Asperger’s Books for Kids

We’ve made a decision not to tell G about his Asperger’s this summer because we didn’t want to cause or increase his anxiety about going back to school, since he’s already going to be different by skipping 1st grade.  But he is starting to notice his differences.  For example, he is really enjoying new board games like clue and scrabble – not the usual games for 6 year olds.  He wants to invite a friend over, another 6 year old, to play these fun new games with him.  So I had to explain that other kids his age may not be able to figure these games out and that if he has his friend over, he would need to be a good host and play games the friend finds fun.  He asked why his friend wouldn’t think scrabble is fun, so I attempted to explain that he is different from other 6 year olds in that some things like school and games designed for older kids are easier for him than for other 6 year olds,  while other things like imaginary games and small talk are harder.

He was quiet while he processed this information and I was able to change the subject.  But I can see that the need for full disclosure may be just around the corner.  So I’ve been collecting books for explaining Aspergers to kids.  The first book I got was  Asperger’s Huh?  A Child’s Perspective.  And I don’t like it.  It got good reviews but I feel it is written pessimistically.  The main character is a newly diagnosed 11 year old who talks about all the things he can’t do.  For example, he says kids with Aspergers don’t understand humor so they should never even try to tell a joke.  He talks about how much his mom cried at first and how he embarrassed his dad at a dinner by trying to give a toast.  It seemed to me to emphasize all the negative aspects without addressing the positive.  I don’t want to give G the perspective that Aspergers is all gifts and no challenges, but I don’t think all challenges with no gifts is ok either.

Another book I got is Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome?  A Guide for Friends and Family.  I like this one a bit better.  It has a boy, I’d guess around 8 or 9, explaining himself to the reader.  It comes off as more factual and less emotional, which I think will appeal to G.  It discusses gifts in math and computers and addresses special interests but also addresses challenges with sensory issues, motor skills and interpersonal communication.  It stays focused on the child and doesn’t go into any embarrassment or upset his parents may or may not feel.  I especially like this part because I believe anything I feel is my own issue to work through and shouldn’t be a burden placed on G.

So I plan to use the second book when we have our conversation.  But if anyone has another option, I am open to suggestions!

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Published in: on August 5, 2009 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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