I'm all about providing support and tools for children to understand themselves. Our kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurological issues often have difficulty not only perceiving the emotions in others, but in themselves. Flooded with feelings of anger or frustration it's difficult at that moment to make good choices in regards to behavior. As I have three children with Asperger Syndrome myself, I have often faced the issue of explaining to them that they can make positive choices when overwhelmed with feelings. (To quote my son, "Nuh uh!") It is not the time to reason with a child when he is in the middle of a meltdown, which is why it is so important to empower him with ideas and skills over a period of time, and to have a plan as to how to implement a plan BEFORE she or he is melting down. That is where this very simply written book comes in. Having this basic plan for making positive choices when upset, can prevent meltdowns.
The Way to A provides children with a concrete tool for understanding how they feel and behave during certain emotions, and then with an adult helping the child problem solve, they can decide on different options for what may calm or soothe themselves. This book is ingenious in that it is covered with wipeable pages you can use a dry eraser marker on to use over and over. Ideally each child would have his own book, but because it is reuseable, it can be used for every child in a pre-school, daycare, or elementary school.
Parents would be well served to work through this little colorful book with their child in order to not only provide their child with the tools to learn self-management, but to problem solve themselves and to gain a greater understanding of what sets their child off, and what calms him. While most parents of children such as ours already know these things (parents are the experts on their child), to see it written down makes it more concrete and reminds us that we DO have strategies. This is empowering for both child AND parent.
I think this is a lovely book, and also quite cute. I can't wrestle it away from my 6 year old at the moment, but it would also be helpful for my 11 year old, and the strategies themselves, are excellent for my 14 year old. The saying goes, "First, know thyself." This is a step in the right direction for creating a lifetime of self-management.
Kristi Sakai, mother of three children with Asperger Syndrome and Author of
Finding Our Way: Practical Solutions for Creating a Supportive Home and Community for the Asperger Syndrome Family