Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Collect Small Victories

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 by Lisa Ricard Claro   19 Comments | Posted in Chynna Laird · sensory processing disorder · SPD · victories · WOW-Women on Writing
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for
Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder by Chynna Laird.
The book is a memoir of a mother fighting for a diagnosis when countless doctors told her that her daughter was just “spirited”. Chynna shares the heartbreaking reality of mothering a child with a severe “no touch” rule. She calls it “mothering without touch.” Although Not Just Spirited is the perfect match for parents of children with SPD, the determination and victories shown in the book will encourage anyone parenting a child with special needs or working to overcome an obstacle in their own life.
Chynna has also written a children’s book, I’m Not Weird, and resource book about SPD, At-Home Strategies for Managing Sensory Processing Disorder: A Guide for Parents . She is now working on another book White Elephants. When not writing, Chynna is a mom to her three young children and a student working on her BA in Psychology.
If you comment on today’s post you’ll be entered to win a copy of Not Just Spirited  To read Chynna’s post about parenting and a list of other blogs participating in Chynna’s Blanket Tour visit The Muffin.

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Collect Small Victories
Until being asked to participate in the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Chynna Laird’s book about parenting a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) I had never heard of this dysfunction.  Simply put, SPD affects the method by which stimuli from the senses is accepted and converted by the nervous system into appropriate behavioral and motor responses.  To gain an understanding, I visited the website for the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation. This is an overview, quoted from their site:

“Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch or just sight or just movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. These are the “floppy babies” who worry new parents and the kids who get called “klutz” and “spaz” on the playground. Still other children exhibit an appetite for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive. These kids often are misdiagnosed – and inappropriately medicated – for ADHD.” 

Can you imagine your child refusing to be touched?  I’m a touchy-feely person—an arm rubber, a back patter, a hugger. The sense of touch is very real to me, especially from the standpoint of mothering my children.  Lucky for me, my kids inherited the touchy-feely gene and they respond to this method of communication. Good thing, because I would have no idea how to mother without it.

Suppose your child showed minimal reaction to heat, cold or pain? Such a child could do serious self-injury, and quite unintentionally. As a parent, would I overreact, be too protective, too watchful? What kind of toll must this take on the families who live it every day? We knock ourselves out protecting our children from all manner of things; imagine having to increase that intensity, every second of every day.

For parents of special needs children every day brings fears and concerns that do not touch the rest of us.  The flip side is that they experience a giddy exuberance over their child’s accomplishments, no matter how small, that other parents may not understand.  They collect every small victory like a flower.

Perhaps this is something all parents should do. . .collect small victories.

Pulitzer prize winning columnist Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying:  “The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.”  May parents everywhere, with children in any circumstance, meet and win that challenge.

Collect small victories like flowers; eventually you will have a bouquet.

19 Responses to "Collect Small Victories"

  1. Comment by Sioux Roslawski
    November 17, 2010 at 8:28 am  

    I would love to read this book, and then share it with a particular family, but I am afraid I would be met with, uh, silence. This family has an autistic son, and after I heard an adult (in his 20's) speak about his struggles with autism during a teaching conference, I bought his book and devoured it. I offered to share it with the mom after I finished it. She didn't respond in any way, so after a moment of awkward silence, I quickly changed the subject.This students has a younger sister who screams when they get her dressed in the morning. It makes me wonder if this family is battling autism AND SPD…

  2. Comment by Dominic de Mattos
    November 17, 2010 at 8:31 am  

    A beautiful post Lisa, thank you.Thought provoking and poignant. At the tail end of the whole parenting process, and with a nephew and niece with severe special needs, I can so very readily identify with what you say.Dom

