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I do not often say “must-have book.” I often say “great book” or “you’ll really want it!”. If you have a loved one with autism, particularly a child, you need this book.
I am jealous of Beverly Bishop. Her book My Friend with Autism is amazing, and I wish I had written it! Let me tell you why:
EASY to understand! Her 19-page picture book for children is a primer on autism. I plan to give this to Dr. J’s new Sunday school teachers instead of my annual “this is my child with autism” letter. The book is much more concise and user-friendly! The book also includes a CD-Rom of coloring pages to use with students!
EXCELLENT information in back for adults (teachers, parents, caregivers, etc.). After the picture book is a section for adults with detailed (but not overbearing) page-by-page explanations of symptoms and situations mentioned in the picture book. This allows adults to have more information, but still in an easy to understand format. Beverly also put together a checklist of symptoms, and a 10-Quick Tips section that will immediately make a difference in caring for a child with autism!
ENCOURAGING words! Beverly writes from the perspective of a child introducing the reader to his/her friend. The text is kind and caring, delicately handling issues that may be embarrassing for some children. She has worded the child’s needs in ways that are respectful and appropriate without appearing condescending. For example, sensory issues are explained as, “My friend’s ears work very well. He can hear sounds I may not even hear.”
I know it sounds like overkill, but I am very serious. I think every school that has an autistic student should have a copy of My Friend with Autism in their library or resource center. Families of newly-diagnosed children need it so they can get a quick rundown of autism. If you are a professional who deals with diagnosing autism, I recommend you purchase this book in bulk and offer it with the diagnosis! Parents and other caregivers can use this book to help other people understand their child (think school, extracurricular, church, neighbors, extended family, etc.).
I just read My Friend with Autism with my niece to help her begin to understand Dr. J better. When the time comes that he is starting to be more separated from his peers at church, I’ll discuss the possibility of reading it to his class, or letting parents borrow it. I already showed it to our local librarian and she loved it. My Friend with Autism is definitely a go-to book! To purchase your own copy, go here. You can use code HATS for 15% off! (Code does not apply to Temple Grandin conferences as they are already discounted.)
I received a review copy of My Friend with Autism from Future Horizons. All opinions are my own.