Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coloring Outside Autism's Lines by Susan Walton

When you have a child with autism, there is always a lot to do. There is speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills group, ABA, special education law research, and so much more. The thing that gets forgotten sometimes is fun.

Susan Walton reminds us right in the introduction to her book, Coloring Outside Autism's Lines: 50+ Activities, Adventures, and Celebrations for Families with Children with Autism, that all our kids need to have fun. We can incorporate learning and therapy into that fun or we can just have fun. Walton uses the pages in this book to give parents of children with autism a plethora of ideas on how to to do that with their kids.

Walton offers tips from how to generally prep for an outing to specific ideas for places to go. As the parent of a child with autism (plus two more), Walton has covered this territory in her own life and can offer advice based on experience.

A lot of this advice is common sense information that you might have already thought of and incorporated in your own life, but you are sure to find something new to do with your kids in this book. Walton's ideas range from the simple (set a goal of visiting every park in your area) to out of the box (if you pass landscapers cutting down a tree, stop and grab some stumps to create circle games, such as stepping stones, hot potato, and more).

There were a couple of sections that really grabbed my attention. One of them was the section on managing playdates. For my son with autism, playdates are a wonderful way to practice social skills in a controlled but real life environment. That said, it can be excruciating to facilitate those playdates, especially if the other child also has special needs. Walton offers some wonderful and specific ideas for these playdates.

I also really loved the section offering suggestions to grandparents and other relatives for how to connect to a child with autism. If you, as a parent to a child with autism, have a relative who doesn't quite know what to do with your children, this section is a must-read.

Full of resources and featuring an appendix of helpful websites, this book has plenty of ideas and pointers for relaxing and having fun with your kiddos!

Honesty Clause: I received a review copy of this book at no charge. List price for the book is $14.99.