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Why I Created a Children's Book Series About Autism

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Autism is increasingly being seen in the public eye and talked about in the media, but there is still a gap in teaching our children why some things are difficult for little ones like Lola, my daughter who is now 10 years old and autistic with sensory processing disorder and ADHD — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

With cuts across the education system, schools often can’t teach everything about the wider community, but even if we can’t teach our children in lessons, we can do so through the art of storytelling — and that’s what Autism With Love is all about.

Imagine a life where we needn't explain. A life where kids are happy not being the same... ...My name is Jodie Isitt, and this is my dream.

We need to teach children about disabilities, and here’s why. When I was a little girl it was very rare to see a disabled person walking down the street or doing their shopping. Disabled people were segregated and no one spoke about it. No one taught young children why people had facial differences, behavior difficulties or physical disabilities such as multiple sclerosis. I wasn’t taught. I was scared and fearful and confused.

I was frightened of these differences and I avoided looking at people with disabilities, quite possibly crossing the road because of the discomfort of the unknown.

“What was ‘the matter’ with them? Why are they different? Why did they just make that loud frightening noise?”

I would ask myself those questions in my head but I would never ask them out loud. I felt like there was an unwritten rule that we shouldn’t speak out loud in case people heard.

I would be devastated if an adult or child actively avoided my children because of their differences, and this is why we have to start talking about them in schools and at home. We should be shaping the next generation into kinder, thoughtful and more understanding individuals who are inclusive.

Covers of the "Autism With Lola" book series.

We need to teach children about disabilities, and my dual-designed storybook series does just that and more. It helps children who are not neurodivergent to understand those who are, and it has also helped autistic children understand themselves. This encouraged them to start communicating their feelings to their parents and caregivers.

At the heart of this brand new initiative is Lola Rabbit, a storybook character (based on my daughter, Lola), along with a group of cute, but meaningful, woodland animals. These characters provide children with learning resources and give them the knowledge they desperately need to understand and accept differences. They do so by taking the reader on an educational journey, embracing differences and showing kindness. It is my passion to create gentle stories for young children, to explain what it is like to live with autism and anxiety and help shape a kinder and more inclusive future for the next generation.

These books don’t just help children — they also have an “Expert Section” designed to help parents, teachers and carers create discussion points in the home or the classroom to further enhance their learning experience. I wanted to ensure all angles were covered within this book; I didn’t want any parent or carer to feel overwhelmed or concerned, so I thought it was vital to have the expert section included. All of the stories will contain valuable and exciting advice from professionals such as occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. Each contributor has volunteered their time to help promote inclusion in the classroom and at home.

Parents were overwhelmed when their children started communicating their worries and feelings when they had never done so before. This made me realize what a huge impact the book is having. My dream is coming true.

You can pre-order the second book in the series now.

Originally published: February 23, 2020
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