13 July 2009

Autism and Me: Sibling Stories

Autism and Me: Sibling Stories
by Ouisie Shapiro
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March 1, 2009)
Recommended reading level: Grade 4–6
5/5 stars

Autism and Me: Sibling Stories is a short, but lovely book, directed at the young siblings of children who have been diagnosed with Autism.

These one page essays are written by the typical siblings about their relationship with their brother or sister with Autism. In the essays, the children are generally quite honest--one admits to being embarrassed by his brother--but yet they all show that despite the differences these pairs still have a loving relationship. The amazing photos show the pairs doing activities that can be done by both, and show the maximum affection that can be shown in each case.

I work with children with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, and I know from personal experience that the typical sibling/atypical sibling relationship is a top concern for most parents--as well as the typical siblings. This beautiful little book would be a good one for the typical sibling of this age group to read (perhaps with the parent) so that he/she will know that his/her case is not unique and that others out there have succeeded in this same situation.

Granted, siblings older than this age group may not find it appealing, may feel that it sugar coats and may want a book that talks more about how to actually deal with a sibling with Autism. That is not this book, nor should the reader wish it to be. This book is directed at a younger audience, meant to give encouragement to that particular demographic who is wondering if brother or sister will ever really play with, or love, or even notice them.

I will be recommending this to the families of my preschoolers to read with older sibling in the recommended age group and I am appreciative to the author, and her niece and nephew, for the creation of this fine little book.

Edit: I am bowled over by the negativity that this book has gotten on amazon for the very reasons that I gave it a positive review, and by some who say they work with children with or have siblings who have Autism. Perhaps, as an adult on the spectrum myself, I am more inclined to see the need of a positive outlook? Regardless, I found this to be a wonderful book for the intended audience.


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