Thursday, March 26, 2020

Get Fuzzy - As Described by My 17 Year Old

Two Years Ago

I asked my 17 year old son to tell me about what he had been 
reading. As you can see below, he didn't describe it
in a book review type way, so I didn't post it.

But  -
it might be useful for others to see his process.
So here it is. My son's words are in blue.

"What have you been reading?"

"It's a comic strip. The Get Fuzzy book that I got for Christmas is "Scrum Bums."
In one of the parts of the book, Rob reads a book. He says it's about a guy that dies in the Louvre. Satchel the dog says, "Wait, he dies in the loo?" Bucky Katt adds, "He must have eaten some bad shellfish." Rob replies, "No, the louvre." Bucky says, "Louver, he was killed by a window treatment?"     
Rob says, "It's a museum, Bucky." "

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Social Stories for a Pandemic

Covid-19 is here, and we need to tell our children about it.
Children with autism may have more anxieties about the virus, or find the disease harder to understand than children not on the spectrum.*

Fortunately, we have social stories.
Here is a link to one from Green Mountain Self Advocates
about what Covid-19 is:

Here is another from Carol Gray:

Social Distancing is vitally important right now, but may be
very confusing. Tennessee Disability Pathfinder shares this
story from Easter Seals Chicago to help explain the concept:

Change social stories to suit your child. Use fewer words 
if that works better. 

Of course, you and your reader can create your own.
If you have the time, it may even be a fun project to
make your own Quarantine Time book with photos
and captions about your family's experiences in
this extraordinary time.

Stay safe.

- Spectrum Mom

*Many children without autism are also having a difficult time.
Social stories may be useful for them as well.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Free Comic Book Day May 4

Free Comic Book Day is almost here!

Every year on the first Saturday in May, the comic book world gifts us with fun, weird, delightful and sometimes horrifying comic books. None are designed for readers with autism, but many
may have great appeal for neurodiverse readers.

The comic books to be given away this year cover an astounding  range of popular culture.
If you're into Pokemon, Minecraft, or Dr. Who
there's a comic for you.
If you remember British funnies, or Little Lulu,
there's a comic for you.

Since many kids with autism have special interests like anime (My Hero Academia) Disney (Disney Descendants, Incredibles 2),  or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, comic books can tap into that and give them a reason to read.

Younger and younger at heart readers may enjoy Go Fish,  A Sheets Story, and Gillbert.

This year FCBD is also Star Wars Day, "May the Fourth be with you" as you look for this year's Star Wars comic book.

Perhaps your reader's passion is  - comic books? That's well covered with Catwoman, Spiderman, and The Avengers - not to mention some less well known caped crusaders - Hope or Dragonflyman anyone?

Not all free comic books are available at every location, but
most comic book stores should have a good selection. Remember, choose carefully.
Some comic books are gory, sexual or both. Riverdale is now an emo teen hang, just like the tv show. But there's plenty of great stuff. Whether you/your reader want silly jokes, save the world action, or a sweet story, you'll probably find it on FCBD 2019. 

Here is a Super link to all the fun:

Friday, December 21, 2018

Someone Else's Ideas for Gifts

Happy Holidays!

I wish you the brightest of holidays with the happiest of New Years.

Alas, still no time to blog, so here's a link to a monetized site with a few more ideas if you're still shopping to bring joy to your very wonderful family. Be aware items are sponsored and the site uses cookies (and not the leave out for Santa kind).

From "Growing Hands On Kids"

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Free Comic Book Day 2018

The First Saturday in May means .  .  .

Usually I have a few recommendations, but I am unsure which titles have clear story lines this year. If you or your kid have trouble with cluttered visuals/picture storytelling - I've made a few guesses.

Fifty titles this year, but remember not every store will have them all and popular titles may go quickly.
For the younger set there will be Adventure Time, Disney Princess Ariel, Invader Zim, Sparks!, Dr. Who, and Bongo Free for All
  (Simpsons stories) as well as many other titles. Judging by past books, Dr. Who, Ariel, Star Wars and Howard Lovecraft's Big Book of Summer Fun will probably offer clear storytelling. Also,
 comic book stores (hooray for comic book stores!) often
put out a wide variety of comics to give away from previous
years and other sources, so you should be able to find
something fun and appropriate.

