Susan is a writer, bibliophile, bookstore fanatic, mom of three, wife of a soldier, author of Background Noise: A Novel About Twice-Exceptionality. And grateful. Let's not forget grateful.

Author Chats: Kimberlee Anne King

KKing

Author Chats: Kimberlee Anne King

Kimberlee Anne King knows the challenges of twice-exceptionality from the inside out. She is a 2E herself, raising seven children, several of whom are twice-exceptional. Her work addresses the tendency of parents to neglect their own self-care with a comforting mantra:  Work on yourself and your children will follow.

Read: PARENTING IS HARD. SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL: A HANDBOOK FOR PARENTS ON THE BRINK

Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?

I am the mother of 7 (4 biological children and 3 stepsons). That currently takes up most of my time especially since many of them have chronic medical conditions and special needs (aka lots of appointments). My husband and I own Inspired Attention, Inc. We both are professionally trained life coaches. Historically, my husband has specialized in ADHD adolescents and adults, and I have worked primarily with families with extraordinary children (e.g. gifted, twice exceptional, challenged). I have just earned my Mh.D (Doctor of Metaphysics and Healing) and am working on a Ph.D. in Integrative and Preventative Healing/Transpersonal Psychology. I work in the healing arts and research what cannot be explained by Newtonian physics. I also write a Blog on various topics we address in our work which may include personal growth, parenting, healing, learning disabilities, neuroscience research, relationships, giftedness, and spirituality. Also, I have worked as an educational advocate and consultant and have served on the Board of Trustees of an independent school for the gifted for many years. I love plants (the outdoor variety), yoga, and art. I have a Bachelors of Business Administration in Economics from the University of Iowa where I studied abroad at Cambridge. I studied art and law at Northwestern while I worked as an Information Systems Consultant before I had so many kids.

What books have you written? 

My first book (I hope there will be many more) is Parenting is Hard. Suffering is Optional. A Handbook for Parents on the Brink.

Who is your ideal audience?

Honestly, anyone with parents. My book speaks directly to parents (especially parents of challenging children), however, many readers who are not parents (even teens) have loved the insight they have gained about their own relationship with their parents and other people.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?

Given my children have taught me more than I could ever write, I feel that the Background Noise Books audience would really enjoy hearing my story. I and my children are twice exceptional, gifted, physically disabled, and learning disordered. I am dyslexic (an avid avoidant reader) and have some accelerated readers as children. I have lived this life and have helped my children for 20 years. I hope that some of my lessons learned can benefit others. At the very least, it is nice for people to know they are not alone in their struggle.

Which of the books you've written is your personal favorite?

So far, Parenting is Hard. Suffering is Optional. It is my only published work as of yet.

Who is your favorite author?

Tie between Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Louis Cozolino. Their books are groundbreaking in terms of how people really function. I do not read much nonfiction given my dyslexia. I have to admit I do love the Harry Potter books!

Is there a child with special needs in your family or classroom? How do you help them with reading?

Six of the children in my household has special needs. My oldest son is profoundly gifted, has a vision challenge, and a genetic disorder. Reading is not his favorite when it is not on his terms. So, to get through school, I had to read all his novels aloud to him. To keep him on task, we would stop every few pages and discuss (he would mostly critique the author! Ha!). It did take forever. Yes, it was worth it. He never forgets anything, so it was satisfying to know I was implanting literature in his brain for life. My youngest daughter is highly fluent in reading and extremely poor at comprehension due to brain damage. We have tried many tutoring interventions. She likes the idea of books, so we slowly work our way up to more advanced material. She is in a highly specialized reading program at her school that is working wonders. Progress is slow but steady. We never give up. The others have reading challenges that relate more to boredom. If they are not stimulated by the material it is difficult for them to engage. We have all kinds of tricks to overcome that including just not reading.

What are you working on next?

I am working on my blog, Inspired Attention. primarily. I am hoping that the material generated in the blog posts will lead to my next book. I have about 50 posts currently!

What else would you like readers to know about you and your work?

It may seem like I do a lot of different things (author, life coach, parent, educational consultant, healer, student, etc.). In reality, I am doing one thing. I am working on myself to become the best version of myself possible. I follow areas of study that interest me, especially the human psyche, which usually leads me to my next area of study. As I learn and grow I am delighted that I am able to share some of what I have learned with others. I believe that modeling the person we would want to be despite our challenges is the most powerful way to help others.

