Sharing Boy Wonder’s diagnosis with him and other members of our family is probably one of the things I have struggled with most. (I could fill an entire blog with other people’s reactions!). He had only just turned 8 which we felt was too young, and anyway we needed time to process the information and learn more about how we could help him.
We were extremely lucky that his learning mentor in the UK had over 30 years experience with ASD kids and she helped to “break the ice” about Asperger’s Syndrome when he was around 9 1/2.
In the meantime, I looked for books that may help us as a family. I thought I would share my thoughts on two that I particularly liked.
“Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family“
The author, Jude Welton, is a psychologist who has a son with AS. She has written from the perspective of Adam, a boy with AS. Each double page spread features a simple drawing of Adam engaging in an activity with a brief description of the problem he may face. For example “I sometimes find it difficult to play with other children”. On the other page, Adam talks in more detail about how and why he finds playing tricky and makes some suggestions that could help people understand what to do.
The areas that are tackled include: reading feelings; tones of voice; playing with others; confusing groups; unexpected change; motor skills; special interests;What is Asperger Syndrome? and how you can help. There is also a section at the end for teachers which discusses aspects of learning that Adam may struggle with and offers strategies to make school less stressful, for example visual timetables.
I liked this book for its simplicity. Written as Adam made it feel more accessible. The book is aimed at 7-15 year olds, but I think it more suited to younger children as the pictures are quite simple and may not engage a teenager.I think I will find it useful when the time comes to share BW’s diagnosis in more detail with Cheeky Boy.
One of the struggles I found as a parent was making BW feel like there is something ‘wrong’ with them. I try to normalise it with him wherever possible. I say it’s PART of who he is, not the whole of who he is. That he has talents as well as everyone else.
That’s why I was so pleased to discover:
‘The Blue Bottle Mystery, An Asperger Adventure‘
On one level it is just an adventure story where the main character happens to have AS, on the other level it manages to explain what AS is, without getting bogged down with technical terms and psychology. The main character is diagnosed with AS during the story and credit to the author, Kathy Hoopmann, for doing this so well without ruining the flow of the story.
It’s great fun to read and the adventure would engage any child with or without AS. There are two other books in the series ‘Of Mice and Aliens’ and ‘Lisa and the Lacemaker‘ which I will definitely be purchasing.
BW hasn’t read this one YET! He won’t hear any mention of ‘The ‘A’ word’ without telling me off. When he found the pile of books I was reviewing for this post he immediately got very cross with me. 10 minutes later he cuddled up and asked me to read some of “Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome?” and was very excited when he recognised some traits he has “I have a great memory too, mum!”.
Which goes to show, I can buy all the books in the world, but Boy Wonder will let me know when he is ready!