January 29, 2021 - By Jodi Murphy #ReadYourWorld
Originally posted at geekclubbooks.com
I never wanted to change my neurodiverse son and try to make him into something that society considered “normal.” To me, he is and always will be wonderfully creative and uniquely remarkable. No, my quest has always been focused on creating a more inclusive society—one where you never have to hide or feel ashamed of who you are.
I’ve always believed that the path to acceptance is through storytelling. Research has verified that narrative has a powerful impact on the brain and the actions that follow. Stories move us towards a better understanding of a culture, special population and the human condition.
Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down is a picture book about sensory differences. Individuals on the autism spectrum can have senses that are over- or under-sensitive which can affect how they feel and act. What I love most about this book is that it comes from a place of acceptance—it’s not seeking to change those who need to “wiggle, stomp or squeeze” but offers glimpses into why there is a need to do them.
To me, it’s a celebration of what makes a person special and unique. It casts no judgment on the flaps, flutters, or meltdowns—through narrative and colorful illustrations it explains a sensory system that’s different, yet doing its job to ease anxiety and calm nerves.
The Perfect Collaboration between Author and Illustrator
The story is written by Lindsey Rowe Parker, and when I asked her about why she wrote this as her first children’s book, she said:
“There were sensory preferences that I had as a child that I thought were weird or strange, not like other people I knew. Through pediatric occupational therapies with my kiddos, I have a greater understanding of not only some of their sensory needs, but my own. It’s like a light bulb went on, and I thought ‘Oh wow, now I get it.’ This story is written from my own sensory experiences, and now also as a mother learning how to provide sensory input to meet the needs of my kids. But I think this story applies to many kids and adults that are looking for that sensory input, which they themselves may not have a name for.”
The book’s illustrator is Rebecca Burgess or “Bex,” and their work is well-known and respected in the neurodivergent and autistic communities. They are breaking through in the publishing world with Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes as one of three books that are being released by different publishers. With talent like theirs, that’s only the beginning of what’s to come!
Bex’s illustrations are bright, whimsical and, according to Lindsay, “exceeded my wildest expectations.”
When she saw them for the first time, Lindsey said, “I cried happy tears. I ran through the house dancing. I showed my friends and family. I believe when you work with someone with immense talent, you get out of their way and let them do what they do best.”
Bex had an emotional connection to the story because it described how they felt growing up wishing they had words to describe what made them feel stressed and why they needed to “jitter.” Now, thanks to Lindsey and Bex, children with sensory differences will feel the relief that comes from the validation of being seen and accepted.
Get the Book.
The book is being published by BQB Publishing, released in April 2021. It is available on Amazon: Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down
Connect with Rebecca Burgess and Lindsey Rowe Parker:
Rebecca Burgess on Instagram – @theorahart
Author Lindsey Rowe Parker on Instagram – @wigglesstompsandsqueezes