Sheletta Brundidge — a Cottage Grove mother of four children, including three on the autism spectrum — has been a tireless advocate for families facing special needs over the years.
Cameron Goes to School, inspired by her daughter’s autism journey, tells the story of a brave but quiet girl, whose family is worried about her starting kindergarten.
Brundidge said the book came about because so few children’s books address autism from the perspective of the child.
“Everything that’s written about autism is for grownups,” Brundidge said. “They tell us what to look out for, signs, treatment, therapy options. But nobody is writing to the classmates of kids with autism about how to be a friend to someone on the spectrum.”
Cameron, in real life, struggled at first to make friends at school, who unknowingly thought she was mean when she hardly spoke to them.
“But she wasn’t mean at all,” Brundidge said. “She had social anxiety related to her autism.”
In the back of the book, teachers, parents and kids can find information about how children with autism might learn and behave differently.
Brundidge said she hopes the book will help educate kids and empower little girls, including African Americans, who have an autism diagnosis.
As for Cameron? Thanks to early intervention, dedicated therapists and her own determination, she’s moved on to become part of a mainstream classroom.
And Brundidge couldn’t be prouder!
Sarah Jackson is the editor of Minnesota Parent.