Welcome to Meghan's World

Meghan's World is a true story about one girl's triumph over Sensory
Processing Disorder written by her mother. The story validates children's
feelings and offers parents and teachers a look into the world of a child
suffering from SPD. The story explains the therapies Meghan did over the
years, as a young child, to help her overcome her SPD. (Meghan is now a
Meghan's World is a great book for children diagnosed with
autism, PDD, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, Down syndrome, and other social and
learning disabilities. Learn how and see how Meghan has dealt with the
following issues:

* Sensory Modulation               * Sound Sensitivity
* Social Insecurity                    * Hypo/Hyper-Responsiveness
* Tactile Defensiveness             * Visual Perception
* Sensory Processing                * Allergies/Food Intolerance

Written By Diane M. Renna
Illustrated By Regina Stark
With Illustrations By Meghan Renna

In May 2008 Meghan's World was chosen as a FINALIST in the Children's
Non Fiction Category at the
  • where the healing begins...
  • learn how Meghan overcame SPD...
  • live, love, laugh, give thanks...
  • touch the rainbow of life...

Meghan's World was written to validate the feelings of children suffering with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and other disabilites/delays
that often go side-by-side with SPD. I wanted the children and their parents to know that they are not alone, and that there are resources
available to make their lives less stressful, more comfortable, and happy. Living with SPD can be a challenge, but there are therapies and
strategies that can help make their world a better place.

Meghan's World briefly describes our experiences with SPD and what has helped us. You may not need every therapy, and each may affect
you differently. If you are considering a therapy, I recommend that you do the research beforehand, ask other parents/therapists about their
experiences, and then seek the advice of a professional who specializes in that particular therapy. In the back of
Meghan's World (and on this
site), there is a
"Therapies and Helpful Information" section where you can find more information about what is available to help your child.
Also note that SPD comes with many gifts -- I encourage you to foster your children's gifts and to let them express themselves and be all they
can be.

Because of SPD, we have learned and grown together as a family. We have learned to appreciate the simple things in life. We wish you  all the
success that we have seen in our journey, and great memories to last a lifetime.

Diane M. Renna

*Please note that we have added more information to the "Therapies & Helpful Info." The information on this site is unbiased and up to the reader to make
their own judgements. Some information is controversial; none-the-less, educate yourself before you decide. We want to share information that is out there
and some are not necessarily our views.
©2007 Diane M. Renna * Indigo Impressions * All rights reserved *
Meghan's Triumph over Sensory Processing Disorder

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What exactly is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder that affects 1 in 20 children today.  It is a complex, unseen disability that is often
misunderstood and misdiagnosed.  Children with SPD misinterpret everyday sensory information they receive from their environment through
their sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, touch as well as their movement and positional senses.  SPD affects the way their brain interprets this
information and how they act on this information with social, emotional, attentional, motor and other responses.

SPD is a disruption in the process of intake, organization and output of sensory information.  You can take in either too much information,
which causes your brain to overload and shutdown or you can take in too little information, which causes the brain to seek more stimuli.

Most people take in sensory information automatically and they associate it with prior information, memories and knowledge.  Studies by Dr.
Lucy Jane Miller, OTR/L, BCP have shown that kids with SPD often take this information in as new experiences every time and often have a
fight or flight response each and every time.

If a child avoids interaction with their environment, they are limited in their ability to learn.  Proper integration through the senses is the key to
learning.  Early intervention and diagnoses is extremely important because our nervous systems are constantly making new connections within
the brain up until the age of eight.  Our brains have the ability to rewire and make new connections at any age, but it is most easily attained the
younger we are.

Sensory integration therapy will have the greatest affect on young children while their brains are still developing.  The sooner they get help, the
better.  It is not a good idea to wait and see, because SPD children usually get worse if the proper intervention is not given.  When the brain is
not healthy, the body is not healthy.  The brain is what tells our body what to do.  Therefore, the healthier our brains are, the healthier our
bodies will be when we are faced with outside sensory burdens from the environment.

