Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child is written by Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor Melissa Swanson. She is a graduate of my first training program and a close friend. I had the privilege of watching the development of this book, and talking with Melissa about her dreams before it was ever written. I couldn’t be more proud of her and how her book turned out. Ravyn’s Doll is visually stunning and also emotionally powerful.
Ravyn’s Doll is one of the best resources I’ve ever found to help explain fibromyalgia in a way that young children can understand. It can be used in a very interactive way that will bring kids into what might have been a difficult conversation otherwise. As a coach, I often talk with clients who are struggling with how to explain fibromyalgia to the children in their lives. Even if they don’t have small children living at home, there are always young ones around: grandchildren, students, nieces and nephews, and so on. I believe that this book is the answer to their struggle.
The beauty of Ravyn’s Doll is that you can recreate the story in your own interactive projects, creating and decorating paper dolls to illustrate any illness, invisible or visible. I believe that Ravyn’s Doll, and the paper doll project in the story, should be used with every child, in every classroom. This will help our children be more understanding of people who have different needs than they do — which will help them to grow up to be more understanding adults. I often have clients who wish there was something like this for the adults in their lives. I say we start here, and raise up a new generation who is understanding of those who live with illnesses, visible and invisible, acute and chronic. This book is a required resource for my coaching students.
I really do think that everyone should own a copy of this book. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s true. This book may be about fibromyalgia, but it teaches so much more. It teaches children to look beyond the surface to be understanding of invisible illnesses. The lessons in this book apply to things like migraines, diabetes, depression, and so much more. If you have young people in your life, you need to read this book with them. And gift this book to anyone you know who has young ones too. It’s good for family members, teachers, physicians, and more.
About Ravyn’s Doll
All the kids in class made paper dolls to show someone they love who is hurt or sick. When it’s Ravyn’s turn to share, she shows a paper doll of her mom — and it looks like there is nothing wrong!
Ravyn teaches the class that even though her mom looks healthy, she’s not! Ravyn’s mom suffers from fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks. Ravyn’s Doll is a simple and effective way to explain fibromyalgia to your child. In a way that is understandable to children. it shows that not all illnesses are visible and explains how living with an invisible illness affects families’ daily lives. Ravyn’s Doll describes and illustrates why mom or dad can’t do the things they used to do — things that other moms, dads or other family members can do.
Other Resources Contained within the book are internet sites and books to read to learn more about Fibromyalgia and other Invisible illnesses, such as Lupus, Lyme Disease, ME, CFS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic migraine, and others.
Update 5/8/18 — Ravyn’s Doll is also available on Amazon as a coloring book!
Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author. Through her Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life Facebook page and blog, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 18,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients.
I first met Melissa when we both attended the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association’s Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training Program in October of 2014. We instantly hit it off. She was one of the first people to register for my new Fibromyalgia Coach / Advisor training program.
Ravyn’s Doll is named after her daughter, Ravyn. Which makes the mom in the story Melissa herself.
Melissa now works with clients as a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor helping them learn tools to live with the chronic illness fibromyalgia. If you’re looking for a cheerleader to be in your corner with a little bit of “tough love” when needed, Melissa is the one for you. She understands the struggles of trying to balance family life and work while living with the challenges of fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks.
To learn more about Melissa and Ravyn’s Doll, visit the Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life blog and listen to my interview with her below.