Dawn Adams is the mother of an autistic son who aims to share what she’s learned with other parents of autistic children. In this workbook, she offers more than 100 activities parents can use to work with their first and second graders.
Adams begins the book with 23 pages of general information on autism and how to handle autistic children. While the material often seems random and scattershot, parents will find useful nuggets, such as her advice to talk to children in advance about the day’s schedule and use picture symbols to represent daily activities.
The rest of the book is filled with simple activities, one to a page. One page, for example, pictures five items, including an ice cream cone and a frog, and asks children to name the letter each item begins with. Another page depicts six shirts and asks children to count the buttons on each shirt. “There are words to read, easy activities to do, new things to learn, and math problems to solve. With this book it will help your child keep up with the pace of other children,” the author notes.
Unfortunately, Adams doesn’t provide much more information on why the specific activities have been chosen. Only a few of the tasks seem specially designed for autistic children, such as the helpful charts describing, step by step, how to “wash hands” and use the “potty,” and one wonders why Adams devotes time, for example, to sign language or swimming.
Throughout, Dawn mentions how difficult it can be to hold autistic children’s attention, particularly when asking them to do things they dislike. One wishes she had provided more advice on how to keep their interest through the workbook activities. Still, this is a low-cost, simple way to engage children. For autistic children who enjoy this sort of activity, Dawn’s workbook will do no harm – and may provide a vehicle for connecting while helping them hone some necessary skills.
Also available as an ebook.