I get a fair number of offers to review things here that I turn down because they don't seem like they would be of much interest to either me or my readers. But when I got an email from the ladies at WOW! Women on Writing about Chynna T. Laird's new book, Not Just Spirited, I jumped at the chance to read and review it.
This book is the story of Laird's first few years with her daughter Jaimie, who has sensory processing disorder (SPD). This book was interesting to me not just because I have a child with autism and another with sensory issues, but because I have SPD.
My SPD is self-diagnosed, yes, but if you know me, you know that it's an accurate diagnosis. I saw a lot of me while I was reading this book.
If you have a child with SPD, this book can give you some real insight into what it is like to grow with a child who has this disorder. But even if you don't, I think you will still find the book to be a compelling story. It's easy to read and makes for dramatic reading. It really leaves you with an understanding of what it is like to live with this misunderstood disorder. Beyond that, I think it stands on its own as a fascinating parenting memoir.
In my experience, I think people tend to discount sensory problems. There seems to be a lot of wondering why the affected person can't just get over it. Even more than other special needs, this one tends to be discounted. This happened to Jaimie. Laird writes about how it was difficult to find places to help Jaimie because she was too "high-functioning." The book title refers to Jaimie's doctors' initial refusal to see her extraordinary behavior as anything beyond being a "spirited" kid.
But reading the book, you see that SPD is real, difficult, and needs to be addressed. Laird's daughter Jaimie has a pretty severe form of SPD, which manifested in intense meltdowns, a rejection of Laird's husband, and an inability to interact with other people. Honestly, it's frightening. I can't imagine what the first few years of her life must have felt like, both to Jaimie and her mother.
Laird pushed through all of this to find the right therapies, schools, and friends for her daughter—none of which came easily. The book ends as Jaimie is in kindergarten. She still struggles, but has made great strides in compensating for her SPD.
I would recommend this book to anyone with a child with sensory issues. Laird details resources and types of therapies that worked for her family as well as the way she was able to advocate for Jaimie. Laird has also written a children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.
I'm giving away a copy of this book, so if you would like to read this book, leave a comment below. Make sure that I'll be able to find your email address from your comment or I'll have to choose a different winner. U.S. entries only (sorry). I'll be picking a random comment after midnight on February 5.
Be sure to check out my autism events website, AutMont, where I'm running a guest post by Laird on what your child with SPD wants you to know. It's a great post.
Honesty Clause: Women on Writing sent me a review copy of the book at no charge, as well as a copy to give away to one of my readers. List price for the book is $17.95, but you can find it for less on Amazon. If you'd like to read more of the reviews and posts about Laird's book and SPD, check out the blog tour post on Women on Writing.