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Not Just Spirited

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  • Posted August 24, 2012

    A Must Read for Any Parent

    In the book Not Just Spirited, you follow a mother on her journey through discovering her daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and the struggles both parents as well as the child go through when coping with SPD. Personally, I do not know anyone with SPD nor have I ever met any one with this disorder, so honestly I could only imagine what it would be like. And even then, I'm sure it's not even close. But as a parent, I could feel the heartbreak both Chynna (the author and mother) and Steven (the father) were feeling as their daughter Jamie more than just struggled with normal, everday things. Jamie couldn't enjoy things most children do because of the SPD. Eating most foods, wearing most clothing, even taking a bath or hugging her parents were just too much for her to bare. She would scream for hours and bang her head against a wall or the floor causing bumps and bruises to herself because these normal things weren't normal for her.
    The moment Jamie was born, Chynna knew something wasn't right because Jamie would pull away and wouldn't even look at her. She wasn't sleeping right and the sound of her fathers voice made her scream. When Chynna confronted the doctor about this, he said "She's just Spirited". It took two-and-a-half years for the doctor to finally listen to Chynna and actually do something about it. As a parent, that angered and frustrated me just reading it. I could only imagine how it must have felt telling the doctor several times something was wrong, and him doing nothing.
    Though the book Not Just Spirited is about SPD, as a parent, I would recommend it to anyone that has children. As it shows you that a mother's intuition is usually right and should be listened to. I found it absolutely amazing the strength Chynna was able to find within, even in the toughest of times. She is a true inspiration to not only parents of children with SPD, but to all parents in general. This book made me frustrated and angry at times, but I also found myself crying both tears of sadness and joy as I read this amazing journey through discovery and coping with SPD.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    “not just spirited” by Chynna T. Laird is a compelli

    “not just spirited” by Chynna T. Laird is a compelling book about her daughter, Jaimie, who suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and her journey to find a diagnosis and ways to help her daughter cope. This was a moving book about the love of a mother and the lengths she will go for her child. SPD is often misdiagnosed and parents are at a loss as to why their child is behaving that way and what they can do to help their child. Mrs. Laird was no different. When Jaimie was a baby, Mrs. Laird knew there was something wrong at around three months. Talking over her concerns with her pediatrician, she walked away being told that it was normal and she was just a nervous first time mom. And thus began her search for what was really wrong with her daughter.

    This was a heart wrenching story. Although I really felt for the mother, Jaimie’s relationship (or lack of a relationship) with her father was completely heart breaking. Having a child who doesn’t want to be touched or hugged, or screaming because of something she smells or sees, is extremely frustrating and difficult. Many times Mrs. Laird and her husband were told that it was lack of discipline or that it was their fault. Perhaps if they read this book those people would understand that Mrs. Laird and her husband are doing everything they can for their daughter and that compassion from others is actually what is needed instead of judgment.

    Mrs. Laird does a good job documenting her story and Jaimie’s struggles with this disorder. SPD was not a term I had heard of until recently and awareness definitely needs to be brought to the public’s attention. Hopefully this book will reach out and make others aware that SPD is real and educate them about what it means to have SPD or to have a child with SPD. Even though Jaimie now has a diagnosis doesn’t meant that her sensitivities will get better, but it will mean she can get help to learn how to cope with them. It would be interesting if Mrs. Laird did a follow-up book when Jaimie is older so that the reader can see how she is doing. Jaimie got into my heart and I would love to know how she learns how to cope as she grows up.

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hope for Sensory Processing Disorder Families

    Often mislabeled in the categories of autism, Asbergers, or even "gifted," SPD is a neurological or genetic problem that a child manifests as early as infancy, and which may be progressive up to later years if it's not discovered and facilitated for the child's health and well-being.

    The Disorder is often recognized when a child fails to make eye contact, withdraws from or rejects human contact of any kind including being picked up and hugged even by parents, exhibits hyperactive or underactive behaviors at different times, has a multitude of issues with clothing, fine motor skills, eating foods, smells and noises, making transitions, and entering the outside world in general.

    It is amazing to me how Ms Laird even had a moment's time to write her book! Her daughter, Jaimie has a severe case of SPD requiring nearly constant care and intervention. But her dedication to her daughter, her family of 3 other children, her husband, the therapists and doctors and teachers who worked in tandem to reach her child...and to families who may feel isolated as they wonder what is wrong with their child and how to find help, gifted her with what has to be a Herculean strength to set down a lighted path for others. She is to be highly commended for her efforts and her love to all concerned.