Listen to Kimberlee talk about PARENTING IS HARD on Dr. Dan Peters' podcast.

Buy this book at Amazon.

Author Chat: Melissa-Sue John

Melissa-Sue John crop

Author Chats: Melissa-Sue John, Ph.D.

Melissa-Sue John is focused on bringing diversity to children's literature through her own publishing company, Lauren Simone Publishing House. Along with her daughter/partners, she provides a platform for reaching kids from all backgrounds and with all kinds of disabilities, as well as helping young authors and illustrators experience writing and illustrating their own works.

See: OLIVIA CONNECTS

Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you like to do? 

I am a social psychologist by training. I teach at Eastern Connecticut State University and do research for the Seeds to STEM Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I am also passionate about social issues. I consider myself a budding activist. I have participated in a few rallies against deportation and for an increase in minimum wages. I enjoy yoga, but am a little out of practice, now.

What books have you written?

I have written 5 books with my daughters, the Olivia Lauren book series:

OCCUPATIONS A to Z,  a child-appropriate guide to modern and traditional careers.

GUIDE TO BECOMING AN ACTOR helps other parents interested in getting their children into the entertainment industry.

OLIVIA TRAVELS uses rhyme and homonyms to teach about transportation.

OLIVIA CONNECTS teaches about different styles of communication and communication devices, as well as communication used by those with physical challenges.

A GUIDE TO THINGS WE WEAR, a practical and multicultural approach to looking at when and why we wear the different things we do.

Describe your ideal reader. 

My target audience is children of all races, ethnicities, creeds, and nationalities age 4 to 12 years old.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?

The Olivia Lauren series empowers all children by being inclusive and representative of gender, race, and ability. We include new vocabulary and history to engage the gifted students. We reinforce learning by using glossaries and reading reviews. We have representative characters in the foreground of the story to show having a disability does not stop you from living. We have characters with blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and wheelchair bound interacting with abled children.

Which of the books you've written is your personal favorite?

Every new book becomes my favorite. Each book is better than the next as I get to execute new ideas and become a better writer and am more open to constructive criticism. With that said, my favorite to read is OLIVIA TRAVELS. It is playful and rhythmic. The others are a more educational.

Who is your favorite author?

Peggy Parish is one of my favorite authors of children’s stories. Amelia Bedelia books are hilarious. For my own guilty pleasure, I am a Terry McMillian fan.

Do you know a child with special needs? How do your books help them?

I do know children with special needs. Olivia Connects shows that there are several ways to communicate. Having autism and not being able to express yourself verbally doesn’t exclude you from communicating.

What are you working on next?

I am working to increase the representation of diverse characters in STEM. I have a list of STEM topics that I would like to cover. It will take much more research and creativity on my part.

What else would you like readers to know about you?

I am a co-investigator on a project developing STEM curriculum for PreK students. We are using literature to teach engineering and problem-solving. So few books have persons of color or those with physical challenges. Both this problem and having two daughters that I want to see themselves as active agents motivated me to write children’s books.

Author Chats: Christine Laforet

Author Chats: Christine Laforet

Teachers are the front line support for students who struggle with the anxiety that comes with being a different kid. If you're the parent of a gifted child, or one with ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia or other learning disabling conditions, you know that anxiety is part of the package. It's refreshing to meet author/teachers like Christine who write with an understanding of how these kids are wired and how to help them adapt.

Chris pix (happy eyes) sm

To learn more about the
Being Bree Series, visit www.christinesromeklaforet.com  or connect with Chris on Twitter @chrislaforet1

Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?

I received my M.A.Ed. from Baldwin-Wallace University and taught elementary and middle school students in the Cleveland area before getting married and becoming a stay-at-home mom. My children are older now, so I’m spending a lot of time at school sporting events and musical performances —and even more time driving kids around! I often write “on the go” and enjoy following blogs and participating in local critique groups.

What books have you written?

Bree and the Nametag Worries is the first book in the Being Bree chapter book series for young readers, ages 5-7. Readers meet Bree Wilson, a gifted six-year-old whose imagination spins her worries out of control.

It’s the start of a new school year, and Bree worries about the first day of school. At least her nametag will help her make friends so she’s not stuck playing one-kid tag at recess. But what if giant ants take her nametag to a picnic? Or what if stinky lunch fumes melt it? Taking belly breaths calms Bree’s worries …until her nametag disappears. How will she make friends without one?

What is your ideal audience?

