Back in 2013, when my friend and mentor mentioned that her young daughter had published her first book, I was very pleased for her, even though I never read it. I’d known her daughter, Catlaina, since before she was born (I remember feeling her kick through Denise’s belly). Watching her and her sister grow up – often from afar – has been one of my greatest pleasures.
In December, I learned Catlaina had published her second book Ella Autie: A Book About Autism Written by an Autistic Person. For such a small book, it packs a wallop of a punch!
In Catlaina’s words…
Ella Autie is a book about autism, SPD, dyspraxia, neurodiversity and friendship.
During this story, we follow Ella (a non-verbal autistic 4th grader who has a lot to say) through her school day, and get to see a glimpse of what being autistic and having SPD and dyspraxia is really like. Many of the experiences and interactions with people Ella has are similar to my own.
This story is told first-person unlike most disability books. Ella meets the new girl at school, Sarah, who greatly misunderstands Ella’s autism and is ‘overly helpful’ to Ella’s dismay.
This book is my contribution to the autistic civil rights movement- it explains in a kid friendly way much of the stigma we face daily because we are autistic.
This book also gives information on AAC, PECS, dyspraixa, SPD, the neurodiversity symbol, why autistic people prefer identity-first language, stimming (or self-stimulation behavior), eye contact (and why it’s so hard) and special interests.
Ella Autie is a powerful little book. It meshes story with information, seamlessly incorporating vocabulary in a way that empowers the reader. Very uplifting! It is a must read for parents, teachers, and anyone who interacts with children.