You're So Clumsy Charley: Having Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger's or Autism Does Not Make You Stupid

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Your Stories Matter, Jan 31, 2017 - Juvenile Fiction - 48 pages

Charley always seemed to get into trouble, though he didn't mean to. He was getting fed up of going to school because he felt different from most of the other kids. Then he met his Aunty Bella. And everything changed.

This illustrated children's story explains what it feels like to be a child who is different from other children. Charley seems to keep getting into trouble all the time for doing things wrong. While not labelled in the story, Charley has a specific learning difficulty. In particular, he shows dyspraxic (a.k.a. Developmental Coordination Disorder) tendencies such as clumsiness.

It is Charley's specific learning difficulty that makes him feel different and therefore unhappy at school, because he doesn't understand it. Thankfully, when Charley learns he is not alone, things begin to get better for him.

This book can be used with young children to discuss how neurodiversity (e.g. dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome) is not a bad thing and that in fact it can have its strengths. This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about specific learning difficulties with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have a specific learning difficulty, or exhibit tendencies of one. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle with some things others don't (e.g. as illustrated by Charley's clumsiness in this story). Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

You're So Clumsy Charley was originally published under the Funky Gerbil imprint in 2013. This Second Edition has had a change of typeface, along with the inclusion of some additional information for teachers/adults. This revised edition has been moved over to the Your Stories Matter imprint (under the same publisher).

Charley was written by someone who is herself dyspraxic, and is based on both her own and her daughter's experiences of being misunderstood. She wanted to help those children who continue to remain misunderstood.

As with all of its books, the publisher aims to help people know they are not alone with what makes them different. If a young person or adult can relate to a story, it gives them hope and encourages them to share their concerns. The publisher aims to provide free teaching resources for all of its books that can be used in schools, to help improve understanding and celebrate differences.

 

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A great short story to share with children who feel different and perhaps don't know why. This book will encourage discussion between child and parent, or child and teacher, using Charley's experiences as a discussion point. Whilst the story was written from the point of view of his clumsiness and forgetfulness (he has DCD), it doesn't really matter what the difference is as no learning difficulties/disabilities are mentioned in the story explicitly. The story has a heart warming conclusion. Great fun illustrations too. 

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About the author (2017)

The author grew up with dyspraxia and watched her daughter do the same. Driven by frustration at people's misunderstanding of this condition, particularly within the education system, Jane Binnion decided to write a children's book that would hopefully get children and adults talking about what it is like to be different and why this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it should be something to be celebrated! 

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