October is a pretty busy Awareness month. There is the Down Syndrome 31 for 21 that I participate in every year. Cerebral Palsy Awareness falls within October. Food Allergy Awareness comes into play with Halloween. Breast Cancer Awareness month, Domestic Abuse Awareness, Child Health Day and the list goes on and on.
It is also Sensory Awareness Month. While I am more than aware that Bridget has sensory processing disorder, I was unaware there was a month long awareness campaign. Until I was approached and asked to share Jennifer Shaw’s story.
The book Life Not Typical, by Jennifer Shaw, tells the story of a child with SPD and the parents who love him. The book is very faith-orientated as when learning to care for her son, Jennifer’s faith evolved and was solidified. Jennifer and her family are very devout, but in a way that you see how their faith comforts and supports them when parenting a child with SPD. The underlying theme of the story is never give up. On yourself or your child.Yet any parent who has tried to take their child with SPD to beach will be hooked on the opening paragraph.
While it takes a while for the story of her son to get going, it was worth the read. I expected her story to start with Toby not with Jennifer’s pre-Toby years. Yet none of our lives started when we began parenting a child with challenges. It our lives before that child that gives us the tools to parent.
I knew Bridget had SPD long before she was officially diagnosed. It is very difficult to explain the terror that is felt when they see snow, sand or feel the wind. Forget having them play in the sandbox. The true victory comes when they will play outside the box with a shovel inside. It is standing up to well meaning friends and family members who say just put her down on the grass.
Yet SPD is so much more than the touch. It is how a person reacts to the sounds and the feelings of the sensory overload. As I do not have SPD I cannot even explain the phenomenon. I just see how Bridget tenses, how even a loud laugh in a restaurant can startle her or how seeing her sister play in the snow sends Bridget into a panic that Abby will be hurt. This video was on Facebook and I encourage everyone to watch. I believe this is how Bridget feels every moment.
While the video is very difficult to listen to, it provided me a glimpse of what Bridget is hearing and feeling when she goes to that place where I cannot reach her. When she places my hands over her eyes and puts her head on my chest. It solidifies for me that SPD is real and difficult. Managed by whatever tools Bridget allows us to use.
Now for the giveaway….
Adams PR Group has offered a copy of Jennifer’s book, Life Not Typical to one of my readers. Since I have absolutely no idea how to do a giveaway or raffle or whatever here is how you can win Life Not Typical by Jennifer Shaw the first person to post in comments that they would like the book gets it! There are no other rules.
While I was given a copy of Life Not Typical to giveaway to a reader, I was not compensated in any way to promote Jennifer’s story. The review is my own. I will even pay the shipping and handling to send the book to you!
Yay, I am first (I think) and I would love to read Jennifer’s book. Definitely sounds like a wonderful and inspiring read. So thank you for sharing her story here with us today. And you were right about the video and definitely eye and ear opening for sure.
Wow, that video was tough. My daughter was yelling at me to turn down the volume and I told her I couldn’t – because if you have SPD you can’t just turn it down. So eye opening – thanks for sharing it and the book, Kerri.
It is funny, my husband watched it and said that now he got it. That he knew Bridget had SPD but that know he understands what she might be hearing/feeling when we take her to the beach for instance. He said we should send it to every family member who ever said she will just grow out of it or just put her on the sand!
Wow!! I agree that that is how my son hears the world but not so much with the visual FOR HIM which means I know that the visual is like that maybe for some if that makes sense. I know Tucker hears stuff like that because he holds his hands over his ears all the time when I am like “HUH?” but he also is very in tune with the visual – which is more proof that each of these kids with disorders or on the spectrum are so so different while also being so much the same!! love this my friend.
That makes perfect sense. I am sure that video is not what every person with SPD feels however it helped us understand just a little more what Bridget goes through every day.
Oh, my – I have never seen a video like that and it breaks my heart. My Bear probably experiences the same thing. He often covers his ears. My poor baby. Do you remember a few years ago there was an email making the rounds describing autism as being dropped off in the streets of a busy city, in a foreign country, during a holiday or celebratory event and you were blind, but could suddenly see. They described it as the worse sensory overload ever – but still, that was not as powerful as that video.
I showed the video to my husband and even he who is so patient with Bridget was overwhelmed by what this video expressed. It might not be to that extreme as the video but she cannot tell us, can she?