Even though Bree and the Nametag Worries is written from the perspective of a gifted six-year-old, the book would be appropriate for any beginning reader. The chapter book format makes it an ideal read-aloud, and Bree’s calming down techniques could help all children.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?

Often times, gifted children begin reading at a young age, and it’s important to provide appropriate reading material. In the Being Bree Series, beginning readers gain confidence when reading independently and use higher-order thinking skills like making predictions and inferences as they read. Kids can also analyze Bree’s actions and apply that knowledge to their own day-to-day activities.

Bree, like many gifted children, faces challenges due to her intense emotions and difficulty connecting with peers. Throughout the series, Bree recognizes when her feelings change and then models calm down techniques to regain self-control, providing readers with a beneficial tool when managing their own behavior. Readers who identify with Bree and her creative way of thinking may also find humor in her mishaps and exaggerations.

Who is your favorite author?

I read a lot of children’s books, especially chapter book series, so I’m having a hard time choosing just one author. Since I’m a huge fan of humorous, school-themed books, my favorite authors include Barbara Park, Mary Amato, Dav Pilkey, Dan Gutman, and Jeff Kinney.

Is there a child with special needs in your family or classroom? How do you help them with reading?

I’ve been blessed with children on the gifted spectrum, and they learned to read the same way I taught my inner-city students (just at an earlier age). By teaching phonemic awareness skills and using repetition, children gain confidence when reading which makes the transition to more complex texts less intimidating.

What are you working on next?

Book 2 in the Being Bree Series, Bree and the Loose Tooth Worries, releases April 2018. Bree worries about losing her first tooth until she finds out that the tooth fairy brought a classmate a bright and shiny ring. Bree wants one, too, especially since she’ll need it to be in The Girls with Bling Club. But when Bree accidentally swallows her tooth, she faces a new set of worries to overcome and problems to solve.

Author Chats: Diego Peña

Author Chats: Diego Peña

If you dreamed of being an author when you were little, chances are you didn't expect to write a book until you were grown. Those days are gone. The words, experiences, and insights of children are just as true and powerful as their adult counterparts. In today's publishing world, you can read books written by kids, like Diego. In Anatomy of Autism, you'll learn more from this 9-year-old non-verbal autistic writer than you've ever known about autism.

Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?

I'm a young gentleman with autism who loves videos, music, rebellion, and comedy.

What books have you written?

I wrote the book, Anatomy of Autism, that is about my life with autism. I like to discuss real life and not pretend that I'm perfect. I think its important to know how different our experiences can be. I wrote this as a class project and now it's used to teach tolerance.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?  

From Mom: Diego is twice-exceptional. He wrote his book from the point of view of a child who is both autistic and gifted.

Who is your favorite author?

My favorite author is Dr. Seuss because he is brilliant with words. His books make you want to learn to read.

Who is your ideal audience?

My ideal audience is anyone who is lost in the world of judgement. My hope is to bring new ideas to challenge common misconceptions about autism.

Author Chats: Raven Howell

Author Chats: Raven Howell

Children's poetry can be a small ship adrift in an endless sea of books for kids. It's a brave journey to be a poet writing for a small band of dedicated of readers who appreciate the form. Poetry is one of the few written works that can bring a sense of calm, comfort, belonging and wonder all in a few stanzas. Raven Howell writes children's poetry with an ear for the needs of readers with conditions like autism and ADHD. Her debut poetry book is Dozy Poems Cozy Days, a soothing collection for an anxious mind.

Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?

I’m a full-time children’s author, writing mainly poetry and verse professionally for magazines and books for the past 25 years. The markets and the trends shift so much over the course of time, and it’s been fun to keep up with it all! I illustrate a bit also, and find drawing, coloring, and collage work a perfect addition and outlet for my creativity. It’s been fun to receive noteworthy reviews for the work on my animal art collage in my third book, Gibber, Animal Acrostics. I love artwork in general and particularly recently, have found so many talented illustrators that I enjoy following on social media.

I feel blessed being able to incorporate charity work with each one of my first three poetry picture books, donating proceeds from their sales to Autism Speaks, KaBoom! and the ASPCA and local animal shelters respectively.

What books have you written? Who is your ideal audience?

My debut book, Dozy Poems, Cozy Days, continues to have strong sales and is listed in the 2017 ALA Library Guide. The autistic and ADHD communities have been supportive of its message in delivering calm, ease, and focus. Dozy Poems was even voted “a top notch tool for ADD, ADHD and autism” a year after its release.

