Friday, April 1, 2011

Point To Happy

Workman Publishing sent me an adorable book to kick off Autism Awareness Month: point to happy, by Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser, with photographs by Margo Smithwick.

point to happy is a book for kids on the autism spectrum, a sturdy hardback with weighty pages inside. Priced at $19.99, each book comes with a pointer for pointing, of course, which adds an element of active participation to the story.

I expected a book about just emotions, but point to happy covers concepts like hungry and thirsty, colors, nouns, some actions, and two sequence strips, one showing a morning routine an one showing a bedtime routine. There are blank pages for families to personalize, too.

The book is intended, I think, for little kids, younger than my 11 year old who is on the autism spectrum, and yes, we would have really used this book when she was younger and learning concepts (back when we thought behavioral approaches would be our ticket out of autism).

If you've got a little one, and you're looking for ways to work on interaction with some concepts, this book is well done, with simple, straightforward pictures, a few words, and that's it. Children on the autism spectrum do not need unnecessary distractions, and the authors of this book clearly know that.

I had my girl read this book with me last night when it arrived; she has outgrown it. HOWEVER, I see another really important use for it. I want her to read it to/with her younger cousins, to teach them some of the concepts, body parts, words in the book. We will use it to give her more experience sharing attention, shifting attention, working at a 'good enough' pace for her younger cousins, keeping their attention, collaborating with them, dealing with when meaning breaks down, making repairs. She can play teacher, and this book is the perfect background activity for practice and experience with those social pieces. The pointer makes it especially interactive for playing teacher; it helps to spotlight a clear role for her in terms of active participation with another child.

Take a peek inside the book HERE. I think you'll like it, too.

Workman sent me a review copy of "point to happy". I am not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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