The How and Why of Writing Neurodivergent Characters –
A Workshop with Halli Gomez on Zoom
Most people have met a neurodivergent individual, and if the person is an acquaintance, a close friend, or a family member, may even know the name of their neurodiversity. But do they truly understand it?
Neurodivergent individuals, for example, those with Tourette Syndrome, Dyslexia, and Autism, are as different from each other as they are from neurotypical individuals. Neurodiversity varies in type, severity, and complexity, and the intricacies of each affects not only the person’s life, but the world around them. Yet neurodiversity is underrepresented in literature, especially children’s literature.
All authors have the ability to entertain, but it is children’s book authors who have the ability to make differences in a person’s s life at a time when they are the most vulnerable.
What child doesn’t want to see themselves represented in the pages of a novel or picture book? What child wouldn’t love to show their peers they are capable of more than what stereotypes claim? Imagine how this knowledge can benefit both the neurodivergent and neurotypical child.
What You’ll Learn
What does neurodiversity mean, including the variations and complexities.
Walk through a day-in-the-life of a neurodivergent individual.
The types of research needed to write in-depth neurodivergent characters accurately and avoid stereotypes and tropes.
Decide if you are the correct one to write neurodivergent characters.
Halli Gomez teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults.
She has written several stories with neurodivergent characters including her debut young adult novel, LIST OF TEN (Sterling, March 2021) FITNESS FIASCO (Jolly Fish Press, January 2020) and a short story in the anthology BRAVE NEW GIRLS: TAKES OF HEROINES WHO HACK (July 2018).
She presented on Neurodiversity at WriteOnCon 2020 and was invited to speak at the School Library Journal Day of Dialog in May 2020.
Halli lives in Charlotte with her husband, two boys, and two dogs and sock skates through the house when no one is looking.