Today I’m talking with Sivan Hong, author and illustrator of the “Super Fun Days Books” series. Her work focuses on inspiring neurodiverse children in overcoming challenges with perseverance and bravery. Sivan is here to speak loud about the power and benefits of neurodiversity and how cool it is to be different.
Supporting Kids with Neurodivergence
Sivan believes that books are incredibly powerful tools in helping someone feel that they’re not alone. The structure of her books was based on social stories that are often used in special education, taking the educational framework and bringing it home for families. Sivan’s first book was published three years ago, based on a true story she shared with her oldest son.
Sivan doesn’t want her children to grow up with the challenges that her generation did when it came to neurodivergence. Rather than seeing their struggles as a failure of their ability, she wants kids now to know that “Different is OK,” and know that they have the support they need.
Identifying Neurodivergence Early
Sivan’s first two books featured her two sons, but her last two have had female characters. This was intentional, she explains, as girls are identified with ADHD much later in life than boys—in their middle age as opposed to a boy in second grade. Girls of color have the lowest level of diagnosis. Sivan hopes to help the underserved population of neurodivergent women by offering representation through her books.
Rates of ADHD in adults have also been going up, Sivan explains, because of increased diagnoses in children. This was how she identified her own neurodivergence, seeking a diagnosis after seeing similarities between herself and her kids. Sivan believes the best way to help is to share the message with kids when they’re young so that they can bring confidence and self-understanding into their adult lives.
Functioning With Neurodivergence
Life with neurodivergence is all about finding what works. Sivan shares that audiobooks opened up the world of literature for her after struggling with reading and spelling in school. As an adult, she’s developed her own unique structure that allows her to function day-to-day.
Neurodivergence manifests itself in a spectrum and can look different from person to person. Sivan believes that a diagnosis alone can help with someone’s mental health: understanding and having a name for the way your brain works can give a sense of peace and clarity. She hopes that listeners know that there is power in being neurodiverse and that it is okay to be different.
Listen in to hear the story behind Sivan’s first book, her upcoming projects, and where to seek out a medical diagnosis for neurodivergence.
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