Book Review: The Out-of-Sync Child

The Out-of-Sync Child

The Out-of-Sync Child

By Carol Stock Kranowitz; 322 pages.

In a nutshell: The Out-of-Sync Child was published when "sensory integration" was first being whispered about in parent support groups as an explanation for a grab-bag of confusing behaviors. DSI is now much more accepted as a diagnosis than it was then, and this book is revered as an essential parent resource.

About the Guide Rating

What You Might Like

  • Friendly, accessible guide to a sometimes confusing disorder.
  • The first book to really make DSI understandable to parents.
  • Charts, illustrations and questionnaires help parents find their child here.
  • Down-to-earth descriptions help parents use their own experience to understand problems.
  • Finding explanations for troubling behavior is enormously comforting and empowering.

What You Might Not

  • Heavy use of case studies can make it harder to relate material to your particular child.
  • Will do nothing to convince doubters that DSI is a real problem.
  • More appropriate to very young children than older ones.

Full Review

Early in The Out-of-Sync Child, author Kranowitz offers five caveats, explaining that kids may not show every characteristic of a dysfunction; they may show characteristics one day but not the next; they may show characteristics but not have the dysfunction; they may be both hyper- and hyposensitive; and everybody's a little dysfunctional now and then.

Those are good and responsible caveats for a writer on DSI to offer; but I'll tell you from personal experience, if you use them while trying to describe DSI to a doubting friend or relative, you will get the look that says "This mom is here grasping at straws when all that kid really needs is a good smack on the butt."

One of the biggest problems in getting sensory integration broadly accepted as an area of concern is that parents are in the best position to observe it, and the worst position to be believed. Parents can feel the difference between a child who just doesn't want to have his hair washed and one who screams in wild-eyed, abject horror at being tipped back into water, but it's hard to describe without sounding oversensitive yourself. Fortunately, though, parents are in the best position to do something about DSI, too. Understanding it is a great start, and while many kids will respond to the occupational therapy their tuned-in parents will push for, others will simply benefit from the fact that their parents are less stressed about their behavior. That's the greatest gift this book can give.

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