Book review: The Ice-Cream Sundae Guide to Autism


Author: D. Elley & T. Houghton
Illustrator: J.C. Perry
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-78775-380-8

Debby Elley is the co-author of AuKids magazine and the parent of twin teenage sons on the autistic spectrum. Her co-author is the co-editor of the magazine and is a speech and language therapist, as well as the founder of a specialist support service for young people and their families.

This is a deceptively simple text that manages to convey useful information about autism through ice-cream based analogies. It is a picture-led text that would be valuable to parents, schools and other professionals as part of their inclusive resources. 

The authors explain that people on the autistic spectrum might have difficulty with communication, interpreting body language and understanding feelings. They describe situations that children can relate to which are matched to whole page illustrations.

There are talking points to stimulate discussion and interaction and simple tips to improve children’s understanding of the difficulties autistic classmates might be experiencing in their daily lives. They explain what ‘meltdowns’ are and how some children experience sensory differences and the book closes with  suggested activities for classroom teachers.

This is a useful and attractive publication that has been developed with feedback from the readers of Aukids. It explains a complex condition in a neutral way that can help children improve the ways that they relate to one another.

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