April is Autism Awareness Month, and Kathy, Lindsay, Heather, and Pixie are hosting another awesome giveaway hop to promote it!
When I was sixteen, I spent three years working as basically a childminder for children with special needs, mostly children who were on the Autistic spectrum. During this time, I had some of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. I also saw some things which broke my heart: the one that springs to mind is a full grown woman backing away from a nine year old child on a bus with a look of disgust on her face, just because he was singing to himself.
Many many people still do not understand, and are therefore scared by, autism. In the U.K alone, currently 1 in 100 people are on the autistic spcectrum, so it’s really important that people understand it. For people who don’t know, here is a basic definition of autism. It’s difficult to define, as it manifests in many different ways, and many people with autism don’t display ‘classic’ symptoms (non-verbal, repetitive behaviour, inability to engage in reciprocal relationships etc). One of the children I looked after for example, I developed a very good relationship with, and he was prone to giving me random hugs, which was lovely. Anyway, basic definition, paraphrased from www.autism-awareness.org.uk:
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability, which affects the way a person communicates and relates to the world around them. People with autism often have a limited ability to relate to other people or to understand other people’s emotional expressions. They have difficulty making sense of the world around them, and often live within a world of their own.
The main 3 characteristics of autism are difficulty with social communication (i.e. not understanding facial gestures, tone of voice etc), social interaction (difficulty with relationships – people with autism often seem aloof and indifferent to others, and have problems expressing feelings), and imagination (autistic people often have difficulty with inter-personal play, and developing imaginative activities. These are often limited and repetitive).
I feel that the most important thing for people with autism, both adults and children, is that it is not made any harder than it already is for them to live their lives. I am very conscious of not sounding patronising when talking about this, so let me just say that I have always thought that people with any kind of disability at all should be entitled to the same kind of life experiences as fully able people, and I think that raising awareness about any kind of disorder is a hugely important part of this.
For more information or to help raise awareness about autism visit http://www.autism.org.uk/.
So, onto the giveaway! As my personal contribution to achieving this, I’m giving away a copy of House Rules by Jodi Picoult. I will add at this point, that it is my copy of the book, and so is not brand new, but is a hardback in good condition, I will post anywhere in the world, and it is a brilliant, emotional, informative and riveting read.
House Rules is a book about Jacob Hunt, a teenager with Aspergers Syndrome. It paints an amazing picture of what it is like to live in a family with somebody with Aspergers. Picoult uses her trademark of telling the story through the eyes of all the different characters, and she’s brilliantly believable. The major plot point is the murder of Jacob’s tutor, and the way that the police react to the typical behaviours of Asperger’s with suspicion, believing that he is responsible for the death. I read this book, and I loved it with every single emotion I had. It made me laugh, made me cry, and was just so real.
This is my first ever giveaway and I’ve not quite got my head round the entry form thingies soooooo to enter, please just leave a comment with your email address. It isn’t obligatory to be a follower of the blog, but please do feel free to have a look around and follow me if you like what you’re reading! The winner will be drawn via random.org on April 14th, and I will notify them by email.
Also, a question. You can win if you don’t answer it, it’s purely for me. Have you read any great books focusing on physical or mental disability?
Once you’ve entered my giveaway, hop on to the next blog on the list!