
- What Are Core Muscles and Why Are They Important to My Child’s Function?
- Feeding and Oral-Motor (Muscles of the Mouth)
- Handwriting and the Upper Extremity (Arm)
- What Do You Mean, We Have More Than Five Senses?
- Behavior and Transitions During Daily Activities
- OT in School vs. OT in an Outpatient Setting/Clinic
Every section is followed by a detailed explanation to make it easier to understand. It’s a wonderful resource, not only for parents of children with OT, but also OT graduates and those looking to get into pediatric therapy!
Along with the books, you will also find at Pocket OT, approved products for OT Therapy, tutorials and videos, OT courses, webinars, handouts and much more. To keep up to date on what new resources are becoming available, make sure to follow along on Facebook and/or @PocketOT on Twitter.