Different Croaks for Different Folks
Midori Ochiai, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 1843103923, £12.99
STAR RATING: 3/5
Can you relate to a child through the life of a toad? “Teacher Toad’s special lessons” is the first part of this book and compares the complexities of its life with that of a human, writes Lyn Reeve.
The toad comparison is an attempt to address autism and related spectrum difficulties.
But I have reservations about using this analogy. Indeed as the author later writes: “Young autistic children tend to have difficulty
mentally picturing things that are not physically present in front of them, or imagining hypothetical or fantastical situations”.
I feel the idea of introducing amphibian analogies will confuse utistic children. The sad picture of the little green frog saying “I’m a
bad boy” epitomises this to me as I can almost hear a young Asperger’s boy I know shouting: “No you’re not – you’re a frog!”
That said I can see a valid use for this section with siblings and peers of autistic children to help them understand the complexities of the condition. Indeed, I would be happy to use this story with my key stage one class to celebrate everyone’s diversity.
The next two sections of the book are easily accessible to a parent or a professional. They give precise, factual information
without being patronising. I would be happy to recommend it to any new parent of a special needs child but feel it should carry a “reality” health warning particularly when applied to autistic children.
Lyn Reeve is a primary school teacher in Derbyshire