Amanda CurtisAmanda Curtis
Dip Teaching Primary
Grad Dip Ed Admin
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Amanda was frustrated at the lack of books that could explain Asperger’s to children in junior grades. Her son has Asperger’s syndrome and had trouble settling in class, and his peers had trouble understanding why he behaved the way he did. Drawing on her teaching qualifications and her son’s experiences in the classroom, she put together a big book for her son’s class and disclosed the diagnosis to parents. The effect was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Her son’s classmates finally understood his behaviours. They not only accepted him as a good friend, but celebrated him and his differences. Instead of moving away from him, staring and teasing, they helped him pack up, invited him to be a friend and much more.

Amanda has since developed the big book to include many other behaviours that set the child with Asperger’s apart from their peers. The comprehensive guide that accompanies the big book shares strategies that worked for her son in disclosure and in working with the school.

The guide emphasises that implementing the book is not a one-off activity—that parents, the teachers and the principal need to work together on an ongoing basis to make school a safe, supporting and enriching place for the child with Asperger’s. The big book’s success is based on this. Amanda’s main message—of the need to have “empathy” for the child with Asperger’s—flows throughout the big book and the guide.