Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Both my children are on the autism spectrum. Since my son Nicholas is almost twelve and higher functioning professionals who meet him for the first time always assume he has Asperger Syndrome. This is not the case because Nicholas had a vocabulary of under ten words at the age of three. The main difference between the two diagnoses is the lack of speech or a speech delay for those with autism. This might be why a good percentage of those diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, also known as AS, are diagnosed later in life - either as teens or young adults.
Since Nicholas is a big cat lover I went ahead and purchased All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome. Just like there are people who refer to someone as either having autism or being autistic, there are some that use the term Asperger's Syndrome, which is how I usually spell it out. The book uses the singular term.
The author, Kathy Hoopmann is the author of a continuing "Asperger Adventure" series for young children with titles like Blue Bottle Mystery, Of Mice and Aliens and Lisa and the Lacemaker. All these books are published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Most likely I will be getting one of these to peruse at some point in time.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome is a great addition for the coffeetable for any residence. I would also suggest this for therapist, doctor and school offices. The audience will gain insights into Asperger Syndrome through the delightful photographs of cats and kittens in various forms of play and vivid times of distress, alone time and funny mishaps along the way.
The captions are above and below the photographs, capturing the uniqueness of each image with how it relates to Asperger Syndrome. The book begins by showing the first signs of Asperger Syndrome through a kitten sleeping, indicating someone can be very young in the process of diagnosis and awareness.
The photographs go on to show how an asperger child has their own way of looking at things and sometimes they just want to be left alone and not held by another person. The kittens are snuggling in a blanket and with a toy, indicating how someone can seek out their own comfort through various attachments.
There is a photo of a cat clearly walking around in an area that is not safe. This image portrays a child or adult with no real sense of danger. There are also pictures showing how they might be startled and have a heighted sense of hearing or be sensitive to various materials or certain smells. The look on the faces of the cats puts it all into another perspective to see how sensory issues affect children and adults with Asperger syndrome.
A cat sits in the middle of the snow and does not seem to be bothered by the coldness of it while another cat places their whole head inside a cooking pot due to being a fussy eater. These photos assist in getting the message across to the reader on other differences among those with asperger syndrome.
Then there is an image showing a cat wanting to drink the milk in the same cup each day, basically sticking to the same routine. There are photographs depicting cats playing together and then doing things that other cats might not want to do. These teach that sometimes it is easy to make friends and then a child or adult might enjoy doing something that is not typical of their age group, but still okay to take part in.
A cat will play with string for hours on end, which is true for someone with asperger syndrome who might want to watch the same movie all daylong. Other photographs show a cat being bored, having a tantrum, language and vocabulary being mixed up and a funny one with a cat in a bag as an example of how someone with asperger syndrome do not always get idioms and sayings that are funny to others. Those with asperger syndrome take everything very literal, which is why the cat is inside the bag next to the actual saying to showcase this.
Those with asperger syndrome seek answers in places others might not think to look and some may think he is a genius. Another personality trait of those with asperger syndrome is not being able to tell a lie and being totally honest, which can cause embarassment to many.
To pinpoint how someone with asperger syndrome chooses their friends differently there are photographs of a cat with a mouse, a tortoise and lying around with a gerbil. There is one image my son Nicholas did not really like and upon looking it at several times I also felt it was disturbing since it can be confusing if someone is pushing the pages fast and not realizing it is the hands of an old person petting the head of a kitten who is wrapped in a blanket. This one did catch us off guard and Nicholas likes to bypass it each read through.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrom ends on a positive side showing how those with asperger syndrome have amazing powers of concentration and can reach the top of their chosen field. The images and captions state a business tycoon, judge and cat professor. The end result is that an asperger child is just like any other child that will need love, encouragement, advice and space to be themselves.
It is my opinion that All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome is suited for both children and adults, professionals to help siblings understand asperger syndrome, as well as a book to help explain their own diagnosis to those who have asperger syndrome. An adult with AS can share the book with their own children, children of their friends, relatives and coworkers.
A child entering a new school who has Asperger Syndrome might want to share this book with their classmates, a parent might want to give a copy to a new teacher or read it to the class the first day of school. This is a nice, gentle way to teach awareness to a wide range of audiences, both young and old who need to comprehend that Asperger Syndrome is not the end of the world.
Consider getting a copy for an Easter Basket, Mother's Day, Father's Day or graduation day present for someone to remember what Asperger Syndrome is all about. Newly diagnosed families will have examples through these pages to share with family members when explaining about social skills, and the traits those with asperger syndrome have. This also highlights the highs and lows, what makes someone different and gives a basic understanding of what living with asperger syndrome is all about.
For those that have a family member with asperger syndrome you might want to look into the Wright & Wong mystery book series. I have the first book in this series, The Case of the Prank that Stank. The character in these books is a boy in middleschool who has Asperger Syndrome. These books are geared to the young reader.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.