Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ben & His Helmet Books

Ben and His Helmet Social Story Books by Nelle Francis

Ben and His Helmet books for Aspergers

Discover why these books are helping children with Asperger's Syndrome.

These books will help your child learn how to cope with the characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome and Autism, and reduce meltdowns at the same time!

These books are guaranteed to improve the way your child with Asperger's Syndrome manages his behaviour! 
"Too good to be true," I hear you say…..


You're on this website because you're continually looking for ways to help your family live with with Asperger's Syndrome. You're looking for something to make a difference - something that works. You're not looking for a cure; you know Asperger's Syndrome can't be cured. You've tried lots of things and you'll continue to try anything: new treatments, new therapies, new strategies, in your quest to help your child towards becoming an independent adult who self-manages his behaviour. I know the hours you spend searching, I know what you're feeling, because I've been there. I'm the mother of a child with Asperger's Syndrome too.

I'm also a Special Needs Educator who grew to be extremely frustrated and fed up with the lack of resources on the market that "told it like it is" - from a child with Asperger's Syndrome's point of view. The group of children I was working with at the time didn't have anything in the fiction genre to read that described life from their perspective - lots of stories describing how they SHOULD behave, and other stories that passed judgement on 'good' and 'bad' behaviour.

But for our children with Asperger's Syndrome behaviour choices are based on sensory sensitivities, or inability to read facial expressions, or failure to recognise a literal meaning, or being unable to change track quickly or not understanding instructions.

Aspie children aren't naughty kids – they're just trying as hard as they can to interpret the world.

Asperger children aren't “broken” and they don't need “fixing”.

"He heard the hum, hum, humming of the fluorescent lights. Her eyebrows were pulled together
and she had creases in her forehead. Ben thought she looked like her hair was too tight for her head."

" 'Ben, come and sit where I can keep an eye on you!' said Mrs. Greenwood. Ben kept looking at his
shoulder, to see if Mrs. Greenwoods eye was there."
I was also aware that some of my Teacher colleagues had little or no understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Those that did know could list the characteristics, but had trouble transferring that knowledge into
everyday situations and scenarios.
After reading my books countless Teachers have commented, "I didn't know..." or "I didn't realise…"
These books won't cure Asperger's Syndrome, and initially you might think "They're just books -
what difference can they really make?" But, when your child reads them, and excitedly talks to
you about "that boy in the books!" and whispers to you "I think he has Asperger's Syndrome, Mum!"
you'll see the connection your child has made with Ben's character.

And when they come home after a 'bad' day at school and grab their 'Ben and His Helmet' books
to read you'll know they are looking for solutions as they navigate social skills, facial expressions,
literal meanings, school routines and change.
"Yes, thought Ben, it all makes sense now…"


In the Ben and His Helmet series of books Ben's magic helmet helps him unravel the mystery of
social skills, facial expressions, literal meanings, school routines and change, by offering sound
advice and helpful solutions.
"When you don't understand something Mrs. Greenwood has told you to do, you should
put your hand up and ask her to explain," his helmet stated clearly.

Ben, His Helmet and the Too Tight Hair (5-9 yrs) introduces Ben's character and his magic
helmet. We get to know Ben, and the way he interprets his world. Ben knows it used to belong
to aliens, because Mum said ‘What's that alien-looking object near the back fence?'"
Ben, His Helmet and the Crashing Cymbals (5-9 yrs) tells the story of Ben going to a music lesson,
being overloaded from the noise, and successfully finding a way to overcome this challenging situation.
“When the cymbals crashed, Ben got a fright! Soon it was too noisy for him and he covered his ears with his hands.”
Ben, His Helmet and Hats Off (5-9 yrs) is about Ben attending Assembly/Parade and the sensory
minefield this can be for children with Asperger's Syndrome. Once again his helmet comes to the rescue. “He found he heard a lot more at this Assembly than he ever had before - it was the best Assembly ever!”
Ben, His Helmet and Bees in Your Bonnet (9-12 yrs) is about school Sports Day and the Asperger child.
The book also includes a range of puzzle pages that children love to solve. “Ben is confused! Mr. Pellum thinks he has a ‘bee in his bonnet' but there aren't any bees in the classroom and he wears a hat, not a bonnet!  And if that's not bad enough, Ben's just remembered that it's Sports Day on Friday!”Ben, His Helmet and the Teacher Switch (9-12 yrs) recounts the tale of how Ben copes with a
Substitute Teacher and introduces the concept of Social Stories™. This book also includes a
range of puzzle pages. “Ben overhears some news that sets his heart thump, thump, thumping!
Then Mr. Pellum starts ‘crossing bridges' and Ben is totally bamboozled.”

