The children’s book, Autistic? How Silly Is That!: I Don’t Need Labels At All, written and illustrated by Lynda Farrington Wilson is silly, witty, and lots of fun to read out loud. Her amusing, colorful drawings are perfect for her young audience. Sharing and discussing Autistic? How Silly Is That! is a great way to boost the self-esteem of a child on the spectrum. Read Autistic? How Silly Is That! to siblings, friends and classmates to help them learn to see past a person’s labels. The message the author-illustrator-mom wants to convey is that her son has autism but having autism is just one small part of his overall character. We should not label him as simply “autistic” but get to know the real little boy with all his unique characteristics.
I know my granddaughter in grade 4 enjoyed it and understood the discussion we had about the use of “autistic child” compared to “child with autism“. If I were still teaching grade three, this would be a hit with them also. After reading Autistic? How Silly Is That! to my class, I would have a discussion about children who have autism and the message the author wants to convey. As a language arts lesson, I would have my students write their own two pages, like the ones in the book, with a word that ends in “tistic” by following the format the author used in her book.
“I can swim like a fish so I guess that would make me… A-Q-U-A-T-I-S-T-I-C? Now that’s just silly.
If I catch a fish, am I FISHER-TISTIC?
And if I cook the fish, would that make me CULINARI-TISTIC, too?”
Afterwards for an art lesson, the students could add water color illustrations like those whimsical, endearing ones Lynda Farrington Wilson created to illustrate her story.
Two pages almost at the end have a lot more text and tell the reader what it is like for the narrator, a young boy, to have autism, “I have autism. A part of me feels overloaded some of the time, and social situations are awkward… my brain is just wired in its own way.” On the other page the narrator tells us, “…I don’t need any labels at all. I’m just a typical person, with my own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, who approaches the world a little differently…but many times, better. I’m a brilliant person WITH autism.” These two pages bring out lots to be discussed in reading circle time at school or at home with your child.
Again if I were using this book in class, I would have other children’s books about autism that show every child with autism is unique. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are developmental conditions that affect the way a child develops and behaves. They’re a diverse set of disorders and each person who has an ASD has a unique set of challenges and strength. The picture book, Autistic? How Silly Is That! will help children better understand and accept differences in others. By poking fun at the term “autistic”, readers will learn to appreciate all the characteristics of a child with autism. Hopefully these children will learn, as they grow up, to look past the labels, know labels do not define a person and discover that with an open heart and mind they will find that many “ROCK” like the last words said by the narrator, “I rock!“
Lynda Farrington Wilson is an artist and former marketing executive whose talents and experiences have culminated in writing, illustrating and advocating for children with autism and with sensory processing disorders. Living in North Carolina, Lynda and her husband have three beautiful sons. The youngest is a funny, brilliant and talented sensory-seeker who has autism. She is certified in the Affect-Based Language Curriculum and has created social and independent skill development programs using peer models in the classroom.
Lynda has written and illustrated several books. Her first book, endorsed by Temple Grandin, Squirmy Wormy: How I Learned to Help Myself, helps children understand their sensory issues while providing easy every day activities for self-regulation. When not advocating, Lynda enjoys capturing life’s moments in custom pencil portraits and playing in the mud on the potter’s wheel.
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