By Jamie Sumner
Book Source: DRC provided via Netgalley for review
Book Status: Will be released September 1, 2020
This is my blog post 1000. I thought a lot about what I would post today, but after reading TUNE IT OUT, I knew sharing about this book was it. Let’s start with a little about me. I was tested for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) when I was little. I do have it but it comes with my ADHD. When I was little I often wore noise-cancelling headphones and was very picky about my clothing. I am still picky about my clothing but much better with noise. It helped that very early on my parents helped with with sensory diets and tools. I can not imagine being my age now without having received help.
1 . Tune It Out is about a 12 year old girl who lives in a not great situation. After it goes so bad that CPS is involved, she goes to live with her aunt and uncle. While there, her school counselor helps her find out about SPD.
2 . At first, she doesn’t accept the diagnosis. She had previously heard teachers speak about her and possibly having autism. Her mom also would not let anyone help them. Louise had spent years being told she could overcome it by just trying harder. (OMG I so understand this. I was tested for autism four times. I am gifted/adhd which has some interesting quirks. My parents have been supportive from day one but I did have teachers and other adults who said try harder or that I was faking)
3 . Louise also makes friends for the first time. They are very accepting and think quirks are normal. I loved how accepting her friends were and how they didn’t push her too far outside her comfort zone. Her aunt and uncle were pretty awesome too!
4 . Louise is also dealing with being separated from her mom for the first time and going through the custody process. This book doesn’t sugar coat how hard it is. Mom doesn’t magically get custody back but the steps are set up. There is no magic perfect ending with this book. In fact, I want more of this story!!!!
5. I have been open about my ADHD and anxiety. I am very comfortable about sharing about it. My parents have always said they are my super powers. I am also considered gifted, which doesn’t mean I am just super smart. It means I learn in a very different way. Trust me I have no clue why I get new concepts the way I do. Sometimes I just get it. These invisible disorders/disabilities/super powers/whatever you call them are probably really common among kids but we don’t talk about them. ADHD is portrayed as super active and clumsy. Anxiety is a kid too scared to do anything. Gifted is the genuis. But these are all stereotypes and do nothing to help kids understand the complexities of these.
A book like TUNE IT OUT does a fantastic job of protraying how complex these are. How hard it is as the kid to understand and work with your own quirky wiring. How much it means when the adults don’t consider you broken (do you know how awesome it feels when someone sees your good side not the bad quirks that come with this). I want to see stories that showcase how to be that supportive person (adult or friend) to a kid living with an invisible superpower. I feel like these stories are missing in middle grade books. Kids like me need other kids to understand our lives.
We need therapy and medication normalized. I have been going to therapy for years. It is so helpful to have that resource. I am not broken because I go. I wish people didn’t see therapy that way. My therapist is not weird but super awesome. She listens to me and gives me tools. I hate how therapists are portrayed in books. I loved the school counselor in TUNE IT OUT. I wish more were like her. Same with the CPS people. They were supportive and caring, not cold.
I might be rambling right now, but books like TUNE IT OUT matter. I am so thankful to see SPD in a book and explained in a way kids could understand. Maybe it will help a kid be more understanding of the “weird kid” in their class who wears headphones all the time or sits at the edge of the auditorium for events or the kid who doesn’t attend loud events. The kid who touches everything and the kid refuses to touch anything.
Anything that helps kids and grownups is a good thing. I can’t wait for this book to come out and be shared among everyone. And that is why it is deserving of being my 1000 post.