Elizabeth Verdick & Elizabeth Reeve, M.D.
Free Spirit Publishing, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Mar. 22, 2012
Suitable for: Ages 8 -13 and Parents
Theme: Autism, coping strategies, making friends, identifying feelings, dealing with change and information to help families
Opening: This book begins with a beautiful introduction to kids from the authors. “We don’t believe in can’t or never.” “If you have ASD, there are differences between you and other people. But your life can be about can. You can make friends, succeed to the best of your ability in school, be an awesome son, daughter, sister, brother, or friend, and learn, grow and connect with others. Never say never.” And there is a special introduction for parents that focuses on the uniqueness of the disorder. “Each child is an individual. They can’t be lumped together because of the vast differences in how they think, learn, feel, behave and communicate.”
This survival guide is meant for a parent and child to read together so the material can be discussed and questions answered. It is an informative and upbeat book for children who have been diagnosed within the autism spectrum to learn about themselves and their disorder, and to find coping strategies to deal with daily challenges. Beginning with a description of ASD and its many symptoms, this guide includes information about relationships with family members, making friends at school, community involvement, changing schools, feelings, communications, body language, bullying, playing, relaxation, sleep and personal hygiene.
What I like about this book: Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve, M.D., are both parents of children with autism and offer a unique perspective. The guide has a wonderful balance of text, examples, tips from famous people with autism, colorful and lively illustrations, and stories from kids with ASD. The book is a great resource packed with tools that kids can use to navigate new daily experiences, find a calm-down space, talk about a new emotion (I am upset), organize schoolwork and schedules, and eat a balanced diet. I don’t recommend parents read the book from beginning to end with a child. It is a resource that can be used when they need help. The chapters are well-marked and topics easily located. You will find that this guide will be very handy as your child enters many new developmental stages.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. According to a report released March 29 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated number of U.S. autistic kids has skyrocketed by 78 percent since 2000. Now, one in 88 American kids has autism, according to the new figures. Among boys, it’s one in 54. The big question is “why?” One expert said, “better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50 percent of ‘We don’t know’.” Another advocate said, “we have an epidemic of autism in the United States.” For more information, visit Autism Speaks.