Just a few helpful links...
1. The website Disability in Kidlit is no longer active, but it is still online, and is a veritable treasure trove of excellent information.
Take note especially of Elizabeth Bartmess's piece on how to approach writing autistic characters:
2. The National Alliance for Mental Illness is a first rate resource.
3. Autism in Middle Grade Books: An excellent website of resources by children's librarian and educator Adriana White. MLIS (autistic herself).
Video lesson about Writing Neurodiverse Characters in Middle Grade:
4. ChangeDirection is a mental-health awareness and activist website. It has a growing initiative called "Books Change Direction." Their mission: "to educate about the importance of responsibly representing mental health and illness in stories, identify and promote books and authors that contribute to the culture of mental health, and help people in need access these books."
5. The Autism Self-Advocacy Network -- "Nothing About Us Without Us." ASAN centers and respects the autistic person (unlike Autism Speaks, which we have not placed on this list).
6. Geek Club Books and its companion, ZOOM Autism Magazine, are helpful sources of neurodivergence-related content, book reviews, and interviews with authors.
7. Love & Autism is a registered non-profit with an inspiring website that raises up and celebrates authentically autistic voices. It is worth checking out!
8. The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Their website contains a wealth of wonderful information for parents, educators and families.
9. The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt U. is "a national center dedicated to improving education outcomes for all children, especially those with disabilities birth through 21." They have a quite comprehensive list of children's books on their site, organized by disability portrayal.
10. The Council for Exceptional Children - Division on Developmental Disabilities has a website with much information for practitioners, therapists, and educators. They also award the biannual Dolly Gray Award, the only national children's book award that honors representation of autism/developmental disability.
11. We Need Diverse Books (https://diversebooks.org) has expanded its definition of diversity, adding an asterisk that reads: "*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization."
11. Not An Autism Mom has a list of books about autism and neurodiversity that includes a whole section of books for kids and teens. She also hosts a monthly book club for parents on Facebook.
12. The Birth Injury Justice Center is dedicated to supporting anyone who has been affected by birth injuries, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and other developmental disabilities. We strive to provide answers and guidance to ensure that families receive the assistance that they need to help improve their overall quality of life.
Do you have a resource you'd like to recommend? Send us a comment and let us know!