So, here’s the thing. When I was at Social Club this afternoon, our facilitator mentioned that she’d been looking in the ASNL Library for resources – storybooks – to help some parents explain certain things to their children. Unfortunately, she wasn’t too happy with what she found – some she liked the wording but not the illustrations, some she liked the illustrations but not the wording, and some were “yuck”.
Because we’re a pretty creative group, she came up with the idea that maybe we could go ahead and write (and illustrate) some of these missing resources. We all loved the idea. So, one of the first things we have to do is research – and I’m turning to you. Autistic adults – what (of the subjects listed below) would you have wanted to read to help you as a kid? Autistic teens, what about you? Parents, can you ask your kids? Do you have any suggestions for wording? Are there any other subjects you think would be helpful? And if we’re satisfied with what we produce… would you like us to publish them?
We’re planning on stories for four different age groups, with the main characters (one male, one female) being the same throughout the entire series (so younger kids can grow with them). Pre-K (ages 1-5 years); Primary (ages 5/6-9 years); Elementary (ages 9/10-12 years); and Teens (ages 13+ years).
Some of the subjects we looked at doing will be in all years, some in some of the years, some in only one. To start off with, we’re going to look at one subject for each group, and see how it goes in terms of the project.
Pre-K: Sensory Experiences. Young children don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to express what they’re experiencing, so we want to help them with that. What kind of sensory experiences do they have, what hurts, what doesn’t hurt, what they need more of. Possibly an intro to meltdowns, but that may wait until the next age category.
Primary: New Things. Going to the doctor. Going to the dentist. Starting school. Having a new baby in the house. Taking a trip. Trying new foods. New things that mean changes in routine.
Elementary: Bullying. Bullies are a problem. People perceiving your behaviour as bullying is a problem. Ways to identify bullies and bullying behaviour. Ways to (hopefully) deal with bullies.
Teen: Peer Pressure/I Like Who I Am/Be Yourself. Peer pressure is a huge issue from primary to teen years. You should be proud of who you are. Don’t let your peers push you down or force you to do things you don’t like. Don’t let them keep you from things you like. It’s okay to not want more than one friend, or to not want to go to dances, or the movies, or out to eat. It’s okay to want to do those and want a group of friends as well. Everyone is unique.
Other subjects we plan to look at:
Dealing with divorce: Pre-K, Primary, Elementary, Teen
Bullying: Primary, Elementary, Teen
Sensory Experiences: Pre-K, Primary, Elementary, Teen
Meltdowns: Primary, Elementary, Teen
Sexual/Gender Identity and Romance: Elementary (Introduction), Teen
New Things: Pre-K, Primary, Elementary
Anxiety and Depression: Primary, Elementary, Teen, possibly Pre-K (Introduction)
Peer Pressure/Be Yourself/Who I Am: Primary (Introduction), Elementary, Teen
Saying No: Primary, Elementary, Teen (linked up with sexuality as well)
There are probably a few others I’m forgetting; I’ll be getting the list via email a bit later, and if there are, I’ll update it.
At any rate, I would really welcome thoughts, comments, and suggestions from any and everyone. And please note that these books are going to be specifically aimed at the autistic children and teens themselves, rather than their families and teachers.
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Thanks to everyone!
Sensory Experiences first!
I’d go for that above all, because if you can’t sort out your senses, everything else is a polar bear in a snowstorm.
Example: Sunglasses. Seems obvious to most people, right? I didn’t figure them out until sometime around the end of high school. With them, I can drive fairly well. Without, walking can be problematic; “Is that a tree?” might not get through “augh too much light hurts!”
Second on my list would be Meltdowns and Bullying. If I may – it’d be really, really helpful if Bullying included “What to do if you’re face-blind”. A lot of stuff I’ve read on bullying depends on being able to recognize a _specific person_ as the bully. If the best you can do is “Dark hair – maybe it’s Jane or Mary – oops, everyone’s laughing, they say that’s a boy? I’m in trouble again….”
Oof. Yeah. Making notes!