The Ice-Cream Sundae Guide to Autism ISBN: 9781787753808
Published by Jessica Kingsley, 2020
This unique way of looking at the subject of autism will prove interesting to a wide audience of all ages, but primarily to the younger section of the population. An excellent resource for schools, it also will be useful at home. There are suggestions at the end of the book for using the book in both places. The overall theme of the book is that just like sundaes, the autistic personality can be made up of many things, and each autistic person is different from the next just like all of us. The various components of the sundae have an equivalent. The three kinds of ice cream vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry - represent the three things that all autistic people have in common. Chocolate represents ‘trouble with words’ speech and language and they may need special help in that area. The spoon for the ice cream represents someone giving the person the help they need, thereby making the ice cream (or the difficulty) disappear or get better. This section explains the problems with people understanding idiomatic speech too. There are occasional puzzles to work out as we go along. The second, vanilla scoop, is about ‘being a detective’. In other words, getting help in learning about body language and being able to interpret it. And the third, strawberry, covers ‘straight-line thinking’, or not liking sudden changes. This is important because life always has sudden changes, and we all have to learn to cope with this. It helps if we can zig-zag our thinking, and we can learn to do this too. Then there are the aspects of autism that some people have and some don’t. Sensory differences, for instance cold or sounds or smells or feelings that seem wrong and upsetting. The chocolate sauce on top of the sundae is the equivalent of this. The ‘wafer’ is the feelings we can see in others, but which autistic people sometimes show inappropriately, like flapping or shouting. Learning self-regulation can help this. There are ‘meltdowns’ when the ice cream literally melts, when people can’t control the strong feelings they have. Learning coping strategies for being calm can help here. ‘Sprinkles’ on the sundae are the things that autistic people like most, such as knowing everything about a special subject. The ‘cherry’ on the top is the best bit! This is for autistic people who have a special talent, music or drawing or a skill that makes them stand out. The pictures, one on each double-page spread, are outstanding, clear and colourful with lots of animation. On the last page there is a picture of an ice-cream sundae that one can colour in, or could be photocopied to use with a class. This is a beautifully produced book that will prove useful and accessible to all. Available from Amazon, from good book shops, and from the publisher: www.jkp.com.