|©2007 Diane M. Renna * Indigo Impressions * All rights reserved *
The Story of One Girl's Triumph over Sensory Processing Disorder
Giving inspiration & hope to children living in an over stimulating world.
"Meghan's World" was chosen as a
FINALIST in the
Children's Non Fiction Category at the 2008
NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS.
|"The Indie Excellence Book Awards are dedicated to celebrating and
promoting the outstanding work of independent publishers and authors."
-Dan Poynter, author of The Self Publishing Manual and 100 other books
|Diane M. Renna has
donated over 400 copies of
"Meghan's World" to
Processing Disorder &
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 click on the
"Contact Us" button and fill
out the form with your
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
16 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 with 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
|* A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR *
MEGHAN'S WORLD was written to validate the feelings of
children suffering with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and
other disabilities/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; non-the-less, educate
yourself before you decide. We want to share information
that is out there and some are not necessarily our views.
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
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
Scroll down for explanation of
What exactly is
Sensory Processing Disorder?
Diane Renna will be joining a group of inspirational
parents, authors, and bloggers who dedicate their time to
making positive influences in our SPD/ASD communities
in a new series, 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 blogs on the first of each
month at: Hartley's Life With 3 Boys or at any of the
blogs listed below. They were written 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
Scroll down to read Diane's FTF article,
Finding My Inner-Self
October 2010, National Sensory Awareness Month.
|FROM THE FIRST THINGS FIRST BLOG SERIES ~ OCTOBER 2010:
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 bubble.
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 well.
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.
Diane M. Renna, author of “Meghan’s World: The Story of One Girl’s Triumph over Sensory Processing Disorder,” www.
meghanstriumphoverspd.com, Child Advocate, Reiki Master Teacher, Co-Founder of the Sensory Enriched Playgroup & Parent Learning
Pictures from our first Sensory-Enriched
Playgroup & Parent Learning Program ~
August 2010 (in Diane's backyard) below
|Sensational Social Skills Playgroup
caution...things gets messy
|Having fun at the Sensational Social
Skills Playgroup at Miss Gail's
Kidnastics in Center Moriches
|* If you are interested in
Kid's Club Group,
Group (with or without
the Parent Learning
Program) or the
Sensational Social Skills
Playgroup, please contact
Diane Renna at
and put "host inquiring
for playgroup" in the
|Watch The Seven
Video by Nancy
our 7 (yes, 7!)
many aspects to it,
in this educational
|Click the link below to learn more about:
the Creative Expressions Kid's Club,
One-to-One Parental Guidance
(via email/phone - $80 first 1 1/2 hr; $35 for 45
min. follow-ups) & other awesome events,
programs, services, and up-to-date information
Diane is a part of and affiliated with
families in Ireland, Australia,
the UK...and more to come!
|A Writer's Dream Interview with Linda Frank
LTV East Hampton * May 22, 2012* click link: