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Thursday, February 15, 2018

To Explore Strange New Worlds: A book review.

Full disclosure, I actually don't enjoy reading books about autism. I know, I know.  Very ironic seeing as I write about it a lot. It takes a certain something special to make me want to do so.

Full disclosure, I married a Trekkie. So when I was approached to read and review Elizabeth W. Barnes' new book "To Explore Strange New Worlds: Understanding Autism Through a Star Trek Lens, well, you have my attention.

You don't spend 17 years with a guy without some of that Star Trek rubbing off on ya. 


Autism and Star Trek. Now if you are a fan of the various series, it kind of makes sense.  There are several characters on the show that display characteristics similar to ones that autistic people display.  Spock from the original series is usually the first one that comes to mind for most people. However, there are also many different examples of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance displayed throughout the various series and Ms. Barnes leads you through it.  Even if you are not a super fan, it's still a fun read with plenty of background information on the plot lines so you can follow along.  (And lots of direct quotes because scripting isn't just something our kids do! We do it too!) 

What I loved about this book foremost is how the author and her child really connected through a mutual love of all things Star Trek.  If you are an autism parent, you know once your kid likes something, you are about to become an expert on it too.  You also know if the thing they like is something you love, it's a bonus!! I think it was very smart of her to take this mutual love and run with it to teach him various things about the world and his autism in general.  That's just solid parenting advice right there. Using what they love to model different challenges they face in life. Ms. Barnes even points out that are many different types of TV shows one could use in a similar way.

She includes a very extensive and detailed list of episodes that cover a wide variety of topics such as learning to read facial expressions and social cues, bullying, anxiety, communication, difficulty with transitions and changes, meltdowns, stimming, and intense interests and fixations.  She also includes talking points and questions for each one that you could use to have a conversation with your loved one with autism to go into more detail about each topic.

All in all, an entertaining way to look at autism, neurodiversity, and relationships.  If you are looking for something less "Sciencey" and more "Sci Fi", this might be the book for you.  Order it here or through your favorite book store.  Make it so!

Mama Fry's Book Club for those who spend a lot of time in therapy waiting rooms pick. 


(Full disclosure. I was provided a copy of this book and compensation for my time by the publisher. My views of it are my own.)


1 comment:

  1. Oooh, sounds interesting - not particularly a fan myself but I wonder if my girl would like Star Trek as she's keen on other worlds! It's all about Pokemon right now though - I hear you re the way we have to get into what they like :)

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