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The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority. ~Ralph W. Sockman
Imagine an alien planet with various races. The data droid race happens to be a majority race. And the empaths are a minority.
The data droid race requires all empaths to take classes in database management, quantum theory analysis, and basic addition and subtraction.
Empaths wonder, however, why the data droids don’t have to learn anything about feels, emotional intelligence, and compassionate service.
Over the years, fortunately, some data droid scientists start to uncover the value of what empaths offer to society.
And they start to educate the highest government officials on the importance of learning about and valuing empaths as an equal, yet different race.
Across the world, for many years, educators have taught to “neurotypicals.” Neurotypicals make up a majority of the human race. But they didn’t realize how many children with autism live among us. According to the CDC, 1 in every 88 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 1 out of every 54 boys has ASD.
Melissa K. Burkhardt, a Preschool Early Intervention Teacher of 18 years, and reading specialist and certified Basic Developmental Individual-difference Relationship-based Floortime Provider, saw a growing need in society to help neurotypical children and adults to gain understanding about autism, as well as to assist both regular and special education teachers in meeting the needs of increasing numbers of children with autism now being placed in their classes.
Recently, I got to read her book, Exceptionally Good Friends: Building Relationships with Autism.
Here’s a quote from one of her readers:
I absolutely love this book!!! I must admit it made me cry a little. I wish all kids were as sensitive to the needs of others…all kids should read this book.” -Ashley B., parent of a child with autism
Ms. Burkhardt introduces her readers to Clay, a boy with autism, and Ruthie, a neurotypical classmate.
One side of the book is Ruthie’s story, where she tells about her experiences with Clay. She educates the readers about the unique characteristics of the autism spectrum as she talks about Clay with compassion and acceptance.
Flip the book over and upside down, and Clay tells about his experience about coming to class for the first time.
His story helps neurotypicals understand stimming, sensory challenges, and visual schedules. Most important, his friendship with Julie shows readers that children with autism desire relationships just as much as any other child.
If you are a parent, teacher, or therapist, Ms. Burkhardt’s book will help you more effectively understand and communicate with people on the autism spectrum, even if they are teenagers and adults!
Ms. Burkhart has compiled an extensive resource list of websites and resources on autism.
These websites and resources cover visual social cue cards; sensory processing information and exercises; social stories; and apps that can help children with autism.
I hope you enjoyed this book review. To find out more about Melissa K. Burkhardt, M.S. Ed., visit her site at http://www.ExceptionallyGoodFriends.com.
Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts about advocating for children with autism, how to best educate and assist them, and other books and resources you’ve found helpful.
Image credit: dmbaker / 123RF Stock Photo
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