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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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