My Special Needs Network

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Inclusion From A Student’s Perspective

Last week my colleague Ilana cited a great fiction book recommendation about a teenage boy with Asberger’s Syndrome. This week I've added another viewpoint from a nonfiction perspective. Check out the amazing book by Daniel Stefanski entitled How to Talk to an Autistic Kid. Daniel (who is on the Spectrum) got frustrated about some of the impressions people often have about kids with autism so he decided to write a book about it. The result is an often humorous yet insightful look into some of the common questions such as
  • Why does my friend with autism sometimes stand too close or talk too loud?
  • Why does she talk so much about the same topic?
  • Why does he complain all the time about the noise, lights or smells?
  • Why does it seem like my friend does not understand me? 
  • Is he smart?
  • What kinds of things can we do together?
  • What can I do to help kids with autism?

I think this book is a must-read and reference for inclusion for all teachers, students, caregivers and anyone who wants to learn more about living with ASD. Great job, Daniel! What tips can you add for inclusion for students like Daniel?

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Comment by Nicholle Taurins on May 1, 2012 at 5:06pm

So glad to have discovered this; I don't know why I didn't see it before. I have just placed an Amazon order for the book. Can't wait! I believe this will be a great resource to inform others of the unique challenges faced by children with autism.

Comment by Cecilia Cruse on December 13, 2011 at 3:41pm

Oh, such a touching comment. Thank you for sharing! Yes, I think you should definitely find a way to get your daughter's message out. You could post her story on our blog and/or I did come across this link if you want to contact Daniel (the author):

Happy Holidays!

Comment by Julie Wilson on December 13, 2011 at 1:29am

I am going to have to check this out! :) I have been asking my 12 yr old daughter to write her thoughts and frustrations down or stories of things that happen to her. She actually wrote 2 paragraphs short story version and the one... well i made her 15 yr old brother read it! It was about what she "felt" last year when i had to wake them up to tell them that their dad and step-mom died. It was very insightful for me and her brother to read. Im hoping it will help her brother understand why his sister acts as if she doesnt care or doesnt seem sad that her dad and stepmom is no longer here. I know i personally looked for help with understanding how to help her though this time and couldnt really find anything. So maybe this would help someone else someday.... 

Comment by Cecilia Cruse on September 15, 2011 at 10:31am

You can get this book from Amazon or probably your local bookseller as well.  Hope it is helpful!

Comment by Becky D. Smith on September 15, 2011 at 1:16am
Where is the book available?  Our Ability Awareness program is coming up and we are trying to build our school library for books regarding a better understanding of individuals with various special needs.  Our school mostly does partial inclusion.  Some students are fully included depending upon the amount of time that individual student can maintain and learn to participate.  Inclusion is "belonging" and being "included".  The student has a desk and materials just like everyone else.  When a new student comes into the class, his/her desk is not an option.  When we did "mainstreaming" our students often lost their desk to the new person coming into the classroom.  Using simulations. reading books and merely educating the students by talking about it helps break the barriers. 
Comment by Becky D. Smith on July 16, 2011 at 2:12am

Keep up the good work.  Maybe others will write also, it is wonderful to hear from those who "walk the shoes" rather than those who suspect what it feels like.  Thanks Daniel!


Comment by Marilyn F. Hays, Ph.D. on April 10, 2011 at 7:01pm
I have always felt that we can learn the most about autism by tuning into what these individuals have to communicate to us. Even when they are non-verbal, if you are sensitive and observant enough they will share with us in a variety of ways. We have to be open to their different ways of expressing themselves! It is such a joy when you understand what they are trying to communicate to you!!!!!!!!!! 
Comment by Cecilia Cruse on April 8, 2011 at 9:32pm
Agreed! So glad to hear you are suggesting this to your grandson's teacher. Best wishes for success!
Comment by Nancy Webster on April 7, 2011 at 7:16pm
I read this book and loved it.  I think it will be a great book for young grades to read.  I'm sending it to my Grandson's teacher to read in his K4 class.  My grandson is PDD_NOS and I know there are other disability children in his class.  I think it's a must read in every classroom!

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