Archive for book review

going to the dentistSensitive Sam Visits the Dentist by Marla Roth-Fisch is so much more than a children’s book that prepares a child with sensory issues for a visit to the dentist. It’s a book for parents and caretakers as well.

The first twenty pages speak to the child, and the last twenty pages are full of resources and tips for the parent. These practical strategies come from parents who have ‘lived’ it and professionals who have ‘treated’ this population. Whether your child is on the autism spectrum or has a sensory processing disorder (SPD), these suggestions will help you address many of the anxieties your child may have.

I think of this book as a social story on steroids – it has all the elements of one. It contains great visuals in story form that describe a situation in terms of relevant cues from a sensory sensitive child’s point of view. It is a factual, informative account that addresses common situations and responses to make the event more predictable and therefore less stressful.

This award-winning author does a wonderful job empowering the character of Sam to take charge of his own oral care. It covers all the bases of what occurs before, during and after a dentist appointment to get your teeth checked and tackles every aspect of the visit, right down to the strange equipment that will be used, to the flavor of toothpaste a child might be able to choose from.

Lastly, allow me to mention two things that make this book very appealing to children.

  • The engaging illustrations that were created by the author herself.
  • The text that is not exactly written in poetic verse but many of the words rhyme so that the story maintains an enchanting rhythm.

Reading this book to your child prior to going to the dentist, not just once but as often as you feel necessary, will make it more likely that she will have a pleasant first time experience.

To a get 15% discount on this book, click here and enter the code PARENTCOACH at check out.

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sensory issuesHold on to your hat for an entertaining ride through the eyes of someone who has struggled to live and breath in a world that is not necessarily kind to someone with sensory issues. In her book, Growing Up with Sensory Issues – Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism, Jennifer McIlwee Myers presents a personal and entertaining story that brings a very helpful perspective on what it is like to have sensory sensitivities to the table. Most of us are aware of the sensory issues that bright lights and loud noises can bring but this book expands the reader’s knowledge beyond the typical sensory irritations we think of.

As she states in her book, her goal is to spare the reader time and energy when trying to wrap their head around sensory issues that make life difficult for many. She has road tested all of this in order to make the trip easier for others.

And what a fun trip it is! The author provides the reader with an enjoyable educational experience for anyone who wants to know more about the sensory issues their students or loved ones are dealing with. She opens up your mind to a world she has personally experienced. Every page takes you by the hand on a journey that explains how the body and mind of a person with sensory challenges interacts with life and the world around them.

Don’t think for minute that this is a dry factual book about the technical aspects of sensory processing disorder (SPD). The author’s delightful sense of humor draws you in and creates an “I want to hear and know more” mindset. Despite her joking manner, all of what she presents is based on science and backed up by research.

On top of all that, chapter nine is full of tips for parents who are thirsty for practical strategies in dealing with their child’s sensory issues. The importance of a sensory diet, consistent discipline and the value of play are some of the avenues she presents to improved functioning. These tips help parents create a sensory-friendly environment that will prevent challenging sensory related behaviors from occurring.

This book is empowering! Parents and individuals on the spectrum are strongly encouraged to maintain a journey of self-motivated discovery and self-advocacy that will lead to many ah-ha’s and improve quality of life for all. Thank you once again Jennifer McIlwee Myers!


To get your hands on this book, Growing Up with Sensory Issues – Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism by Jennifer McIlwee Myers, at a discount click here to get to the Future Horizons website where her book is located. Then use my code PARENTCOACH in the coupon code box when checking out to receive your special discount and enjoy!


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Does your child have a sensitive sensory system? Even though your child may not have a sensory impairment severe enough to warrant the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) label, he or she can still have sensory issues. If your child has been evaluated for a Sensory Processing Disorder and you were told he does not qualify, DO NOT dismiss the possibility of sensory issues triggering your child’s challenging behaviors.

Sensory_Parenting_for_Elementary_Children_Autism_978-1-935567-41-7Your child’s sensory system affects everything he or she does. Your daughter may be particular about her clothing and the way it feels against her skin. She may refuse to wear dressy clothing for special events or take her clothing off when it becomes too unbearable, even in public situations. A certain noise can make your son’s ‘fight or flight’ instinct take hold at the flip of a switch and the simple glare of florescent lights may cause him to shut down and withdraw into a protective shell which you may interpret as resistance

Sensory sensitivities such as these and more can trigger a wide range of sensory related behaviors that are difficult to manage. But, in many cases, simply altering the environment and making it sensory friendly to your child can eliminate behaviors such as these.

Could your child’s sensory system benefit from some adjustment?

