I first stumbled upon Deborah Reber’s podcast series, “Tilt Parenting,” from a recommendation deep within a comment thread, deep within a Facebook group. This was one of many Facebook groups I had recently joined, searching for parents with whom I could relate. But THIS nugget of hope was unlike those that I typically scrolled past. Once I listened to an episode of her podcast, I immediately began binge-listening to her past episodes.
The Tilt Parenting podcast is a treasure trove of information, recommendations, and research-based advice for parents who are raising what she calls “differently wired” children. Reber, like many parents of exceptional children, found the resources and information available for parenting neuro-typical children to be of zero use to her family. She and her husband are raising a gifted tween with many other diagnoses, a combination sometimes labeled “2E” or “twice exceptional.” Although my two children share the “gifted” diagnosis, they have their own 2E struggles with ADHD. Many normal parenting techniques just don’t work with these neuro-atypical kids. Like Reber, I felt lost trying to source information and insight into what could help MY kids. The struggle was definitely real.
Not surprisingly, Reber’s book proved to be equally as binge-worthy as the podcast. The brilliant part of both is that somehow Reber manages to UNITE a group of parents with her very relatable interviews and insight. She brings in expert after expert on a vast array of topics from the neuro-atypical world, including well-respected researchers, authors, and experienced counselors and coaches. Now, amazingly, anyone struggling with parenting a differently wired kiddo can benefit. The individual diagnosis of each child doesn’t stand in the way of allowing us into the differently wired tribe — instead the differently wired umbrella wholeheartedly welcomes parents from all over the world, and with individual diagnoses all over the charts.
The book differs from the podcasts in structure, obviously, but in the most logical and easy-to-follow way possible. Reber has distilled her years of research and study into a series of what she calls “tilts” or shifts in mindset — all while driving home the need to join forces into a differently-wired revolution. It was surprising to learn that a full 1/5 of all students have a learning disability of one variety or another. That’s 20% of the entire student population of the world! Every single classroom is bound to have at least one student who would be considered neuro-atypical. Once you start looking at a group like that as a whole, you start to learn that most school systems are created (by necessity) for the 80% of average students. Although my two differently wired kiddos are in a wonderful public school with loving teachers, and two strong and capable parental advocates, the system as a whole is never going to be the perfect fit for them. Like most of the 20% of neuro-atypical kids, they will forever be the “square peg” with school and life serving as the “round hole.”
After reading the book Differently Wired and continuing to enjoy old and new podcast episodes, I’m thankful to say that I no longer feel quite so lost. It is liberating to find a source who “gets it” and brings real-world solutions to those who are so desperate for support. The differently wired manifesto, revolution, and call to unite have been a breath of fresh air and I wholehearted recommend it to anyone who is struggling with their own “square peg” in this “round hole” world.
Pro Tip: Listen to a few podcast episodes, then head over to the Tilt Parenting website. Reber creates a “show notes” page for each episode with links to the guest’s body of work, social media links, and ways to dig deeper into each expert’s particular area of study.