    This is a book for parents, family members, teachers and professional care-givers of children with SPD. It's a word of instruction as well as a word of caution and hope. It's a book that deserves a hardback edition and much more press!

    The only thing I found missing in all her suggestions to parents was an urging to take care of themselves! Strangely enough, Ms Laird doesn't mention taking time out to refresh, recoup and relax so one can be ready to meet the challenges a child with SPD presents. Of all the suggestions...I think this should be high on the list. In her writings about recognizing and finding help for Jaimie, she never mentions taking time for herself or with her husband and other children apart from Jaimie. As a mother who had gifted children who demanded my attention in a similar fashion; that is, they weren't on the average track of most children, I found this advice sadly absent from Chynna's book.

    I hardily recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject matter, and in seekers of "what's wrong with my child," as well as for therapists interested in a teaching tool for parents of SPD children.

    It is also an interesting read for all parents who may have a child with SPD being integrated into their own child's classroom. If you are an adult with such issues as described above, you may want to read this comprehensive book, as well. I found it most helpful!

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    important resource for parents with Sensory Processing Disorder

    Do you know what Sensory Processing Disorder is? Three months into her daughter Jaimie's life, author Chynna T. Laird knew that something was wrong. When Jaimie was fifteen months old, a simple chore like changing a diaper led to her screeching "no" and banging her head against the table. The pediatrician originally said that her behavior could simply be chalked up to "spiritedness" and that she would eventually grow out of it, but when she didn't grow out of it and it actually worsened, Chynna finally found an Occupational Therapist who diagnosed Jaimie's condition as Sensory Processing Disorder (formerly called Sensosry Integraton Dysfunction or SID), which is defined as "the inability of the brain to process information received through the senses."
    Jaimie's form of SPD is quite severe, affecting all her sensory systems at some level, and isn't common. Most children with SPD usually have only one or two systems affected. There are many different kinds of symptoms, such as being slow to adjust to change, startling easily, rarely smiling or laughing, clumsiness, lack of concentration, or being afraid of other people, but in some way the child's brain isn't giving his body the appropriate messages to understand how to interact properly with objects, people, and situations in his environment. Some children are over-responsive and may freak out at the slightest sensory stimulation, while others are under-responsive and don't seem to respond to stimulation at all. No one knows exactly what causes it. Not Just Spirited started out as journal entries for Chynna to make sense of what was happening to her daughter as well as being an emotional release for her. Then she decided to use her gift of writing as a means of reaching out to others, trying to be as jargon-free as possible.
    As a result of homeschooling our two sons, my wife and I have had the privilege for the past five years of serving on the board of our local homeschooling conference. The first year of the conference, we had a couple of speakers address how to homeschool children with "special needs." They received such a positive response that each year since then we have invited a multitude of individuals to talk about the entire spectrum of "special needs" (autism, Down syndrome, ADD/ADHD, Asperger's, dyslexia, and, yes, sensory integration issues). I certainly am not qualified nor do I have the experience to pass any kind of judgment on the subject matter in this book. But I would suspect that it will provide a great deal of useful information for parents of children with SPD that will give them help in dealing with their children's condition and hope as they face the difficulties involved.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    Not Just Spirited

    Reviewed By: Debbie Smart, Book Reviewer - Stories for Children

    Not Just Spirited is one mother's quest to find peace for her daughter, Jaimie. Chynna Laird is Jaime's mother. Only a few months old, Jaimie didn't like certain sounds, smells and she positively didn't want anyone or anything touching her. In fact, she spent most of her days screaming and many nights having "night terrors." Jaimie's mom knew in her heart that Jaimie wasn't "just a spirited" kid - she was a child that was suffering in every aspect of her daily life.

    When Jaimie was 2 ½ she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This began the quest to find appropriate treatments. As Jaimie's mom cried for help to an array of "professionals" - her cry too often fell on deaf ears. However, with the correct diagnosis of her precious little one, Jaimie's mom, continued to seek any and all treatments that would possibly benefit Jaimie.

    Not Just Spirited is a book which helps validate the feelings of parents who may have a child with SPD. The author, Ms. Laird, not only empowers other parents to be the number one advocate for their child - she also empowers professionals working with children with SPD.

    Not Just Spirited is an excellent read for any parent with a child who has SPD - or any professional who works with children who have SPD. This book is an invaluable resource to special education libraries as well as to anyone wishing to gain knowledge regarding SPD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

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