Children need sensory input and experiences to grow and learn.  An occupational therapist that specializes in SPD will provide a personalized
sensory diet with planned and scheduled activities throughout the day.  A healthy sensory diet fulfills physical and emotional needs.  There are
traditional and alternative therapies that help SPD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  

Finding My Inner-Self

                   By Diane M. Renna

I can vaguely remember my Dad telling me to, “just go take a
warm bath and relax and read a book.”  It was about eight years
ago.  I could barely sit still myself and I thought, “There is NO
WAY I would be able to relax in the tub; let alone read a book in
it.”  I tried…I think I lasted five minutes tops.  I am sure the
book was also related to how I could help my children to boot.  
I would often hide-away in the bathroom with my hands held
over my head…praying for patience and help…”that this was
not my daughter… please help us find help and get through
this…I would help others in return.”  I was overwhelmed and
wanted to help my daughter.  My husband, Lorenzo, and his
partner, Diego, had a pizzeria 45 minutes away and they worked
all day and night.  He would help when he could, but mostly
everything fell on my shoulders. I was lucky enough to be a
stay-at-home mom.  However, there was not as much
information about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) then as
there is now. I often had to drive long distances to get help.  I
was blessed to find therapists that worked with me and taught
me what to do. At this time in my life, my daughter was
diagnosed with severe Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SPD)
and she was attending an integrated preschool.  We were
starting our family journey to wellness.  Meghan’s younger
brother, Michael, also was diagnosed with a milder SPD and
it did not affect his everyday life as dramatically as it had
affected Meghan’s.  Let’s face it…I was hyper and always on
the go myself.  I realized I most likely had SPD myself.

I devoted all my time and energy into helping Meghan and
Michael.  I read, learned, played, and grew as a person along the
way.  I applied the same traditional and alternative
therapies/techniques for myself as well.  Soon, we all started
getting better.  Believe it or not, I was even taking long Epson
Salt baths and sleeping well.  It took a long time, but it was
worth it. If it wasn’t for other parents and therapists dedicated
to helping children with SPD and Autism Spectrum Disorders
(ASD) kids/families, I don’t know where we would be.  I never
dwelled upon labels…in fact…most of what helped Meghan and
Michael…were therapies/diets/techniques designed for children
diagnosed with ASD.  We did have fun too…we painted in the
backyard; jumped on the trampoline and swung on the
swings…a great sensory diet is fun for all!! As time passed by,
SPD was no longer a jail keeper to our family.  We were able to
start to go out and enjoy life.  This time period was a period of
adjustment for us; Mostly me.  I had to realize that we were
now able to go places and that I did not have to monitor every
situation and environment for my children.  They were happy
and healthy and enjoying life with their family and friends.  
Meghan was no longer afraid of the world around her.  Her
auditory and tactile defensiveness had diminished.  Michael was
not as hyper and he was not always seeking sensory input. We
even had the best vacation at Disney World.  We were able to
enjoy the fireworks, rides, pool, and all the food. (The first
time we went; was not such a happy time.)  Meghan and
Michael bloomed like two beautiful, exotic, but different
flowers.  I even started to bloom myself.  Life was not good…it
was great!

Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to ask my children’s swim
teacher, Kristy, if she could babysit every Thursday night so I
could either go out with Lorenzo or go to a meditation class.  
(Kristy still babysits for us now.  She has been a Godsend.)
Now, I was really learning how to sit still and be quiet with my
thoughts.  More and more I was able to relax and get in touch
with my inner-child/self.  I became more spiritual and
followed my guidance/instincts more often.  I was guided to
learn Reiki* and eventually to write a children’s book about my
daughter to help validate children’s feelings and to share how
she triumphed over her SPD.

During this transitional time of rediscovery, Lorenzo and I had
another child, Gavin.  He is four years old now and was
diagnosed with SPD last summer.  Presently, he is in his second
year of an integrated preschool.  He has come a long way and is
just starting to blossom into his own exotic flower.  Lorenzo too
is starting to bloom at this time.  Sometimes things can become
overwhelming again and I did wonder…”why do we have to go
through this again!?!”  I do realize that I have to learn and grow
more. Through raising Gavin, I have realized my life’s
purpose.  I realized that my tag line, “Giving inspiration and
hope to children living in an over stimulating world,” has a great
responsibility and I gladly accept it.

