Sunday, April 1, 2012
A-Z Writing Challenge, Day One
a is for autism
April is autism month. New statistics show that one child in 88 in the US has some form of autism. I am highlighting a novel, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon. It is about a boy in the UK who has Aspergers, a high functioning form of autism, who is accused of killing a neighbor’s dog. It's a short book, written in the first person which gives the reader some sense of how someone with autism thinks. Concrete thinking is the key to understanding someone with autism -- no nuances. But the book, despite its serious theme, shows Christopher John Francis Boone, who knows all the capitals of the countries of the world and all the prime numbers up to 7,057, to be a funny, sweet, interesting kid. Christopher sets out to find the killer, using his favorite character Sherlock Holmes, as a guide.
This is a great book for book clubs, and anyone interested in trying to understand autism. There are dozens of web sites, and one I recommend is www.templegrandin.com. Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal studies in Fort Collins, Colorado and she is the subject of an excellent movie, Temple Grandin, with Clare Danes playing the main character. Dr. Grandin's website has a Q&A which she answers herself. She is an amazing lady who, because of her autism, her ability to "think in pictures," devised methods for the more humane treatment of cattle at slaughter houses and that is just one of her many talents.
In February, I wrote a very short story called, Red Car, Blue Car. It's on the February 7th date of my blog. It is about an autistic child, but not without hope. There is always hope. Why this subject? My grandson has autism.