08 March 2010
an asperger adventure
My son and I have both finished reading the book Blue Bottle Mystery: An Asperger Adventure by Kathy Hoopman which is the first book I believe we have both read, independently. Admittedly I had to encourage him to read it because all he really wants to read right now are Geronimo Stilton books. He can read at an adult level now but up till recently I did read aloud to him in additon to his own reading. We both finished this one in under an hour, its an easy and pleasant read for children (and adults!). What really jumped out at me was Hoopman's understanding of a boys life with asperger's, as the main character struggles at school in many of the same ways my son does.
The story certainly echoed some of the problems we experience as a family like anxiety with change, and those who don't understand the problem. Sometimes I don't understand the problem! Ben, the main character's miscommunication with his teacher is very well written I think, highlighting how difficult it must be to have asperger's and try to connect with people. Despite Ben's best efforts to behave and please his teacher, he often gets it wrong, trying desperately to get it right he still gets punished. I know my own son has experienced this many times and how frustrating it must be to be accused of being naughty when you are just trying to work out one of a thousand possibilites in your mind, work out what comes instinctively to neuro-typical people. Its also a nice little adventure and Ben does have one good friend in the book, who helps him and seems to understand him. My son related very well to this as he also has one or two friends who do seem to 'get' him.
This is a simple book that offers good insight into the life of an asperger boy and autism and I would love so very much if all of my son's classmates read it!!
Kathy Hoopman is a primary school teacher and mother of three in Queensland Australia. If she doesn't have any children on the spectrum, she certainly has a great grasp of it.