To Encourage Inclusion and Understanding, Psychologist Writes Children’s Books About Lion with Autism

Representation is important, and for children with differing abilities, having literature that reflects their way of thinking can help them feel and be more understood. One psychologist feels that way, as well, which is why she’s written some children’s books to help.

Dr. Kristin Wegner has always worked around those with a broad range of abilities in her job as a clinical psychologist at the Autism and Behavior Center in Altoona, Wisconsin. She says many people don’t have an understanding of these developmental differences. That’s where her book series about Brody the Lion, who has autism, comes in.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KRISTIN WEGNER

The Brody the Lion website explains, “Brody the Lion is a children’s book series that aims to entertain, educate, and empower children and families while spreading awareness and acceptance of different abilities. Each book in the series portrays how Brody faces the challenges of autism with the help of his family, friends, and community.”

Dr. Wegner came up with the idea a while ago but had put it on the backburner until she found herself with extra time to flesh it out. Then the first book, “Sometimes I Roar!” was born.

She told WQOW in Wisconsin, “I went to a birthday party and the child was not diagnosed with autism but had all of those things that happen in that birthday book, happen to this child. And on my way home, I just kind of jotted it down and threw it on a piece of paper and I put it away. And then last year, with COVID and all the kind of extra time on your hands when you’re now doing telehealth as opposed to working 14 hours a day, I was like, ‘that would be a good thing to pull out.'”

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KRISTIN WEGNER

At the end of Brody’s books are resource pages for parents. Dr. Wegner says the teaching tips and behavioral intervention strategies can benefit all kids, not just those with autism, though she hopes the information can also help parents better understand if their child may have a condition like autism.

She explains the books are “for the parents that maybe think their child has a different way of thinking, some resources for them… We are spreading diversity and inclusion for children and parents that don’t know anything about different abilities.”

If you’d like to hear more about Brody’s adventures, Dr. Wegner often reads them live on her Instagram.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KRISTIN WEGNER
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