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Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  671 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Today millions of kids are stuck in a world that doesn't respect, support, or embrace who they really are—these are what Deborah Reber is calling the “differently wired” kids, the one in five children with ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, giftedness, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and other neurodifferences. Their challenges are many. But for the parents who love them, t ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Workman Publishing Company
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Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, wellness
When I saw this quote at the very beginning of Differently Wired:

Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.
--Vincent van Gogh

I thought, "Ok yes, I'm going to love this book."

But I'm surprised to say that I didn't. I like the underlying idea of it. As the mother of a very smart and highly sensitive 8-year old boy, I'm all for the advice to celebrate uniqueness, ignore the standard of "normal," and try to parent from a place of acceptance and love, not guilt
Jennifer Tam
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a revolutionary book not just for parents of kids who are "differently wired" but for all parents - actually I think it's an important book for every single person to read - it is steeped in knowledge and personal examples of how we can help ALL our kids thrive - I have been following Debbie Reber for over a year and never miss her weekly podcasts! She has helped me so much with our "differently wired" kid with anxiety and this book is just the whip cream on top of what she has already d ...more
Mrs. Europaea
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I get what the author is trying to do, but I don't necessarily agree with her approach. She came off as preachy and elitist. ...more
Jess Macallan
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an important read for any parent/caregiver raising a neurodiverse child. The author does a great job walking readers through a lot of thoughtful and necessary questions to clarify their approach to raising their child, and ways to improve communication with their children, partners, family, and teachers. This book offers a nonjudgmental approach to raising neurodiverse children and highlights ideas for parents to better support their child's formative years. As a parent of neurodiverse c ...more
Candy Robosky
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. Being an educator and having many people in my personal life who are wired differently, I looked forward to reading this book. Unfortunately what I got was a feeling of being bashed as an educator. She, herself, said it took her and her husband many years to fully figure out the best ways to live with themselves and their son. If this is true why bash educators and others who are walking in never having met you or your child instead of working with them to figu ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley, and here's my honest review.

I read the first few chapters of this book on a slow Saturday at work. I came away with two things that day: I could have written this, and I am not alone.

Then it gets even better by offering me an honest account of the author's experiences raising a differently wired child and strategies I can use to improve life with my own differently wired child.

People like me are probably the best audience for this book. My c
Matt Dubois
Jan 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
It gets worse the more you read. What starts off as a positive outlook on raising an exception kid becomes nothing more than preachy whiny-ness about the unfairness of kids who get to be typical. The TILTS become ridiculous. Wallowing in self-pity is no way to raise an exceptional child. The world isn't fair. Kick its ass anyway. ...more
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was...weird. And I was clearly not the right kind of parent for this book. I was hoping that this volume would give me good ideas for helping my kiddo in a positive way. But it's really a book for neurotypical parents coming to terms with the fact that their kid is different, and learning to embrace that. And I guess I'm already there -- that's why the title and description were appealing to me.

I only got about halfway through. But the stories she shared were ALWAYS from "normal" pare
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Really 3.5 stars. I really wanted to gush on this book, and some of the tilts are useful reminders, but for those of us that aren't out there wafting in the winds of "oh noes, my child isn't normal" and are, rather, down in the trenches of "normal isn't really a thing anyway" just trying to maintain our energy levels and patience to do the best job we can do, the book is a reminder rather than a revelation. Like another reviewer I wanted ways to change the status quo, break the system, reshape t ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(I read an eARC of this book). This book is FANTASTIC! Debbie Reber has done an amazing job of putting together this book focused on “tilts”, or reframing/rethinking devices, aimed at supporting parents of differently wired children. My own child is differently wired, and because I’m part of the TiLT community that Reber started and have shared my experiences with her, some of my experiences and thoughts are in this book. Reber has captured the particular challenges that we face, and the ways in ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I figured it would just be boring platitudes about embracing your quirky or “differently wired” kid. I was wrong. It was really helpful and inspiring. If you are raising a kid at all outside of “neurotypical,” this book will help.

There is a lot of practical advice but also a lot of validation which Is nice because raising kids that are different can make you feel out to sea.

I’ve gotten very quiet about my kids in order to not offend, come acr
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read SO MANY books on parenting and teaching differently wired kids. This is, hands down, my favorite. I want to give copies to everyone I know and say, "Read this! This will help you understand my world and why our family has made some unconventional choices." This book is insightful, honest, and filled with hope and inspiration for a world that accepts people for who they are. ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had a parenting activist friend like Debbie.
And now I wonder if my son is neurodivergent (wired differently).
He is sensitive and deadlines are the worst...

“So I called the camp director the next day and did what I was becoming increasingly comfortable doing - make a ruckus”
aka squeaky wheel
aka advocating for our children.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved so much of what was said in this book. I don't know if I can identify with all of it, but I found it to be a thoughtful and encouraging resource. I'll share widely with others... even if they don't need it they might know someone who does. ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've already recommended this to three parents. Such a cool and different way of looking at how to parent kids who don't thrive in "normal" educational or social environments. ...more
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
"Soccer Mom's guide to raising a high-functioning kid with autism". Might be really useful to new, overwhelmed, and unsophisticated parents, but not a lot in there for me. ...more
Kate Taelman
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc
I found this book incredible. Although the book briefly describes what Autism, Add/ADHD, giftedness, and other ways people are "wired different", the book is more about the next step(s). It includes advice in how to advocate for your child, how to approach parenting and advocating from a place other than fear as well as tips for self care.