What if I told you this book could make your parenting easier simply by examining your child’s sensory issues and addressing them one by one?

The book, Sensory Parenting – The Elementary Years, can help you make this a reality. The authors, Britt Collins, M.S., OTR/L and Jackie Linder Olson, understand exactly how a child’s sensory system can impact their learning process, their ability to socialize, their relationship with the environment and how they function in it.

This occupational therapist and experienced parent have organized pages worth of effective tips for parents to not only minimize their child’s sensory sensitivities but to also create ways that will feed their child’s sensory needs in an appropriate way. They will help you identify your child’s sensory sensitivities by guiding you to play detective with the quick checklist they provide. As you journey through this book you will acquire the insight and the tools to create a sensory diet that will meet you child’s unique needs.

Once you put Britt and Jackie’s tips into practice, you will begin to transform many of the battles, hassles, tantrums and tears previously triggered by sensory sensitivities into more tranquil encounters that will make both you and your child smile.

There are also extra bonuses within these 285 pages that come from the highlighted boxes. These sections contain interviews from other experts in the field that explain various therapies, as well as “OT tips” and “mom tips” that share useful words of wisdom.

Within each chapter there are subtopics that are clearly labeled – I love books that are set up into sections with topic headers. It makes the issue you are currently dealing with easy to find just when you need it, especially if you have not had the time to read the book from cover to cover.

Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years is a wonderful addition to any parent’s library and is available at Future Horizons. Use the code PARENTCOACH in the coupon code box when checking out to receive your special discount.

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Feelings are …?Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan demonstrates a knack for understanding the literal mind of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) yet again. In her new book, Feelings Are …?, the author’s fourth, Logan sees a tear rolling down his grandma’s face and literally asks “if there was a leak.” A perfect example of how an ASD brain thinks.

In her explanation, Logan’s grandma proceeds to describe what feelings are, using the style of a phonics nursery rhyme such as “A is for Apple,  B is for .….”  This author’s alphabet rhyme begins with “A is for Anger”, “B is for Baffled” and continues all the way to Z.

Being constrained by the letters of the alphabet to introduce feelings, Ymkje chose very well. I was extremely impressed at how she managed to find a feeling for all twenty-six letters. I was wondering what she was going to do about the letter X and was impressed by her choice. As difficult as the word “xenophobic” is for children to read and pronounce, she gave a very concrete definition that a child on the spectrum, or (any child,) can understand.

Her consistent use of rhyme, which makes it so easy for minds that thrive on repetition to remember, has become a signature style of the author. Another fun element contained in all four of her books is the hidden object search. This book requires a search for 10 little red dogs, which in and of itself makes for an interactive and engaging activity for parent and child.

What a fun way to begin the process of learning about feelings, which is so important for all children, on or off the autism spectrum.  The author states there are more feelings than the ones contained within these delightful thirty-three pages, but this is a great place to start.

This book is a wonderful first-step toward helping a child to understand what each feeling looks like—with the fantastic visuals that illustrator Jennifer Lackgren created—and sounds like, as the child hears the adult read the book and explain the feeling. Therefore, this book definitely appeals to the sensory styles of the visual and the auditory learner.

The author should be feeling very “‘P is for Proud”’ of this book.

This book is available via her website at, or directly from Create Space and Amazon.

Autism Is Books_PostcardWith the holidays coming, why not purchase the other three of Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan’s wonderful books for your child with autism this season?

Autism Is…?     Danger is…?  and School Rules Are…? 

What a perfect gift this series will make!

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Going to school and doing well can be a struggle for many children on the autism spectrum. Children with autism do not experience the world in the same way typical people do, because their brains are wired differently. As a result, they challenge us to find unique ways to help make sense of things and create meaningful connections.

Social norms and school rules can be a challenge for them to understand and we cannot assume they will “get it” as other children do. Direct teaching with visuals and lots of repetition are proven to be effective teaching methods, and Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan has created the perfect tool for doing this.

Ymkje’s third children’s book— School Rules Are . . . ?  — is just as delightful as her previous children’s stories, Autism Is . . .? and Danger Is . . . ?  The simple rhyming text appeals to any child, on or off the spectrum, making it fun to repeat and therefore easy to retain.

As Logan’s grandmother explains the rules he needs to abide by she shares six easy to remember phrases that, once assembled, create a simple yet powerful visual list of the “school rules.” This thoughtful author has added a fantastic bonus of easy-to-make visual supports. They are located in the back of the book and can be made into key ring cards and task strips when laminated. The cards or strips make great visuals and serve as a quick reference guide at home and at school to help keep the rules at the forefront of the child’s mind.

