My original book for young women with intellectual disabilities: Kristen Grows Up
I believe that there is tremendous and immeasurable power in storytelling. Stories and narratives always allows for me to help bridge communication gaps and assist with the learning difficulties that my sister, who has Down Syndrome, experiences throughout our life together. I referred to this as “translating the world” to her when I was quite young. Without even realizing it, I was using stories and pictures to help her from a very early age, allowing my creativity to become a tool to assist her in whatever ways that were necessary.
My first book, “Kristen Grows Up” was inspired by her, it began as a tool, became a gift, and was later developed after my graduate studies at The University of Pennsylvania. Due to a gap in the market, a complete of lack of literature designed for the self-advocate to utilize in empowering and caring for themselves, the creation of this book to share with others was a necessary next step.
The anecdotal format focuses on the abilities and talents of the main character and creates positive associations to soothe and comfort during what can be a confusing and challenging time in a young woman’s development. The vibrant, adorable and colorful illustrations are suitable for young women who may not be able to read and can be used as a guide to empower her for greater independence in terms of her own health and wellness care. This book can be used by schools, psychologists, social workers, doctors, parents and caretakers. "Kristen Grows Up" was inspired by a very special young woman in the hopes that it will support, comfort and empower other special young women.
The power of narrative and storytelling brings us to our next topic, the challenges and experiences that siblings often face. What some consider a burden or a weakness, at first glance, is also a circumstance where resilience, strength of character and a capacity to deal empathically with the complexities of life is fostered.
For siblings, the lifelong caretakers and tireless advocates, see my article below.
Article for The Mighty: Your Hidden Power When You Have a Sibling With Special Needs