What I really liked about this book is that it was written from a place of honesty and openness with the author's own experiences throughout the entire book. I
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
The reviews on this book are so mixed I held off on reading it for a while but I am glad I eventually did. As someone raising my own "differently wired" (2e/asd) kid, I don't agree with everything she said and at times I wish it were a bit more practical but overall, it offered some useful perspective changes and encouragement as I search for the balance between helping my kid grow to become what God has planned for them and accepted how God made them. It's not as easy as it looks but the tilts ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am not sure how much this would help or hinder parents trying to find an effective path. Although this might help parents of atypical children to develop strategies for acceptance, it’s important to remember this author is not a psychologist or a therapist. Much of their knowledge is anecdotal and based on personal narrative - references are not cited for what they are claiming to be true. At times, the author seemed hypersensitive to innocuous phenomena (memes) and somewhat sanctimonious wit ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is one of the few geared toward parents of 2e kids that doesn't come with a side of guilt. Thoughtful, well-written and teeming with good advice. I will be recommending it to my tribe for sure. ...more
B Zimp
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was looking for a parental handbook on ADHD or 2e Twice Exceptional kids. This was more of an instructional manual on how to change the world, politics, and schools to be more inclusive. Not a bad goal, but not where I and most of the world is at right now.
Melissa Stuart Barnett
Some good nuggets here.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parent of children with ASD, ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and giftedness
Shelves: parenting
My sister, a former special ed teacher, recommended Differently Wired to me because my 5-year-old son is on the autism spectrum, and she's seen how my husband and I are concerned about whether we're doing the best we can for him. She told me that some parts reminded her of my son, but others of her own son and daughter who are not autistic but have certain processing disorders. I also wonder whether she also read a bit of me into it, because I recognized my own problems as a gifted child in the ...more
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
If you are a parent of a newly diagnosed child that is differently wired this is a great resource. The first few chapters I enjoyed. I like the resources list at the end of the book also. The author has a child that is wired differently so that’s the obvious focus. While wired differently children are overlooked or made to change in school or feel bad about who they are, and it’s not fair and it needs to change (this is a good book for advocating for your child), some families have neurotypical ...more
thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)
Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it. --Vincent van Gogh

This book is a MUST READ for everyone especially if you are a parent or in the teaching profession, because you may have differently wired kids. Differently wired or neurodivergent kids are kids with ADHD, ADD, sensory processing disorder, dyslexia, Asperger's, executive function dedicit (the lesser-known disorder) and other signs of neurodiversity. Neurodivergent kids are exceptional and gifted
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I agreed with some of the author’s points- I find the idea of “differently wired” as opposed to focusing so much on specific labels very helpful. I think a strengths-based approach is the best, and I hate how much our educational system focuses on weaknesses in our children. Her question “What were you trying to do?” makes a lot of sense to me as well.

But she missed the mark for me in other ways. I think she focuses so much on acceptance and changing our mindset as parents that it adds to the g
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Even though one in 5 children fits into a category of neurodiversity (gifted, ADHD, Asperger's, dyslexia, etc.) most schools, summer camps, sports teams, parenting advice and kids activities aren't equipped to deal with "differently wired" kids. This can leave those kids and their parents frustrated and isolated, often facing a lot of stigma and shame.
This book aims to help parents overcome that, to become better parents to the kids they have. It's an inspiring, deeply positive book. By breakin
Lisa Guevara
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very good read. It is focused on parenting kids who are neurodiverse--so that can run the gamut from learning differences, attentional issues, sensory stuff, ASD, Tourette's--coupled with being gifted (that's the 2e or twice exceptional part). For some of us with these complicated kids, it's hard to know if the giftedness applies. If, for example, you have a child with LDs and on the spectrum there's a high chance they also experience a lot of anxiety and it can be very hard to have t ...more
Elizabeth Hamblet
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
​As a learning disabilities consultant, I know how hard parents try to do their best for their kids, and how isolated they can sometimes feel. Debbie Reber has already created a wonderful community with her podcast, but now she has gathered her stories and advice into a book that has "sat with me" since I finished it. As I talk to parents, I often find myself repeating Reber's advice to them and referring them to her book.

Reber begins by telling the story of her journey as a parent, sharing expe
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
I received an advanced readers copy of this book. I was excited about it because I am "differently wired" and raised a son who was both ADHD and gifted. As a para educator, I worked with many special needs children from kindergarten to high school ages. And I personally know and love many more.

While the author is an accomplished writer and does a good job of describing both the various "differently wired" scenarios and their unique challenges, I really had a hard time reading this book. On the
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“DIFFERENTLY WIRED: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World” was released with Workman Publishing in June 2018. To sample the book, download the first chapter here.

I'd love to be in touch with you! Here are a few places we can connect online:

- TiLT Parenting


Deborah Reber is a New York Times

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