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Ok, I know I just did my first book review but this is another one I felt compelled to chat about. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper was another ridiculously easy read and so well communicated. I took a moment to look up the author to see where she got her inspiration and I found this ‘interview‘ with her which I thought did a great job of describing why and how she created Melody her main character. I’m sure many people have written about this book but I loved how it was narrated from Melody’s point of view. In fact the book starts and ends the same way, with her introducing herself with these words:
‘….. all my words had meanings. But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.‘
I work with so many kids that don’t have what the world expects in terms of communication. One of my favorite aspects of work is getting to know each child and learning how they communicate. I have never ceased to be amazed at the senses of humor and displays of personality that are often hidden from those who don’t take the time to learn the ‘password’ into the child’s own communication.
I think AAC (alternative adaptive communication) is so important to helping children communicate in whatever method works for them. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a talker and I can’t imagine the frustration (which is so beautifully described in this book) of not being able to say what you want to say. Or saying it in a way that you think is so clear, only to be misunderstood by those around you.
As someone who doesn’t have these challenges, after reading this book, the closest I can come to imagining what it would be like is to picture landing in the middle of a foreign country where they don’t understand a single word I am saying. Now combine that with being laid up physically (such as after a surgery) and needing to depend on people for your most basic needs. Talk about frustration.
If, as people read this book, it causes them to take pause and maybe take an extra moment around children (and adults) who interact in this world in a way that is outside of your expected norms. Maybe that extra moment will let you connect with the amazing personality that makes that person who they are, then the time you took to read this book was well worth it.