Posted in Non-Fiction, Teen, Tween Reads

Daniel Stefanski Teaches Us How to Talk to An Autistic Kid

HowToTalkToAnAutisticKidHow to Talk to an Autistic Kid, by Daniel Stefanski/illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. Free Spirit Publishing (2011), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1575423654

Recommended for 8+

Daniel Stefanski, an autistic teen, wrote this book to teach other kids (and adults!) about autism from a more personal point of view. There are many guides and books out on the market, but Daniel’s personal approach and point of view, combined with Hazel Mitchell’s friendly, two-toned digital illustrations, make a greater impact. He isn’t using clinical speech and medical language, nor is he a parent taking sides in a debate. He’s a kid who wants other kids to understand him, befriend him, like him, and understand, befriend, and like other kids with autism. He explains behaviors that other kids may not understand, like flapping or humming, for instance; he discusses issues including eye contact, personal space, and most importantly, how other kids can reach out to and connect with autistic kids in their lives.

This book is only 48 pages, and can be quickly and easily read, but the information is invaluable in teaching children and adults to see things from another person’s point of view. As Stefanski himself says, “Even though my brain is different, I’m still a kid. I like to have fun and I want to have friends.” This is a book that needs to be available not only in public libraries, but in school and classroom libraries, where it is easily accessible and kids are actively encouraged to read it.