Guest Author - Tara O´Gorman, MSW
* All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome was purchased by me, with my own funds.
Years ago, my Aspie son was playing with his 'therapy cat.' Whenever he was feeling stressed, holding the cat and petting her seemed to quickly calm him down. He found a non-judgmental friend and companion in her. One day he was holding onto her and mused, 'Mommy, I think cats have Asperger's, too.'
I remember laughing and asking him why he thought so. He listed his reasons... they are skittish at loud and unexpected noises, they like things a certain way, they don't like making eye contact, and they only want affection on their terms. So funny, and so true! At work the next morning, I mentioned our talk to my boss, whose son is the same age and also has Asperger's. She asked if I knew about the book, All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome. I laughed, having no clue there was actually a full book about this!
Kathy Hoopmann's All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome is a fantastic picture book, with 65 full-color pages of adorable cats and descriptions of typical Asperger's behaviors and emotions that match up with the photos. A cat who is particular about what he will eat and how it needs to be served each time. A very unhappy looking cat dressed in an outfit with captions about how uncomfortable the clothing is. A kitten who appears afraid to come out of her hiding spot because she's unsure of how to fit in with everyone else. A VERY contented cat, pulling on a ribbon attached to a basket... he can play with this toy for hours and hours without becoming bored. A kitten who seems perplexed by a computer mouse that looks NOTHING like her favorite treat... a real mouse! The cats find comfort in their daily routine, have an amazing ability to (hyper)focus on a specific task, and often like to be on their own rather than going along with a crowd.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome is a simple and sweet tribute to the relationship between cats and people with Asperger's. Although the book addresses many of the challenges associated with Asperger's, it also covers the unique and endearing characteristics of our friends and family members. This book would be a great way to introduce siblings or classmates to Asperger's. For a newly diagnosed child, it may help her see herself in a way she has not been able to previously, and in a positive, non-confrontational format. I highly recommend All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann, to anyone interested in learning more about Asperger's.