There are many books for parents of kids with special needs. What seems to be missing is a good list of books for the children themselves. Below are five books worth reading with or to your special needs child. I highly recommend them for your typically developing child as well, not only because they are great books but also to show them that all children are different and that difference makes them all special.
Point to Happy by Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser. This book is not only a great one for kids on the autism spectrum, but for all kids with special needs. It is a large sturdy board book featuring many everyday items, foods and activities. It comes with an easy-to-hold “pointer” to help your child identify objects. From colors to daily routines and even a space to put your own pictures, this book is one you will want to read with your kids frequently.
When I’m Feeling… by Trace Moroney. This set of books is great. Each book covers a different emotion the child may be feeling or having trouble knowing how to express his or her emotions. The more popular books in this set teach about being happy, sad, angry and lonely. Other books in the set cover jealousy, being kind to one another, feeling loved and scared. It’s easier to talk about the emotions in more detail since they aren’t all lumped into the same book. You can also pick a book when it’s appropriate and you’re trying to teach one specific emotion.
The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! by Mo Willems. From the amazing author who brought us Knuffle Bunny, this book brings the same humor to a pigeon trying to express his feelings. A quick read touching on just the highlights of each emotion, this book is great when you want to discuss and teach all emotions while your child may have a short attention span. Another board book, it’s perfect for smaller hands with easy-to-turn pages.
What it is to be Me!: An Asperger Kid Book by Angela Wine. A great book describing Aspergers syndrome to the child. With nicely drawn pictures and an easy-to-read format, this book is great to help your child know that he or she is unique, and it’s okay to be different. The book is great for a lot of adults, as well, since Asperger’s and autism may be on the rise. (At the very least, it’s getting to be more known and recognized in the culture at large.) As of today, these two diagnoses aren’t well known enough for people to understand why your child acts or behaves the way he does, so this is a good first step towards understanding.
Zoom by Robert Munsch. From the same author that brought many smiles with his book Smelly Socks, this tale of a girl in a wheelchair is sure to delight kids of all abilities. Instead of a book talking about how a child in a wheelchair is different and how we treat them, it’s simply a fun story about a fast chair. It’s a refreshing story your child will love.