The autistic child: developmental diversity in the early childcare classroom
Autism is a growing factor in society. Today 1 child in 68 is born with an autism spectrum disorder, a 119% increase from the year 2000. Autistic children develop atypically and often non-autistic children are alarmed by the diverse and occasionally erratic behaviors of their peers simply because they are unfamiliar with developmental differences.
While there are many lovely children’s books written FOR autistic children, there is less of a market for addressing the concept of autism in the classroom as a whole. In order to facilitate an atmosphere of knowledge and acceptance in the early childcare classroom I designed a children’s novel addressing autism as a social issue.
Autism is difficult to represent without direct statement but by synthesizing metaphorical illustrations and broadminded comparisons between children I was able to generate a narrative in which children displayed their differential preferences and behaviors without eliciting judgment but merely confused curiosity from their peers. I learned that abstract ideas can be depicted whimsically and still carry influence, and specific phrasing in my short sentences can be as powerful as a lengthy article.
This book revolves around the theme of unique thought and perception between children. By depicting non-autistic students bridging the gap and reaching out to their developmentally different classmates I hope to convey a sense of acceptance among all children and instill compassion over confusion as a reaction to the unfamiliar. Education is integral to a progressive society, the younger the better.