“Finding Perfect” & other Kid Lit on disability

perfectSchool teachers, parents, diversity educators:

I highly recommend this book. It is about a 12-year old girl who has an anxiety disorder/OCD.

I shared the book with a child I know. This girl (not Molly – the one in my life) struggles with a mild form of OCD. She often feels “wrong” and “weird”. Grownups snap at her for her habits – she is always stopping to perform tasks that, at best, seem pointless and, at worst, seem calculated to irritate and defy others. Why must she dawdle over her homework, trying to “perfect” the line of a T and the curve of a J? Why does she stop in stores to arrange objects in (what seem to her) symmetrical order? Why is she unable to stop doing these things even when her actions are sure to get her in trouble – losing privileges, losing free time, etc? Surely all this is merely done to be a pain in the butt? This girl has long tried to explain to people that she is a “perfectionist.” I suspect she is very similar to Molly Nathans.

This little girl finds comfort in the character of Molly Nathans. The story helps her feel less alone, and gives her some vocabulary and concepts to explain why she is this way to her peers and even to the teachers who think she is just trying to be aggravating.

Also, if you find a huge sign that says:

SHE DOESN’T MEAN TO BE AGGRAVATING. GET OVER YOURSELF & HELP HER. ADHD MEANS SHE STRUGGLES TO FOCUS. SHE ALREADY KNOWS THIS. DON’T KEEP REMINDING HER: FIGURE OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP AND HOW SHE CAN HELP HERSELF.

Thanks much.

Update: I am going to poke around for more books and book ideas in an online conversation about children with disabilities. This Twitter chat has some gems. And here is a great post on terminology and usage in kid lit.

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