Sharing books with my child
It is known as "bibliotherapy" the discipline in the artistic and creative field that uses books as a therapeutic resource. It seeks to encourage people's relationship with books, with both their content and with their physical form, to educate, cure, or alleviate diseases and their symptoms.
In the case of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), sharing reading moments with your child can serve as a tool to understand each other better. Not only will it help them develop and acquire vocabulary, but it can help both of you better understand how the mind of your child works.
The benefits of reading for children with ASD
It is a good way to connect with your child
Reading is sometimes interpreted as a very intimate and lonely activity. But nothing could be further from the truth: reading can become a fun and entertaining game to play together.
Spending time with your child flipping through books, reading them aloud, interacting with those that have textures or foldouts, is a great way to introduce them to reading books.
It allows them to understand themselves and to know that they are not alone
There are many books that have characters with autism. Some of them are represented by human protagonists and others maybe animals.
There are books for all ages and abilities: some with large illustrations and little text, and others that are focused on a middle-grade or even young-adult audience. But all of them have something in common: a lot of healthy and varied representation.
The most positive thing about reading books with representative and varied characters is that all children can find themselves in them. Children will see that they are not alone in the world and that there are many more kids, teens, and adults who also have ASD.
It helps them understand the people around them and how to interact with them
That's why seeing themselves represented in the stories will help them learn and mimic the actions of the protagonists.
In this way, children can learn to relate to the world around them in a healthy and comfortable way.
It serves as a tool for developing communication skills
In some cases, books can teach them to communicate effectively with the people around them. They will be able to learn new words and useful expressions: emotions, feelings, sensations... And when to use them to be understood as they need to.
Tips for introducing children to reading
To introduce children to the habit of reading it will be important to accompany them in the process and turn it into a game:
Reading in short periods
For some, it will be more comfortable to read for short periods of time.
You do not have to force them. If you do, the only thing that will be achieved is to overwhelm them and they will not focus on enjoying the activity.
It is also important to choose topics that interest them
To get them to want to participate in the activity, it will be important to choose stories and books that talk about topics that interest them. You don't need to focus on books about autism, kids might get bored. The important thing is that the subject is their favorite and they enjoy reading.
Reading aloud is an activity that will help them to perceive it as a game. Especially for the little ones or those who need more accompaniment, reading together can be a very interesting incentive to capture their attention.
Also, reading with them will help you explain whatever they do not understand. That act of communication is essential to strengthening your bonds.
Interactive books are a very good tool for them to learn to relate certain concepts to sensations or activities. There are books of all kinds: with fold-out images, with illustrations, with sound, and even with texture!
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006), by Kathy Hoopmann
It is a very short book highly recommended for both people with autism and their families, although the book focuses mainly on people with Asperger syndrome.
It is a book in which on each page there is a full-color photograph of a cat accompanied by a very common symptom in people with Asperger's. The photographs illustrate some common situations or reactions of these people.
The Asperger Children's Toolkit (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012), by Francis Musgrave
This is a book intended for slightly older children (perhaps elementary age). The book represents various situations that can make life difficult for the person with autism and offers them tools and mechanisms to cope in the best possible way.
It is a perfect book to work with the family or with educators because through the recommended activities they will be able to learn to better manage their emotions in the most difficult situations for each of them.
Autism Is...? (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012), by Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan
This book is recommended for all ages. But above all, it is intended for families who want to introduce the term "autism" to their children.
It tells the story of a grandmother who explains what autism is to her grandson, who suffers from it. And it will use vocabulary and perfect expressions so that children can understand it from a very young age.
We hope you find our recommendations useful and enjoy your reading time!