Neurodiversity Week 2021
One of our authors, Sally Anne Garland, speaks about Neurodiversity, an issue which is very close to her heart. Sally wrote Nook for young readers as a gentle introduction to the notion of Neurodiversity and accepting difference by using kindness and respect.
My son’s old school playground is now abandoned and the children have moved to a lovely, new primary school a little way up the hill.
We still pass the old playground most days and in it there still remains a number of grand, old trees .
One particular tree stands very close to the old school’s fence and has grown a little differently from the others. It has a deep indentation; a nook, that faces away from what used to be the noise and chaos of the playground.
This tree’s unique hollow was once a natural hideaway – a secret sanctuary, where children sat by themselves for any number of reasons. Maybe feeling a bit out of sorts, in a mood, or simply missing Mum and Dad a bit.
There were times also that this particular tree’s hollow was needed by a child for other reasons.
Maybe the noise of the playground was hurting their ears, or the complexity of games and play seemed far too confusing, or maybe simply they sought reassurance, when the world became too overwhelming.
The tree itself gave the appearance of almost hugging the child and I always felt it looked like it deliberately grew with its back to the playground, in a sort of protective solidarity with whoever occupied its hollow.
Still and comforting, not judging or demanding – the tree seemed to silently accept the children for who they were.
We all have unique ways of perceiving the world and some of us have particular sensory sensitivities and neurological differences that makes the world a challenging place.
It is these very same sensitivities and differences however, that have the potential, like the tree, to grow something a little different that makes the world a nicer place.
Being included does not necessarily mean having lots of friends, being the same or being part of a big game but rather it can be about a small place – a ‘nook’ of respect and kindness that accepts all our differences.
Read this great review from Kirkus: