Oftentimes children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are aware of their diagnosis from a very young age, yet they have very little understanding of what that actually means for them or how it makes them different from neurotypical children. Most therapeutic interventions for kids with AS focus on behavior modification, sensory processing and social skills, with little emphasis placed on psychoeducation. The other day a young friend of mine asked if I had a book she could read about AS, and I realized that I really didn’t have one suitable for her- all of my books are for adults or teens.
So, I searched online and discovered a little gem of a book called, Can I Tell You about Asperger Syndrome? A Guide for Family and Friends written by Jude Welton and illustrated by Jane Telford. The guide was written from the perspective of a boy who has AS, with the idea that siblings, friends, family and teachers could benefit from a better understanding of this condition and of how they can best relate to and help a child with AS. Now I’m always eager to add a new book to my list of resources, but it definitely has to be worthy! I’m careful to read reviews for and against any book I’m interested in buying.
When I read the reviews for this one, I noticed a recurring theme: parents of children with AS found that the book was very helpful for explaining AS to their own child, as well as to other children and adults. With its large type and cartoon illustrations, the kid friendly book is designed to appeal to an audience ages 7-15. Besides providing a great overview of the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, it specifically addresses topics that are of concern to kids with AS such as:
- Reading feelings (facial expressions, body language, eye contact)
- Tones of voice (sarcasm, joking, bullying)
- Playing with others (turn taking, following rules)
- Loud noises (sensitivities with taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing)
- Confusing groups (stress, confusion, anger, frustration)
- Unexpected change (routine, order, advance notice)
- Motor skills (upper body strength, coordination)
- Special interests (talking about and focusing on preferred subjects)
This book also provides additional resources for adults such as recommended reading, websites, and organizations. While it is not an exhaustive list, it’s enough to get you started. Please note that your child with AS may not be ready for the information in this book. However, you know them best. If they’ve been asking a lot of questions lately about aspects of AS that you find difficult to explain, this book could be helpful. Also, if you find that you’ve been taking a lot of heat from well-meaning family members who think your kid’s out of control and just needs discipline, Can I Tell You about Asperger Syndrome? might just be the perfect Christmas gift for them.
Give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando at 407-355-7378, if you have a child with AS. Our counselors can provide you with emotional support, therapeutic interventions and additional resources to navigate the world of Autism. We’re here to help.