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Integrative Education’s 2023 Summer Reading List

Summer is the perfect time for pediatric occupational therapists to relax, recharge, and expand our knowledge and skills. We often take continuing education courses to expand our

skill set, but reading books is another valuable, cost-effective way to enhance our service delivery. In this blog, we are highlighting our summer reading list specifically tailored for pediatric occupational therapists that include both non-fiction and some fun, fiction books. These books cover a wide range of topics, from sensory integration to self-compassion, and provide practical advice, research-based strategies, and inspiring stories. Let's dive into our selections!


Non-Fiction


Creating Sensory Smart Classrooms by Jamie Chaves and Ashley Taylor

Published in 2021, Jamie Chaves, a pediatric occupational therapist, partners with Ashley Taylor, a clinical pediatric psychologist, to provide practical strategies for creating sensory-friendly classrooms in this comprehensive book. They offer insights into accommodating students with sensory processing difficulties and promoting optimal learning environments. This resource is a valuable asset for occupational therapists working in school settings, equipping them with practical tools to support sensory integration in the classroom.


Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation by Deb Dana

Review: Recommended by Integrative Education speaker, Kelly Beins, this book delves into the neurobiology of regulation and offers insights into how therapists can foster safety and connection to promote self-regulation. Dana's engaging writing style and practical exercises make this an essential read for any therapist seeking to deepen their understanding of trauma-responsive care.


Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff explores the transformative power of self-compassion in this insightful book. Occupational therapists often prioritize the well-being of their clients, but it's equally important to extend that same kindness and compassion to oneself. Neff provides practical exercises and strategies for cultivating self-compassion, which can ultimately enhance therapists' ability to support their clients effectively.


Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

In this fascinating book recommended by speaker Kim Barthel, Barrett offers an engaging exploration of the brain's inner workings. Each concise chapter reveals intriguing insights about the brain's ability to shape our perceptions, emotions, and experiences. Pediatric occupational therapists can gain a deeper understanding of the neurobiological foundations that underpin the interventions they employ, enabling them to deliver more informed and effective care.


Unmasking Autism: Discovering New Faces of Neurodiversity by William Stillman

William Stillman challenges traditional notions of autism in this enlightening book. By embracing the concept of neurodiversity, Stillman encourages readers to recognize and celebrate the unique strengths and abilities of autistic individuals. Occupational therapists will find this book invaluable in their efforts to provide person-centered, strengths-based interventions for their autistic clients.


What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro

Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent, offers a captivating insight into the world of nonverbal communication. Recommended by speaker Kim Barthel, this book equips pediatric occupational therapists with valuable tools to understand and interpret the body language of their clients, family members of their clients, or teachers/paraprofessionals that support their clients at school. By enhancing the ability to read nonverbal cues, therapists can establish rapport, understand emotions, and adapt interventions more effectively.


Fiction


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

As a New York Times best-seller, Lessons in Chemistry is a captivating novel that tells the story of a young woman navigating life, love, and her passion for chemistry. Although not specifically stated, the protagonist appears to be neurodivergent and the book explores the themes of perseverance, resilience, and the pursuit of one's dreams. Occupational therapists can find inspiration in the protagonist's journey, reminding them of the importance of their own personal and professional growth.


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin's novel offers a thought-provoking exploration of memory, loss, and relationships, including how fragile they can be. This book invites readers to reflect on the value of every moment and the transformative power of connection, which is a hallmark of trauma-responsive care. It serves as a reminder for pediatric occupational therapists to be fully present and cherish the progress and growth they witness in their clients every day.


The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

This heartwarming novel tells the story of a group of "unteachable" students and the teacher who believes in them. While not directly about occupational therapy, this book highlights the importance of empathy, resilience, and the belief in the potential of every child. Therapists will find inspiration in the power of positive relationships and the transformative impact they can have on children's lives.


As pediatric occupational therapists, continuous learning and professional development are essential for providing the best care to our clients. This summer reading list offers a diverse range of books that cover topics such as sensory integration, neurobiology, self-compassion, and understanding diverse populations. By engaging with these thought-provoking and practical resources, therapists can expand their knowledge, gain new perspectives, and enhance their therapeutic practice. So, grab a book, find a cozy spot, and embark on a journey of professional growth and inspiration this summer!

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