I am the mother of three children with autism spectrum disorder. I first read this book about a year ago, along with its companion The Incredible Five Point Scale. Initially my intent was merely to use it with my then four year old child with ASD and she did respond remarkably to it. But I was further surprised to discover my older children then aged 9 and 12 were drawn to it too. They asked ME to go over it with them. On their own they individually said to me, "I need a scale for..." For the older son he said, "Mama, you're always telling me to be quiet (he has a BOOMING VOICE even when whispering), maybe I need to learn how to use a lower number for my voice." When My Autism Gets Too Big shows insight into the asd child's world--what he can feel good about and what is hard for him. It doesn't whitewash the difficulties, or downplay them,but at the same time it doesn't make them seem insurmountable. Then it lays out in a very easy to understand way--for example, the levels of stress a child has, what it might look like, how it feels for him, and what to do about it. It gives a clear concise way to not only judge where the child is at--for himself and for his caregivers,but a tool to figure out where to go next. It can be used is such a broad variety of ways, you can use it to address any behavior goal you have with your child. My child with the loud voice, for example: Five is screaming like he's dying (emergency voice), Four is yelling while playing outside, Three is a "normal" speaking voice, Two is whispering and One is completely quiet--no words. Reading this book with my children was the catalyst for making it okay to develop this type of program for each of them for their very different needs, and it has been incredibly effective. Plus,Kari Dunn Buron's illustrations are so gosh darn cute, but more than that they are remarkably expressive. It amazes me that she is able to convey such clear emotions, while at the same time having an almost affectionate humor about the reality of life with an ASD child. The pictures alone, program aside, are worth the purchase of this book. Once read I have donated nearly every book on ASD I have ever purchased to our local therapy center...but I can't part with this one. It is already well worn and much loved. I have pulled it off the shelf many times when one of my kids has a recognizable expression of distress and when I point to the corresponding picture, they often react with relief. I can show them without having to verbally express it, where they are at, and they are glad to be able to see it for themselves. An excellent tool. I also highly recommend buying The Incredible Five Point Scale, which elaborates on this concept and gives many more ideas on how to implement them. Both are excellent for use in both school and home. Incidentally--often ASD parents have their hands full enough without having to manage more visual aides, my philosophy is that's why God must have given us FIVE fingers, so we can use them to show our kid where they are on the Five Point Scale. My digits are regularly used for this purpose.
Kristi Sakai, parent of 3 with Asperger Syndrome and author of
Finding Our Way: Practical Solutions for Creating a Supportive Home and Community for the Asperger Syndrome Family