"I wanted to flip my lid and rip up my paper. Throwing the ball was a much better choice than that. Couldn't she see how grown-up and responsible I was being? Before I could explain, she asked again, "Can I trust you with the ball?"
She put it back on my desk and I grabbed it, but it didn't feel as good anymore."
Lauren, like all children, has good days and bad ones. Unlike most children, Lauren is on the autism spectrum and some days she feels like a slug. Now, slugs leave beautiful trails as they go but we do know that those trails are slimy, and that slugs move very slowly.
Lauren likes to be prepared for the events of her days. Any inevitable change can cause anxiety and a reaction. Many things prove upsetting - missing a favorite activity, sitting on a new seat on the bus, not getting her shoes tied right, and even writing new alphabet letters. All these things are pretty common in the life of a child going to school.
Using Lauren's voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty that make it easier for readers to feel the frustrations she sees in her world. Those slug days are hampered by outbursts, confusion, and a lack of patience all around. Lauren also experiences butterfly days when many things go right - her teachers, the kids at school, and her family enjoy her humor, her growing ability to communicate and find joy in some activities. She loves a trip to get ice cream, and to work on personal projects. With support from others and her own stubborn determination to voice her feelings, she is making progress.
Lauren's growing perception of herself and her attempts to remain calm and try to understand others are clearly evident when she befriends another student. She does her best to help Irma deal with her own insecurities about the changes wrought with attendance at a new school.
This perceptive and sensitive tale chronicles a week in the life of a young, determined girl who thinks differently than many others. She is learning and we are learning with her.
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1 year ago
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