At 2-years-old, Nicole Sigler’s daughter, Isabella Rose, was diagnosed with autism. Three years later, Sigler has published a children’s book, “Hi, I’m Rosie!”, designed to help children understand what autism is like for those on the spectrum, and the challenges they sometimes face.
According to a report this month by Community Advocate.com, Sigler was inspired to write “Hi, I’m Rosie,” after finding a shortage of books explaining autism to young children. Sigler initially planned to wait until the Covid-19 crisis had passed before publishing the book, but decided its message would be even more valuable with many children on the autism spectrum facing the challenge of readjusting to school.
“This will likely result in them exhibiting some of the very behaviors I describe in the book,” she was quoted as saying in the report, “so I thought it might help if their peers had this insight in advance of that.”
For the artwork, Sigler recruited Marian Naseif, an illustrator from the freelancing website Fiverr, with whom she collaborated closely. Sigler also researched challenges faced not only by her own daughter, but by other children on the autism spectrum as well. Writing on a level meant for very young readers to understand, she focused on things that other children with autism might do, such as wearing noise-cancelling headphones due to sensory sensitivities, or a weighted vest to help remain calm.
“I tried to include as many common traits that children with autism face,” Sigler said. “I tried to make it so a 4-year-old would understand if they were trying to interact.”
The book, published the first week of April, was sent to all of Rosie’s teachers at the Mary Finn school in Southborough, Massachusetts. The book’s publishing was intended as a surprise for both teachers and students at the school.
“One of the misconceptions I found was that people tend to think writing a children’s book is easy,” Sigler was quoted as saying. “There were many challenges along the way. For me, personally, I found inner challenges and started doubting myself. Can I really do this? Will people like it and find it helpful? Publishing this book is my proudest moment.”