Ian’s Walk – Laurie Lears and Karen Ritz
A book written for the siblings of autistic children to help them to understand differences they might see in their brother or sister. It could also help explain to primary school children differences they see in their classmates, if they have autistic children at their school.
This book tells the story of Julie going to the park with her older sister, Tara, and younger brother, Ian, who is autistic. The book goes through Julie’s interpretations of Ian’s sensory processing as they walk to the park, and then after the events in the park, she tries to understand Ian from his point of view. Many books like this often approach it from the whole “His/her brains works differently, he/she does this…” but I haven’t seen many that approach the sensory side of autism, which this book does.
There isn’t a whole lot to review really in this book because it is a children’s story book, but the story is well written and easy to follow for children of a variety of ages. The illustrations are also brilliant. I would say that this book is probably aimed at children up to the age of about 10 – 12 (primary school age).
Siblings of autistic children and children who have an autistic child in their class often have questions about why an autistic child behaves differently to time. In the places I’ve worked, the early years of primary school (Reception through to Year 2) are generally quite accepting and try to understand and include the autistic students. Then, as they get older, they begin to understand social norms more and begin to interprete the behavior of the autistic children as strange or silly – much like Julie does in this book. Having access to a book like this may help them to carry on being as understanding and accepting as they get older. I think copies of books like this one should be available in primary schools – I have enquired at the school where I work as to whether they can include a copy of this book in their next budget.
Is it worth reading? For siblings and classmates of autistic children, this book is definitely worth the read.