However, I do still have to remember not to let other things take
up my time.  Often, I get carried away with helping others.  I
also spend time helping Gavin…after all…it is his turn and my
older children get jealous.  They go off and have fun with their
friends, but still want Mommy time.  Lately, sometimes I feel
like I have to fight for my inner-self time.  Sometimes I feel like
an octopus being pulled in eight different directions.  I want to
feel at peace and then get annoyed if someone pops my serenity

Presently, I am a Reiki Master Teacher and hold a weekly Reiki
Circle in my community with two friends.  Guess who’s been
attending…some mothers of special needs kids and
professionals who work with these awesome children and kids
as well.  I am still evolving, growing, and learning.  I meditate
often and my children respect this time that I take for myself.  I
have been fortunate enough to share what I have learned
with others and to teach them how to find inner peace, self
reflection and self love.  I am grateful for this because my
journey and that of my family’s has not been in vain.  Our
triumph has been a guiding light for others floating in a similar
boat. I thank God for listening to my prayers
and I will gladly share our story so others can become healed as

Life is a journey.  Ultimately, if we connect and find that inner-
peace/guidance…it just flows better.  It is important to carve
some alone time to reflect and just Be.  I am constantly guided
to learn, share, and grow.  I realize my purpose and am
passionate about it.  Our journey with SPD has been a blessing;
not a curse.  My family has grown immensely because of it.  It
has brought us closer to the truth, nature, God, and each other.  
Life is what you make of it.  Stay positive and Believe.

* Reiki (ray-kee) is an ancient rediscovered natural healing
technique involving the placement of hands onto or above the
body.  It is a Japanese form of stress reduction and relaxation
that promotes healing and balances the mind, body, and spirit.
Internationally helping
families in Ireland, Australia,
the UK...and more to come!

In 2010, Diane Renna  joined a group of inspirational parents, authors, and bloggers
who dedicate their time to making positive influences in our SPD/ASD communities in a
First Things First.  This enlightening series has been developed by author,
blogger and parent of three boys with SPD, Hartley Steiner.  

“The series is dedicated to reminding parents that they need to take care of themselves. A
renewal of our commitment to take the time required to nurture not just our children, but
ourselves. We have dedicated all of our energy to making sure our children are taken care
of, but now is the time to remember to focus on our own physical, mental and emotional
health, our spirituality, as well as our relationships with friends and our spouse. This
year, I want to encourage all of you to take care yourself. And I hope each month our
guest writer will inspire you to do just that.” - Hartley Steiner

So, checkout these amazing blogers listed below. They write with you in mind - to
encourage, to inspire and to ignite YOU to look within and take care of yourself.  

Marla Roth-Fisch ~ author of Sensitive Sam
Jennie Linthorst ~ Poet, and mom to Graham from Autistic Like: Graham's Story
Chynna Laird ~ author of Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With SPD*
Carrie Fannin ~ Owner of Sensory Planet
Gavin Bollard ~ blogger at Life With Aspergers
Cat Lichtenbelt ~ blogger/website www.sensoryflow.com
Amy Sherridan ~ blogger at Asperger Ninja
Leslie O'Donnell ~ writer at Examiner.com
Mia Hysteria ~ blogger at General Hysteria and writer at Examiner.com

* Too the left is Diane's FTF article,
Finding My Inner-Self from
October 2010, National Sensory Awareness Month.

“Meghan’s World is written in simple enough language for children to
understand, but gives parents some important information as well.  
Children with sensory processing disorders can easily relate to it, as one
child exclaimed, ‘That’s like me!’  The illustrations are beautiful and
engaging.  Parents and professionals should have it in their library. I
highly recommend it!”
- Jeanne S. Ganz, OTR/L, BCP

“This book is a must-read for all children and all parents of children
diagnosed with SPD. My daughter (age six) loved reading about another
child who has undergone many of the same treatments, and has had the
same emotions as herself.  As a parent, the book was informative,
encouraging, and inspirational.  It really does help to hear what other
families have done for their children suffering with this often
misunderstood disorder.”
- Alison Lynne, author of The Dolly Adventures, and a mother of
children with SPD

“This beautiful and easy-to-read story about very complicated and life-
altering issues brings Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) to life through
the gentle words of Meghan’s mother.  Families, friends, teachers, and
therapists can share this book with each other to promote understanding,
compassion, and hope.  As I travel across the world, spreading the news
about SPD, I will be sharing this book with everyone I meet.  
Congratulations, Diane and Meghan!”
- Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L www.ateachabout.com

