I never thought growing up, that I would one day become an advocate for special needs. But, just like the author of Emma Goes to School, I found myself passionate about a cause due to my own children. With three of my children having autism, I found myself front and center in bringing awareness to autism and teaching neurodiversity.
One thing that I have come across the most often is parent’s concerns (including my own) of how their children with disabilities will manage in school. Since many children with autism have troubles with social situations, making and keeping friends is hard. Then there are the things that the children may do differently. Just as you will notice a wheelchair, handing flapping and spinning is kind of hard to miss too. How will the other kids react? Will they have been taught not only acceptance but to celebrate that everyone is different in their own ways.
Thankfully, times are beginning to change when it comes to disabilities. Acceptance is more wide-spread as is the education behind acceptance. More and more, tools are being made to not just teach about autism, but to teach neurodiversity. Sesame Street started the initiative with Julia. Now, we have a few great authors starting to make it even more wide-spread. Emma Goes to School is a children’s book that promotes awareness and celebrates physical and neurodiversity, about a little girl from Monstoria who’s worried about fitting in.
In my constant search for tools to spread awareness, I came across the story Emma Goes to School. Though it’s not out just yet, I was able to find out the back story behind the book which is the story of Emma Nelson and Kristin Pack, M.A.
About Emma & Kristin
You see, Emma is a beautiful little girl who is only a few months older than my little man. A major thing they have in common (other than both being so stinkin’ cute!) is they both have autism and were diagnosed at an early age. Emma however, has Schaaf-Yang syndrome (SYS). Kristin, was her nanny while she worked her way through grad school.
In many homes across the world, nanny’s become a significant part of the family. Becoming a family member in and of themselves. So is the case with Kristin. Prior to Emma’s birth, Kristin was a nanny to her older sibling. Three weeks before Emma’s due date is when everything changed (you can read all that here). Though the thought of becoming a caregiver to a special needs child at first made Kristin nervous, she soon found out that this amazing little girl would inspire her!
Emma Goes to School
“…why I wrote Emma Goes to School. Inspired by all my concerns for Emma’s future, I decided to imagine a fictional world in which children’s anxieties about being different were put to rest, and each and every character learns to love and own their differences and those of others. I wrote Emma Goes to School to inspire Emma Nelson, to show her that her differences are beautiful, and make her special and different, but never less.
If this book could communicate that message to even one other child struggling with anxiety over their differences, then it will the second greatest thing I have accomplished in my life (after becoming a mother)…” – Kristin Pack, Author.
I am so thankfully for people like Kristin. She felt a calling to help spread awareness and to offer an amazing teaching tool for children about neurodiversity. Emma is so blessed to have her in her life! Please take a moment to head on over to their site and check them out. They are currently in the pre-order phase through kickstarter. Let’s help Kristin and Emma get this story into the hands of other amazing kids!