April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. With the prevalence of Autism climbing at alarming rates, it’s important to not only support those with autism but also increase awareness. It is important to educate all children on what Autism is and how it can affect a child. I have worked with children and adults with Autism for almost fifteen years and it has been extremely fulfilling. I feel so lucky to be working with such a wonderful population and feel honored when they let me enter their world and help them communicate.
As a parent, I like educating my children about all different disabilities. Young children are very accepting and see things in a different way without judgement. These three books I am sharing with you today are books that increase awareness of autism and educate both a child and parent about Autism.
Squirmy Wormy is an excellent book for raising awareness of both autism and a sensory processing disorder. The book is about a young boy named Tyler who describes his behaviors and what he needs to do to feel better and more regulated. For example, when things “are running around his head so fast they don’t make sense”, he needs to go on a swing to help him relax. Another great example, is when he can’t sit still in class, he needs to ask for a break. This book can be very comforting for parents because it can help explain why their child may act a certain way (e.g. spinning) and offer a possible solution to help them feel more regulated. This picture book can be a great resource for both children and adults. I know many adults that can benefit from a book such as this one. An excellent book to have part of your library….
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I’m Here is a powerful book by Peter Reynolds written to raise awareness for children with autism. “I’m here. And you’re there. Maybe you don’t notice me. That’s okay. But…maybe..there will be a gentle wind that pulls us together. And then I’ll be there..and you’ll be here too. The distance between two people is only as big as you let it be. A book for everyone. Here…or there” (Peter Reynolds, I’m Here).
I am a big fan of Peter Reynold’s books because they are insightful, meaningful and poetic in nature. I’m Here is a book written to reach out and embrace those with Autism. Many children with Autism are isolated and often in their own world. This book is an excellent book to read with your children and have a discussion about the boy and his paper airplane. Beautifully illustrated and written, I’m Here is a wonderful book to raise awareness of Autism.
My Friend with Autism by Beverly Bishop is a wonderful book to help raise awareness of autism. This book is an excellent tool to teach your children about what autism is, including the strengths and challenges.
This book is ideal to read to an elementary school class during library or snack time to help children understand how to interact with a child with autism. This book can be very helpful and educational whether you have a child in the family with autism or your child is in a class with a child with autism. In most public schools, classrooms will have children with special needs. I think it is our job as parents to help our children understand what special needs are and respect them. The book discusses how children with autism can be really good with math and letters but have challenges talking and sharing with others. My Friend with Autism also discusses how to teach a child with autism how to share and play with others. My favorite part of the book is the end where the author states that a child with autism likes to have friends like everybody else. The book comes with a supplementary section including signs and symptoms of autism, strategies, and recommended readings. A great resource!
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