Interview Helen C. Hipp Author of Children’s Book that Celebrates Differences – A Different Kind of Safari

Posted in Autism/Aspergers, Interviews, Special Needs Children by - April 08, 2015
Interview Helen C. Hipp Author of Children’s Book that Celebrates Differences – A Different Kind of Safari

When I first read about A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp, what surprised me was that it was based on a real event that happened when the author’s family went on a safari trip to Africa. A Different Kind of Safari is a children’s book that celebrates differences, helps kids see that being different isn’t a bad thing, and helps them conquer fear and embarrassment of being different. It helps children understand themselves and others.

This powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are.

The team at Special Needs Book Review thanks Ms. Hipp for her guest post introducing her book and for taking part in our Author Interview Series.

Lorna: Your bio says you are the mother of a special needs child on the autistic spectrum. How old is your son now and how is he doing?

<<Helen C. Hipp: Yes Lorna, I have two children in which to brag about, one of which is my son Raymond who was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was a child. Now 29, Raymond works and enjoys a healthy, fulfilling life in Vermont. No longer seeing what he is not, Ray is happy with himself and his life. I could not more proud of the man he has chosen to become.>>

Lorna: Your experience raising a special needs child led you to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. Explain how this all happened. Going back to studying is not an easy thing!

<<Helen C. Hipp:  I began by exploring career opportunities, that connected my personal experiences (parenting a child with special needs) with my beliefs, professional skills, and aspirations. It wasn’t easy and managing school and home life was challenging. My formal education took 10 years to complete and it is, and always has been considered, a family accomplishment.>>

Lorna: You are now a Psychotherapist and Life Coach. You have a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Tell us about your practice and what services you offer families that bring you a sense of satisfaction because you are making a difference in the lives of others.

<<Helen C. Hipp: Lorna, my belief is we all have special needs and that challenges are achievements waiting to be faced. The services provided by WithinU Life Coaching focus on a mindset that centered on creating opportunities out of obstacles. With support, focus and direction reveal each client’s innate ability to solve difficult situations.>>

A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. HippLorna: Congratulations on your delightful, picture book, A Different Kind of Safari. Your “story” behind the book is truly amazing! Explain about your family safari to Africa and the event that motivated you to write this children’s book.

<<Helen C. Hipp: While on safari in Africa my family witnessed something few get to see – a pink hippo. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving their stories into a children’s adventure book that celebrates differences.>>

Lorna: In an interview with WCAN.com ,  you explained you hoped your book would help children with self-acceptance and acceptance of others. This should make it a great resource for teachers to open doors of discussion on this topic. What are some strategies parents or teachers can use to make children more accepting of differences in others.

<<Helen C. Hipp: Lorna, it has been my experience that teachable moments that move children are the most relevant and meaningful. I have found that personal connections whether they be with engaging storybook characters or peers handling of similar fears or concerns encourages mutual understanding amongst all ages.>>

Lorna: Not feeling they belong. Feeling out of place and feeling alone. This is what parents and teachers hear often from children with different needs who are not accepted as “one of the gang”. I have a daughter and a granddaughter with Tourette syndrome and I know all about this. What are some strategies parents and teachers can implement to help these children fit in?

<<Helen C. Hipp: There is no simple answer here. What I would say is this, self acceptance is just that, the acceptance of one’s self that stems from developing a healthy self image.  Words and messages behind words are powerful as they shape how we view ourselves, others and our potential. A simplistic answer to a complex question but I do hope this helps!>>

Lorna: Thank you so much for your guest post and now this interview. We often read about “the silver lining” in events that are difficult or that the person was able to transform personal challenges into opportunities. In closing, what are a few things a person can do to accomplish this?

<<Helen C. Hipp: What does not work is a magic wand or wishing that things would be different because you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind. So why not keep an open-mind, and enjoy the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems?

Lorna, thank you for this interview opportunity, I have enjoyed myself immensely! >>A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp page

Helen C. Hipp M.A., Author
Opening minds to abilities, capabilities, and alternate possibilities

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READ Also: Review of  Children’s Book that Celebrates Differences – A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp

Buy A Different Kind of Safari: Amazon.com   Amazon.ca 

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.
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