"Not Just Spirited" tells the story of a mother desperately trying to help her daughter deal with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). At three months of age, Jaimie acted differently than what her parents expected her to. She did not seem to be able to relate to her environment or her parents the way that an infant normally would. Initially, her mother's concerns were dismissed by her pediatrician. As Jaimie reached two years of age, it could no longer be denied that something was wrong. Jaimie was "not just spirited" as the parents had been told.
Chynna Laird set out on a difficult path to find help for her daughter. Along the way she learned what SPD is, and how some of the symptoms can be mistaken for Autism. She also discovered how to work within the system to get them to help her daughter. This was really difficult, because first she had to get them to believe that her daughter was different and desperately needed help. Next she had to find the right people who knew how to effectively deal with SPD. Because Jaimie demonstrated that she was intelligent and did not have learning delays, this kept her from receiving some services. Having been a social worker for people with developmental disabilities, I have seen this happen so many times. I was relieved to see that Chynna still found a way to get her daughter treatment.
Having a chance to read "Not Just Spirited" opened my eyes to what Sensory Processing Disorder is all about. The earlier the intervention, the greater the chance will be that the child can lead a more normal life. A co-worker, who is a therapist, saw me with this book and told me that her son was currently being evaluated for this disorder. It was interesting to have a chance to talk to someone who is dealing with SPD firsthand. Fortunately, my colleague's son's case is not as severe. She is excited to know that she now has access to a valuable resource that will help her family.
Jaimie's journey has not been an easy one, however, Chynna demonstrates how advocating for her daughter has made her life so much easier to manage, and helped her whole family. I truly feel that parents of children with SPD, or really any developmental disability, can learn a lot about self-advocacy from reading "Not Just Spirited" by Chynna T. Laird. They will also be able to relate to the frustrations that this family went through. Having a child that rejects your affection would be heartbreaking. Learning how to break through to them is inspiring. There are also helpful lists of resources in this book that will be very valuable for both parents and professionals to utilize.
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