Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD

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Today's featured guest is Chynna T. Laird. Chynna is the author of "I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD." To learn more about Chynna visit her websites: and

Enjoy her article posted below. We both love comments, feedback and questions.

My Sensational Child

When Jaimie was two-and-a half, she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

We were both relieved and frustrated.

Honestly, I’d never heard of SPD. I’d heard of Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD but not this mysterious SPD.

But we watched our daughter slowly slip away from us since she was three months old and knew something was wrong. She rarely slept, fought us with every simple hygiene task tooth and nail, spent most of her awake time screaming and refused our touch.

We couldn’t take her anywhere too busy/loud/smelly/bright/etc. or she broke down or froze. Her diagnosis was a relief, then, because we finally had a name for what Jaimie struggled with. But it was still a relatively unknown disorder so we couldn’t get the right support. That was the frustrating part.

Before the SPD diagnosis, we fought to have people listen to us…to see that what Jaimie struggled with was deeper than just her reactions to things or her overt behaviour.

Something in her tiny little body made her fearful of the world around her and we refused to accept that it was “normal” or “spiritedness” and there just had to be other parents out there like us wondering, hurting and researching.

A lot of people call SPD an “invisible disorder” because you can’t see it on a child’s face or body. The only glimmer that something is wrong is their reactions to people, situations, and events and that they often have to try just a bit harder to bounce a ball, play sports like stick hockey or ice skate or concentrate.

But Jaimie is real and so is her SPD. That’s why I chose to talk about our experiences with SPD—to reach out…to, maybe, help other families feel a bit better and less alone.

Since Jaimie was going for therapy, learning how to cope with her world and the people in it, shouldn’t those people in her world learn how to interact with her?

She’s like the other children around her in many ways. She loves drawing, crafting and going to the park. She loves swimming and playing with her siblings. And, boy, does she love learning. She just does things a bit differently. And that’s okay.

Jaimie is six-and-a half now and going into first grade in the fall. She still has a lot of the same struggles but she’s come a long way. What’s helped is the love and support she’s gotten from those around her. Knowledge is so important because it fosters understanding and that’s all we want for these children.

I may not be able to adjust the world to help Jaimie feel safe or hold her to make her feel better but I can teach others how the world feels to her and I can give her the tools to talk about it. After all, Jaimie is my sensational child—my miracle girl—and she’s not invisible and neither is SPD.

Chynna Laird is a psychology student, freelance writer and author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her three daughters [Jaimie (six), Jordhan (four), and baby Sophie (one)] and baby boy, Xander (two and a half). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs.

You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. She’s most proud of her children’s picture book, "I’m Not Weird: I Have SPD," which she wrote for Jaimie. In addition, she’ll have a memoir about raising a child with SPD out in August 2009 and a reference book about the Sensory Diet coming January 2010.

Thanks to WOW! Women on Writing for providing the introduction.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

What a lovely approach to helping children be more tolerant of differences.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Terrie Jenevein said...

What a great story! Thank you for including. Blessings, Terrie

Chynna said...

Thanks to you both for your comments. I truly appreciate it. =)



Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for commenting! Chynna, glad to have you here. :)

Camellia said...

The world can be difficult to negotiate even for a kid who had no extraordinary circumstances. It sounds like you and Jaimie will have experiences that can benefit all kinds of children. Good luck on your journey.

Chynna said...

Camellia (beautiful name, by the way!), thank you so much for your comment. You are so right--all kids can have trouble figuring things out. We just hope to make this one thing easier to ask about, talk about and make sense of. =D

Thanks again for commenting. That means so much to us.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

That must've been frustrating! Sometimes it just helps to know what it is.

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Linda said...

Thanks for giving me some insight on a subject I know little about. What courage you have. Blessings as you continue forward.


Chynna said...

Linda, thanks so much for your comment. For the longest time, I just wasn't sure that I should put our story out there. You really have to think about that, especially when there's a child involved. But when I realized so many people out there don't understand about SPD, or that there were families out there like ours wondering if anyone out there was going through it too, I decided to start writing about it.

Diane, your are totally right. It WAS so frustrating--mostly because we didn't know what was wrong in order to understand how to help Jaimie. But once we knew, and learned about SPD, we were able to give her what she needed. It can still be frustrating but at least we can deal with it with alot more patience. =)


Tanya said...


Thank you so much for e-mailing me. Yes I was trying to add a comment. I am so glad there are people like you who want to share with others about SPD. Right now I am trying to raise awareness of SPD. The school my daughter goes to, knows nothing about SPD. My daughter Abigail I'm sure will benefit from your book. I can't wait to get.

Allyn Evans said...

Hi, Tanya!

Thanks for the post. Glad to know that Chynna's story will be helpful to you. Take care!

Chynna said...

Awwww...Tanya. Bless your heart.

I totally understand your frustration with school issues and SPD. We're STILL going through that but we've been very fortunate because we had a very supportive Kindy teacher who fought for us!

Allyn's site is fantastic (Thanks, Allyn!). I invite you over to my blog too at My focus is entirely on special needs families, especially those living with SPD. I'd love your presense.

I hope you enjoy the book. Please let me know how Abigail likes it. I'll have to tell Jaimie about that...she'll love hearing that another girl is reading our book. =)