07 Jun Why We Should All Celebrate Rainbow Brains…
Why We Should All Celebrate Rainbow Brains…
When we hear about autism and ADHD, we may think of two distinct conditions, but the reality is much more complex. Both conditions frequently co-occur, and in many cases a person who is autistic may also have ADHD, and vice versa. This overlap is not just anecdotal; research has shown that the two conditions share a great deal of genetic and neurobiological overlap.
An engaging new children’s book by a Melbourne based child psychologist, Sandhya Menon, is an ideal, gentle introduction to the world of autistic and ADHDer children. The Rainbow Brain offers a wonderfully affirming way of looking at brains that are wired differently and gives children strength-based language when talking about disabilities. It beautifully demonstrates this throughout the book in brightly coloured illustrations. Sandhya firmly believes that autism and ADHD are not disorders, but neurotypes, and ways of complementary cognition existing in this society.
Touching, humorous and insightful, The Rainbow Brain looks at the difficulties and joys that an Autistic-ADHDer experiences daily, and leaves the reader with wonderful sense of dignity, individuality, and potential. The book was inspired by the author’s own experiences as an Autistic-ADHDer herself and also as an experienced practitioner working with neurodivergent children. It was these daily interactions with parents in her clinic that inspired the book including managing a lot of the same questions from parents about how to explain their child’s autism.
Sandhya said, “Autism and ADHD together for me is like a dance. We understand the moves separately, and then we learn how they tango. When they tango? It’s something else completely. It’s a give and take situation going on in my brain. ADHD may seek out dopamine and love going to parties and events, autism struggles while they’re there with the amount of small talk, socialising and noise and end up leaving the party early. Autism might be the leader, opting for the safe and familiar, and then ADHD struggles, because it’s too boring and we look for novelty. I want my readers to understand this delicate balance, so they grow up strong and able to curate their own ‘just right’ environments.”
With increased understanding of autism and ADHD, the latest statistics from CDC show that 1 in 36 children are autistic, and 1 in 10 are ADHDers. Up to 80% of children who have one neurodevelopmental condition will have multiple conditions requiring support. Research shows a lack of support and poor educational environments can contribute to long term disadvantage for neurodivergent children.
The Rainbow Brain is the first children’s book to describe what it is like to be both autistic and an ADHDer together. It follows on from Sandhya’s first book The Brain Forest (2022) which was aimed at the teachers and parents of both neurodivergent and neurotypical children in primary school and introduces the idea of different neurotypes in society to children.
The Rainbow Brain by Sandhya Menon
RRP $27.00. Available directly from Onward and Upward Psychology
Suitable for ages 8-10 years