Thanks to the illustrator, Jennifer Lackgren, the pleasant images are colorful, clear, and enticing—they really stand out and invite a child’s attention.  I love the ongoing use of hidden pictures throughout the author’s series of books, which is bound to engage children and adults as well.  I had so much fun trying to find the ten little pencils hidden within the book, and it was surprisingly challenging to find them all. This children’s story is another true delight that provides more than just pleasure.

Here is what the author has to say about her wonderful creation.


School Rules Are…? ISBN 10: 1481947117 — $9.95

Illustrated by Jennifer Lackgren

Logan fails to finish his tasks at school, so he has a lot of homework to do. After his grandma reads his daily report, she teaches him some important school rules to help him do better.

Keeping to and focusing on a task, staying seated, and transitioning from one activity or place to another while in school can be challenging for children with autism. It certainly was for my grandson when he started attending school.

We were very fortunate to receive expert help from Ron Gibson, MA CAS, the lead school psychologist and chairperson of the Autism Problem Solving Team for Harnett County Schools, N.C. He and his team developed some basic school rules for children with autism, and his teachers introduced these rules to my grandson’s class. To help reinforce the rules he was learning at school, I wrote, School Rules Are…? I also made some simple illustrated visual supports to go along with each rule. My grandson, and the other children in his class, soon caught on, and Good Eyes, Good Ears, Good Hands, Good Feet, Good Voice, Good Friends, became household words.

Verbally and visually reminding my grandson of the rules regularly and consistently, both at home and in the classroom, made a big difference and helped make his time at school successful and productive. I hope School Rules Are…?, with its bold and bright illustrations, can help do the same for other children with autism.



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parenting a child with autismThis book will put a smile on anyone’s face but the title fails to fully describe its true impact. The subtitle – New and Revised Stories That Will Warm and Inspire You –  is missing one very important piece. The collection of stories in this eye-opening book will not only “warm and inspire you” but they will ‘educate’ you as well. This delightful crash course about living on the spectrum easily lures you into the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders and informs you about the challenges that living in such a world brings.

Should the reader be someone who has only seen or heard about autism from a distance, this book is a great vehicle for inviting him or her to come one step closer. The author, R. Wayne Gilpin brings the reader to a better understanding of what it is like to live with autism in an entertaining way – you can’t help but chuckle, cry, gasp, and feel empathy as you turn these 190 pages of charming yet personal anecdotes.

If you are a parent of a child with autism that occasionally experiences feelings of isolation, pick up this book because it will bring you great comfort. Reading it confirms that other parents face similar challenges and experiences – ones that can be viewed in a positive and sometimes humorous light, especially in hindsight. In an unexpected way, this book can serve to validate life with autism and balance the difficult times with an uplifting perspective.

Each chapter focuses on a different category encompassing almost every environment and aspect of life that touches a family of a child with ASD. These real-life sketches embrace the unique qualities inherent in individuals with ASD – the sensory issues, the literal and concrete way of thinking – as well as the universal similarity they often aren’t aware of – a candid sense of humor.

The author, Wayne Gilpin, has chosen these tales wisely, representing parents, caretakers, family members, other accomplished authors such as Bobbie Sheahan, Carol Gray and Jennifer McIlwee Myers, and some unknown individuals. The sibling voice of Alex’s sister, Jennifer, is very poignant to listen to as the paper she wrote about her brother for English class is shared. The author himself shares many touching and emotional snippets as well.

This book was complied and written from the perspective of a parent that lived the reality of autism with his son, Alex, who was such a gift and inspiration. As a result, the author has left such a wonderful legacy to his son in the form of this book and the creation of Future Horizons, the world’s largest publisher of resources on autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and sensory processing disorder.

The section that is my personal favorite of this book is chapter 11, “Alex’s E-mails”. I particularly love the email he writes to his Aunt Carole where he explains that he can’t help being “a funny guy” because he has a “disease called Saying Funny Things-tism”. How precious! And how appropriate for a book full of stories about people with “Saying Funny Things-tism.”


To purchase your own copy of R. Wayne Gilpin’s book, or one or two for someone else, go to his publishing company,  Future Horizons. To help make this purchase more affordable, you can receive a 15% discount if you use the code – PARENTCOACH – in the coupon code box when checking out. You can also benefit from 15% off other items you may wish to purchase, including conferences.

****I do need to disclose that I received a complimentary copy from the publisher for an honest review – and truthful and sincere is what this review is. Also I want you to know that the link above has an affiliate number attached to it. So yes, honestly, we both benefit from your purchase. Enjoy!

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