9 Ways to interact with people with autism
Paul & His Beast
Middle grade novel
“Entertaining, accessible, and beautifully lucid look at what it’s like to have autism.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Paul Stephens, desperate to stay in a normal school, must tame his “Beast”— the bizarre autistic behaviors that make other students recoil and mock.
But how can he tame his Beast when it protects him from a world where looking into another face can send his head spinning, voices crash into his ears like a bombardment, and trying to respond to the simplest question can lock up his limbs? Sometimes the Beast is his only refuge.
In his struggle, Paul learns to deal with a boy even more autistic than he is, to function as a successful part of an academic team of “normals,” and to speak up for the Beast because he has learned that it means speaking up for himself.
From the Blog
Hoping for the beach
Pleased to be hoping. A hope I have is to go to the beach. I’d like my good friends to take us there. We pack our gold car and drive over the Chesapeake Bay. Then we eat our lunch and keep driving east to the coast. Sometimes we walk on boards and buy fries and caramel corn. Other times we walk on sand at the water’s edge.
Ask Sarah: Can you help me better understand my non-verbal daughter?
I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter with autism who is non-verbal so far. I have some questions that might help me understand her better. How does it feel when you try to put words together but it’s not happening? As a child, did it make you sad or frustrated not to be able to speak? Do you miss being able to talk? Did you feel untolerated around other kids?
Answer from Sarah:
It feels pleasing to know your family estimates you are smart even though [with autism], our bodies will not always work with our brains. If your family can find you inside a body that will not listen to you, it is a blessing. Then peace comes and loneliness slips away.
Please treat your little girl as though she understands. I felt lonely and not happy when people acted like I was a shell with no inhabitant. Tell her you can see her inside a body that betrays her. She needs her Dad to know she is a real child with a whole spirit and mind. Ask her to be patient until there is a way for her to speak, even if it is not with a sounding voice.