Monday, April 11, 2011

April Book Review

In honor of Autism Awareness month I wanted to give a shout out to two of my favorite books for
children with Aspergers (part of the Autism Spectrum) and the people who love them.
Aperger's Syndrome is a neurological disorder that effects roughly 2 out of every 10,000 children in the United States. The first most obvious symptom is a social and emotional immaturity that interferes with the child's ability to successfully interact with their aged peers.  Different from late bloomers, this developmental delay is a gap that gets wider over time during the growing up years.  Surpisingly, many of these children are great in a one on one conversation with an adult.  I say great, what I mean is that they tend to have intense interests and will dominate a conversation with information that is beyond their years.  It is like sitting in on a college course about something like weather, fire engines, or Pokemon.  Children with Aspergers tend to struggle with the reciprocity of language and have difficulty seeing things from another persons point of view. 
Early intervention is beneficial in "demystifying" the problem, and social skills training with practice makes friendships beyond the family more possible.  I have often told parents that adulthood will be easier for their child, because with good support they will find a niche for themselves where their strengths are rewarded. 
The books I am featuring here are still available online and in bookstores.  They are hopeful and encouraging but balanced in their acknowledgement of the difficulties in managing this Autism Spectrum disorder.
Geeks, Freaks, and Aspergers Syndrome: A user guide to adolescence  ( Luke Jackson, Jessica Kingsley Publishing, 2002) An articulate book based on the author's experience living with Apergers.  He takes a humorous look at the common symptoms and strengths of living with this brain difference.  Chapters address issues like sensory sensitivity, bullying,  friendships, and socializing. 
All Cats have Aspergers ( Kathy Hoopmann, Jessica Kingsley Publishing, 2006) An amusing picture book with beautiful photographs of kittens and cats along with captions that highlight the challenges and the unique abilities of many children with Aspergers.  I especially like the photograph of a cat inside bubble wrap with the caption "(sometimes his parents) can become very protective."
This clever writer has also penned All Dogs have ADHD which I plan to add to my bookshelf.  I am wondering if she will write one about OCD and squirrels? I'd buy that too!
Do you have any good resources on Aspergers?

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