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Book Review: 'My Friend with Autism'

Book By: Kelly Tilley
Reviewed By: Sunita Murty, M.S. OTR/L
Published/Produced By: Future Horizons

“My Friend with Autism” written by Beverly Bishop is for peers of children with autism. The book is full of meaningful visual supports and information about how children with autism experience sensory input for each of the senses and how different it is for them versus children with typically developing nervous systems. The teaching section of the book for adults includes basic key identifiers for overstimulation or the feeling of being overwhelmed by incoming input from touch, sound, taste and sight. Additionally, the book provides a basic overview of the vestibular (movement, balance, speed) and proprioceptive (body awareness) systems and their effects on the children with autism. The author explains the unique qualities and challenges in the areas of intelligence, tolerance for change as well as social aspects such as sharing, feelings and pretend play. This is a great book for parents of children with autism as well as teachers to keep on hand to educate all children about the unique characteristics special children with autism display. The book does a nice job of explaining how children with autism want to be like their peers and have peers as friends, but often struggle with nonverbal social cues, sensitivities to change and incoming sensory input. In addition to the written content, the book comes with coloring pages to make it even more child-friendly and desirable. As an occupational therapist, I will recommend this book to my families who have members with autism for their friends and for their children with autism to better understand themselves in relation to their peers. The book does a nice job of showing how kids with autism have the same needs and desires as every child but often struggle with the social and sensory aspects of developing relationships with friends.
Featured Book Reviewer: Sunity Murty, M.S., OTR/L
Sunita has been working with children with special needs since 1998 and as a pediatric occupational therapist since 2004. Sunita received her Masters of Science degree in occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Her experience includes working with children with austim spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, trisomy 21, developmental delays, failure to thrive, stroke as well as rare genetic and orthopedic conditions. Sunita has received specialized training in Craniosacral Therapy, Sensory Integration techniques, Therapeutic Listening, Handwriting Without Tears, Greenspan’s Floortime Approach, Interactive Metronome, Wilbarger Protocols, Beckman Oral-Motor Assessment and Treatment Protocol and numerous courses in fine motor, visual-motor, sensory interventions and feeding/dysphagia treatment. Sunita currently works as the OT clinical coordinator for Pediastaff and also owns and manages a pediatric therapy clinic called Imagination Therapy. Her passion lies in helping children and their families understand Sensory Processing Disorder to help children live up to their highest potential.

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