A review by Victoria Behrends

The power of I Believe In You, written by Michele Gianetti is not just about the inspiring, unquestionable love of this mother for her teenager Elizabeth, who continues to live with SPD and Dyspraxia, but also the generous sharing of difficulty and triumph for her family. The title of the book says it all–against daunting barriers and over years of exhausting effort in trying to find treatment and build resources, Michele always believes in Elizabeth, no matter what. And that strong belief in her child is what leads Michele to the many answers, solutions and personal revelations that bring health and development to Elizabeth and possibilities for the rest of us. On all levels this book will speak clearly to any parent or professional who is far along or just starting to care for or work with a child with any of the disorders under the umbrella of Sensory Processing Disorder.

The scope of I Believe In You skillfully includes the contrast of personal emotion and experience with a solid understanding of the sometimes unbeatable challenges. Michele allows us to be part of the journey from the very first sharp awareness that something is wrong, down to today’s still difficult events in Elizabeth’s life. Along the way she describes the many stops and starts as she learns more about SPD’s characteristics and treatment in a time frame where these were not known or understood, still often the case today. She gives credit to the therapists who have been able to help Elizabeth improve and learn. She candidly but kindly speaks of the often ignorant and harmful physicians and educators that she encountered—not to vilify, but to prepare those who might still today have many of the same experiences—and to let them know that it is possible to overcome those barriers. She makes it clear that we as parents and professionals must question what we are told, be tenacious in finding solutions and treatment, and always be advocates for our children.Threading throughout the book is the constant theme that her resolute endeavor is not easy, but that her belief in her child sustains and rewards her.

This book is important to read for the information and research, but it is most significant as a personal story of pathways forged that benefit those who are beginning or who are deep into the struggles of having a child with SPD and/or other sensory disorders.

Michele discovered that there is not just one answer alone. Many different therapies and solutions may be essential because there are so many complex needs involved in sensory disorders. Often these therapies are not available, not understood, not covered by insurance and as a result parents must provide their own solutions. She knows that some physicians, occupational therapists, craniosacral therapists, nutritionists, psychologists and educators are trained to work with SPD, but not enough. Her experiences often found that the attitudes of many professionals are limited or judgmental as well. She tells us that some good resources and solid organizations are coming together as a community to educate and support parents and professionals. For many years, Michele had to make her own way without those resources and support, and I Believe In You helps us to understand how important community can be.

She shows us what is needed the most… unwavering belief in the child.

Victoria Behrends – RCST®, HHP, M.A., credential, MH, BSP – sensoryprocessingbugs.com

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