Collect Small Victories
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.
“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.