. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Worthwhile Books and an Honorable Mention

I recently bought two books from Amazon.com that grabbed my attention because of their titles. I originally was searching for books to read with a child about Asperger's Syndrome, which is most related to the diagnosis of PDD-NOS that my son has. Both conditions are on the Autistic Spectrum, but people with them function at a higher level than those with classical Autism.

The two books I bought that I mentioned above are called, "All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome" and "All Dogs Have ADHD" and are both written by Kathy Hoopmann. (Coincidentally, the two books are listed with a book that my sister loaned me called, "Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger's" by John Elder Robison in the Frequently Bought Together section on Amazon's page.) 

Both the "Cats" and the "Dogs" books are in an easy-to-read picture book form that would be great to display on your coffee table or in a waiting room somewhere. There are colorful photos of cats or dogs on each page in various situations and poses that depict the Asperger's or ADHD traits. Without spoiling the whole book (which I couldn't anyway because the photos are what makes the books), here are some direct quotes:

From "Cats":
  • An Asperger child looks at the world in his own unique way.
  • An Asperger child often has exceptionally good hearing, and loud sounds and sudden movements may scare him.
  • His other senses can be heightened too, such as touch and smell.
  • He's often fussy about what he eats and wants the same food presented in the same way, day after day.
  • Other kids make friends but don't invite him to play, and he may be bullied.
  • He may become a loner caught up in a world of his own, where small things fascinate him for hours and he can do the same thing over and over again without getting bored.
  • When he talks, he goes on and on about the same topic and bores everyone silly.
  • Daily rituals comfort him and he likes a good routine and gets worried if the schedule is changed.
  • He is honest, which is great of course, but sometimes he's too honest. Yet when he tries to tell a lie, he's not very good at it.
  • As he grows older he senses that he is different from everyone else and feels as if he belongs on a different planet, like an outsider looking into a world he never truly understands.
From "Dogs":
  • He knows what he wants and he wants it NOW.
  • When opportunity presents itself, he goes for it, and may dive straight into a situation without thinking of the consequences.
  • He is easily disorientated, he's always losing things, and often can't find what is right in front of his nose.
  • An ADHD child can be distracted by things other people don't notice, and his priorities may differ from those around him.
  • His senses can go into overload with everything going on, so he goes from one task to the next without finishing anything.
  • Books can be hard to understand, and things learnt are tricky to remember.
  • He doesn't know where to start, and even if there are instructions, he may not know how to follow them.
  • People keep saying "You can do better if you try harder," but it's simply not true.
  • Being very sensitive, he gets sad because he wants to be like everyone else, but he just can't.
Both books have the statement, "When things get too much for him, he may tantrum." Also, both books state: "Sometimes others think they can bring him up better than his parents can." And both books do finish off with the last half of the book dedicated to positive statements like getting support from those he loves, persistence and perseverance skills, and growing up to be successful adults like Henry Ford and Einstein.

So in a roundabout way, I did find some books to share with a child about Asperger's and think this picture book format might make it less intimidating than a chapter book. They are really funny when you see a cat or a dog photo with each statement like the photo of a cat batting a string for the "can do the same thing over and over and over again" statement. In the ADHD book, there is a photo of a white dog literally dragging his master along the ground as he pulls the leash with the "when opportunity presents itself, he goes for it" comment.

"Look Me in the Eye" is third on my reading list, after the audiobook I'm currently listening to and it's sequel in book form.


1 comment:

Valerie said...

The cats and dogs books look interesting. I know you will really like "Look Me in the Eye" once you start reading it. I actually think the author uses the cat/Asperger analogy in that book but I am not sure. If not that book, somewhere else.