All About Special Needs!

 Photo by Daniel Alcheh

Photo by Daniel Alcheh

Are you here because you know or love a child with special needs?

I write for all kids, which means both differently-abled and typically-abled children. I’m a major proponent of “integrated” classrooms—that means kids with and without special needs, learning together—since studies show that when children are in an integrated classroom, everyone benefits! Children with special needs reach higher levels of reading proficiency, while typically developing children learn compassion and empathy. 

My books use three elements that have been proven to increase the brain’s receptivity to information: rhyme, rhythm and repetition. With these as my tools, I tell stories that I hope audiences of mixed abilities will enjoy together.

While we might imagine "special needs"-themed or "disability-themed" books to mean books that feature characters with special needs—and I do write those kinds of books, too!—in fact, all children need books that are thoughtfully designed to be accessible. This is true whether a reader is non-verbal, movement-challenged, has sensory integration or intellectual disorders, or is typically developing. When I write, I consider everything from the number of words on a page to the rhythm (complex and unique rhythms are great) to the ease or difficulty with which a chosen word can be repeated.  

My own daughter is non-verbal and cannot stand or walk unassisted, but she loves nothing more than a great story. I worked with speech therapists, special needs instructors and librarians to figure out which reading elements are ideal for children with different abilities, and I now carry all those elements into everything I write.

I welcome your questions and input, because I am here to write stories for all your kids!