Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chapter Books for Kids with Autism Part Two of Three

Last time I discussed when children make that all important
connection with chapter books. Sometimes a particular book
opens the door. A decade ago, Harry Potter did so for a 
generation. But however wonderful, fantasy books have
certain drawbacks for readers with autism. Fantasy presumes
an understanding of the way the world actually works so that
the reader enjoys the contrast between fantasy and reality. 
Autism can impede this understanding. 
On the other hand, realistic books often depend on entering
into the emotions of the main character. People with autism often have difficulty with empathy, and knowing what emotions
a character is feeling in a book may be almost impossible.
So it is no wonder that my boy has trouble with comprehension.
He still likes Geronimo Stilton books which he and others read
in second grade. But he likes it for things like the name of the
hospital and other word play. 
And that's the problem. Whatever book he reads, he is not 
looking for the story. The movie Hugo is coming out, and 
since we slogged through The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
this summer (see Response to Hugo post) we may go see it. 
But I'm not sure he remembers any of the story. 
Now, you can comprehend material without enjoying
narrative. I was talking to the father of a very smart
high schooler who still hasn't found that magic book that
makes reading recreation. 
But you must hook together events and have at least some
motivation to do so.
Gary Paulsen, who writes relatively straight forward adventure, 
keeps coming up in these discussions. Can someone 
suggest other authors? Other insights?
Next week - his chapter book at school and the multiple
methods at work to try to help with comprehension.
-Spectrum Mom

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