  3. Comment by Chynna
    November 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm  

    Hi Lisa. What a fabulous post. And I have to both thank you and commend you for going to the SPDF Website and learning more about it. If more people followed your lead, SPD wouldn't be such a mystery. =)Sioux, many people with autism also have SPD (but not necessarily the other way around!) You know, sometimes the best way to pass along information is just to do it with a, "I read this/saw this/found this/was given this and thought it was inspirational! Would you like to take a look?" That's what advocacy is: teaching, getting people talking and spreading out the information. You aren't TELLING her you think her child has this disorder; you're merely talking about books or what's out there in the news today. You're wonderful to care enough to 'devour' as much as you can about such issues. Bravo to you!And I agree, Dominic, it was a beautiful post and I'm so happy to read that others are building bridges of information to one another so these issues aren't as 'mysterious'.Thank you to all of you for commenting.Warmly,

  4. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm  

    Hi Sioux – Your concern for others always shows. It's a shame the mom you speak of is closed to literature that might help her in some way. Perhaps you will eventually find a way to help her. Your teacher's heart seems always to be open.Thanks for your comments.

  5. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 17, 2010 at 9:38 pm  

    Hi Dom – Glad it struck a chord. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

  6. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm  

    Hi Chynna – Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words. Your comments to Sioux provide solid advice on approaching others and "spreading the word". Education really is the key, here. I admire your dedication to bringing this disorder to light, and have to say your coping skills are remarkable. I'll look forward to reading your book.

  7. Comment by Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy
    November 18, 2010 at 11:31 am  

    Hi Lisa,This is such an interesting topic. I have heard a little about this, but not too much. I remember hearing about kids who cannot feel pain, or who have to have the tags taken out of their clothing and wear their socks inside out. I have never heard of a child who could not bear being touched though. I can't imagine the challenges that Chynna and her family faced. I am very interested in reading this book.I really enjoyed reading your post.Take care and have a great day my friend. It is snowing hard here. I think this time it means it. :>)Kathy

  8. Comment by tanyavalentine
    November 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm  

    thanks for this post. My oldest has SPD – which I'd never heard of until his diagnosis. I'm happy more and more people are becoming aware of it. I feel for the poor kids who had it before it had a name/diagnosis/treatment. Great post!

  9. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm  

    Hi Kathy – Now that you mention it, I've heard of the socks-inside-out thing too. Didn't put it together with this, but I be you're right. Snow?? I love snow as long as I don't have to drive in it. I'll enjoy looking at all your pictures. 🙂

  10. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm  

    Hey Tanya – Why did I not know this? Doesn't come up in general conversation, I guess, and we're always talking about writing. I would have picked your brain before I wrote the post. Ah, well!

  11. Comment by Tammy
    November 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm  

    Proof that you can touch people in all sorts of ways. And you do. Wonderful post.

  12. Comment by anita
    November 18, 2010 at 8:34 pm  

    Thank you, Lisa, for enlightening me with such a beautiful story about a condition I knew nothing about.

  13. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm  

    Hi Tammy – Thanks so much!Hi Anita – Thanks! I didn't know anything about it either, but the subject really touched my heart and I was happy to be able to participate.

  14. Comment by irishoma
    November 19, 2010 at 11:43 am  

    Hi Lisa,Thanks for a lovely and touching post. I love the idea of celebrating small victories.Donna V.

  15. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm  

    Hi Donna – Thanks for your comments!

  16. Comment by Sally
    November 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

    I saw the Temple Grandin movie from HBO. She was autistic and did not like to be touched. I, too, am a touchy-feely person and my heart broke for Temple's mother as she struggled to understand her daughter. Knowledge is power, keep getting the word out. Thanks for sharing this information.

  17. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    November 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm  

    Hi Sally – Thanks for commenting. I forgot about Temple Grandin–never saw the movie, but did hear about it. Your comment made me consider how tough it would be on the flip side, being the child of someone with a "no touch" rule. My childhood was so filled with hugs and snuggles I can't fathom having to do without. Something to ponder.

  18. Comment by Dominic de Mattos
    November 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm  

    I have an award for you Lisa … come visit my blog! 😀

  19. Comment by Chynna
    December 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm  

    Lisa, I wanted to come back on and thank you so much for having me on your blog. It was a wonderful experience and I'm so happy to see the interaction after our chat. I also wanted to let you know that I'm currently working on a sequel to this book to show how far Jaimie has come. Thanks

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