Thursday, April 9, 2009

ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL by Nora Raleigh Baskin

April is Authism Awareness Month. There are more and more tween and YA books focusing on the subject. I recently heard of ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL by Nora Raleigh Baskin and decided to pick up a copy.

Jason Blake is twelve years old. He lives with his mother and father and his younger brother. He also lives with autism. Diagnosed at an early age, Jason tells his story so everyone else can observe and maybe better understand the condition.

This look inside the thinking processes of an autistic individual is a truly eye-opening experience. Communication is Jason's major challenge. Although extremely intelligent and able to read and write beginning at age four, speaking and carrying on a dialogue with others is almost beyond Jason's abilities. He reveals that despite what others think, he has feelings and emotional attachments, but he has trouble expressing himself. Those close to him can understand and almost read his thoughts, making communication with them much easier.

Given his difficulties Jason recognizes that most days it's just a matter of time before something goes haywire and spirals out of control. Most often the problem is at school and involves teasing from bullies or misunderstandings with teachers.

One place Jason feels the freedom to express himself is the online writing site called Storyboard. For quite some time he has been creating his own worlds by writing stories and posting them for other Storyboard members to read. He develops an online connection with a young girl calling herself PhoenixBird. She shows an appreciation for his writing talent and asks for his constructive criticism on one of her stories. Perhaps PhoenixBird will offer him an outlet for his frustrated communication attempts.

If you are interested in checking out the subject of autism this month, I highly recommend ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL.


Sadako said...

Autism is a really interesting subject, and this looks great.

Lenore Appelhans said...

My best friend's daughter is borderline autistic so I know a bit about it from her.