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The Chameleon Kid
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An occasional meltdown is a reality of childhood for most children. But for a child with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism, meltdowns are often more frequent, explosive and long-lasting events. In "The Chameleon Kid", an illustrated children's story, Elaine Marie Larson suggests ways children on the high end of the autism spectrum can attempt to approach and control their meltdowns before the meltdowns take control of them. The chameleon adapts his color to his surroundings as well as to his mood and communication needs. Much like the chameleon, the child on the autism spectrum can adapt to his surroundings by altering his behavior in dealing with the emotions that precede a meltdown. By practicing the techniques in "The Chameleon Kid", children can learn to eliminate Meltdown, depicted as a monster, or at least reduce its hold on him. The dramatic and colorful page spreads literally show readers in front of their own eyes how the Chameleon Kid reduces Meltdown in size and power by using the strategies presented in the book. To add another dimension, common idioms such as have a cow, take a hike and stubborn as a mule and cleverly defined, as these types of sayings are confusing to children on the autism spectrum who tend to be very literal. Tips and ideas at the back of the book, make "The Chameleon Kid" a valuable springboard for further assisting children in learning to better control their emotions.
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Most materials addressing meltdowns are focused on how we as parents or educators can 'manage' the child's behavior. The Chameleon Kid is different by providing strategies for the kids themselves to recognize their emotions and gain confidence in their ability to manage the notorious Meltdown. Eye-catching cartoon-like graphics and clever use of idioms add the extra spice that will keep young readers engaged while learning more about how to empower themselves. -- Kristi Sakai "parent of three children with autism spectrum disorders and author of Finding Our Way, Practical Solutions for Creating a Supportive Home and Community for the Asperger Syndrome Family"

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