Author Makes Sense of Childhood Challenges

She’s been featured on “Oprah,” President Ronald Reagan honored her at the White House, and now the Preston Hollow resident has written a book.

Sally Fryer Dietz wrote When Kids Fly! Solutions for Children with Sensory Integration Challenges, published earlier this year. The book weaves together a personal narrative about discovering her firstborn son needs therapy, with her expertise in therapeutic pediatrics including common red flags and a variety of solutions.

Alex, her son, was 6 years old when his teachers reached out to Dietz about his learning challenges.

“He was a bright, funny boy and I didn’t see what his teachers saw,” she said.

Dietz, 59, has been a physical therapist working with kids for more than 30 years. She knew she wanted to write a book someday, and five years ago she began jotting down notes and stories from her experience.

Dietz said her goal for the book was to give non-threatening advice to parents about their kids. She wants the book to be a practical guide for when parents should worry and when they shouldn’t.

“Kids are a sensitive subject,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing if they need help. So much denial in defense of your child could hurt them.”

Dietz has opened three clinics in the Dallas area that provide integrative sensory therapy for kids with learning differences or other developmental challenges. She opened her first clinic in Preston Hollow in 1994 after she realized she didn’t have any place to take Alex. She now also has a clinic in Plano and at the Shelton School.

Dietz is working to earn a doctorate degree in physical therapy. She has one class left.

“I figured I wanted to have my doctorate before I turn 60,” she said. “It just shows you never are too old to learn.”

Working full-time, at three different clinics, while taking classes to earn a PhD, Dietz says most of the writing happened at 3 a.m. Though she wasn’t a writer herself, her father was, and he helped her organize her ideas. He died during the writing process.

“After that I knew I could do this for myself and for him,” she said. The book is dedicated to her father in loving memory.

Though it was harder than she expected, Dietz thinks she will write another book someday, this time focusing on her work with concussions.

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