Let’s Celebrate Neurodiversity!
“All brains are special. All brains are smart. All kids have big thoughts. All kids have big hearts.”
Some Brains written by Nelly Thomas is a heartwarming and funny picture book that celebrates neurodiversity and delivers the important message that brains are like fingerprints – uniquely, wonderfully ours.
Neurodiversity is the diversity of human minds and that brains and neurocognition vary among all individuals. All these variations are ‘normal’ and ‘valuable’ and are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation.
The term ‘neurodiversity’ was coined by the Australian sociologist Judy Singer in 1998, and stands in opposition of viewing people as ‘suffering’ from deficits, diseases or dysfunctions in their mental processing, and instead suggests that we speak about differences as they are special and make us unique.
The concept that people are naturally diverse learners is important for kids with learning and thinking differences. It can reduce stigma and the feeling that something is “wrong” with them, helping to build confidence, self-esteem, motivation, and resilience.
‘Some Brains’ by Nelly Thomas
Some Brains takes us on a journey of all the different types of ways people and children can think and act, from what they like to do to what they like to eat. It teaches children that we are all different and importantly that it is okay to be different in the way we use our brains.
Maybe you really like quiet, only eat white foods, use art to explain your feelings or can even smell the colour purple – Some Brains teaches children (and adults) that “my neuro is not typical, what a cool part of me!”
Along with the text, the engaging and inclusive illustrations by Cat MacInnes make this book perfect for children aged 5+ to teach them the beauty of how all our different brains work. It could also be used in the classroom to represent neurodiverse children and start conversations about celebrating diversity.
I want to learn more about Neurodiversity
Hands-on activities can be a great way for your little ones to understand how your differences are what makes you… YOU! By creating an All About Me Puzzle that celebrates what makes your little one unique opens them to the beauty of everyone’s differences and highlights their strengths. Playing fun activities like Would You Rather helps children learn more about themselves and others through a series of though-provoking (and hilarious) questions.
Check out our downloadable resources here.
Literature that celebrates Neurodiversity
‘The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The story of DR. Temple Grandin’ by Julia Finley
When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe.
In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, this inspiring true story also includes a complete biography, fun facts, a colourful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!
‘Wiggles Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down’ by Lindsey Rowe Parker
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes playfully validates the unique sensory experiences of children, written from their own perspective. The vibration in her feet when she runs, the tap-tap-tap of her fork on the table at mealtime, the trickle of cool water running over her hands—these are the things that calm her jitters down. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the need for a wiggle, stomp, or squeeze!
‘My Brother Charlie’ by Denene Millner, Holly Robinson Peete, and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He’s good at so many things – swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriett. But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. In this story, told from a sister’s point of view, we meet a family whose oldest son teaches them important lessons about togetherness, hope, tolerance, and love.