My kids are gown, my husband is at work, so what do I do all day? Well, for at least part of it, I read. Or Netflix binge while working on TpT products. Need some suggestions? Here you go!
(The following are my reviews on Goodreads.)
1) Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
"Ghost Boy" is a heart-wrenching story of a man's journey to communicate. It only took 1 person to get the wheel going...just one. The abuses he endured because he couldn't tell anyone what was going on tugs at the heart. It makes you wonder how many people are out there who appear to just be living but who are trapped in their own body. Mr. Pistorius is an amazing man who had that 1 person be the difference in his life...someone who saw something in his eyes that told her he was more than just a body. This book affected me like no other one that I have read in the past few years. A definite read for everyone, but especially for all Speech Language Pathologists.
2) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don is an adult on the spectrum, only he doesn't realize it. He is a college genetics professor who has made a list of traits that the woman he will marry will have. But then, Rosie walks into his life; she is looking for her biological father and enlists Don's help. She has none of the traits on his list. Before I read this, a reviewer said that it was really funny. W hile I didn't find myself laughing or even giggling out loud while I read it, I did find it highly interesting. I found myself cheering for the whole Don & Rosie relationship. I found the resolutions to "the Rosie Project" and "the Father Project" to be predictable; no surprises there.
3) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Another heart-wrenching book. This is a brilliant book into the mind of a young man with high-level autism...although the book never says that he is on the spectrum. The author has a background of working with people on the spectrum, so one would have to imagine that this is how he perceives the mind would work. Having also worked with children on the spectrum, I could definitely see their minds working this way. I could imagine Christopher on the train, panicking because of all of the people and the noise, just as I could imagine him crawling somewhere and enclosing himself so he felt safe. I could imagine him using strategies to keep himself calm.
Mark Haddon wrote this book as if he was Christopher writing a book. It is a little hard to follow along at times because he gets off-track. This adds to the "believability" of the book; I could see some of my former students thinking the same thing as Christopher. Mr. Haddon also does a very good job of "regular" characters int he book not understanding why Christopher behaves as he does in certain situations; why he strikes out at people when being touched, why he won't eat things that are a certain color, and why he puts his hands over his ears when the noises are loud.
If you've worked with students on the spectrum, you may be able to see some of them in Christopher. If you haven't had the opportunity to work with students on the spectrum, read this book first so you will have an inside look into their world.
4) Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
This isn't a "Speech Book", but a great summer read. This was a good "tug at the heart strings" kind of book. I laughed. I cried. I cheered. August, a recovering alcoholic and a teacher, agrees to take Wes' 2 sons with him as he explores National Parks in his RV. Your heart just aches for these boys as you learn about their lives. It also aches for August, as his reason for going on the trip is to scatter part of his son's ashes.
The book is only half-way over when the summer ends. It then jumps ahead 8 years: Seth is in college and Henry in high school. August has been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and has to get rid of his RV. He asks Seth if he wants to buy it, and Seth agrees. When Seth & Henry go to San Diego to get the RV, they have a surprise: it's their turn to take care of him.
5) Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Melody is seven years old, sharp as a tack, but very few people (besides her parents) know it because she is non-verbal. This book tells of her AAC journey. Word of warning: you will become very frustrated because there's very little mention of an SLP. Where was she/he??? Why did Melody's babysitter have to get the wheels turning so Melody would have a voice? If you can get past the frustration, you'll enjoy this book!
6) Schuyler's Monster by Robert Rummel-Hudson
From the time Schuyler is a baby, her parents realize she's "different": she misses developmental milestones and she isn't talking. Mr. Rummel-Hudson writes about their journey to first diagnose her, and then to find appropriate treatment, as well as how it affected them as a family. He writes very candidly about the difficulties they had with finding that appropriate treatment. I was quite embarrassed that the school SLP dismissed their request for signing because the SLP didn't sign. Are you kidding me???? As a School SLP, it's our responsibility to find the best means of communication for the child, and, if it's something we're not familiar with, it's our responsibility to receive the appropriate training to do our job. (Are you with me?) I just wanted to shake that SLP when I read that, and I also wanted to reach out to the author and let him know that not all SLPs are like that, some actually are in this profession to help children. I also thought that the author reflected too much on himself at times instead of focusing on his daughter.
All of that aside, this is an excellent book. The author is also a blog author, so you can get updates on Schuyler at his blog.
7) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
I read this whole book (except for the last chapter) on an 11-hour ride. wonderfully written, this book follows Max, a child with autism, and his imaginary friend, Budo. told from Budo's view, we see what it's like in the imaginary world. We see how important imaginary friends are to children. Mr. Dicks (a teacher) did a wonderful job of making me think that there possibly could be an imaginary world out there. I was so enthralled with Max's and Budo's adventures that I had a very difficult time putting the book down. I literally laughed out loud about the Tommy Swinden incident, and definitely had tears in my eyes several times.
8) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
I found this book to be just fascinating. Written by Jean-Dominique after he had a massive stroke that left him unable to speak as well as a quadriplegic, he fully describes his life in his silent world. The amazing way that it was written makes the book even more fascinating: He looked at each letter of a word on the wall with someone scribing what he was saying. He was the editor of Elle magazine when he had his stroke. I wondered throughout the book why he didn't have some sort of eye-gaze AAC device to communicate. This really is quite an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man.
My "To Read" List:
* The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
* The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger's Syndrome, and One's Man Quest to be a Better Husband by David Finch
* Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
* Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
* Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Alison Maloney
* Jewel by Bret Lott
* An Uncomplicated Life by Paul Daugherty
How do I find these books? Check out Speech Reads, the Facebook Group SLP Online Book Club, and The SLP Book Club (hosted by Super Power Speech)
Want to find used books that are in excellent condition for a portion of the price? Check out Thriftbooks. (If you use that link to sign up, we'll both be entered to win a $100 Thriftbooks gift card! When you reach $50 in purchases, you earn a $5 coupon. Free shipping on orders $10 or more.) I've used this quite a bit and have had all of the books in almost new condition. It takes a little longer than Amazon, but the savings are well worth it!