Monday, February 18, 2008

"Just Give Him the Whale!"

Love the concept behind this book for educators who work with students who fall on the autism spectrum. How often we try to usurp what a student finds comforting - typically trains (Thomas anyone?), trucks, dinosaurs or any other "fascination."

Now there's a book which suggests we view these fascinations in a new, constructive way. Here's a blurb about "Just Give Him the Whale!"

When learners with autism have deep, consuming fascinations—trains, triangles, basketballs, whales—teachers often wonder what to do. This concise, highly practical guidebook gives educators across grade levels a powerful new way to think about students' "obsessions": as positive teaching tools that calm, motivate, and improve learning.

Written by top autism experts and nationally renowned speakers Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz, this guide is brimming with easy tips and strategies for folding students' special interests, strengths, and areas of expertise into classroom lessons and routines. Teachers will discover how making the most of fascinations can help their students

  • learn standards-based academic content

  • boost literacy learning and mathematics skills

  • develop social connections

  • expand communication skills

  • minimize anxiety

  • and much more

Just Give Him the Whale! is packed from start to finish with unforgettable stories based on the authors' experience, firsthand perspectives from people with autism themselves, research-based recommendations that are easy to use right away, and sample forms teachers can adapt for use in their own classrooms. An enjoyable read with an eye-opening message, this short book will have a long-lasting impact on teachers' understanding of autism—and on their students' social and academic success.

Books that help me to see things in new ways, that challenge accepted wisdom, are always intriguing. I will add this one to my library. How about you?


Samuel said...


I can't wait to get this book!
This concept seems so funny to me as in many ways is the basis of my "jumping off point" with students. What they like is one of the most important questions.

Yet, I still maintain the importance of working to help interests be age appropriate. I think that this can be a balance of moving from Thomas to the good old T. Yet, gosh, I still like Star Wars, etc. I like the sounds of this book in that it seems to attempt to strike a balance.

Karen Janowski said...

Yes, this is so your philosophy when you work with your students - you engage them first with what interests them and then build from there.
So many great books to choose from to help us improve our strategies and methods to promote effective progress with our kids!
Great hearing from you.

Alexie said...

I found your blog and I especially love the video. Everyone needs encouragement when they are working with children that have challenges.
I struggle everyday with my son. It was a blessing to find your blog.


Karen Janowski said...

So glad you stopped by and found my blog helpful. Feel free to contribute anytime.