Understanding how a parent or sibling of a child with autism feels is hard for most people. It’s also difficult to grasp how that child with autism views the world. That’s exactly what Chase Howard, an 11-year-old child with autism, wanted to make clearer. The Herald News reported how he teamed up with a local writer–Steven Manchester–and created a children’s book showing Chase’s family’s perspective of him and his own perspective. Chase illustrated the whole book. Since not many books outline how it feels to have autism, this is a wonderful addition to the library.
Understanding a child with autism
“He’s not wrong…he’s just different.” –The character Jenna from “Perfect Chase: One Reflection of Autism”
Especially for younger kids, it’s hard to grasp how a child with autism acts when you have little to no experience with it first-hand. Steve and Chase made the book for sixth graders, hoping it’ll reach kids his age and help them understand him better. The story is told by two narrators: Kylie and Jenna, who are Chase’s sisters. They have 3 friends over for a sleepover who know very little about autism and his sisters end up helping them understand.
Gives a unique view of autism
Chase himself illustrated the book. This gives readers an especially unique and novel way to view how he sees the world around him. A great example from the book is Chase’s enthusiasm with Disney movies. Since he’s recently really been into “Little Rascals”, he drew himself with a pipe-cleaner coming out of his head, just like Alfalfa’s!
Autism awareness is important
There’s still a great lack of understanding of how autism works and what it means. Yes, it can keep a child from excelling in certain areas, but in others they can do extraordinary things! Books like the one Chase illustrated helps younger kids gain an understanding of what “having autism” really means. A 2014 report showed that about 1 in 68 children have autism. It’s clearly prominent enough that a neurotypical child will probably share a classroom with a child with autism at some point growing up. Without awareness, children with autism get misunderstood, leading to things like bullying, and not allowing a child with autism to reach their full potential.
For more information about autism in children, check out Seven Stars. Seven Stars is a residential therapeutic program that helps teens struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.