I LOVE author Joy Berry’s series “Help me be good”. It’s a fairly large series, there are 29 books in all. It originally was published in 1988 and I read every single one of them as a child myself. Fast forward an undisclosed amount of years to when my eldest son was 3 years old and we were at our local library. Every time we’d go I’d check out the books they had for sale as each was only $0.25. One cold morning I spied the entire collection all in pristine condition on their sale shelf. Excited doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction. I scooped up every single one of them! Why do I love this series so much? Because each book deals with a common behavior, discusses how others feel when a child is choosing that behavior, what a child choosing those behaviors might be feeling, and other positive ways of dealing with those emotions, or situations, all in easy to read, direct language that doesn’t use metaphors or confusing sub-text that a child on the spectrum might not pick up on. From the day we brought them home I read one every day to my son for the better part of a 2 years. Each day he would pick a book for me to read and I would pick one of Joy Berry’s books to read to him. He loved them. They helped him to understand social concepts easily and without feeling bad at not getting them without the books as it was never “about him” it was always about “another child” one from her books.
The book about Interrupting says “You are interrupting when you talk when other people are talking… Try not to interrupt people who are talking to you. Allow them to finish talking before you speak. Say “excuse me” if you must interrupt them. When someone interrupts you, you might feel angry or frustrated. You might think that person is not fun to be with.”
At the end of each book it always says “It is important to treat people the way you want to be treated”
See, easy, clear explanations of what the behavior is, how people feel, and how to avoid doing it with simple blunt instructions on what is socially acceptable and what is not. I’ve already started to read them to my younger son, and while he’s not super keen on them yet (he won’t be 3 until Oct) with him already being diagnosed with ASD I think it just makes sense to start early.
After all a large part (not all but a big part) of ASD is a deficiency in social development and understanding. If my child had massive issues with math I’d do my best to focus on helping them improve their math skills to the best of THEIR abilities. No I wouldn’t expect them to get a PhD in mathematics but I’d help them to learn as much as they could to help them thrive to the best of their abilities. Teaching social skills from an early age in a more intensive or focused manner just makes sense to me for my boys with ASD. Their brains are hardwired differently, but different doesn’t mean they can’t learn, it just means they might need different ways of being taught and more time to learn the same things as a child without ASD.
For those that are interested, if your local library doesn’t have this fantastic series it is available on places like Amazon.com or Chapters.ca
Chapters also has her other series: “Let’s talk about” and “A fun and easy way” both of which I’ll be getting for the eldest to read and eventually reading with the youngest. 😀
If you’ve read her books, let me know what you thought. Were they a helpful book series for children with ASD? Or even helpful for children in general? (I personally read many of them with the kids I looked after in my daycare years ago that weren’t on the spectrum because I thought they were great for all children in general but especially ones that have social skill deficiencies.)