Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My son's reaction to All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome

I received the book about two weeks ago, but have just recently worked up the courage to read All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann to my nine-year-old son with autism. He is in a stage of denial in terms of his condition. I read it to him yesterday. The timing was right because while his school day was cancelled, his little brother's preschool was still open. I thought it might be best to read the book to the older one first and also alone because my five year old is pretty sharp and has the ability to make surprising connections.

Anyway, my guy loved the book--especially the pictures. He even looked at the book for quite some time after we were done reading it together. I don't know if he made the connection between the book about Asperger's syndrome and his own condition. When we came across a passage about a child with autism saying embarrassing things I said with a smile: "I wonder who does that? Who once said why does that old lady talk like a man?"

I thought I saw a glint of understanding in his eye, but he just smiled and pointed to the picture of the cat. If only I could have read his mind at that point. Well, at least liking the book is a start. We'll keep bringing the topic up in a slow and gentle way until he understands what we are trying to tell him.

I enjoyed reading the book to him. Sitting on the futon together and seeing his happy reaction to it was one of the true good moments of a not so great day.


Maddy said...

I read that to all of mine some months back. They all loved it, but only my daughter made the connection. Luckily they all love cats so it was a great hit regardless.
Best wishes

J said...

The pictures are wonderful aren't they and there is something therapeutic about animals. We like cats here too. There are two senior felines in our household--Simba (13) and Pumbaa (12).

John Elder Robison said...

Have you heard my audio book? I narrate the abridged version (the one bookstores sell) myself. Moms tell me that autistic kids identify with my flat voice and its cadence.

Listen to the sample on my blog and see if your kid feels the same.

J said...

We would listen to it, but my son somehow managed to turn the sound off on our computer and we haven't been able to figure out how to turn it back on. He's talented that way.

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

So glad the book was a hit after your 'bad day' (LOL).

As you know, we love the book in our house, it's one of those real treasures!

(PS - I hope you have a better day tomorrow.)

J said...

All is going well now. Suppose the day could have been much worse than it was.

I agree that All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome is a real treasure. Will be reading it to the younger one soon, although he already snuck a peek at pictures and loved them. Take care. --JML

Kathy said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks for your kind words about my book. It gives me pleasure to know that All Cats is helping people understand and appreciate AS.

Kathy Hoopmann

J said...


You are most welcome. Your book seems to be popular amongst autism mom and with good reason. Thank you for your comments. Take care--jml

Anonymous said...

I am a one to one teaching assistant for a 10 year old boy with asperger syndrome. We read the book together-he seemed to enjoy it-and now I am looking for a followup activity lesson plan. Can you help?
Kim R.

Julie L. said...

Kim: How about having him make a book about himself using a three ring binder. It could be just writing or feature pictures as well. He could either focus on how he is the same as everyone else (for self esteem purposes) or have both similarities and differences. For example, Does he like video games like most everyone his age? Does he have a talent that stands out in the crowd? You get the idea...

A simpler version of the same idea would have him make a collage that represents himself.