I've referred to this book several times on this blog but I've never actually done a review. This post aims to change that.
When we were initially struggling with the Aspergers diagnosis for my eldest son, we jumped into a whole heap of complicated books. They were generally a good read but most of them were way too clinical.
Then I heard about this book and I decided to buy it off amazon without having even looked inside. I couldn't find it in any Australian bookstores though funnily enough, now that I know what I'm looking for, I've seen it lots of times.
I suspect that had I seen inside the book before I bought it, I might have had second thoughts about buying it but then, I would have been wrong. It's not just the covers that you shouldn't use to judge books by - sometimes you really do need to read them first.
At first glance, the book looks quite shallow. It's sort of like the famous "blue day book" except that all of the pictures are of cats - and I'm much more a "dog person".
The layout of the book is one big colour picture per page and one or two lines of text.
Read it through cover to cover and it's a completely different experience. Each page introduces a new concept or puts a different spin on an old one. It's just a line or two of text of text and a picture of a cat - so it's not detailed in any way but somehow between the line and the picture, you really end up thinking about what is being said.
The book is very linear though and each page builds on the others which precede it (you shouldn't start reading from the middle). By the end of the book, you have a firm grasp of the outward signs of aspergers and at least a general idea of what it feels like to have it.
You will probably have picked up a few good parenting tips along the way too.
Using the Book
My wife and I were so impressed with the book that we got our parents to read it too. It's amazing. We'd been trying to explain aspergers to them for ages and somehow this book is capable of doing it in 30 minutes,
My eldest son, who struggles with his reading but at 10 is just starting to read books without pictures, finished "All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome" in a single sitting. It's easy enough to be accessible to him. It also provided an amazing opportunity to discuss how he feels.
In fact, I'd classify our conversation during and immediately after reading the book together as one of the most important conversations we've ever had. He really opened up.
I'd strongly recommend "All Cats Have Aspergers Syndrome" to anyone with aspergers in the family and to all teachers and practitioners who deal with children with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism. It's one of those books you simply must have available for discussions and explanations with parents, relatives and educators and it has amazing potential to get your child talking about how they feel.
All Cats have Asperger Syndrome is available on Amazon and in most good bookstores. There's even a companion book called "All Dogs have ADHD" which I haven't read yet but it sounds interesting.
Kathy Hoopmann's web site is here; http://www.kathyhoopmann.com/index.html
Honesty Clause: This wasn't a review copy. I went out and bought this book - and I'm very glad that I did.