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Helping little kids understand big feelings.

by Maria Wilson


Sensory Processing Disorder (“SPD”) affects 1 in 20. That means in every one of our elementary school classrooms, there is one of us. Every sports team. Every holiday party. And yet, why does it sometimes feel as though we are all alone? A children’s book I was recently gifted* called Wiggles Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down” is pure magic in explaining huge feelings to tiny humans.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Put as simply as possible, Sensory Processing Disorder is a heightened sensitivity to anything that stimulates the senses. Noises that are too loud. Bright flashes. Texture in your clothing. In most cases, these things can cause an overreaction to the stimuli, or a feeling of overwhelm or anxiety.

Who is Affected by Sensory Processing Disorder?

Me! You! Anyone! Studies have shown that it is inherited, however, according to sensoryhealth.org, it can be a result of prenatal or birth complications as well.


How Does “Wiggles Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down” Help?

As parents, if we don’t understand what SPD feels like, we may have a difficult time helping our children process the emotions that arise. As children, it helps those that experience SPD explain the feelings, and those who are unaffected better understand them. This creates a sense of inclusivity and feeling heard, which is priceless!

Lindsey Rowe Parker does a beautiful job of making it less scary. She breaks down the emotions simply enough for my 3-year-old to understand them, and for my 7-year-old to point them out in our day-to-day. My daughter even coaches my son through my emotions now, which is so incredibly helpful. The bright, colorful illustrations are fun and also help define these big feelings. In my 34 years of life, I never understood the sense of overwhelm I often feel. As a result, I attributed it to my grumpy attitude, a long workday, not enough coffee. But while those things are a small fraction of it, I see now that much of it is also out of control. It may sound like a “deep” or “dramatic” way to describe a children’s book, but it has honestly given me such a sense of grace within, and I am so grateful to have found it. I will without a doubt recommend it to all of my friends, family, other parents, and educators in hopes of helping even just one tiny person understand their big feelings.


This story originally appeared at mariawilsun.com