This is Gabriel, Making Sense of School: A Book about Sensory Processing Disorder

If you are a daily follower of my blog, then you know about Max.  I don't divulge a lot of personal information on my blog, I mainly stick to decorating & creating. However, every once in a while, my heart becomes full and I am moved to write about something personal.

Did you know that I don't believe in coincidences? I believe that everything happens for a reason and what sometimes feels like luck (or a coincidence) is really God's whisper.

As some of you know, my son Max was adopted from Russia. You also know by now that we have struggled with his development.  I have posted about Sensory Processing Disorder and how as a family we have battled this with Max.  My last post about SDP was written at 2 am. That night I went to bed with a heavy heart and could not sleep. I just had to get some of Max's struggles written down in a post. In fact, my last sentences of the post reads like this, "This post has been heavy on my heart, which probably means there is someone out there who needs to read this. I hope it helps....". It was not 5 minutes later that I received an email from someone who needed my words. That is what I call a whisper from God and not a coincidence. God new that I could help someone and he put the sequence of events into motion.

This is how I found the book "This is Gabriel".  God knew that I needed this book. He knew that Max would benefit from this book and now so will his school and special education teachers. Because I will be buying several copies of this book to give to others. I am doing this not because I am this nice generous person but because someone else out there needs me to. I am listening to God's whisper.

Now, with all this being said, here is my review of This is Gabriel: Making Sense of School.


by Hartley Steiner
Illustrations by Brandon Fall
ISBN: 978-1-4269-2777-5

Five years ago I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Now that I have been entrenched with its meaning, I still find it hard to describe to others what SPD is and what effects it can have on children/families.  This book helps to make it clear. So, even though this is a children's book about Sensory Processing Disorder, adults will also gain invaluable knowledge.

I love the bright illustrations and the simplistic definitions of SPD that are described throughout the book. The book does a fantastic job discussing the main parts of SPD: Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell, Vestibular and Proprioception.

The author takes you on a journey of Gabriel's life and helps you to understand what happens when sensory input is misinterpreted. The authors writing style is easy to follow and even left me with "ahh-haa" moments.  

(This picture made me laugh because one of Max's biggest struggles is with smell)

Byron read this book to Max (age 6) and then tried to engage him in discussion. I will be honest, Max really did not care nor did he really have anything to say about Gabriel. I was hoping that Max would understand he was not alone with some of his feelings. But he was more interested in his Star Wars action figures than discussing SPD. So in all fairness, he is probably a little young for this book and discussion. As a mother, I am just glad this book was written. Because one day soon, Max will be ready to read and discuss SPD and I am so thankful to have this book.

I plan on buying Max's elementary school several copies and also the preschool he attended.  I will even make sure the special education department has their own copies. This book needs to be made available to anyone who works with children.

Hartley, I am so thankful you listened to your whisper and wrote this book. I needed it and now others will get a copy too.

From the Publisher: This is Gabriel Making Sense of School provides a look into the challenges children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) face in the classroom. This easy to read and beautifully illustrated picture book gives teachers, parents and students a better understanding of all seven senses, how they are each affected at school and what kinds of accommodations are necessary to help children with SPD become learning sensations!



Hartley Steiner can be found on her site: and Twitter: @ParentingSPD

Due to Hartley's generous nature, she is giving away 1 copy of This is Gabriel to one lucky commenter. Please leave me a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win) and if you feel it in your heart, please let me know if/how SPD has touched your life. If you have been lucky enough to never have heard of SPD then please consider entering so you can donate this great book to your local elementary school.

*Open to All, No PO Boxes.
*Contest ends Friday, April 23rd.



Hillcrest Acres said...

I would love to read this book. My son has a some sensory problems and two other kids on our block have sensory problems.

Thanks for having such a great giveaway.

~Shari said...

I also would love to read this book!

Mama Thompson said...

