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PediaStaff Book Review: “Growing an In-Sync Child” by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman

By: Sunity Murty, M.S., OTR/L

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Editor’s Note: Back in November, 2010 PediaStaff reprinted a link to a Washington Post review of this book. Recently, PediaStaff was offered our own review copy by the author and now present to your our own original review of the book.
“Growing an In-Sync Child” by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman is an outstanding book for raising a well-rounded child with sensory rich experiences. Carol, the author of “The Out of Sync Child”, has proven herself yet again in understanding and helping children with special sensory needs, as evident in this book. Joye, the founder and director of Kids Moving Company, offers relatable real life examples of childhood development and its strong relationship to movement. The two have teamed up to present this easy to read and simple to implement book.
Carol and Joye have done a great job explaining the components of the nervous system, how they impact every day life and how to get them in sync to recognize, react and adapt to incoming sensory information. Components such as the proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile systems are clearly explained for anyone to understand. Additionally, balance, bilateral coordination, body awareness, directionality, laterality, midline crossing, motor planning, spatial awareness, acuity, binocularity and visual tracking are described with examples of everyday activities which involve these tasks. The authors do a nice job of showing how a simple task, such as getting out of bed, requires a complex array of systems including proper vestibular processing, proprioception, balance, motor planning, tactile processing and bilateral coordination.
Carol and Joye also do an excellent job of explaining how our environment has shaped our children to be in the mode of instant gratification, the here and now. In a world of high tech devices, kids grow up in an environment lacking movement, engulfed in computers, game systems, cellular phones etc. Movement is emphasized as the driving force for growing in sync to optimize learning and enjoyment of the busy world around us.
This book not only defines and explains the issues we face today, but also offers endless fun solutions and activities to help children build a strong foundation in emotional and physical development. Activities are broken down into basic, intermediate and advanced levels. “Bouncing Baby”, an activity to take in touch and movement while bonding with the child is an example of a basic level activity. An intermediate activity, such as “Back Drawing”, or using your finger to make shapes and letters on a child’s back for the child to identify, works towards strengthening directionality, spatial awareness and tactile processing. An example of an advanced activity is “Tick, Tock, Body Clock” which is a fun activity where you draw a large circle on the ground and have the child place beanbags at 3, 6, 9 and 12 if the circle was a clock. The child can then position his legs as if they were hands of a clock to demonstrate the requested time. This advanced activity addresses bilateral coordination, laterality, directionality, motor planning, spatial awareness and proprioception.
As an occupational therapist myself, I really enjoyed reading through the activities. It is challenging to be novel in your thought and treatment interventions as well as explain the variety of tasks that can be completed by parents in the home. I found this book to help me with thinking a little further outside of the box and offering this book as a comprehensive read for parents of children with sensory processing disorder. The basic reoccurring theme of “Growing an In Sync Child” is the importance of early life movement experiences. As a therapist, I greatly enjoyed this easy to read book and will recommend it to my parents of children with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Featured Book Reviewer: Sunity Murty, M.S., OTR/L
Sunita has been working with children with special needs since 1998 and as a pediatric occupational therapist since 2004. Sunita received her Masters of Science degree in occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Her experience includes working with children with austim spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, trisomy 21, developmental delays, failure to thrive, stroke as well as rare genetic and orthopedic conditions. Sunita has received specialized training in Craniosacral Therapy, Sensory Integration techniques, Therapeutic Listening, Handwriting Without Tears, Greenspan’s Floortime Approach, Interactive Metronome, Wilbarger Protocols, Beckman Oral-Motor Assessment and Treatment Protocol and numerous courses in fine motor, visual-motor, sensory interventions and feeding/dysphagia treatment. Sunita currently works as the OT clinical coordinator for Pediastaff and also owns and manages a pediatric therapy clinic called Imagination Therapy. Her passion lies in helping children and their families understand Sensory Processing Disorder to help children live up to their highest potential.
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