My six-year-old son loves to read.
He reads everything he comes across: books, magazines, food boxes in the pantry, road signs, tickers across the bottom of the television, and on and on (you get the idea).
Adults are always impressed when he reads something aloud, seemingly leagues above his age level. He is what is referred to as “hyperlexic”, a label attached to many children who, like my son, have Aspergers Syndrome. Basically this means he can read big words but doesn’t always have the comprehension skills to establish context. So, he may be able to read Shakespeare but he cannot yet understand Shakespeare.
So, what kinds of books does he choose to read?
Books with bright illustrations, words that rhyme, sentences that have an almost musical cadence when read aloud that share ideas in a simple and straightforward way. In other words, he chooses the types of books most children want to read.
So, when I write, I keep what my son likes in mind. Are my words simple? Are they melodic when spoken aloud? Do they evoke colors and pictures? Will the sentences create giggles for those who read them and those who hear them? If not, I go back to the drawing board.
I can think of no audience more qualified to critique my writing then a six-year-old child.
My son adores the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child. He also loves the SkippyJohn Jones books by Judith Byron Schachner. One he really, really enjoyed lately was Ahwoooooooo! by Yannick Murphy, about a wolf learning how to howl. He also likes reading comic books, especially in the car.
Autism Resources: Two books about Asperger’s I really like are Quirky, Yes-Hopeless, No by Cynthia La Brie Norall, PhD and Bright Not Broken by Diane Kennedy and Rebecca S. Banks with Temple Grandin. Another book I found helpful was Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It doesn’t address autism specifically but I found that there have been positive changes in my son after I started making a conscious effort to get outdoors with him more. The website for the Children Nature Network is http://www.childrenandnature.
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My name is Cynthia Bard Mayes. I have a blog, ham and apple smoothies, (hamandapplesmoothies.wordpress.com) that I write about the life I share with my son, who has Aspergers Syndrome. On the blog I write mostly about Aspergers and socialization, nature and overall well-being. (Well, and sometimes The Big Bang Theory.) My goal is to write about our lives in a way that is accessible, relatable and most of all, to show that neither of us is “suffering” from autism but instead are very much enjoying the journey. I am also working towards a M.Ed. in Community Health Education. I can be contacted at email@example.com