Max and Me (book review)

A Story about Sensory Processing

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Written by occupational therapist Inés Lawlor, Max and Me is a book written for children to help them understand how their bodies and brain process sensory information, and why they may sometimes have a bad day!

An Overview of "Max and Me"

Written simply and openly, the book introduces children to an imaginary "modulator", Max, who lives inside their brains. Clear, vivid illustrations help children to understand and identify with the information and the story.

The book is written in 3 parts.

Part I introduces Max as the "Modulator", and shows how the modulator receives information from all the senses, how he processes the information and how he tells the body what to do.

Max and Me - a story about sensory processing.

Part II describes how going to school causes the narrator's modulator, Max, to become overwhelmed and stressed by the overload of sensory information.

The narrator's mom wisely helps the little boy to understand what is happening and to find ways to deal with overwhelming sensory experiences.

The "Max and Me" book explains how sensory overload can happen, in a way that kids understandExplaining sensory overload

Part III describes what happens when a modulator "shuts down" through lack of stimulation or tiredness. Again, the narrator's mom helps him find ways to "wake Max up" and get him to focus again.

All 3 sections of the book provide parents and therapists with opportunities to discuss the information given and help kids to make the connection with their own experiences and to develop their own strategies for coping with sensory "meltdowns", "not paying attention" and other symptoms of poor sensory modulation.

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My Thoughts

I found this book informative and fascinating! I read it to all 3 of my kids in one sitting, although I had initially planned to read it to them separately and in small doses.

They just did not want me to stop, and they really engaged with the information and the story.

The "Max and Me" book explains sensory modulation, in a way that kids understandExplaining sensory modulation

My older son identifies more with Part II, where Max goes into sensory overload and causes a mini meltdown. I wish I had had this book when he was younger. Although he is older now and has learned how to calm himself down when things get too much, there were still "aha!' moments for him, when he understood why a particular activity is really calming for him.

It was also really helpful for him identify for himself the senses that most easily get overwhelmed.

My younger two tend to identify more with Part III, with sleepy modulators *grin* and it was really helpful for them to understand why I often give them intense movement breaks during our homeschool day - to wake up their modulators!

And as for mom - I could explain to them why I chew gum when driving long distances to keep my modulator awake! And it was also helpful to be able to explain that at 8pm, my modulator is in danger of a meltdown and that is why they need to go to bed NOW *grin*!

The book was just fantastic to help us find tools to express ourselves and help us to understand each other's state of sensory processing.

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How To Use This Book

This book is an incredibly helpful tool for parents and therapists. Reading this with your child can help you build a frame of reference, and gives you the words, for dealing with situations where your child is struggling with sensory modulation.

  • I personally prefer to read the book in stages. In the first sitting, I introduce the concept of a modulator in Part I and discuss the senses and how the information gets to the brain.

  • Depending on the child's particular challenge, I then read either Part II or Part III in the next sitting. Some children struggle with only one area of sensory modulation (under or over responsive) so it is less confusing to focus only on their particular area of challenge.

  • However, lots of kids DO have issues with both areas, and I do read both parts with them, but I prefer to start with the part which is the most challenging.

  • The book gives the child the opportunity to verbalize or indicate which senses are the most over or under responsive, and to help identify situations in which over and under stimulation occurs. This is can give the parents and caregivers a lot of insight into how their child is experiencing daily life.

  • The coping strategies suggested are a good springboard into exploring a range of possibilities, and can really help to empower a child.

All in all, a very worthwhile and valuable resource.

Although I received this book as a free sample, the review is completely honest and all mine!

Where to buy Max and Me

The book can be purchased here on Amazon.#Ad

If there are no more new copies available (which does happen from time to time as stock sometimes runs low) then check for second hand copies on Amazon or look at your local library.

Max and Me - a great book for kids to help them understand how their own bodies process sensory information through the day!

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