Ep. 110: Why Representation in Books Matters for Neurodiverse Students with Carol Kauffman, MA/CCC-SLP

Dec 6, 2022 | 0 comments

Imagine books where the characters have ADHD, Autism, and think differently. Now imagine a book where these characters are the heroes

Representation is so vitally important, but those who are neurodiverse often see themselves in books as the person who gets bullied. So when deciding to write a Science Fiction novel, author Carol Kauffman knew her 40 years of experience as a speech and language pathologist would play a big role in developing these characters.

This is a different type of episode today as Carol shares just enough about Crystal Child: The Diamond Star Saga to get excited about reading it. It is her hope that not only children and teens read this story, but that the adults in their lives do as well. What they may discover is that those who experience struggles will see that their ability to overcome their disabilities or thrive despite their challenges may actually be their greatest superpowers.


Show Notes:

[2:23] – We learn a great deal from books, but we also see ourselves in the characters in books.

[3:18] – We like to have heroes that are like us. When starting her book, Carol noticed the trends in current literature.

[4:58] – In Carol’s book series, Crystal Child: The Diamond Star Saga, the hero in the story deals with real challenges as a girl with ADHD. Carol describes the characters.

[7:01] – Carol sums up the story and the real challenges that Crystal faces.

[11:40] – This book has readers guessing till the end.

[12:33] – Through her experience with helping neurodiverse students, kids she has known over the years have creeped into the story.

[14:25] – Carol’s hope is that readers will realize that there is hope for them and they are valuable regardless of their challenges.

[16:27] – The book was written from a place of empathy and knowledge.

[17:34] – Students who experience struggles can see that aspects of their disabilities may actually be their greatest superpowers.

[20:29] – Grit is what children with ADHD attribute to success.

[22:25] – With brilliance must come compassion.

[24:33] – The book is a middle grade or young adult novel with a main character who is 13 years old.

[26:21] – Carol hopes the adults in a child’s life will read this book together with them.

[27:51] – There are many talking tools that Crystal uses in the book that are actual techniques used to teach social skills to children who think differently.

[29:17] – There are also grounding techniques to help those with anxiety disorders.

[31:13] – There will be a sequel to this story and Carol already has plans for answering some unanswered questions.


About Our Guest:

Carol Kauffman, MA, provided services as a speech-language pathologist for over forty years to children with challenges such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, communication disorders, and trauma as both a professional and parent. In addition to direct services, she has also written articles, e-courses, and presented online and live seminars to other professionals, stressing the critical need for better collaboration to help treat the whole child. Her other interest is healing the environment. Both passions are featured in her first full-length middle grade novel about a girl, Kristal, and her twin, Tad, who has autism. Kristal has ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD – and is astonished to find out she’s been named in a mysterious prophecy as the only one who can save humanity from a coming catastrophe. At first, she is terrified, but eventually realizes her so-called disabilities may actually be her greatest superpowers. Ms. Kauffman hopes that through this story, she can help decrease the stigma and celebrate the gifts of those with neurodiverse learning styles.  


Connect with Carol:

Links and Related Resources:


Join our email list so that you can receive information about upcoming webinars – ChildNEXUS.com

The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.