Do you have a child that doesn’t understand personal space? Many children who are both typical and have special needs struggle with giving others personal space. Many children who have ADHD or any social communication disorder may have difficulty with this concept of personal space and can struggle to learn why others are reacting negatively to him or her during specific situations.
Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook is about boy named Louis who wants to be an astronaut and loves outer space. He loves showing his friend Rusty how comets smash right into satellites by smashing into him. Another time he wants to show his friend Betty Jean how gravity works by doing a lunar landing and falling directing on his friend’s leg. His teacher always uses her “cranky” voice each time Louis invades other people’s personal space but he never understands why.
Louis gets invited to participate in personal space camp with the school principal, Principal Goodkid. Principal Goodkid teaches Louis and other children all about the important of personal space with a few simple demonstrations. She defined personal space and how we all need depending on the specific situation. She uses a hula hoop to describe the amount of space a personal usually needs to be feel comfortable. She then presents a demonstration of blowing bubbles to represent how each persons comfort bubble is different. Louis benefites greatly from these lesson at personal space camp and is then able to avoid getting into his other friends “comfort bubble” in the future.
Invading other people’s personal space can be a significant issue that can cause negative reactions from others. For those children who struggle with social skills and interpreting social cues, Personal Space Camp can be a beneficial book to have in your library. For example in the book, Louis notices how his teacher uses her “cranky voice” when he invades other peoples space which became a cue to monitor where his body is to others. I read this book during mealtime and it was very successful. It’s a book that can be read many times because each time you read it you can discuss various concepts. For example, one time you can focus on social cues. Other times you can discuss and define personal space. Another time you can read the book and then do a demonstration of what Principal Goodkid does. An excellent book for both parents and teachers!
To check out some personal space activities, check out these ideas here.
To check out a more comprehensive guide to teaching social skills, check out this free resource here which includes a chapter on personal space.
To check out Julia Cook’s website with ideas and other books, click here.
To check out a video of this book, check it out below.
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