My second book, Spinning Circles: Action Poems, was written to inspire activity, exercise, family bond and creativity for both toddlers and their caretakers. I joined with non-profit organization, KaBoom! who create “play-spaces,” gardens and playgrounds for people of all classes and color across the nation – such a wonderful mission, and I’ve seen them create the most amazing “play spaces” from a desolate area of town – you wouldn’t believe your eyes! These beautiful parks are used now to get kids motivated to be outdoors and play and move their bodies.

My third poetry picture book is Gibber, Animal Acrostics. This fun and modern twist on an old poetry form, acrostics, was written to trigger any young reader, teen or adult imagination. A light-hearted book, here you can plunge into the mud with a pig, enjoy Christmas with a fox, and talk sense to a silly worm! A portion of the book’s proceeds is donated to the ASPCA and other animal shelters.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?

Poetry has many benefits to all children including those twice-exceptional, gifted, learning disordered or disabled. In reading or writing poems, a child learns to express him or herself, become more aware of their surroundings, they can find their voice, and start inquiring.

More specifically, through rhymes and poems, children understand that there are words similar in sound but with different meanings. They learn what a pattern is, and become capable of recognizing them. They understand, through patterns, what a sequence is. They have fun memorizing rhymes which is linked to audio and visual benefits. Both listening to someone reading rhymes, or reading on their own is advantageous. Memory, patterns, and sequences are also extremely helpful for approaching math and new languages.

Which of the books you've written is your personal favorite?

That’s a tough one to answer because it’s like choosing your favorite child! Still, I may mention one of my poetry collections for children ages 7 and up, A Star Full of Sky, which will be releasing this fall through Daffydowndilly Press. It was a fun and challenging process writing this book since it had to be written in a certain format (formal metrical rhyme). Plus, a little trivia - all of the poems in that book were written literally outdoors, under the stars during the hours of twilight, midnight and dawn - a very magical time!

Who is your favorite author?

I enjoy John Irving and Sarah Addison Allen, but sticking with the poetry genre because there are far too many talented writers to mention, I simply adore and admire the children’s poems of Aileen Fisher, David McCord, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Charles Ghigna, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Valerie Worth….ha! Just to name a few!

Is there a child with special needs in your family or classroom? How do you help them with reading?

 I’ve had to help with Attention Deficit Disorder in my family and a cousin’s beautiful child is autistic. It’s funny how some teachers of Special Needs students are so surprised and happy when I reach out to them for school visits, and I work in many of these wonderful classrooms with terrific students! Usually, the children are all developing on different levels and different methods work for them. Regardless, I keep them engaged with activities. For example, I’ll blow bubbles if I’m reading one of my poems about bubbles. Blowing bubbles can be a fun sensory experience, and also work on oral motor skills. What's more, as I point to the bubbles and exaggerate my own reaction it helps work on joint attention, an important area for many autistic children. Another activity special needs students enjoy is playing I Spy in connection with the poetry we are reading. For students with more severe processing issues, I often describe one of two objects and have the child choose the correct one.

What are you working on next?

Presently I’m busy with fantastic book projects I’m very excited about! I have two new books scheduled for release this year (Shimmer, Songs of Night/Spork Books and A Star Full of Sky/Daffydowndilly Press), plus two more picture books being released in 2018. My October book launch for Shimmer is going to be quite a celebratory party!

Author Chats: Lisa B. Diamond

AUTHOR CHATS: Lisa B. Diamond

Lisa B. Diamond is all of my favorite people wrapped up into one, forged-in-fire woman. Book-obsessed. Librarian. Kidlit author. Adult author. Planner of book events. Very diversified teacher. Also, willing to spend an hour on the phone with someone she'd never met (me). Throw any children's book question at her and she'll give you an answer plucked right from memory. Ask her a question about books for kids who don't like books and she's not a bit intimidated. It's like having your own card catalog and reading specialist.

Here's more about Lisa.
Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?

I instruct engineers about writing and presentations at Kennesaw State University.  I run the Reading Bowl program with another teacher at my children's school.  I enjoy cooking, baking, and walking.  I am married and have two children and two dogs, all of whom keep me very busy.

What books have you written?

www.lisabdiamond.com (adult blog & adult books)
www.salemacademy.net (elementary school books)

Who is your ideal audience?

For my children's books, I write for elementary school readers.  For my romance and spy novels, I write for adults looking for a light entertaining read.