I've contacted you before about my nephew and his sensory issues that my (single mom) sister continues to try to help him with...I would LOVE to win this book to send her. thanks again for sharing with us!

Anonymous said...

We are dealing with this with our daughter! Such a challenging diagnosis, and so few people really "get it". Would love this book to share with her teachers.

The Roberto's said...

SPD hasn't touched my life - it is my life. Every day. All day. Since the day my son was born in 2006. I knew within a day that there was something wrong with him. I trusted our ped, though, bought the "colic until 9 mos old" diagnosis, and took a step back to see how he would develop. Only some milestones never came... Now we are looking at preschools... this book would help!


Tiffany said...

I love it when books like this come out for children, especially when they do a good job at what they are supposed to do and aren't just stereotypical. I am a child development specialist and have worked with several kids will many different special needs, so while I'm not a parent who has to deal with every aspect of this every day, it has still made an impression in my life. I have a particular little kiddo in mind for this book, he is from my personal life, not professional, and he was somewhat recently diagnosed. His parents and grandparents are close friends of the family and are desperately searching for any info they can get their hands on to understand this and be able to help the child. I can see this book being read and providing insight for mom, dad, grandparents and his cousins who also really want to connect with him and struggle to understand how to. I would love to pass this on to this family!

elizabeth said...

I think you are an amazing mom- and god planned for max to be your son all along
while I know of no one personally I am entering the giveaway and will trust u to pass it along to someone who would benefit from it.
It's a great giveaway- you have a huge heart

Leah said...

I would love to read this book. Although my son has not yet been diagnosed with SPD I do think he has some form of it. He doesn't like certain textured foods and he doesn't handle certain noises well or someone touching his ears (he has had 3 hearing tests done and there are no problems with his ears).

katherinemarie said...

What an amazing post my friend! Such courage and beauty in your words... I think every single elementary school could benefit from having this a copy or two of this book!!! Even those that aren't directly touched by SPD could learn so much from a book like this. Thank you for sharing your journey, your hope, your vision and your courage...

Simple Daisy said...

What a fabulous book!!!
I am Special Education Teacher and have many students that are touched by sensory processing issues!! I too have some me, I am not shy to wear sound dampening headphones while at work:)

Unknown said...

I'm a mom with a 6yo daughter who was diagnosed w/SPD about a year ago. We realized something was wrong when she was spending at least one day a week in the Asst Principal's office... An outside counselor suggested we have her tested, and it was confirmed. We did OT, but when things weren't improving, we decided there was something more going on, as well. She was diagnosed in October with ADHD. The combination of SPD and ADHD makes things REALLY difficult some days. We have, like most parents, had to be our daughter's advocate in school. I bought a few books that I have lent to my daughter's teachers, in an effort to try to explain things. This book sounds like an awesome way to explain it, and if our daughter could share it with her friends, that would be even better!

Betty: Reflections with Coffee said...

Awesome review and pictures from the book. I'd love to have this in my school's library. We are a preschool through 12th grade and beyond school that is over 160 years old. Of course, we've had SPD kids come through our system!
bmcbroom AT gmail DOT com

Laura said...

My little boy has just recently been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. We are just beginning this part of our journey and it sounds like this is a great book for our family.

We thought Jamie was autistic, but just learned last month that he is not on the spectrum, he has SPD. He has above average intelligence, but is having a difficult time reading because of auditory processing issues. He has so much trouble at school and I don't yet know how to help him. It's not just trouble with reading, but in multiple areas. Sometimes I have wondered if we made a mistake having him start kindergarten this year.

Laura said...

I forgot to leave my email address, just in case I win...

Amy said...

I would love to read this book & then pay it forward. I too, have a Max (4) with SPD. We have been kicked out of two day cares & now at 4 is in his 2nd year of public preschool,with me as the main educator on this & advocate in getting his IEP followed. Bless all the little ones struggling w/these issues & those who help. It is not an easy task always.