Author(s): Paula Kluth
Using case stories and recommendations based on the authors' research, this book helps teachers to think differently about the so-called "unusual, repetitive or severely limited activities and interests" (Autism Fact Sheet, 2007) of children with autism. Many individuals with autism have deep interest in one or a variety of topics. Some interests are commonly seen across individuals with autism, others seem more unique to an individual person. While conducting their research in schools, the authors observed that plans and goals for students with autism are developed for the purpose of 'extinguishing' or severely limiting these areas of interest.From their observations, the authors concluded that if educators could reframe 'obsessions' as fascinations, passions, interests, or 'enthusiasms' and see these areas as potential tools for teaching and supporting, educators and their students with autism may potentially be more satisfied, calm, and successful.
Just Give Him the Whale! was written to help teachers and others working with children with autism understand and work with children's fascinations instead of trying to change them.
Paula Kluth is an independent education consultant and scholar in Illinois.
Patrick Schwarz is Associate Professor of Special Education, National-Louis University.