"Reading your book really helped us identify the issues that our daughter
experiences.  It was so helpful for us to read about your journey and the
helpful resources you found along the way.  Thank you for writing this
and sharing what worked."
- Scott Mesh, PhD, Psychologist

"I received the books and I love it even more then I remembered!  Both
my kids completely related to it in their own way and ask me to read it to
them over and over.  My kindergartner wants to bring the book to school
to show her teachers.  I've been sharing the book with family and friends
who I feel would appreciate it and it's all we are talking about.  Thank
you so much for putting words to our children's feelings. Please thank
Meghan for sharing her personal story with us.  Good luck with all of
your endeavors."
- Talya Gorsetman  

"Hi Diane, you may not remember me, but I had emailed you with
questions regarding Berard AIT for my daughter, who was sounding
suspiciously like your daughter Meghan. My daughter went thru Berard in
April and what a difference.  She's not the same kid today that she was
six months ago.  So many of her challenges have resolved, it's hard to
put them all down in one place, but I can't thank you enough for your
input - your feedback helped put us over the hump with deciding to do
Berard and it was the best decision we ever made.  The changes have
been profound.  As you said, it's all good. We're likely going to delve into
enzymes next (one thing at a time), but just wanted to extend my thanks
for sharing your wisdom and experience.  It helped us a lot. Be well, LB"
- LB
Another awesome 'update' for LB, below:

"Hi Diane, I just wanted to send you an update and a thank you. Your
insights regarding Meghan were so helpful to us on our journey - I have
one other question and wanted to share a resource with you.

Resource: Berard was definitely helpful in getting us part of the way there
with (my daughter's) auditory sensitivity. We just did another program
(Fast ForWord) which is technically supposed to be a literacy program
(which my daughter) didn't need, because she was already reading) but
we did it for the ancillary benefits around the retaining with hearing. It
has definitely been a further refinement of the Berard intervention and has
taken her to a whole new level - especially with ability to filter out
background noise. Not sure if this is still an issue for Meghan, but I
thought I'd pass along the resource in case you are interested. I learned
about it in the Norman Doidge book, "The Brain that Changes Itself." You
can learn more about the program at www.scientificlearning.com....
thanks a million for all your help!
- LB (5/25/09)

"Thank you so much for your book. It is truly inspirational. I found it
while doing an online search about SPD for my daughte. It is our favorie
book to read together. Finally, I can answer her question that yes, there
are other kids out there like you. She related to the struggles getting
dressed, the OT sessions and the brushing....Many thanks for your help
and for telling Meghan's story."
- Helena (1/1/11)

You can also find more reviews on Amazon.com. Basically, I get emails like
these all the time and am happy to answer any questions and share any
information that you found helpful that worked for your child.
Diane M. Renna has donated over 500 copies of "Meghan's World" to support Sensory Processing Disorder & Autism Spectrum Disorders.  
She is an advocate of early intervention.  By sharing her daughter's success story, her family has helped lead the way for many children to
overcome their struggles with SPD.  If you would like Diane to speak at your engagement, please email her at
dianemrenna@gmail.com and
put 'request for speaking engagement' in the subject line.

Meghan's story truly is an outline of "how to" overcome living in an over stimulating world.  She is an example of the benefits of early
intervention. The alternative therapies that Meghan did are worth looking into.  She is now  17 yrs old and is spreading her wings even more.  
Meghan is a beautiful, healthy, outgoing young lady. She is grateful that her story is helping to heal others. On 4/29/13 Meghan sang & danced
Camp Broadway & NYC Pop's Orchestra at their 30th Spring Gala @ Carneige Hall - she was 1 of 56 who made it...500 kids from
across the country auditioned. This past spring 2014,
Camp Broadway invited Meghan back to perform with them & NYC Pop's Orchestra at
31st Spring Gala @ Carneige Hall. She has also performed original songs at Open Mike Night at Stephen's Talk House in
Amagansette, NY amongst other venues. She continues to shine bright & be all she can be while exploring her artistic and musical gifts.
Some Common Signs are:

•        Overly sensitive to sights, sounds, movements or touch
•        Decreased awareness of surroundings
•        Increased lack of self control, inability to unwind or calm self
•        Difficulty transitioning from one situation to another
•        Physical clumsiness or apparent carelessness