By Jessica Howard
A Bacchus Marsh mother has written a new book that is breaking down the barriers of autism.
The Boy with a Different Brain has been a five-year project for Brooke Ross that provides readers with an honest and uncensored account of what it feels like to be friends with a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Brooke, who has an 11-year-old son on the Spectrum, said the narrative provides the audience with everyday situations and some of the more common ASD quirks in order to create a greater understanding of the disorder.
“Every child will deal with bullying at one time or another, but it took me a while to realise that a lot of kids were giving others a hard time simply because they didn’t understand,” she said.
“For years we have educated our kids on the differences you can see. Children don’t blink an eye about someone in a wheelchair or their different skin colour as we are very accepting now, however very little awareness has been raised about the differences that you can’t see – such as neurological things like ASD or ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)”.
Brooke said The Boy with a Different Brain was written from the perspective of an eight-year-old child to address the bullying and social exclusion commonly experienced by children with ASD.
“One in five people have ASD, whether diagnosed or not, and when you’ve got kids that are bullying them, you can’t just put them in detention at lunch time, you’ve got to help them to understand why the person they’re bullying is different to them.
“Kids with ASD aren’t broken or weird, they just do things differently”.
The Boy with a Different Brain targets children in grades prep to four and features bright hand-drawn illustrations by Bacchus Marsh Primary School grade-six student Sky McBain.
Featuring an engaging mix of storybook fact and age-appropriate humour, the book can be purchased online for $19.95.
For more information, visit www.hbe.com.au/the-boy-with-a-different-brain.html.