If you haven't been around comics in a while, be aware they
can get very dark if intended for teen/mature readers. Archie, Betty, and Veronica act very differently in a Riverdale comic - recommended for teens and up.
There are only four of the fifty rated mature - you may want to give those a miss because of nudity and language.

For more information and to find a participating store near you,

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The End of (High School) English

Ever since Third Grade when my son's teacher and the school staff revealed
1) my son didn't understand what he was reading 
2) they had no plans to help him improve
he's fought through the battlefield of English class with whatever poor weapons we could give him.
Currently he has an extraordinary, gifted tutor and a helpful, experienced teacher.
Together they face the last battle: Senior English

Canterbury Tales

For a reader who still prefers Dr. Seuss, this reading list strikes me as mildly insane. But if he is to graduate with a regular diploma, (which I also have doubts about) to Chaucer and Shakespeare he must go.

Since his great tutor started, I only help once in a blue moon. He continues to be more interested in the sound of words than the meaning of sentences. As for narrative and subtext - 
let's just say his tutor needs to be the genius she is.
About The Canterbury Tales he remembers "When in April the sweet showers fall" and the titles The Pardoner and The Wife of Bath  
but when I ask what happened in the stories, he says 
"I forgot." (They studied it around Thanksgiving)

About Beowulf he says, "Did he ever have a battle with Grendel?"
(started this in September I think).

He's currently reading Macbeth, and remembers a fair amount, only slightly muddled:
"Macbeth is supposed to kill King Duncan in order to become Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter.  Macbeth's sidekick Banquo doesn't like it. He says Macbeth cheated to win those titles. Macbeth decides to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo dies but Fleance. Wait, he tells the murderers to kill Banquo and his son. The witches Macbeth will not die except at the hands of somebody who was not born of woman. They also say that the forest will move to Dunsinane hill. The forest does move. And Macduff says that he was not born of woman, but that he was untimely ripped from his mother's womb or something so Macbeth tries to deny the prophecy but he can't. And therefore he dies."

To get the regular ed diploma, you take the regular ed classes. 
I have more questions than answers about what all that means
and whether it makes sense for every student. 

What about you? What is your experience as student, parent, guardian, teacher, etc.?

Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Editing Emotions

Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
Parenting Works posted an edited Little Critter page that went viral.
The original page read "I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I was brave instead."
The edit read "I wanted to cry, so I did! I was brave and sad."
While many commenters embraced the thoughtfulness of the message, others questioned why you would pick a book 
you have to edit before you can read it.
As a mother, I'm all about giving my kids the best emotional grounding I can. As a reader and a writer I am less sympathetic to those changing the words. Write your own books.
It takes forever to get the words just right.

This particular edit is sweet, but I think would confuse kids, 
especially some with autism who are only just learning what "brave" means. 

By all means, let your kids know it is okay to cry. And perhaps choose another book, because this one tells a different story about how sometimes we feel like we have to not cry.

The educator who writes Parenting Works explained that this
was one of her childhood favorites, and that she lacks the time
to bring just the right library books home. Instead she edits her own book collection. While I admire her dedication, her calm intelligence, and her emotional understanding, I don't really get why that is better than talking about the ideas in the book (after all, Little Critter is crying in the picture. Why not ask, "Why do you think Little Critter says he didn't cry?") or reading a book that fits her ideal of emotional intelligence.

Yet there's an idea in this post for all of us trying to connect our kids with books. Judicious edits may help avoid problems or improve messages. With the Froggy books I edited out the rudeness as much as possible. If a book is almost perfect for your child, what's wrong with a little tweak? But I still prefer judicious selection of books to editing the text. Not only are you reading what a gifted author wrote (and with so many wonderful books in the world, why bother with anything less?), you also avoid having your hyperlexic detail oriented child with autism obsess over why you changed the words. 

Here's a link to the Little Critter page edited by Parenting Works and featured in Elevating Child Care.

Spectrum Mom