Looking at my website I feel desperately guilty. Why haven't I been updating and blogging?
Well, in 2020 something more pressing cropped up, as it did for all of us. Covid meant that I suspended my novel writing for some considerable time, and had to pause progress on the Someone Like Me series. Like many of you, our family was thrown into home schooling, and for my son this was Year 10, his GCSE's to be sat. I wrote an article about home schooling for Your Autism magazine, because it really was a roller coaster of a time, both deeply rewarding, and hugely frustrating in parts.
Because I taught my son English I was thrown into conflict poetry and The Merchant of Venice. It was an amazing opportunity to learn and grow alongside my son. My favourite poem was My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning, which Maggie O'Farrell has just used as the background for her novel The Marriage Portrait. It's an intriguing story.
So for a time my writing was limited to producing teaching materials, adapted to my son's learning needs. This made me feel passionate about the need for greater understanding of SEN in schools, and realistic accomodations and adaptations so that all children can fulfil their potential and express themselves completely.
Anger is not a cuddly emotion that normally lends itself to children's books. But anger is something that our children with additional needs are usually all too familiar with. I believe it is an emotion that needs dealing with honestly and realistically.
Someone Like Me. Dylan's Story, opens with him feeling angry and confused. He thinks that he is stupid and different from everyone else. This is far from uncommon with children with Asperger's syndrome, who can feel isolated and unhappy, especially in challenging environments like school and in team sports.
Understanding his diagnosis, and finally making a friend who also has ASC, is Dylan's journey towards acceptance of who he is, and the potential that he has to be.
You can find more posts and information about Dylan and Someone Like Me at Someone Like Me@specialneedswriter
I've been thinking about the sort of illustrations that would work for the Someone Like Me books for quite some time. I feel that the pictures in a children's book say everything about it, and as much as the title will draw the child or their parent in.