Think something in your young child’s behavior is not quite right? For parents, not knowing for sure is the worst thing. Moms and dads always have a gut feeling when something is not quite right with their child. When a professional diagnosis is given, after the initial shock, there is actually relief. Now they know the truth. They have a name to their child’s problem behaviour. They can share with family and friends hoping they will understand and support instead of being critical and accusing. So it was for Jennie Harding, mom and special needs teacher, trying to cope with her daughter Ellie. Since toddlerhood, Ellie was exhibiting quirky behaviors. Now other families also coping with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) will have an easier time because of Jennie Harding’s children’s book Ellie Bean, the Drama Queen! How Ellie Learned to Keep Calm and Not Overreact.
Sensory Processing Disorder covers an array of neurological disabilities. Jennie Harding describes their own family’s struggles and the ‘red flag signs’ of their daughter’s sensory issues that very much resembled autism and ADHD traits. Mrs. Harding touches on her daughter’s delayed language development and resistance to close personal contact: “Unfortunately, Ellie was unable to put her fear into words. Even more upsetting for both Ellie and her mother, this was not the first time Ellie had a hard time telling her mom what was wrong…”
Mrs. Harding’s book was several years in the making. She first wrote the manuscript then enlisted Dave Padgett, the husband of a friend and fellow teacher, to do the illustrations. Mr. Padgett, a graphic designer, brings Ellie to life with his adorable rendition of this lively, blue-eyed, drama queen who learns to react with a lot less drama but keeps her crown!
The difficult, frustrating journey of getting a diagnosis and early intervention treatments for other families has been made a little easier with this book. Sharing this book with your sensitive child will comfort him by making him realize that some other children feel this way too. Your child will learn that with the help of professionals, like Miss Gail, the occupational therapist in Harding’s book, he can get better. Your child will be motivated to try activities and exercises that benefit him by reading about Ellie Bean’s progress:
“And as Ellie began to feel better…the screaming was not as loud. The crying did not go on and on and on.”
All teachers of young children should read this book to their class because nothing brings compassion like understanding what friends and classmates are going through. Jennie writes:
“In fact, there were many things that upset Ellie—things that made Ellie feel…just not quite right. And when Ellie did not feel right, everyone knew what would happen! She would cry. She would scream. She would run around frantically, and it seemed like she could not stop.”
For ten dollars, you can gift this insightful picture book to friends’ birthday parties, to grandparents and other family members and acceptance of sensory-processing difficulties are sure to follow.
Jennie Harding explains in her last pages of resource material that her hopes for Ellie are that she is accepted socially by her peers. With that acceptance, Ellie will have the strength and confidence to participate in anything that is of interest to her. Ellie Bean, the Drama Queen! How Ellie Learned to Keep Calm and Not Overreact will give this strength and confidence to many other little drama queens and princes!
I highly recommend Ellie Bean, the Drama Queen! How Ellie Learned to Keep Calm and Not Overreact. The suggested age range is 5 to 8 years.
Jennie Harding lives in Maumee, Ohio with her husband and two children. She has taught for 14 years and has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in moderate-to-intense special education. This is her first published book. Her passion for teaching and love for her daughter motivated her to become a SPD parent connections host.
Read our interview with Jennie. This is a part of it, ” I have been teaching for 15 years now and am currently teaching in a moderate to intense special needs setting. When I had Ellie in 2003, I had already been teaching for 4-5 years and had been a mother for 2 years to Colin, Ellie’s big brother. I was also a very big fan of Carol Kranowitz’s, The Out-of-Sync Child, and sought out as much information as I could to learn more about SPD for both work and home.”
Jennie has a Facebook page dedicated to their SPD Parent Connections group, NWO Sensory Showtime
Follow Twitter @GenHarding,
Buy the book from Future Horizons and get 15% off PLUS free delivery in continental USA! Add the coupon code KIDCOMPANIONS when you checkout of the store for discounts!