A Parent on My Peace Place - Guest Post by Mari L. Barnes
How does My Peace Place relate to autism? Tammy Hastings left a comment on Flying Turtle’s Facebook page. She thought the book would be beneficial to her daughter, Katelyn, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Tammy’s post opened my eyes to new possibilities for helping children.
My co-author, Lori Bortnick was the catalyst for this book. For more than 15 years, Lori has been an early childhood educator in inner-city schools. She sees the effects of environmental stress on very young kids every day. Lori wanted to create a book that encouraged children to practice self-regulation — calming, comforting and centering themselves.
Tammy agreed to share some thoughts about My Peace Place.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 41 years old, I had Katelyn when I was 36; she is an only child. I love to read when I get the time, most of my time is spent playing or taking care of Katelyn's needs.
2. What would you like us to know about Katelyn?
Katelyn has autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing disorder. She is verbal, can read and write and is very sociable.
3. What kinds of activities do you and Katelyn enjoy?
We paint, go swimming and play at the park. She loves pretend play with her Barbies and stuffed animals. We read stories and sing songs.
4. What causes stress reactions for Katelyn?
Katelyn gets easily stressed out about certain TV commercials and shows. She doesn't like yelling or fighting even if it's just pretend. Or loud noises such as sirens, fire drills at preschool, motorcycles and fireworks. She is very sociable, but will sometimes get stressed out at large gatherings of people.
5. What did Katelyn most enjoy about My Peace Place?
Katelyn really enjoyed the rhyming. She loves to rhyme and tries to make words rhyme all the time.
6. Do you and Katelyn have a favorite technique from?
I just think the whole book is wonderful in trying to teach children about coping skills. Katelyn has a very hard time understanding and processing coping skills. With this book being a rhyming book, it is something that Katelyn loves and very much takes an interest in. It therefore allows her to understand and process the meanings a little easier.
Thanks for your insights, Tammy and thanks for sharing My Peace Place with Katelyn’s class.
As they grow, children continue to benefit by the knowledge that they have the power to control the anxiety caused by stress. They learn that they don’t need to look outside of themselves for peace. Here’s to helping our children grow in confidence!
Mari L Barnes writes for children under the pen name of Mari Lumpkin and for adults as ML Barnes. Her books, Parting River Jordan and Crossing River Jordan are proof that church can be funny. Mari’s company, Flying Turtle Publishing, specializes in books that families can share. Be sure to check out Flying Turtle Publishing on Facebook and follow @flyingturtlepub on Twitter!
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