Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Review: I'm Not Weird, I Have SID

By Chynna T. Laird!

From the back of the book:

"This book can help children with SID explain their condition to others, help children understand what SID children go through, and help therapists or counselors teach parents how to talk to their children about SID."

When I was asked to review this book, I jumped at the chance. You see, my grandson has SID (Sensory Integration Dysfunction).

Harley was born four months premature. He weighed only 1 pound, 10 ounces. It was a very frightening time for all of us as this teeny, tiny baby struggled to live. There were many times when it was touch and go.

Until he reached a certain size, Harley couldn't be held. He spent all his time in an incubator, hooked up to all kinds of wires and tubes. What we didn't know then is Harley wasn't getting the essential touch needed for his senses to learn how to function properly.

Today, Harley is a rambunctious 5 year old. When I say rambunctious, I'm not exaggerating. Because he has SID, he often can't control his impulses and will wind up like the spring in a clock until it finally snaps.

Unless we stop him, he will either end up breaking something or hurting himself.

That's just a small part of what we deal with. Loud noises often send him over the edge as they can easily hurt his ears (his sense of hearing) and his eyes sometimes bother him if the lights are too bright (his sense of seeing). He picks holes in his socks if there is the slightest little string sticking out (his sense of touch).

As a baby, he would bang his head accidentally and turn around and do it intentionally. He will still hit himself in the head, but it's easier now to tell him not to do that.

His sense of hunger is sometimes mixed up and he will eat all day or not at all. There are times when he cries or laughs for no reason at all as if his sense of affect is confused.

But the worse part is his feelings of anger. When he gets mad, this little boy turns into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! He will literally attack an adult and not even realize he's doing it. He is the only person I've heard of who was threatened to be kicked out of preschool! What control he has over those emotions takes every ounce of energy he can muster to keep in balance.

Yet, most of the time, Harley is the most loving and wonderful little boy. He will offer hugs and kisses and often says, "You're the best grandma!"

So what are we doing for him? Harley is on a new narcotic, which seems to be helping somewhat. He also takes a huge amount of fish oil each day as doctors are finding that helps children with mental issues. And he's on a special diet -- no sugar, lots of protein.

The problem with teaching a child with SID to control themselves is it's an issue of "wiring gone bad." Although they say certain things will jolt them to attention, like yelling at them, that's not very easy on the parent.

And these gifted, intelligent children -- and many of them are very smart, including Harley -- don't understand what is happening to them at times and that's where Chynna's book can help.

This charming children's book explains in children's terms "I'm Not Weird, I Have SID." With colorful illustrations and easy to read words, the book goes through each issue most children with SID will deal with and tells the child others have the same issues to deal with -- they are not alone!

I found this book a wonderful addition to my grandson's little library. He's here with us every other week now that it's summer and we will have lots of opportunities to read it together. It's a book I'd definitely recommend to any parent whose child is affected by SID. It should be in every doctor's office.

Thanks, Chynna for the opportunity to read this marvelous little book! I give it 5 books!


Chynna said...

LuAnn, you are an amazing grandma. You do so much to help that little guy feel better in his world. That's amazing because, as wonderful as Jaimie's Grams is, I don't think she always "gets" what we do for Jaimie. And she often says, "Oh...she's just a normal 6-year old..." which is true in some stuff but...well, you know.

And thank you so much for the fantastic review. The revised copy will be out in the next week or so. I'll send you the revised edition as well. There's some great activities to try with your grandson, or with others who read it with him.

Take care. You do great things, LuAnn.



LuAnn said...

Thanks, Chynna.
Harley is also lucky to have a very special person in his life -- his daddy's girlfriend. She has a brother who was born severely brain damaged and she truly understands issues those with mental challenges face. I'm sure she would love to do some activities with him, too.
Now, if we could convince his mother that he's often not just "acting up."

Yvette Kelly said...

Hey LuAnn,I had never heard of this until now.Your little grandson is lucky to have you.Does this SID get better with time or will he always have these problems?

Chynna said...

Hi LuAnn. Sadly, many people still believe SID/SPD is a behavioral issue when the behavior is really the overt reactions to what's going on in their little bodies. Imagine how scary the world would seem when you never know from one moment to the next how your body will react to things.

But that's why early intervention is so important so they learn how to recognize how their bodies feel and can use effective counteractive tools to help organize their little bodies for what that world has in store for them.

Hi Yvette. SID/SPD is a condition that stays with someone all their lives but with alot of children their sensory sensitivity levels can be greatly reduced as they learn the proper coping tools they need to function.

I was told that it seems worse in the preschool/Kindergarten years when their language skills haven't quite developed enough to tell us what's wrong and how they feel. Over time, though, they learn how to regulate themselves and understand what their bodies need at different times to help them feel better.

It's wonderful to see how far diagnosis and treament has come.

Thank you for asking, Yvette.


Tory Richards said...

Hey LuAnn! Cool Blog!


LuAnn said...

This has been wonderful having Chynna here. I hope everyone continues to stop by and leave comments!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

LuAnn, it must have been so scary for your family when Harley was an infant and so tiny with many extra needs!

I find the premise of this book very interesting. Thanks for sharing it with us.