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OT Students Complete Children's Book on Sensory Processing Disorders

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

bookWhile the majority of children with sensory processing disorders look completely normal, they oftentimes differ from other children by engaging in perplexing and distressing behaviors that can confuse their peers. Occupational therapy students at University of the Sciences teamed up to write a children’s book aimed to help elementary-aged children grasp a better understanding of the challenges of their classmates with sensory processing disorders.

“The book illustrates how a child’s sensory processing disorder may present itself among their peers,” said Varleisha Gibbs, OTD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy at USciences. “This children’s story explains what a sensory processing disorder may look like so that young students can comprehend some of their classmates’ unusual behaviors and actions.”  

Aspiring occupational therapists Leah Fabel MOT’16 and Brittany Whaley-Jubilee MOT’16 spent the past several months researching how a sensory processing disorder may present itself, before recently completing their book, Dina’s World: A Story for Kids about Sensory Processing Disorder. It was written and designed with third grade audience in mind, and fellow occupational therapy student Ashley Costa MOT’16 provided the illustrations.

This colorful storybook goes through Dina the dinosaur’s day, and describes the senses and actions in school that upset her since she has a sensory processing disorder. Some of her sensitivities include wearing tight clothing, and sensitivities to certain sounds and foods. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Dina’s a simple dinosaur girl who enjoys things just as much as you do, but sees it differently than you. Each day, Dina has problems picking out what clothes to wear for school.  It takes a while because Dina HATES tight clothes or anything with a tag on it.  She does not like the way it feels on her skin. ITCH, ITCH, ITCH!

The inspiration for this book came from other children’s’ book that focus on autism, including Russell’s World:  A Story for Kids about Autism by Charles Amenta and This is Asperger Syndrome by Elisa Ganon and Brenda Smith Myles.  

Dr. Gibbs and her students look forward to reading their book to children at the Jubilee School in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 27.

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