How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences? 

My children's books are enjoyed by readers of different levels.  They provide a new world of imagination for kindergartners through fifth graders. My children attend a school for the gifted. My books are in their school library and have been very popular with the students.

Which of the books you've written is your personal favorite?

All of them are my favorites.  I love whatever I am working on at this moment and time, creating the magical world the children will enter,  before I release the book to the public, and then I love seeing the impact the book will have on the students.

Who is your favorite author?

My favorite authors are the ones who spoke to what I needed to hear at a specific time in my life.  I love Madeleine L'Engle, Douglas Adams, Jean Kerr, Richard Bach, Patricia Wrede, E.D. Baker, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Anne McCaffrey (her dragon series), Dick Francis, Janet Evanovich, and P.G. Wodehouse.

Is there a child with special needs in your family or classroom? How do you help them with reading?

I have worked with students for whom reading is not the easiest. To help a child, or an adult, with reading, you first have to find something your student wishes to read.  Take it slowly, focus on the first few words or the first sentence to get your student engaged before you attempt to proceed.

What are you working on next?

I am currently trying to finish up The Salem Academy for Young Sorcerers, Book 9: Field Day, before I move on to The Salem Academy for Young Sorcerers, Book 10.  I also need to work on Star Light, Faerie Light, Book 2.  Both of these are elementary school fantasy series.  I also have a spy series I am working on for adults.

Memes are Just Mean

The first time I heard the word "meme" it came from a young colleague who, at Halloween, came as Nyan Cat. Silly me, I thought she was a rainbow. Afterwards, I made a vague connection in my head that a meme was an internet phenom that glorified absurdity.

Wow. Was I ever wrong.

I had no idea those little quips on my friends' Facebook feeds were anything more than fun. I'd seen a few that I passed by because they were rude. But when I saw *this* meme for the first time, I - along with tens of thousands of parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children - went nuclear.

The most obvious retort was uttered in unison around the globe: Our kids ARE that lonely kid in the cafeteria. The internet of parents, united in the cause of lonely kids in the cafeteria, responded with this:

Memes are the trumpet of cruel and ignorant hate speech passed off as a good laugh. There is no way to avoid them, politely respond to them, or protect your children from them. It's a big zero in the game of harmless insults. But memes are not benign. They spread unsubstantiated chatter that influences everything from school bathroom policies to public opinion and politics.

If you're the parent of a child with a disability, a learning disorder, gifted, or otherwise belonging to a class of outliers, you're ready to go to war. In a more diplomatic approach, I suggest we meet them all with educated replies.

For Example:
RESPONSE: Any 2nd grader knows the correct contraction is "I'm". Therefore, 2nd graders, some of whom may be autistic, are smarter than you.
oprah
RESPONSE: Yes, there are a lot of us (1 child in 68, to be exact, which we always are) but Oprah has too much class and sensitivity to award that status to idiots.
parenting
RESPONSE: Wrong again. Shitty parenting is the cause of ignorance, selfishness and hate speech. What's with the dodo bird?
Dyslexia
RESPONSE: How airgun lion. I mean unoriginal. We're way better at anagrams than you are.

RESPONSE: Childhood became a mental illness when beating and publicly demeaning a child for a disability resulted in severe depression, destroyed self-esteem and suicide.
NO SNARK RESPONSES: If retorts and snippy quips aren't your style, you can meet memes head on with de-escalation tactics, such as:
DEKYbCOXcAAWZtR
not your job
IMG_2371
Disability-Quotes-–-Disability-–-Disabled-–-People-with-Disabilities-Quote-Attacking-people-with-disabilities-is-the-lowest-display-of-power-I-can-think-of
And, my personal favorite:
IMG_1913

If none of the above are helpful, refer the offending party to any of the following success stories who have/had ADHD, Dyslexia and other learning disorders.

  • Justine Timberlake
  • Adam Levine
  • Jim Carrey
  • Keira Knightly
  • Robin Williams
  • Tom Cruise
  • Emma Watson
  • Steve Jobs
  • Glenn Beck
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • Alyssa Milano
  • Bill Gates
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Eva Longoria
  • Jay Leno
  • Joan Rivers
  • John Lennon
  • Henry Winkler
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Albert Einstein
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Steven Tyler
  • Cher
  • Bill Cosby
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Elvis Presley
  • Michael Jordan
  • Liv Tyler
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Danny Glover
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Galileo Galilei

If they STILL don't get it, throw in this one:

What Your Disabled Child Has in Common with Charlie’s Angels

Charlie's_Angels_1977

I was a big fan of Charlie's Angels as a kid. It was my first real look at women doing things that men got to do. Never mind that they were kept on a tight leash by a narcissistic man who gave orders without looking them in the eyes. Never mind that a bumbling idiot was assigned to supervise. These women had guns. They knew jujitsu. They showed some skin in every episode. Charlie's Angels could be the most misogynistic popular TV series in the 70s that featured women as main characters.

