Why did I write this book?
As an occupational therapist, I’ve always wished that the general public was more aware of the many helpful tools and strategies used regularly by occupational therapy practitioners. For example, dual colored laces make it easier for ALL kids to learn to tie their shoes, due to the increased contrast. Why aren’t all kids running around with adorable dual-colored laces? I’ve also wished the public was more aware of what occupational therapy is and how useful it can be. I love books and creativity, and became aware that children’s books were often the easiest and most noninvasive way to expose children to new ideas, educate them, and start conversations. For my doctoral capstone project in OT, I researched bibliotherapy in depth, looking at how children’s picture books can be used to increase awareness and acceptance of children with disabilities, and in OT in general.
I’ve found through my research that few children’s picture books have occupational therapy mentioned in them (big surprise right?) and also that many of the books about disabilities tend to be a little heavy-handed, with the disability being the main focus, rather than the child. Also, many of those books were written in a way that would not appeal to the average child. My goal was to write an entertaining and educational story that could include OT and disability in a way that lead to awareness and discussion, while not being the focus of the story. Whether or not I succeeded in my quest will be up to you.
Inside the book you will find extra sections with information for young readers as well as their adult readers, including suggestions of topics to discuss. For example, fair is not always equal. Ben has 100 feet – is it fair that in order to fit in he should wear shoes with laces when other peers may only have 2 or 8 feet?
I also like the expression different needs, different speeds! 🙂
Note: This was my first book, and made a lot of mistakes. Luckily, I learned from them so in my second book I can make new mistakes. I have some regrets on certain aspects of how I addressed issues, but have to live with the limitations as due to the illustration/publication process, not all of them were fixable. I plan to explain/address some of those possible issues soon.