The Little Class with the Big Personality
Experiences of Teaching a Class of Young Children with Autism
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
The Little Class with the Big Personality is an honest account of the day-to-day challenges faced by the teacher of seven very different autistic children. The author's creative, accessible approach invites the reader to look beyond the stereotypes of mainstream schooling and explore the experience of teaching a lively group of children with autism. The illustrations, by one of the children, add a pupil's perspective of the diverse personalities and class activities described within the book.The author provides an insight into the hopes and concerns of parents as their children begin their educational journey. Some of the parents share their anxieties about handing over the care of their son or daughter to an unknown teacher in these early years, and their worries about placing them in the new and alien classroom environment, trusting that their child will be understood, accepted and liked.This book provides a professional and highly readable overview of an early-years class for children with autism for both educators and parents. Ultimately, it is a celebration of the personalities of children with autism.
'This very readable book is useful to both parents and practitioners. From a parental point of view, it provides insight into family anxieties as well as their amazing capacity to cope and invest in the welfare of their children. For practitioners, this book offers engaging anecdotes and experiences that many of us will be able to relate to such as 'the domino effect' where one child manages to tip the whole class 'from calm to chaos'. As always, sharing in the experiences of other practitioners can give us confidence in what we are doing as well as giving us pointers for improving our own practice. I found this book a very enjoyable, gentle read.'- Early Talk'Fran Hunnisett devotes a chapter to each of the seven children in her class and skilfully unpicks some of the traditional diagnostic criteria for autism, showing how getting to know each individual is more important than the label. The children are engaging, lovable, complex, rewarding and infuriating in turns and the pictures, which are drawn by one of them, aptly illustrate what the author describes. This is accessible reading for parents and teachers and helps highlight the advantages and disadvantages of educating these children in a segregated class rather then in a mainstream school. It is an essential buy for any mainstream teacher thinking of transferring to special education.' - TES Extra'Teacher Hunnisett lets us into the classroom and the lives of seven autistic children she had the honour to teach for three years in a school in the north of England. Hunnisett lovingly and honestly describes her experiences with each child and his or her parents, and how they developed a strong sense of community. She reminds us that even in this later time of standardized tests and target setting that children, parents, and teachers can create an accepting and effective educational environment focussed on the best teachers of all, the children. A student provides the charming illustrations.'- Book News
When Fran Hunnisett began teaching children with autism, she immediately knew she had found her vocation. All the children she has taught have enriched her life and she is delighted to have this opportunity to introduce some of them to you, the reader. The Little Class with the Big Personality is written in celebration of personality in all its rich and varied forms.
Preface. The Illustrations. Introduction: No Rainman. 1. The Runner. 2. Our Little Princess. 3. The Philosopher. 4. The Water-baby. 5. Tigger - with Extra Bounce. 6. The Diplomat. 7. The Wind-up Merchant. Postscript - A Note to Educators. Appendix 1. Fun Books to Appeal to Your Child. Appendix 2. References and Further Reading on Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Appendix 3. Organisations. References. Index.
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