I wasn't particularly bothered by any of this at the age of eight.

I was, however, bothered by the three perfect stereotypes that were cast into the show. A sun-kissed blonde beauty who was a bit of a ding-bat. A smoldering hot brunette who was assuredly an expensive date. Of course, there had to be a less sexy female who took on the role of the "smart" one. Every episode, I spent a lot of time thinking about which one I wanted to be. I finally decided I wanted to be the smart one and accept the consequences of being the less attractive police-academy trained detective.

How limiting. How unabashedly shameful.

Welcome to the next century, where children who are physically and mentally disabled, gifted and twice-exceptional, are labeled, stigmatized, disregarded and someone else's problem.

We haven't come far from the pop culture that slapped around women who didn't conform. These kids are targets of demeaning shush-shushing when they walk (or wheel) into the room. All made to work harder, fail more often and sit on the sidelines more than normal kids.

Like every disenfranchised population ever to fight for equality, our different kids are often denied opportunity, proper education and access to services that could vastly improve their quality of life.

But that's not all. It's the residual effect of repeated failure, distress and exclusion that grinds down their self-esteem and results in depression, drug abuse, self-hatred, even suicide. They're tossed into the category of kids who are broken. No matter what their disability or intelligence, they're a population with incredible gifts that aren't being realized.

Kids with exceptional needs and abilities - and their caregivers - are targets of discrimination the way that women, people of color, mentally ill, homeless and LGBTQ people are judged. Special education services in many schools are already on life support awaiting a decision on the education budget. Parents are panicking because this is a battle of the have and have-nots. As though education was a privilege, not a civil right. As though these parents and kids made a choice to be different.

There is a movement afoot. It's a long journey with small steps forward. Many battles are currently being waged and won due to the commitment of parents, educators and mental health professionals. Signs of change are showing in new schools created expressly to educate differently wired kids. States are making progress in funding more robust special ed programs.

Every social movement takes decades, centuries even, to enact real change that gives people the ability to live in the open without stigma. Change requires similarly-minded people and countless hours of advocacy to dissolve assumptions and budge the mental health system stubbornly rooted in the dark ages.

Blondes are ditsy. Brunettes are sexy. Smart women can't also be beautiful, plus they are dangerous. Let's keep them where they belong and never let them grow into who they really are.

Is this sounding familiar?

For every physically disabled child denied a fair and equal education, we lose an innovator.

For every gifted child forced to stay put when their brains are racing ahead, we lose the power of an unbridled brain.

For every mentally ill and learning disabled child driven into failure, we lose a life.

Stay the course. Work together. Raise an army. Be fearless and shameless in the fight for equal treatment and education of every single child.

Let the children speak for themselves. They're our path to a kinder world.

Susan Krause is author of BACKGROUND NOISE: A Novel About Twice-Exceptionality and mom to 3 extraordinary children with mental illnesses. She works to build awareness of the needs of gifted and disabled children through books that capture their true experience. Contact her at susan@backgroundnoisebooks.com or @2Ebooks.

BNB Facebook Group Reviews Books for 2E/Gifted Readers

A Facebook Group Devoted to Books for Kids with Special Needs

>> JOIN THE FB GROUP NOW

Kids who are gifted, twice-exceptional and disabled have unique needs for reading. Background Noise Books invites you to join a Facebook group for sharing and reviewing books appropriate for this selective audience. Where else could you get benefits like these?

Connect with others searching for appropriate reading for their 2E/gifted/disabled readers.

Book Suggestions Every Day We're always on the lookout for new titles)

Problem-Solving  Is this book right for my child? Any suggestions for kids who love armadillos? How can I get my child to stop reading?

Opinions We're not short on those

Chit chat and camaraderie You’re not alone in the quest for good and appropriate books.

New books  Authors share their books about gifted/2E/disabled kids.

No meanies allowed This is not an attack forum. This is judgement-free community. We talk about books.