This very readable book is useful to both parents and practitioners. From a parental point of view, it provides insight into family anxieties as well as their amazing capacity to cope and invest in the welfare of their children. For practitioners, this book offers engaging anecdotes and experiences that many of us will be able to relate to such as 'the domino effect' where one child manages to tip the whole class 'from calm to chaos'. As always, sharing in the experiences of other practitioners can give us confidence in what we are doing as well as giving us pointers for improving our own practice. I found this book a very enjoyable, gentle read.
Fran Hunnisett devotes a chapter to each of the seven children in her class and skilfully unpicks some of the traditional diagnostic criteria for autism, showing how getting to know each individual is more important than the label. The children are engaging, lovable, complex, rewarding and infuriating in turns and the pictures, which are drawn by one of them, aptly illustrate what the author describes. This is accessible reading for parents and teachers and helps highlight the advantages and disadvantages of educating these children in a segregated class rather then in a mainstream school. It is an essential buy for any mainstream teacher thinking of transferring to special education.
Teacher Hunnisett lets us into the classroom and the lives of seven autistic children she had the honour to teach for three years in a school in the north of England. Hunnisett lovingly and honestly describes her experiences with each child and his or her parents, and how they developed a strong sense of community. She reminds us that even in this later time of standardized tests and target setting that children, parents, and teachers can create an accepting and effective educational environment focussed on the best teachers of all, the children. A student provides the charming illustrations.