The best books on sensory processing differences

Who am I?

As a preschool teacher for 25 years, I observed many children with sensory processing differences (SPD), autism and ADHD. I wondered why they were uncomfortable touching finger paints, why they avoided swings and never let their feet leave the ground, why they broke crayons and tripped on-air, and why they felt inadequate playing and making friends. To help"out-of-sync" children become more competent in work and play, I learned to identify their sensory processing challenges and steer them into early intervention. My mission is to explain to families, teachers, and professionals how SPD affects learning and behavior, to offer practical solutions, and to see all children flourish.

I wrote...

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Differences

By Carol Stock Kranowitz,

Book cover of The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Differences

What is my book about?

Some children don’t behave the way we expect, not because they won’t, but because they can’t. An often misdiagnosed reason is Sensory Processing Differences (or Disorder, when severe) -- "SPD." This problem may cause a person to be over-or under-responsive to ordinary sensations ... or crave intense stimuli ... or misinterpret sensations ... or be extremely clumsy, or constantly moving, or easily fatigued.

Written for parents and teachers, the book offers many examples of how SPD plays out. The 2022 third edition expands information on research, treatments (especially occupational therapy), and "look-alike" disorders including learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism. It suggests a drug-free approach and tips for developing a sensory lifestyle at home and school, bringing help and hope to challenging children and their grown-ups.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work with Kids & Teens

By Lindsey Biel,

Book cover of Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work with Kids & Teens

Why this book?

Lindsey Biel's second book (less well known than her remarkable Raising a Sensory Smart Child) furthers her mission to explain sensory processing differences to occupational therapists, parents, and teachers. Her case studies are illuminating, as she describes her clients flourishing with individualized treatment. I love her positive approach, such as her Sensory Challenge Questionnaire that asks the child or young adult what sensory experiences are enjoyable, not just challenging. Her sensory strategies to use in the clinic, home, and school are the best!

Sensory Integration and the Child

By A. Jean Ayres,

Book cover of Sensory Integration and the Child

Why this book?

Dr. Ayres formulated the theory of sensory integration and processing in the mid-20th century and published Sensory Integration and the Child in 1972. Preserving her core content, this updated version includes checklists, photographs, illustrations, tips for parents, and cases, to make her brilliant insights and practical solutions more accessible to families today.

No Longer a Secret: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory or Motor Challenges

By Lucy Jane Miller, Lisa M. Porter, Doreit S. Bialer

Book cover of No Longer a Secret: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory or Motor Challenges

Why this book?

This book explains how to help children with sensory and regulation issues participate in daily life at home, at school, or out-and-about. "A SECRET" approach engages children through its seven components: Attunement, Sensation, Emotional regulation, Culture, Relationship, Environment, and Task. Parents, teachers, and therapists will appreciate these common-sense, on-the-spot, low-cost, problem-solving techniques. Using A SECRET brings hope and help, as you and your kids learn to enjoy being together and having fun!

Interoception: The Eighth Sensory System

By Kelly Mahler,

Book cover of Interoception: The Eighth Sensory System

Why this book?

We have more than five senses. The sixth, seventh and eighth are the vestibular sense, the proprioceptive sense, and the interoceptive sense. Interoception allows us to sense our internal organs and experience "gut" feelings including hunger, satiety, thirst, itch, pain, temperature, nausea, the need to urinate and defecate, and sexual arousal. This book provides practical solutions for improving self-regulation, self-awareness and social understanding.

The Sensory Room Kids Get In Sync

By Abigail Grace Kroneberger,

Book cover of The Sensory Room Kids Get In Sync

Why this book?

Kids who are out of sync because of sensory processing differences will enjoy this charming book written and illustrated by a third-grader. Abigail describes her classmates having a FIDDLE response to various sensations. (FIDDLE stands for Frequency, Intensity, Duration, Degree, Loneliness, and Exhaustion, as defined in my children’s book, The Goodenoughs Get In Sync). Abigail explains her friends' sensory challenges and suggests wise and easy solutions to help them get in sync.

2 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in autism, people with disabilities, and perception?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about autism, people with disabilities, and perception.

Autism Explore 43 books about autism
People With Disabilities Explore 39 books about people with disabilities
Perception Explore 13 books about perception

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Far from the Tree, A Glimpse of Eternal Snows, and Janine and the Field Day Finish if you like this list.