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Sensational blessings: A parent's perspective by ProQuest


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									                                        Sensational blessings:
                                        A parent’s perspective
Chynna Laird

                                                           Jaimie was the opposite.
 For an average child, someone else’s light touch on       When we picked her up, she
 their skin would go almost unnoticed. But for a child     struggled and screamed
 with sensory processing challenges, any sensory           but calmed down some-
 stimulation not invited or prepared for can be over-      what once put back down.
 whelming and even painful to endure.                      As she grew, so did her
    My six-year-old daughter, Jaimie, has sensory          behaviour: she angered
 processing challenges that affect all of her sensory      quickly, adjusted slowly
 systems, from moderately to severely. Even a simple       to change, startled easily,
 act of affection is enough to send her into the throws    rarely smiled or laughed,
 of a meltdown. For example, when Jaimie was about         and was so afraid of other
                                                                                              About the author –
 two-and-a-half, Jordhan, her ten-month old sister,        people I’d often spend an          Chynna laird , is a psy-
 had developed a normal curiosity for everything           entire visit or shopping trip      chology student, freelance
 her big sister did. One afternoon as Jaimie played        with her clinging desperate- writer, and author living
 preschool games on the computer, Jordhan pulled           ly to me. A simple “hi there”      in Edmonton, Alberta
                                                                                              with her three daugh-
 herself to standing, her hands resting on my leg, to      from someone sent her
                                                                                              ters; Jaimie (six), Jordhan
 watch Jaimie play. Jaimie craved stimulation so the       immediately into tears. On         (four), and baby Sophie
 room echoed with noise; television blasting, Wiggles      top of this, she had terrible      (almost one) and baby
 playing on the stereo, and her computer game beep-        fits, similar to or even worse     boy, Xander (two). Her
 ing. Jaimie’s eyes quickly scanned around the room        than what’s been described,        passion is helping chil-
 every few seconds but, amazingly, she was still able to   where she would purposely          dren and families living
                                                                                              with sensory processing
 concentrate on her game. Then it happened: Jordhan’s      hurt herself in some way
                                                                                              challenges and other
 hand slipped onto Jaimie’s leg.                           (such as head banging, bit-        special needs. Chynna is
      Jordhan’s light touch caused Jaimie’s breathing      ing herself, other people or       pictured here with her
 to get more and more rapid until she was almost hy-       objects, scratching herself        daughter, Jaimie, who has
 perventilating. After a moment, Jaimie stuck her face     or pulling out her hair) until sensory processing chal-
                                                                                              lenges, and is the focus of
 right down into Jordhan’s, screeching, “No touch me,      she calmed down.
                                                                                              this article.
 Jordy. Get off!” Then shoved Jordhan, knocking her on           When Jaimie’s behav-
 her back.               
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