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5 Middle-Grade Books Promoting Neurodiversity

YA books are great, but people need representation at every stage in life. Not only every stage of life, but in all walks of life. Neurodivergence is a topic that is often overlooked in children’s literature. So here is a list of 5 books tackling neurodivergence:

1. “Focused” by Alyson Gerber
Clea can't control her thoughts. She knows she has to do her homework . . . but she gets distracted. She knows she can't just say whatever thought comes into her head . . . but sometimes she can't help herself. She know she needs to focus . . . but how can she do that when the people around her are always chewing gum loudly or making other annoying noises? It's starting to be a problem—not just in school, but when Clea's playing chess or just hanging out with her best friend. Other kids are starting to notice. When Clea fails one too many tests, her parents take her to be tested, and she finds out that she has ADHD, which means her attention is all over the place instead of where it needs to be. Clea knows life can't continue the way it's been going. She's just not sure how you can fix a problem that's all in your head. But that's what she's going to have to do, to find a way to focus.

2. “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

3. “Muffled” by Jennifer Geranni

Amelia does not like noise. In fifth grade, she has to learn to play an instrument or, as she sees it, make noise on purpose. To help Amelia cope, her father gives her a pair of earmuffs to wear. When she makes a new friend in trombone class, the two form an unlikely friendship that helps Amelia find a way to let in the noisy world she’s muffled for so long.

4. “Tune It Out” by Jamie Sumner

Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her. When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too.

5. “Fifty-four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter

No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers's problem is—not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she's seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn't have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four. At least, according to a confidential school report (that she read because she is #16. Sneaky, not to mention #13. Impulsive). So Gwendolyn needs a plan, because if she doesn't get these fifty-four things under control, she's not going to be able to go to horse camp this summer with her half-brother, Tyler. But Tyler can't help her because there's only one thing "wrong" with him: ADHD. And her best friend Hettie can't help her because there's nothing wrong with Hettie. She's perfect. So Gwendolyn is hopeless until she remembers the one thing that helped her mother when her own life was out of control. Or actually, the twelve things. Can these Twelve Steps that cured her mother somehow cure Gwendolyn too?

📚 Happy reading! Remember, everyone is valid 💖

#themightyreaders #Neurodiversity #AuditoryProcessingDisorder #SensoryProcessingDisorder #ADHD #Dyslexia #Undiagnosed

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Middle-Grade Books Promoting Neurodiversity

YA books are great, but people need representation in every stage of life. Not only every stage of life, but in all walks of life. Neurodivergence is often ignored, especially for younger readers.

So here are some books promoting neurodiversity:

1.”Rules” by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules—from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"—in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: “What is normal?”

2.”Rain Reign” by Ann M. Martin

Rose Howard has Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his “special-needs”daughter. Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.

3.”Because of The Rabbit” by Cynthia Lord

On the last night of summer, Emma tags along with her game warden father on a routine call. They're supposed to rescue a wild rabbit from a picket fence, but instead they find a little bunny. Emma convinces her father to bring him home for the night. The next day, Emma starts public school for the very first time after years of being homeschooled. More than anything, Emma wants to make a best friend in school. But things don't go as planned. On the first day of school, she's paired with a boy named Jack for a project. He can't stay on topic, he speaks out of turn, and he's obsessed with animals. Jack doesn't fit in, and Emma's worried he'll make her stand out. Emma and Jack bond over her rescue rabbit. But will their new friendship keep Emma from finding the new best friend she's meant to have?

4.”Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine

In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

5.“A Kind of Spark” by Elle McNicoll

A neurodivergent girl campaigns for a memorial when she learns that her small Scottish town used to burn witches simply because they were different.

6.”Caterpillar Summer” by Gillian McDunn

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond—Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together. But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.

7.”Muffled” by Jennifer Gennari

Amelia does not like noise. In fifth grade, she has to learn to play an instrument or, as she sees it, make noise on purpose. To help Amelia cope, her father gives her a pair of earmuffs to wear. When she makes a new friend in trombone class, the two form an unlikely friendship that helps Amelia find a way to let in the noisy world she’s muffled for so long.

8.”Tune It Out” by Jamie Sumner

Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her. When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too.

9.”Focused” by Alyson Gerber

Clea can't control her thoughts. She knows she has to do her homework . . . but she gets distracted. She knows she can't just say whatever thought comes into her head . . . but sometimes she can't help herself. She know she needs to focus . . . but how can she do that when the people around her are always chewing gum loudly or making other annoying noises? It's starting to be a problem—not just in school, but when Clea's playing chess or just hanging out with her best friend. Other kids are starting to notice. When Clea fails one too many tests, her parents take her to be tested, and she finds out that she has ADHD, which means her attention is all over the place instead of where it needs to be. Clea knows life can't continue the way it's been going. She's just not sure how you can fix a problem that's all in your head. But that's what she's going to have to do, to find a way to focus.

