A mother and daughter, along with illustrator Mark Fairbanks have teamed up to take a unique look at autism with “Mikey”, a book that details how a young boy with autism sees, hears, and feels the world around him in his school environment.
Authors Judy Cohen and Mindee Pinto, both teachers, seeing the difficulties children with autism and spectrum disorders were encountering in the classroom, decided to write the book to help children understand and become aware of how a classmate with autism experiences the classroom. The book also aims to promote success in the classroom because many children with autism now attend standard classrooms for some of their school day. It is common for these children to struggle socially and be at risk of being isolated or bullied.
“They’re sensory processing is very hyper-vigilant and they have this inability to separate that. So it impacts how they see the world and they act in the classroom,” said Cohen.
Mikey’s story gives an accurate depiction of what we see with many autistic children. He looks like many of his non-autistic peers, has the same needs and feelings, but unlike his peers, he processes information, learns, and reacts differently to the world around him.
“Right now, many adults and children in our schools understand very little how even the littlest noise, as a furnace humming or a school bell, can quickly disrupt this child’s day,” says Cohen.
“With Mikey there is a part in the book where he uses visuals, where it shows him it’s okay to have a picture of what will happen next in his day that’s another tool that teachers need to implement in their classrooms,” said Pinto.
With more and more children being diagnosed with Autism, “Mikey’s” story is being used in classrooms worldwide to help educate and provide an understanding about the disorder whilst promoting autism awareness and acceptance.
“Statistics have said one in 84 children will be diagnosed, possibly one in 50 boys. So we have increase of almost 40% of children,” “This book needs to be in every classroom in every city, state and country. We must continue to teach children and adults about acceptance and tolerance for children with autism,” says Cohen.
Cohen and Pinto are working to turn “Mikey” into a children’s book series. “Mikey” is available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel online.
For more information about the autism, please visit http://blog.hear-our-voices.