Interview with Author Lotta Lundh
THRIVE Nordics: You recently bought a marketing campaign on Facebook for your first children’s book Sigrid är unik. You shared later that you were surprised by a number of the messages and comments you got from adults that ranged from criticizing the actual act of diagnosing children to comments that children being diagnosed are rather the faults of parents who cannot properly raise them. The comments were shocking due to how much ignorance they convey about learning and behavioral disorders. Have you given any thought to why such ignorance still exists?
Lotta: Sigrid är unik is my first children’s book, It is about a girl with autism, just like my own daughter. The text I had added to the advertisement was as follows:
SIGRID IS UNIQUE, a children’s book about autism, is about what it can be like to have a diagnosis that is not visible on the outside. Join Sigrid as she ponders why she is unique, and as she shows what her life is like.
Published as a regular book and audiobook.
I was really shocked by some of the responses and hope that it has to do with age and people who are unaware of what life with autism or other diagnoses is like.
I think younger people have a better understanding, due to the fact that we are more open about it now, and people therefore know more about “NPF” (Neuropsychiatric disabilities). One of the things I was told, was that you shouldn’t put an “idiot stamp” on children, because then they have to go through life with it. I was really surprised by this. I genuinely thought we had come further as a society with awareness.
I cannot for my life think that the peoplee who commented on my campaign, would do the same thing if the campaign was about a disabled child in a wheelchair. Would they call that child an idiot for not being able to walk? I don’t think so. Would they have told that child’s parents to not get a wheelchair, because then the child would never learn to move around by itself? I think not.
THRIVE Nordics: Can you tell us about Sigrid and the inspiration for the book?
Lotta: I wrote the book for my daughter who has Autism 2 and ADD. I was looking for a children’s book on the subject, but couldn’t find any suitable ones, so I wrote one myself. I wanted to show the world what life can be like for a child with NPF and let other children with NPF know that they are not alone. It is okay to be different, and we are all different in our own unique way. That is what I want people to realize when they read the book.
I found the perfect illustrator in Nils Melander. His drawings were exactly what I was looking for and I love how he has portrayed Sigrid. We have continued to work together, and a children’s book about ADHD is on its way. It is called Kajsas kluriga kaos and will be published by Funkibator Förlag, just like Sigrid är unik.
THRIVE Nordics: Can you share thoughts, advice and any words of wisdom for our readers, some of whom might have experienced precisely as you have (people expressing ignorance about diagnosis and special needs) but also for any readers who may themselves be unaware of the range of issues and want to learn more.
Lotta: think it is all about ignorance and the only way to get past that is with more information. The more people know about neuropsychiatric disabilities the less they can pretend to know nothing about it and see it as a stigma for children. I am doing my bit, by talking about our life in interviews and articles that I publish in various places. We are fighting so hard for our children everyday, and to be met by ignorant comments is the last thing we need. If we are open about our life, maybe we will get more understanding for our situation. That is my hope anyway.
Lotta Lundh is a writer living in the countryside outside Sunne. She has penned a number of criminal books with more on the way. She has two daughters, the youngest who is diagnosed with Autism 2 and ADD and was the inspiration for her first childrens’ book Sigrid är unik (Funkibator Förlag), which will be released in the Autumn 2020. She is currently working on another children’s book about ADHD, and a biography of her life.