Mom writes children's books for neurodiverse kids
April has traditionally been known as Autism Awareness Month, but some advocates are working to change that to Autism Acceptance Month. A Westport mom is releasing a new children's book meant to help neurodiverse children deal with their fears about the end of the school year.
Sivan Hong says there just weren't enough picture books out there where her two neurodiverse kids could see themselves.
"There's a magic in a picture book because it allows kids to open the page and see themselves, there's a mirror of themselves, and it would normalize their experience," said Hong.
One of Hong's sons is autistic and the other has ADHD. She wrote the book "George J. and the Miserable Monday," based on the everyday challenges her own family faces.
"It really focuses on change. Kids with neurodiversity have a hard time with change. I think many of us have a hard time with change," she said.
The latest book in the "Super Fun Day" series, "Avery G. and the Scary End of School," focuses on the fears kids can have at the start of summer vacation.
"They don't know if their friends are going to remember them next year, and it's going to be a new classroom with new teachers," said Hong.
Two of Hong's previous titles have topped Amazon's list of books for kids with disabilities.
"I get emails from parents with kids who will point to the page, and their parents are like, 'My kid pointed to the page and was like, 'This is me. This book is about me.'" Hong said.
She says children's books lack representation.
"Five percent of all picture books depict kids of color. Of any color. For disabilities it's less than .5%," Hong said.
She says her sons are excited to see their stories helping kids all over the world.
"My second-grader said to me last year, he's like, 'There's two really cool jobs in the world, being an NBA player and being an author, and you get to be one of them.' So right now he thinks it's a pretty big deal," said Hong.
Hong's books are presented in a dyslexic-friendly font and also available as audiobooks.
For more information on Hong's books, click here.