Book review by Katie Munday (they / them)

Beige background with a large rainbow infinity symbol. In each half is a child. Left is white child in a red dress with long brunette hair, they are holding a magnifying glass to one eye. Right is a brown child who is shrugging, their head surrounded by question marks. Text reads: Neurodiversity what's that? An introduction to neurodiversity for kids.
(Illustration by Victor Brave)

Written by Nadine Arthur, Neurodiversity! What’s That? is a fun, neurodiversity-affirming, educational book for children aged 8 plus.

Nadine Arthur is an Autistic parent and full time carer of her Autistic ADHD son. She grew tired of professionals telling her about her son’s numerous disorders and searched for children’s books which explained neurodiversity. After an unsuccessful search Nadine decided to write her own!

Through Neurodiversity! what’s that? Nadine introduces children to the neurodiversity paradigm (the idea that being neurodivergent is neutral but that many of us still need accommodations). The book promotes self-esteem and confidence for Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent children (including those who have dyslexia, irlens syndrome, dyscalculia and PDA).

Nadine takes difficult concepts and keywords used within the neurodiversity movement and makes them easily digestible for younger readers. One of my favourite pages was one in which the words disorder, syndrome, impairment and deficit are being thrown into different rubbish bins. The book is full of neurodiversity-affirming words and phrases including ‘there is no wrong type of brain’ and ‘differences need to be respected, accepted and celebrated.’

There is a glossary at the back for more advanced learners, and, despite talking about an overall preference for identity first language, there is a caveat that you should always ask people how they describe themselves.

Neurodiversity! What’s that? is full of positive messages which are useful for neurodivergent children and those they read with. The book allows children to understand themselves and others and how the world can only exist with different people and different neurologies. A must have for younger kids, neurodivergent and neuro-normative alike.

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