Two things will happen when your child with Asperger's Syndrome reads these books.
1. Your child will make a connection with Ben, and think to himself "That's how I feel!" or "That's what I think!", and they'll really be able to identify with Ben's sensory sensitivities.  Never before have they read a book where the character thanks and acts like they do. With that connection comes the idea that they could try those problem-solving strategies too. With that idea comes the first move towards self-assessment "How am I feeling?", self-monitoring “I feel anxious, angry/sad” and the natural progression towards self-management "Perhaps I need 'time out'".

2. The second thing that will happen is that the adult reading the story to your child will at last realise the cumulative effect of EVERYTHING that occurs in your child's life, and how it can often be overwhelming. E.g. It's not the smell of the glue-pots that sends your child into overload, and therefore meltdown; rather it's
the burnt toast in the morning
+ a change in the expected timetable at school
+ not understanding a literal meaning
+ misinterpreting a facial expression
+ not understanding instructions
+ the smell of the glue-pots
= overload = meltdown
This realisation brings empathy, and empathy brings a desire to help. This leads them to being able to better anticipate your child's ability to cope with stimuli (verbal, physical, tactile) and monitor your child's sensory environment.
This means that some meltdowns and potentially explosive situations can be prevented. The one Asperger's Syndrome characteristic I've been looking to minimise is the meltdowns! I can live with everything else; in fact I can see the benefits of most of the other characteristics and the different way of thinking. But I can do without the meltdowns!
As a bonus, other children will gain an empathy for your child with Asperger's Syndrome, without identifyingyour child specifically! Asperger's Syndrome and/or Autism isn't 'named' in the books, Ben simply portrays the characteristics. So these books are perfect for the child who hasn't been diagnosed, or the ones who don't know of their diagnosis. This means the Ben and His Helmet series are suitable for children with ASD, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD and PDDNOS, who share some characteristics. I've also found these books enormously helpful for grandparents and aunts and uncles, who sometimes have great difficulty understanding my child with Asperger's Syndrome's behaviour.

That's why I've written a SERIES of books. I will (eventually!) cover all the major situations our children have difficulty with:- music lessons, Assembly/Parade, Sport's Day, Substitute Teachers, swimming lessons, and so on until Ben's transition to High School. Our family's already experienced all those important stages in our son's life so your child with Asperger's Syndrome will reap the benefit of our hindsight.
In fact, that's where the ideas for my stories come from - my son says to me "Mum, you MUST write a story about Sport's Day!" and it's on his insistence that I keep writing until Ben makes the transition to High School, which to date has been the most important transition of our son's life. Another benefit of having a series of books is that the child can make a real connection with Ben's character- he becomes familiar.
The use of repetitious text means there's a certain predictability; for struggling-readers there comes a confidence when they "know that part". Each story deals with:-
School routinesSocial skillsFacial expressionsLiteral meaningsTransition/changeSensory issues
and so each book offers a chance to consolidate and build on your ASD child's progression towards self-management, while at the same time reinforcing classroom practice and procedures.

The most economical way to purchase is buy the whole series of 5 Ben and His Helmet books for the one low price of $80.00+ shipping. That means the price per book is less than $17.00!

The fastest way to order is to click here. You'll be taken to my site bookstore, where you can be
guaranteed of the total security of ordering and paying online. I use a PayPal shopping cart.
The books will be posted by me today, and will take 10-14 days to arrive.
Don't delay – help put the pieces together for your child with Asperger's Syndrome – and order the Ben and His Helmet books today!

Happy reading,
Nelle Frances

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