10.”Fifty-four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter

No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers's problem is--not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she's seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn't have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four. At least, according to a confidential school report (that she read because she is #16. Sneaky, not to mention #13. Impulsive). So Gwendolyn needs a plan, because if she doesn't get these fifty-four things under control, she's not going to be able to go to horse camp this summer with her half-brother, Tyler. But Tyler can't help her because there's only one thing "wrong" with him: ADHD. And her best friend Hettie can't help her because there's nothing wrong with Hettie. She's perfect. So Gwendolyn is hopeless until she remembers the one thing that helped her mother when her own life was out of control. Or actually, the twelve things. Can these Twelve Steps that cured her mother somehow cure Gwendolyn too?

📚 Happy reading! Remember, everyone is valid! 💖

#themightyreaders #Neurodiversity #AutismSpectrumDisorder #AspergersSyndrome #AuditoryProcessingDisorder #SensoryProcessingDisorder #ADHD #Undiagnosed

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2024...you're kinda kicking my butt here lol. Anyone else on their 2nd or 3rd antibiotic already? Attempting to 'push through'?

We're in the 2nd month of 2024 and I'm on my 2nd antibiotic 🙃

(there was a high chance it would've actually been be my 3rd lol. Thankfully my asthma fixed up)

Anyone else feel...almost punished by the universe lol?

I barely go out (part fault of chronic conditions, part agoraphobia tendencies) and yet I still get sick, sick 🤔

I'm told by so many to 'push through', but I am pushing.

Everytime I get to the toilet in time. The times I make it to work. Remembering key dates. Having a bath. Drinking enough liquids. Replying to that text...

To all those pushing already by just existing: I see you and I am one of you. It isn't easy, but we're really trying our best💜

#ChronicPain #AgoraphobiaWithoutHistoryOfPanicDisorder #Agoraphobia #MentalHealth #ChronicFatigue #Fibromyalgia #BackPain #Asthma #Anxiety #Depression #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #IrritableBowelSyndromeIBS #Jointpain #AuditoryProcessingDisorder

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Dating with chronic pain and FND? While attempting to work and study...😅 Any tips?

I have been single for a hot minute haha. Mental health issues and being ill with every illness under the sun🙄, led me to just feeling mentally exhausted.

However, I'm trying to work on dismantling safety behaviours and not waiting on me to be in 'perfect health'.

So, please do folks have any tips on how to introduce your chronic conditions to potential partners? Do you feel it's even necessary to do so?

Is there any dating activity that's a must do?

Any and all tips would be welcome 🥲😅

#ChronicFatigue #MentalHealth #Agoraphobia #AgoraphobiaWithoutHistoryOfPanicDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #ChronicIllness #IrritableBowelSyndromeIBS #BackPain #AuditoryProcessingDisorder #Asthma

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School anxiety!!!!

I know with the middle of the school year those of us in school or uni may with anxiety disorders, and depression, and we nerodivergents are FEELING the school anxiety!! I thought I'd share some things that I bring with me to school that help me be less anxious!!! (These things help me but are not a cure-all!!!)

earplugs!! I always feel overwhelmed at school and earplugs have helped me so much! I love the loop earplugs because they're so discreet but they are pricey!! an extra sweatshirt I personally sometimes in the middle of the day decide I hate my outfit and need to change and without my trusty sweatshirt I often have panic attacks! mine is just a giant heather gray sweatshirt fidget. I use wire ring fidgets religiously and love them!! extra shorts and undergarments!! along with my sweatshirt having these on me helps my anxiety so much!! Deodorant If you're like me and have TONS of anxiety about smelling bad this is a must-have and, if you like it you can also pack perfume!! stick on heating pads!! This is my lifesaver as with my super painful cramps I often have to put almost four of these on!! be careful to read the instructions as you can accidentally burn yourself This is all I can think of!! Add more in the comments and have a wonderful day!!! love!!!! #Anxiety #Narcolepsy #School #Periods #ADHD #SPD #AuditoryProcessingDisorder #AutismSpectrumDisorder #MentalHealth

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Why did I wait???

Why did I wait to give up on relationships?, I should have walked out at the first name, hit, disrespect yet I stayed and it turned me into a monster....time lost, heart broken, part of my soul already to dust... don't think I will ever trust again idk anymore. #BipolarDepression #AnxietyDisorder #ADHD #AuditoryProcessingDisorder #PTSD

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