Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Funny Books for Children with Autism

When the psychologist diagnosed my son, she gave me a photocopy of a photocopy of an article about autism to read. As I
struggled to decipher the blurry words, a wave of relief washed over me and I rushed to the phone. "You've made a mistake," I said when I finally reached the psychologist, "my son shows affection. And he definitely has a sense of humor!"

Children with autism may find different stuff funny than neurotypical children, but I've yet to meet one with no sense of humor.

At age two my son enjoyed the usual toddler schtick-faces, peek-a-boo, object substitution, and liked the gentle humor in board books by authors Sandra Boynton and Rosemary Wells. He also loved books of opposites like John Burningham's Opposites and the frequent absurdism of comparison.

When he moved on to older picture books, James Stevenson became a favorite, his best include:

Don't Make Me Laugh
The Mud Flat

James Stevenson also writes funny poetry which is a subject for a whole different post.

My boy loves word play. At age 4 he would latch on to what you were talking about and try to talk about its opposite. At age
5 he started with the knock knock jokes. He makes up his own jokes, which are often less funny and more revealatory about how his mind works.

He likes books of knock-knock jokes, but other joke books don't interest him. And while he likes Benton's Franny K. Stein series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he doesn't
seem to find them funny.

Other funny favorites in the past include Alborough's Duck series
and Cronin's farmyard tales starting with Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.

Of course, at a certain age, most children will laugh at any story with enough funny sounds. Feel free to add your own.

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