As a practitioner working in the field of special education, I use a lot of books during therapy. These can be in the form of traditional books or social stories. I use them to introduce a new concepts like potty training, or functional communication training. I also use these to reiterate the concepts we learn. Children with autism or other behavioural problems may love to look at books as a non-verbal form of gaining knowledge and an insight into the outside world. A physical outing may be overwhelming for them and so they love their stories to learn more.
Books also serve another purpose for our kids- they help organize their thoughts. Books help give structure to abstract concepts like feelings, social skills and also the words required to deal with social situations.
Here are a few books my kids love and have gained a lot from. This list can be really long and so I have picked out three top favorites. If you would like to know about books related to other topics in the field, do write to me in the comments section.
- I just don’t like the sound of No!- by Julia Cook – Just like us, children do not like when they are told ‘No’ for something. Can I eat ice cream?- No. Can I watch TV?- No. We as parents expect them to accept our ‘No’ and move on. But for these little ones, it is so hard to understand why and how to do so. They need some motivation and reinforcement. This is a beautiful book that shows children that it is okay if a parent or a teacher says ‘No’. Not just that, it actually tells them how to feel and act. Organizing thoughts is difficult for any child especially if they are feeling big emotions like anger- this book gives them the words to use.
- How do dinosaurs say- I’m mad?- The Blue Sky Press – This is one more beautiful book. This book gives us a lot of scenarios where the dinosaur is really angry. Then it tells us how they calm themselves down by counting numbers, taking deep breaths and other calming strategies, followed by an apology and a hug. It is the sweetest book and the kids love it. Is there any other better way of teaching children about dealing with their emotions?
- My mouth is like a volcano – Julia Cook – Another gem by Julia Cook. Talking out of turn is something we all work on in schools, therapy or even at home. Waiting for our turn can be a very difficult skill for a lot of our kids. This book is an excellent supplement to our social skills lessons to teach them how to help their volcanoes before eruption. These are everyday skills that need to be taught to improve their experiences in inclusive settings.