News

28th September 2018

National read a book day: book reviews and more

On 6th September, it was National read a book day. Dash’s mum is back this month with some book recommendations for both young people and parents/carers living with Autism.

You can follow her family’s journey with Autism and ADHD on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelifeandtimesofdash/ 

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All three books are available to buy online for less than £10 each, even less if you don’t mind second hand or “pre-loved” 😊

MY AUTISM BOOK – Gloria Dura-Vila & Tamar Levi

  

This isn’t typical of most ASC books on the market. This isn’t the book to grab for professional strategies or anecdotal advice. What it is, is a conversation starter.

Aimed mainly at children aged 5 and up, the language is concise and simple, and with the illustrations from the perspective of a child, the aim of the book is to be used as an introduction to the spectrum and to aid discussion about what having autism might mean.

To be read alongside your child, this book helps to explain autism in a positive and sensitive way. The book describes strengths and differences, which your child is then encouraged to explore in themselves.

I was recommended this by one of Dash’s teachers at Super School, not long after he started. Never one to want to discuss his own feelings or emotions, this book helped me to have one of the first ever conversations with Dash about his autism, when he was 7 years old.

As you can see, he completed the checklist at the back of the book, with many extra ticks on “I have lots of energy” 🙂

This book wasn’t a magic wand by any stretch. It’s taken years for Dash to open up about his diagnosis, and for some time this book was conveniently lost, but it’s back on his book shelf, in his room, and we’ve gone through the checklist since to see if he’s adapted his behaviour in any way. As you know, The Titanic seems to show no signs of buggering off…

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Autism-Book-Gl%C3%B2ria-Dur%C3%A0-Vil%C3%A0-Tamar/dp/184905438X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537803177&sr=8-1&keywords=my+autism+book 

 

 

THE REASON I JUMP – Naoki Higashida (Author) David Mitchell & Keiko Yoshida (Translators)

This book featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week, which is how I came across it a couple of years ago. It grabbed me within two minutes, so I ran out and got myself a copy, which was then devoured during a lunch break at work. 

It might just be in our house, but we have this saying “the same but different” and that’s kind of the vibe of this book. Dash displays some obvious autistic traits, and some not-obvious traits but through the words of thirteen Naoki Higashida, himself on the autism spectrum, the insight that he shares about his own behaviours resonated completely and I began for the first time to understand why Dash behaved in the way he did. 

Written in a question and answer format, Naoki explains some of his behaviours, such as the reason he jumps, why he likes repeating questions, why he can’t look people in the eye, what triggers his panic attacks and anxiety and so on. Naoki also discusses humour, empathy, imagination! 

Given its format, it does not have to be read in a specific order and I’ve referred back to it so many times. It’s also usually the first book that I recommend other parents and carers to read when they are at the very start of their autism journey, simply because the book itself is such a pleasure to read.

The book has been translated by David Mitchell and his wife Keiko Yoshida, who together have an autistic child, with their motive for publishing this book to help other parents and carers understand and better help their children. 

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reason-Jump-voice-silence-autism/dp/1444776770 

 

THE AUTISTIC BRAIN – Tempe Grandin & Richard Panek

In the autism community you’d find it difficult to speak to anybody who’s never heard of Temple Grandin. Known as one of the most fascinating adults in the world, who just happens to be on the autism spectrum, her work has broken new ground regards people’s attitude, treatment and education of those born with autism. 

In The Autistic Brain, Temple Grandin expands on her own experience of having autism, and the challenges that she’s faced because of it. But through modern treatments and genetic research she has been able to learn so much more about the autistic brain. There’s snippets of anecdotal narrative throughout the book which lends a familiar feeling, “Oh Dash does that” for example. 

I wouldn’t say that this book is full of strategies, but it’s a book that helps to highlight the inequalities of how people look upon autistic children compared to those considered what we call “neuro-typical”. Temple Grandin argues effectively that raising and educating children that have autism has to be focused on their strengths and what they CAN achieve, opposed to focusing solely on how such children cannot fit into mainstream education. Each child has something unique to contribute, autistic or not.

Definitely worth a read, and to pass along to friends and family.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Autistic-Brain-Temple-Grandin/dp/1846044499/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537803569&sr=1-1&keywords=the+autistic+brain

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Some of the Friends for Leisure staff have also shared what they have been reading recently.

One of our Project Workers Maggie loves to read in her spare time. Below she tells us about some of her recent reads:

So, I always have at least 2 books on the go. At the moment on my bedside table I have The Shipping Forecast by Nic Compton and the Land of the Giants by Max Adams. The first is, as it sounds, a description of all the shipping forecast areas of the British Isles and will probably give you a clue to my age! The second is  a travelogue of the UK describing places that were significant in our Dark Ages, including a walk along Hadrian’s Wall. They both have short sections to dip into.

Last week I finished Val McDermid’s latest thriller Insidious Intent – pretty gory and shocking even for Val. I also read Go Went Gone by Jenny Epenbeck which is  about a retired academic in Berlin, who takes the time to find out about the lives of some of the many refugees who have ended up there in recent times. A very thought provoking book where a difficult subject is treated sympathetically.

Now I have just started a book also based in Berlin, but in the immediate post-war period, called Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kamon.

                  

Sometimes I follow a theme or a particular author but mostly just pick up what says “read me “ at the time!

The most beautiful book I have seen in a long time is the Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. This was inspired by the loss of “nature” vocabulary from a  children’s dictionary and has poems and water colours to celebrate these words. This is a great book to look at  together with someone else.

I find it rather alarming that fewer charity shops sell books and those that do, don’t have as many. At least we still have libraries in Cheshire East (touching wood).

Maggie

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One of our other Project Workers, Hannah also shares what she has been reading:

I’m afraid my recent reading isn’t the most interesting as I have been reading some pre-module material for the next module in my Psychology with Counselling degree with The Open University. The book is called ‘Key Concepts in Mental Health’ by David Pilgrim. It may be a useful book to dip in and out of for some, particularly volunteers who may want to learn more about mental health conditions. 

My favourite author is Dorothy Koomson and I have read most of her books. I have yet to read her new book ‘The Brighton Mermaid’. Abi, our volunteer coordinator, is also a fan of Dorothy’s books so I’m sure we will end up sharing this soon!