Chris Myers is a newly published author of “Taylor’s Way: A Father’s Very Special Relationship with His Son” (2010, PublishAmerica) and has also won a national editorial writing contest in 1980 on the impact of global pollution while a sophomore at The George Washington University. Chris has 17 years of FedEx experience and 12 in various marketing management positions.
His passion outside of FedEx is performing community service work. Currently, he is the President- of the Harwood Center Board of Directors and is the past President of the Board of Directors for Ryan’s Hope, a small non-profit organization headquartered in Collierville that works with children and families with special needs. Harwood Center is a Memphis-based non-profit serving children 18 months to 3 years old with special needs. He has also served on the Shelby Residential Vocational Services (SRVS) Board, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP of the Mid-South) and the Collierville Foundation. In addition to community service work, Chris is an active member of the Catholic Church of the Incarnation in the Collierville, Tennessee area. He loves to read, travel, watch movies (favorite is James Bond), attend baseball games and spend time with his wife, Susie, and 4 wonderful children, Tristan, Taylor, Cameron and Brynn.
More recently, Chris offered a presentation about his book, “Taylor’s Way,” to the Bartlett Christian Writers group at New Hope Christian Church, where Suzy Hayden was able to personally meet with him briefly and arranged for an online interview.
Q. What prompted you to write “Taylor’s Way”?
For several years, I was told by friends, family members and colleagues that I have great stories on all my children but especially my special needs son, Taylor, and others would benefit from hearing about them. Since Taylor was born, I have kept personal journals on his daily live, milestones, personal challenges and successes.
With all that my family (and especially Taylor) has been through since he was born in April 1991, I felt compelled to tell a story of my personal struggles as a father of a special needs son that might resonate with parents and caregivers, which includes my strong desire for giving back to the community through advocacy. “Taylor’s Way” was born.
Q. How did you research for this project?
Really, I did not have to go too far since the basis for the book is from the collection of journals. I did spend some time with fellow advocates, parents and friends to better understand what resources, organizations and information are available to parents to help them.
Q. What is most inspiring about your special needs son?
There is so much that Taylor does that inspires me, but basically, even though my son does not talk and has very limited cognitive skills, I see him try so hard every day to communicate with his siblings, Mom and me. He tells us when he is happy, sad, when he wants to be silly, when he wants to eat, swim and play ball (which is ALL THE TIME!). As I have said many times, but it is worth repeating, Taylor is happy in his own way and is on top of his world. It does not get any better than that.
Q. You mentioned working on another project for special needs children. Can you tell us about it?
Sure. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenge parents face today, aside from the emotional reality that your child is “different” and will never be typical, is that they need real-time information for planning their child’s future. Although the school system and organizations do an admirable job at providing individual instruction, therapies and support, I do not believe it is enough. Children and adults with special needs require a customized life plan, one that can assess their needs and provide timely information throughout their lives. That will not change the child’s condition, but it will help the parents make more informed decisions on the right path to take.
I have partnered with a Collierville research firm to construct a proposal that will seek to perform quantitative research with teachers, therapists, medical personnel and others to validate the concept. We are hoping to gain approval from a variety of special needs organizations to financially support the study later this fall and then launch the online survey just before the holidays. The hope is that we have substantial results in early 2011 to build a formal business plan and proposal for funding from various foundations and other non-profits. I envision this like a consulting type practice, but mostly through online support resources and guidance. There is much more work to do to define the concept, but it is always exciting to talk about it. I hope to gain financial approval for the concept by the end of 2011 and then who knows!
Q. Where can people contact you for booking engagements? Do you have a website, facebook, blog and/or twitter account? Where can “Taylor’s Way” be purchased?
I am happy to attend any function and discuss my book or to just talk about issues facing our special needs community. The best way to reach me is through email at [email protected] I do have a Facebook page and it is under Christopher Myers. To purchase my book, you can go online at Amazon.com, Borders.com, Barnes&Noble.com or PublishAmerica.net. You can also buy it at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis.