This caught my attention because I work with many Autistic children but sadly these children are at the other end of the Autistic spectrum and employment for them is not really a possibility. But there is something they could use - understanding. I have lost count of the number of times I have received stares and judgemental looks from passers by when we take the kids out for trips and I realise that it comes from a total lack of understanding of what Autism is. Ignorance - in this instance - is not bliss!
And it made me realise that before I worked with these children, I was exactly the same. I didn't know a thing about Autism because I had never needed to. And then I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon and my perspective on Autism and Asbergers was transformed. Its genius is that it is still fiction. The plot is entirely made up, but brilliantly written by Haddon from the perspective of a young boy with Aspergers Syndrome. By exploring the world through his eyes, the reader is forced to see what he endures, how society treats him and how his mind works. It really is a book that everyone needs to read at some point in their life - and the sooner the better.
Here are my top books that have altered my perspective:
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - arguably started the idea that a book written from the child's perspective offers a naive but pure and innocent view on society. Deals beautifully with the civil rights issues in America where blacks were considered lesser citizens.
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne - once again explores the horror of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust through the eyes of a young German boy who doesn't really understand what is happening. Gripping from start to finish. Absolutely brilliant.
- Freedom Writers - For a non-fiction book, the honesty of the class in their entries is mind blowing. Very courageous and admirable stuff. Brings positivity out of an otherwise bleak situation.
As always - enjoy! :)