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Facts About Learning Differences
One in five people have a language-based learning disability, with dyslexia being the most common. Other forms include dyscalculia, dysgraphia and more.
Children with learning differences don’t just struggle with academics. It makes executive functioning and reading social cues difficult.
Roughly 6.1 million children in the U.S. have ADHD
Boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome than girls, and more than 50 percent diagnosed also have anxiety or ADHD
Most who have LDs are average to high IQ
Finally! A Book for children with Learning Differences!
Roughly one in five children in the United States learn differently, yet we live in a society that wants us all to fit a particular mold. The stigma that comes with being “different” or not having neurotypical social behavior, can create low self esteem in kids who are often quite bright, yet misunderstood.
You know what can help level the playground playing field for all? Teaching them that we’re all different, and to speak up and share about what makes them unique.
Just in time for National Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, “The Mischief Makers Learn Differences are Awesome” will be released Oct. 1. The third installment in the children’s book series by Author Christie Cuthbert, this book is beyond powerful and needed in a society where if you don’t fit the mold, you’re sometime seen as “odd” or “peculiar.” There’s also a huge lack of representation for these kids in children’s literature.
“Never before has there been a book for kids about understanding learning differences that promotes friendship, sharing and teaches kids to advocate for themselves with peers until now,” Cuthbert said. “I would know. As a mom of a child with learning differences I’ve searched and bought any book I felt could help my son over the years, but there’s very little out there. I’ve never been prouder of anything I’ve ever written because of the impact I know this book will have for so many children who feel different.”
The book’s narrative is child led, with classmates on the first day of school opening up about their differences and educating others. Through sharing, the kids realize they’re all different, and “that’s awesome.” In connecting with their classmates, stigma and judgement is decreased, and the kids get to know each other for who they really are.
“While at summer camp last year my son learned to share about his little vocal tic with his peers,” Cuthbert said. “The kids went from making fun to understanding and, in turn, standing up for him when a new camper would join the group. It was so moving to watch these kids support one another and teach each other. When we educate and normalize something for kids, it becomes, well, normal instead of ‘odd’ or ‘different.’”
The book covers Dyslexia, ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, mood disorders, processing delays, sensory processing disorder and more, educating but also keeping kids laughing with the antics of Stew the dog.
“The idea is that we all have something that makes us different,” Cuthbert said. “It could be a learning difference or simply hating green beans, but we all have something.”
Stephanie Tsapakis, Founder and CEO of LD Expert is thrilled to see a book with relatable characters for all.
“This book teaches kids to advocate for themselves and appreciate differences, and that’s so important,” she said.
The real-life inspiration for the book
This is one of my favorite people on the planet, John. He’s 11-years-old and has so much to offer this world. He wow’s military veterans with his extensive knowledge of World War II aircraft and tanks, makes teachers laugh with his most recent jokes, pranks his grandmas with plastic cockroaches, loves pizza, and his pups.
He has learning differences that can make completing a homework assignment a massive struggle, and from time to time, he has a vocal tic that pops up out of no where and stays for a while. This past summer when he went to camp with a tic, he knew it was time to stand up for himself and share with others. Instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed of his tic, he decided to explain what it is and how he has no control over when his brain decides to do it. In sharing with his fellow campers, they understood more about where John was coming from. They no longer made fun of him or even noticed the tic. They all became great friends, so much so that when a new camper would arrive and begin making fun, the rest of the crew would step in and stand up for him.
“My camp friends were really cool,” he said. “Once they understood I couldn’t control my tic, they didn’t care about it anymore. We all stood up for each other all summer and that was really great.”
Children like John, who look as typical as they come on the outside but struggle on the inside, need to see themselves in children’s literature. They need to know that by educating their peers and being proud of who they are, they de-stigmatize being “different” and help everyone develop empathy and courage. Because let’s face it, we’re all different in some way or another, and that’s what makes the world an interesting place.
Publishing companies have done a great job in recent years of including autism awareness, gender equality and racial diversity in children’s literature, but there are no books out there for children with learning differences that teach them to be proud of who they are and to stand up for themselves.
One in five children in the U.S. has a learning difference, yet there’s no books out there to make them feel strong, confident and included. It’s time. Through conversation comes understanding, compassion, connection and empathy. The Mischief Makers Learn Differences are Awesome helps level the playground playing field for John and the more than 6.1 million other children in this country who are made to feel different or less than. For more information, visit www.mischiefmakerbooks.com