Do you feel like you’re constantly explaining your child’s differences to other people? Do you feel guilty that you’re not the kind of parent you think you should be? Deborah Reber wants you to reconsider those ideas and to start questioning what you know about parenting.
Reber is a writer, a parent and the author of Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. This is the second read in the Understood Summer Book Club.
As the mother of a “differently wired,” twice-exceptional child, Reber understands what parents in similar situations go through. That includes the pressure to try to meet other people’s expectations of what parenting—and your child—should look like.
Reber strives for parents to feel supported. And as the founder of the TiLT Parenting movement and podcast, she’s worked hard to help them feel less alone and change their perspective on raising differently wired kids. She wants parents to feel confident, connected and joyful in celebrating the children they have. She also thinks we need to change how the world sees difference, instead of changing how our kids interact with the world.
“I think families have a lot more in common than we think,” Reber told Understood in a previous interview. “We are all in this together.”
We emailed with Reber about her book and what she hopes parents will take away from it.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote Differently Wired to help the more than 20 percent of parents raising neurodiverse kids. I want them to know that they’re not alone and to provide tools and ideas to help them better show up for their kids and themselves. My highest hope is that this book sparks conversations with the people and systems who may not yet see or understand the urgency of our message and the inevitableness of who our kids are in the world.
It can be scary for parents to rethink parenting kids with learning differences. What do you say to parents who are reading your book but who may not be ready to change their perspective?
Warning: I wrote this book to shake things up. Side effects of reading it may include feeling simultaneously inspired, optimistic, motivated and uncomfortable.
What I know for sure is that raising differently wired kids in a way that best serves them—not to mention doing the paradigm-shifting work I’m pushing for—isn’t about being comfortable. It’s about questioning everything we think we know about parenting and getting creative about what’s possible. The good news is, as [inspirational speaker and author] Neale Donald Walsch writes, life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone.
What do you want readers to walk away knowing after reading Differently Wired?
By the time they’ve finished my book, I hope readers will recognize that we all bear a responsibility for doing whatever it takes so that every single child, regardless of their wiring, has the opportunity to become a self-actualized, thriving adult. There’s too much at stake for this not to happen. Because differently wired kids, with their exceptional gifts and talents, are the key to society’s successful future.
Read the book Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. Then, July 28–30, join the Understood Community for a Weekend Wisdom discussion with Reber. (Feel free to join even if you haven’t read or finished the book!) She’ll talk about changing your perspective on raising a differently wired child. You can also continue the conversation with other parents the following week.
And if you missed our Facebook Live interview with Deborah Reber, watch it now:
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About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.