Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Just Spirited by Chynna T. Laird (and Giveaway!)

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.


Mama Echo said...

I would love to read this book! While reading your post it occurred to me that one of the residents I care for at the nursing home may have some form of SPD. It might help me, help her if I was educated on this topic. Something for me to think about anyway. Thanks!

Niksmom said...

I NEED to read this book whether i win a copy from you or buy my own; I am becoming more and more convinced that the root of so many of my son's challenges and behaviors lies in SPD. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

TC said...

Oh mememememe! Because, oh N, N, N, N, N. (I also realllllly need to find that children's book for him. Sounds like a key addition to our library.)

Nancy said...

Looks like a great resource!

Anonymous said...

Like Niksmom said, I need to read this regardless of how I get it. After my son's recent diagnosis of Aspberger's at the age of 13, other things are jumping out at me as well. I suspect SPD is a major player in his life as well. Thanks for the review!


Joeymom said...

Ah, SPD. My whole school system needs to read this book. Seriously.

mailmichal said...

I would love to read this. It might help with the little guy in my class.

mylfieasitis said...

Would love a copy! Adam was diagnosoed with this before the Asp. dx came.
Sometimes I'm not sure where one stops and the other starts..

heather said...

I have four children who all have sensory issues, two ont he autsim spectrum...would :LOVE this book.

jodifur said...

I would love this book, to donate to the OT Michael is working with. Michael doesn't have SPD, but a lot of the kids she works with does and she has been wonderful to us and I know she buys all her own supplies.

Chynna said...

Hello! This is Chynna Laird (the author of "Not Just Spirited.)

Thank you to all of you who have left comments. As I told Jean, I wasn't 100% sure whether to put our story out there but slowly I'm realizing how important it was to do so.

As you all know, the way to make people understand our children is to raise awareness. Once people have knowledge about something, they seem more willing to accept it. And once I realized how many other families out there have similar struggles to ours, I knew I had to tell our story.

Telling our stories makes these issues more 'real'. So keep up what you're all doing on your own journies and THANK YOU so much to folks like Jean who work so hard to make our stories be heard.

BE strong, BE brave and BE matter what!



PS: Good luck to all of you!!

Perksofbeingme said...

this sounds like an awesome book and I'd love to read it. Several of the children with autism i work with have SPD and it would be great to read this, no matter how I end up getting it.

Jen said...

One way or another I'm going to have to read this book. Joseph has a boatload of sensory issues and I often find myself at a loss for how to best help him.

Jen said...

I would love to read this book. My son was diagnosed this year with Asperger's and SPD. I love the title!

Leeann said...

I would love to read this book. I have always thought I have minor sensory issues also- I wear many things inside out so I can't feel seams, I find even "tagless" clothes bothersome, I can't wear anything appliqued, I have a very strong sense of smell and am easily overwhelmed by crowds, and loud, close spaces.

I see some of this in my kids as well.

Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

Christina said...

I would love to read this book! I'm sure I'll find myself nodding along in recognition while reading it, but seeing how others have tackled these kinds of issues helps me better deal with it myself. Thanks!

Kath said...

I'm a self diagnosed SPD parent with 2 confirmed diagnosed SPD children. This book sounds like it would provide the sanity check that I need. SPD is more difficult to deal with than many people think - especially if you have SPD and are trying to parent an SPD child who pushes your SPD buttons.

Deborah said...

I am so interested in reading this book. My son (7) has Aspergers and SPD (most specifically auditory issues) which is affecting him (and us!) so much. We're still working to find the appropriate therapies for him, as well as the right consistent attitude on our end, but its a really rough road for all of us.

debrob58 said...

I would love to read this book because I have a grown son with AS (also ADHD). I'm still trying to better understand his world as he was growing up and the many things he went through then and goes through now. I do learn a lot from reading books such as this and appreciate the chance to win.

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