5 Great Picture Books for Children with Attention Disorders and Low Frustration Tolerance

attention books

Reading to your child can be a wonderful way to help explain and incorporate helpful strategies into your daily life with your family. I am an avid reader myself and have always treasured children’s books since I was a little girl.

As a speech language pathologist…

I have used children’s books to elicit language, improve literacy, and expand vocabulary in my therapy sessions. When I work with children who are non verbal or minimally verbal, I use children’s books to help build sentences with pictures, elicit conversation and initiate communication.

As a Mom…

I read to my children every day because I believe that children’s books can help a child tremendously not only to meet educational needs, but also for emotional needs as well. I often read to my children during mealtime, which I find the ideal time to read books and have a discussion.  For children with attention and sensory issues, mealtime can be a great time to capture their attention and focus on a book. In my own experience, I have found these books below extremely helpful:

1. Listening Larry at Schooldownload

An excellent book to teach the concept “whole body listening” and following directions within the school setting. The story begins with two new students attending school named Luka and Leah. Luka and Leah have trouble listening and following along with the class schedule, social cues, etc. Larry helps them by teaching them how to listen with “their whole body”. Excellent when used with Listening Larry at Home.

2. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have The Wiggle FidgetsGorski_Wiggle

Begins with the main character, David Sheldon getting in trouble (again!)  by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski. David can’t seem to stay out of trouble because of his need to move around and try out his many inventive ideas. With this discovery of the “wiggle fidgets”, David discovers ways to help him pay attention in class and help his teacher understand his attention difficulties. His “cures” can not only help him, but also help other students in class that also have trouble paying attention.

TryAndStickwithIT
3. Try and Stick with It

A book that encourages a child to stick with an activity and not give up. For children with low frustration tolerance, staying with a specific task that is challenging can be extremely frustrating. This book introduces a child to learning why sticking with a task is so important for overall success.

4. Zach Gets Frustrated Zach Gets Frustrated

A book about a little boy named Zach who gets frustrated because his kite can’t fly properly. As a result of his frustration, he starts calling the kite names and wants to leave the beach. Since his family is having a good time, they didn’t want to leave the beach. Instead, his father takes Zach through a three step approach to help reduce frustration, “Name It”, “Tame it”, “Reframe it”.

5. Josh’s Smiley Faces, A Book About AngerJosh's_Smiley_Faces

A little boy named Josh who gets angry often. He gets angry when his brother wants to play with his toy, when a toy doesn’t work properly and gets especially mad at his mom for putting him in time out. During one instance, Josh gets so angry he takes all of the clothes out of his dresser. The book discusses a method that reinforces a child for discussing with a grown up why they are angry.

Becca Eisenberg

Written on 2014/01/10 by:

Becca Eisenberg

Becca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two young children, who began her blog www.gravitybread.com to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience. She discusses the benefits of reading to young children during mealtime, shares recipes with language tips and carryover activities, reviews children’s books for typical children and those with special needs as well as educational apps. She has worked for many years with both children and adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings including schools, day habilitation programs, home care and clinics. She can be reached at becca@gravitybread.com.
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  • Rainbow Acres

    I collect children’s books also, and still enjoy reading them although I am now a grandmother. These look like excellent stories to get across ideas and skills that are hard for children with special needs. At Rainbow Acres in Arizona we are a residential community for adults with developmental disabilities and our therapists and caregivers have discovered many ways to help individuals deal with attention challenges. Thank you for bringing these to our attention. We won’t use these books with our residents, because we always want to treat them as adults, but we can glean ideas and use them.

    • Becca Eisenberg

      Thanks for your comment! I also work with adults with developmental disabilities. There are two books that I use for adults. One is called is the Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond and the other one is Learning To Work by Caroline Musselwhite. Good luck!

  • Stacy

    This is a great list of books. I wish the public library had some of them. Maybe I’ll check with school and see if they do.

  • Allison Pomenta

    Hi, I’d like to add to this list Axel’s Chain Reaction. This is a story about a creative tinkerer with special needs. Although he shows traits identifiable to teachers and therapists of kids on the Spectrum, or with ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder and language disorders, Axel perseveres to make a kinetic sculpture in order to show everyone what he is capable of. Axel’s cheerfulness in the face of disaster, his willingness to help his classmates and his hidden talent will change everyone’s perception of him. It’s a book app available on the Apple App store (for now.) https://itunes.apple.com/app/id701884884 There’s a free Lite version if you want to check out the first third of the book.