Review Policy

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Point to Happy (a book for kids on the autism spectrum)

Authors: Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser
Photographs by Margo Smithwick
Publisher: Workman 
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Publisher: Children love to look at pictures and share them with others. For those children on the autism spectrum, communicating through pictures is sometimes the only way to express their feelings and emotions - and it can also open a door to further communication. Until now, there has been no book developed specifically for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) that could help them convey their immediate wants and needs, experiences, and most importantly, their feelings.

Miriam Smith and her daughter, Afton Fraser searched for a way to aid Afton's son, who is on the autism spectrum. Taking matters into their own hands, Point to Happy is the first book of its kind: one written and designed for children on the autism spectrum who benefit from visual support. Ingenious in its simplicity, the parent reads and the child points to photographs with the attached pointer. 

The text is clear, and the friendly photographs are compelling to look at and easy to understand. The simple motor task of using a pointer helps children focus as they select the appropriate pictures. Identifying everyday objects, knowing the rituals of going to bed and getting up in the morning, and choosing what to eat is all made clear through the photos. A child can describe polite language, prompt when he is thirsty, and recognize the colors of the rainbow. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf:  April is Autism Awareness Month so a great way to support and celebrate is by sharing an amazing discovery. Working in an inclusive school district I see an overwhelming need for more curriculum and resources to help our students affected by autism. Parents are also looking to us as educators to help them find appropriate tools for home to support the social and emotional needs of their child. Point to Happy is a new resource at our school that we are LUCKY to have and put to use. Our autistic students are mostly visual learners and need curriculum geared towards helping them overcome the communication deficit they struggle with on a daily basis.

Point to Happy helps break down those language barriers with pictures depicting feelings and daily routines. It also has a super COOL pointer for the child to use as you are reading. The last few pages are blank for you to put your own photos in...loving that. Another reason it caught my eye is because it's AFFORDABLE. I get counseling catalogs all the time with curriculum tools that are not very budget friendly. When you have a child with high needs husbanding your financial resources is essential. Enjoy this new find!

A Link to This Book:

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you posted some Autism resources for the month of April. I would also recommend "Eye Power" and "Eye Power 2" with Zeebu. This unique workbook is probably much like "Point to Happy". It teaches students to use their eyes to solve the mysteries of other's feelings. I got a lot of good use out of that resource and send it home for parents to review.