I have worked with many children with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) during my time as a teacher of children with additional needs. I have my own set of books and people I like to consult when I need advice. However, this one piqued my interest as it is a little different and I thought it merited a further look. I wasn’t wrong and I recommend this book to teachers and anyone working with those with ASC.
It is written by Francine Brower and Kenneth Mackenzie Cox. Francine was a headteacher from a school for children with ASC and also area coordinater for the National Autistic Society. Kenneth is also well qualified to write the book as he has been HT of three specialist provision settings for children with autism.
The book is designed so that you may dip in and out as you choose. You can pick the parts you need to read in a hurry for quick reference or you can read the whole thing for general help and information. The authors have stated that the book is not intended as a text book but is aimed at showing the diversity across the autism spectrum. I particularly like the design of the book as there are some diagrams to illustrate the more complicated ideas. The diagrams also serve to split up the text so that the reader is not overwhelmed with written information.
The book tackles the key challenges faced by children with autism. It begins with the subject of communication which is arguably one of the biggest challenges faced by children with ASC. There is a discussion about the topic and some top tips to help you to communicate with the child. There are some solutions offered and the reader can decide for themselves which ones they will employ. I found this first chapter to be the most informative in terms of explaining some things that I didn’t quite understand about autism.
Moving through the book topics such as socialisation, friendships, bullying and turn taking are all covered and top tips are offered to help the reader to understand the challenges faced by the child with autism. Some of these topics are omitted from other books and texts on autism because it is not possible to cover everything in one piece of work, even when it’s a book. It is good to see them covered here in detail.
There is a whole chapter dedicated to flexibility. Flexibility, or rather inflexibility is often the thing that leads to a state of high anxiety for children with ASC. This inflexibility causes problems in family life and for family outings and can create havoc within the school setting. This book was written during the Covid19 pandemic and that gave the authors even greater insight to the challenges faced for children with autism. Some flexibility takeaways are offered to help with this level of high anxiety.
Towards the end of the book the authors offer advice for transitions. Once again this an area that can bring on a state of high anxiety if the child is unprepared for the changes ahead. If we are honest with ourselves we all find moving on to new situations a little stressful so it comes as no surprise that the child with ASC often struggles with transitions. Some advice and tips are contained within the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book published by Bloomsbury and recommend it to anyone working with children with autism.