I’ve been trying to find some help on how to explain to a 3 year old the complex world of autism. She has 2 brothers on the spectrum and asks questions which I do try to deal with “why does Max wear ear things?” because noises hurt his ears so this makes them softer so he can listen without it hurting. The questions keep coming and the word Autistic has been mentioned which resulted in the conversation taking a weird turn “stick? like stick man? Is he going to get stolen by a dog and get lost? I don’t want my brother to go”.
Anyway I came across this book “He’s not naughty” when I was doing some research. A lot of the books I came across had scathing reviews and many of them were about aspergers where my boys are further up (or down?) the spectrum. This book also mentions aspergers but is not focussed on it exclusively. It’s about the issues that people on the spectrum face, the senses are broken down, strangers, behaviour, bullying, feelings etc. and the trauma it causes them. It is also beautifully illustrated so although the text may be a bit too much for my 3 year old, the pictures are good for starting discussion. It’s easy reading and explains things simply, so is useful for anyone starting out on an autism journey, be that a family member, friends or teachers.
It’s written by a mum who lives with autism daily, not by a clinician and it’s very matter of fact. It doesn’t gloss over anything, it just explains things from Jake’s point of view as told by his friend. I don’t think my review has done it justice, it’s a beautiful book and I see my sons in the illustrations. It takes a complex disorder and turns it into manageable chunks. It’s listed as a children’s guide to autism, but I think it’s an all age guide to autism. It’s overwhelming, and you get used to speaking in jargon and doctor-ese, this book has put me back on the track to explaining to all ages that He’s not naughty!