Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Because of A Book with Chynna Laird

I'm proud to have another WOW! author visiting the blog for the first Because of A Book post of the new year.  Please help me welcome, Chynna Laird, author of Not Just Spirited: One Mom's Sensational Journey with Sensory Perception Disorder (SPD).

Chynna T. Laird is a mother of three beautiful girls Jaimie (six), Jordhan (four) and baby Sophie (ten months) and a gorgeous baby boy Xander (two). In addition to living her dream building up her at-home freelance writing business (Lily Wolf Words), she's also studying to obtain her B.A. in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development.

In her spare time(!) Chynna plays piano and violin, reads, and writes--often about her adventures as a Mom. Last year she released a children's picture book she's written called, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD where she describes--through the voice and perspective of four-year old Alexandra--what it's like to live with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (Sensory Processing Disorder). Chynna's third book, The Sensory Diet: Setting Your SPD Child Up for Success will be released in January 2011. 

Because of a Book…
by Chynna Laird

When I was a little girl, writing and reading were my forms of escape—my ways of coping with the chaos around me. My mother suffered with bipolar disorder, which she refused to acknowledge or treat, and often self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. Despite her struggles, however, my mother was a brilliant and creative musician, poet and writer. I learned very early on that tapping into her creative genius was the primary way to get close to her…to “reach” her. So, I wrote, took up piano and read—as much and as often as I could.

It was wonderful getting her attention when her mind was able to focus on me. As I grew up, and those close times grew less frequent, I wrote more to cleanse myself, to talk about things I couldn’t to anyone else or created people and places far away from where I was. I was also very lucky because my favorite uncle, Uncle Craig, was a distributor with Golden Books so I got a lot of book samples and my shelves overflowed with wonderful children’s stories.

“Books are amazing things,” Uncle Craig used to say. “They can take you away, inspire you, teach you or just make you feel good. The best books are those ‘real life ones’ that teach others about the things most of us don’t want to discuss. Those are the books get us talking and that’s important.”

And that’s why I started writing professionally. I never had any intention of becoming a freelance writer, let alone an author. But my mom’s gift of creativity, my Uncle’s wise words and my own passion for raising awareness for important issues inspired me to send out my first story. I still remember it: It was about an elderly man who sat beside me on the bus every morning during one of the toughest years of my young life.

We never even knew each other’s names but he cared enough just to listen to me. Then one day, he didn’t get on the bus and I never saw him again. The underlying message in the story was that we shouldn’t judge others because of age, gender or heritage. And that the main thing teenagers need is that one person who will listen to them.

Now, I write stories about issues that others don’t always like talking about: mental illness, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and other important topics, like my daughter, Jaimie’s struggle with an “invisible” disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I don’t rage on about them; I simply teach by showing how I, or others I know, dealt with them. Or I create characters going through such issues who find positive ways to go on.

Through wonderful authors like Brian Doyle, I’ve learned that you can talk about these important issues without being preachy—it’s not what you talk about, it’s how you talk about it. And also remembering that people may not always like what I’m saying but it “gets them talking.”

And that’s so important.

About Not Just Spirited:  What would you do if your child suffered with something so severe it affected every aspect of her life?

And what if your cries for help fell on deaf ears at every turn? You'd follow your gut and fight until someone listened. And that's what Chynna Laird did. When she was just three months old, her daughter Jaimie's reactions to people and situations seemed odd. She refused any form of touch, she gagged at smells, she was clutzy and threw herself around and spent most of her day screaming with her hands over her ears and eyes.

By the time she turned two, Jaimie was so fearful of her world they spent most days inside. What was wrong with Chynna's miracle girl? Why wouldn't anyone help her figure it out? Jaimie wasn't "just spirited" as her physician suggested nor did she lack discipline at home. When Jaimie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at two-and-a-half, Chynna thought she had "the answer," but that was just the jumping off point for years of questions. Chynna embarked on a three-year quest for the right treatments to reveal the Jaimie she loved so much. With the right diagnosis and treatment suited to Jaimie, her family finally felt hope. Not Just Spirited is an insider’s peek at one family dealing with an “invisible” disorder and fighting to find peace for their daughter.

Buy it a Amazon
Buy it at Powell's


Jodi said...

At the risk of revealing to everyone how unread I am--who's Brian Doyle? Went to high school with a Brian Doyle but really don't think it's him!

Chynna said...

LOL! Hi Jodi. It's totally okay. I should have mentioned in my post that Brian Doyle is a well-known Canadian YA author. I LOVE his work. Here's a link to his bio and work: http://biography.jrank.org/pages/1064/Doyle-Brian-1935.html


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