Trainman: Gaining Acceptance … and Friends … Through Special Interests
Intense, all-consuming interest in a special topic is one of the core characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. While often viewed as a barrier to social interactions with others, special interests can be “turned around” and become a strength, resulting in very positive social outcomes, even friendships. Beyond the potential for friendships, special interests have also been found to increase self-esteem and success in academic areas.
In this warmly illustrated children’s book, we meet Stefan, who has a deep interest in trains, roads, and maps. At first, Stefan’s near-exclusive interest in transportation-related topics isolated him from other kids, but his parents and teachers helped turn his unique talents into an asset. His classmates now respect Stefan for his vast knowledge and have come to recognize that he is more like them than different. This book is an ideal addition to any autism awareness program at the elementary level.