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Neurodivergent and Awesome

artem-kniaz-DqgMHzeio7g-unsplashSupporting neurodivergent students and community members is similar to providing resources for neurotypical students. We still create a safe and welcoming environment and consider each person's individual needs when making suggestions. For neurodivergent folks, we just might recommend a different set of tools and strategies. Some students' brain variations may not yet be diagnosed, but if we can identify some of their specific challenges, we can still provide valuable resources and support. 

Sometimes, the best way we can support students is by having our own resources like books that share strategies or skills. Other times, students can help themselves with titles that speak directly to them. Sometimes, we just need a good story that resonates with our experiences. The following is a very short list of titles that provide all of the above. If you find any of these helpful, please also check out this spreadsheet of other titles. We've separated the list into Resources and Stories, so be sure to look at both tabs. More titles are available in the Teacher Tools, Reference, Personal Journeys, and Growing Up subject areas of the player. As always, we continue to add to the library, so keep an eye on those areas if you're looking for titles like these.

8737An Early Start for Your Child with Autism by Sally J. Rogers, PhD; Geraldine Dawson, PhD; Laurie A. Vismara, PhD

Cutting-edge research reveals that parents can play a huge role in helping toddlers and preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) connect with others and live up to their potential. This encouraging guide from the developers of a groundbreaking early intervention program provides doable, practical strategies you can use every day. Nearly all young kids-including those with ASD-have an amazing capacity to learn. Drs. Sally Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, and Laurie Vismara make it surprisingly simple to turn daily routines like breakfast or bath time into fun and rewarding learning experiences that target crucial developmental skills. Vivid examples illustrate proven techniques for promoting play, language, and engagement. Get an early start-and give your child the tools to explore and enjoy the world.

9939Healing Without Hurting by Jennifer Giustra-Kozek

Jennifer Giustra-Kozek is a therapist who practices in Connecticut, and is also the mother of a son with Autism Spectrum disorders. After treating Evan bio-medically, along with other healing practices, Jennifer witnessed the kind of improvements that every parent of a similarly diagnosed child dreams of: Evan no longer grunts and screams, throws toys, hits others, or has mood swings. He no longer throws himself into fits of uncontrollable rage; he now listens to his teachers and responds appropriately. He copes better with changes in routine and makes eye contact more often. He no longer enters into a trance-like state, and the list goes on. Healing without Hurting provides a full menu of natural treatment options, including a real-world success story and simple recipes/healthy alternatives. Listeners will learn how to: - Identify common labels of behaviors - Recognize the early warning signs that an autoimmune disorder is brewing - Identify the different medications; potential benefits and side-effects - Find the right doctors and practitioners - Identify food sensitivities and other autoimmune assaults - and much more.

15743ADHD and Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table by Blake Taylor

Blake Taylor's mother first suspected he had ADHD when he, at only three years of age, tried to push his infant sister in her carrier off the kitchen table. As time went by, Blake developed a reputation for being hyperactive and impulsive. He launched rockets (accidentally) into neighbor's swimming pools and set off alarms in museums. Blake was diagnosed formally with ADHD when he was five years old. In ADHD and Me, he tells about the next twelve years as he learns to live with both the good and bad sides of life with ADHD. Blake's memoir offers, for the first time, a young person's account of what it's like to live and grow up with this common condition.

15572Helping Your Anxious Teen by Sheila Achar Josephs, PhD

Most parents find it frustrating when common sense and logical methods such as reassurance don't seem to work to allay their teen's anxiety. They want to know: Why is anxiety so hard to get rid of once it takes hold? Why aren't my efforts to help working? And how can I best help my teen break free from anxiety to become happy and resilient? This powerful book, based on cutting-edge research and cognitive behavioral strategies, will help you develop the know-how to effectively manage teen anxiety. You'll learn the best ways to support your teen in overcoming problematic thinking and fears, discover what behaviors and coping strategies unwittingly make anxiety worse, and understand how anxiety is best defeated with surprisingly counterintuitive methods.

15595Helper Hounds: Penny Helps Portia Face Her Fears by Caryn Rivadeneira

Portia has overcome a lot in life. Born with Down syndrome, Portia has been through many surgeries, lots of doctor's appointments, and strange looks from people who want to limit what she can do. Inside herself, Portia knows she can do anything - including getting over her fear of dogs. But when Penny shows up at Portia's house, she isn't so sure. After all, Penny is a pit bull - the scariest dogs of all, right? Good thing Penny has a few tricks of her own to win Portia's trust.

12838The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

An accessible and beautifully written middle grade novel-in-verse by award-winning Irish author Meg Grehan about Stevie, a young girl reckoning with anxiety about the many things she has yet to understand - including her feelings about her friend Chloe. In this poetic exploration of identity and anxiety, Stevie must confront her fears to find inner freedom all while discovering it is our connections with others that make us stronger. Perfect for fans of Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World, Star Crossed, and George.

9986A List of Cages by Robin Roe

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian - the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years. Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives. First-time novelist Robin Roe relied on life experience when writing this exquisite, gripping story featuring two lionhearted characters.

12151One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell

The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That's about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. That's why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she's paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family's romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about? Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in -- in the form of a slippery grocery store floor -- and Paige's life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

Check out the rest of our Teaching Tools titles.

Featured Image: Children playing with a multicolored parachute in a green grassy field, under a blue sky with a few fluffy, white clouds. Taken by @artem_kniaz on Instagram.

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