Published to coincide with Autism Awareness Month, and armed with a lot of confidence and inspiration, neurodiverse author Lindsey Rowe Parker releases her first children’s book, Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down (, with autistic illustrator Rebecca Burgess, whom Lindsey met on Twitter. The book is also available in Spanish, titled Meneos, Pistones, Y Apretones Para Calmar Mi Cosquilleo. When Lindsey became newly diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and ADHD, her world finally made sense—giving her the confidence as a parent to go through a medical journey with her daughter, who is autistic. This story is written from Lindsey’s own sensory experiences and inspires parents who are looking for that sensory input, which they themselves may not have a name for.
The theme of Wiggles… is that the child is accepted and understood. They are not asked to change; they are supported; they can be themselves; and most importantly, they are loved. Wiggles… focuses on the eight senses: smell, sight, hearing, taste, touch, PLUS proprioception, vestibular and interoception.
The brightly illustrated story follows a young girl with heightened sensory experiences through her day with fun, interactive sounds and motions. The reader may vicariously experience the vibration when she runs, the tap-tap-tap of her spoon on the table at mealtime, the trickle of cool water running over her hands—these are the things that calm her jitters down.
Lindsey recounts, “There were sensory preferences that I had as a child that I thought were weird or strange, not like other kids I knew. Through pediatric occupational therapies with my kiddos, I have a greater understanding of not only some of their sensory needs, but my own. It’s like a lightbulb went on, and I thought, “Oh wow, now I get it.” On working with Rebecca to illustrate the book, “Rebecca was absolutely the perfect person to bring this story to life because she understood life’s experiences as an autistic person. You can feel the support and understanding in the illustrations.”
Author Lindsey Rowe Parker is a mom at the tail end of toddlerhood, embracing the next phase of parenting while learning to navigate and advocate for her young autistic daughter. With a recent adult diagnosis of ADHD and a new deeper understanding of her own sensory experiences, she has begun to delve into the neurodiversity community, learning all she can from neurodiverse voices. This is her first picture book, and she hopes it connects with everyone who has felt the need for a wiggle, stomp, or squeeze! Lindsey lives in the Richmond, VA, area with her family. Rebecca “Bex” Burgess is an autistic illustrator living in the UK. They love history and nature, but comics and illustration most of all! Their passion has led them to work with the likes of The Guardian and Jessica Kingsley Publishing. Rebecca is most famous for their online comic, Understanding the Spectrum, explaining autism that has been shared in several books and used by parents, teachers, and doctors. For more information, please visit wigglesstompsandsqueezes.com.