Val is eager for her Bear stories to spread joy everywhere they may go and to help children celebrate their unique individuality. Having a positive self-outlook and feeling valued and included are paramount to children's mental health and well-being. Val's first book, 'Bear: A Story of Autism and Difference' has earned international acclaim as the Winner of the 2023 International Book Awards Children's Nonfiction Picture Book softback and also as a Finalist in the Children's Educational category.
Val enjoys working directly with children and young people on the autism spectrum and creating resources to support them. She established and leads Spectra Inclusion Support Team, a not-for-profit specialist service comprised of autism advisors and therapists in Shropshire, UK.
Val first became interested in autism during high school psychology in the USA (a long time ago!), and this interest has continued throughout her professional career as a teacher, autism specialist advisor and university tutor for the National SENCo Award. She has contributed to regional and national autism projects, with resources she's created being used internationally.
A big thank you to Anna Granger, from 5 in a Boat Books for encouraging Val to get Bear 'out there' and for being instrumental throughout the publication process.
Children can be very adept at noticing differences around them and in each other. It is so important to encourage children to wonder about each other and ask questions. Stories can be a great way to initiate these conversations with children.