Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Recommend: This is quite a read. If you are looking to gain some insight into how people with autism think, this is quite a read.
This book tells the story of a young boy name Christopher who happens to be autistic. Christopher’s world is turned upside down when he discovers his neighbor’s dog has been killed. As he tries to figure out who might have killed the dog, he unravels more than he had bargained for, creating a crisis for the young man that changes his life.
The author attempts to write the book in the way that an Autistic person would process and see the world. As a teacher, I work with students from every walk of life and every ability level. For some reason, I work fairly well with students who are on the Autism spectrum. I understand their need for black and white, rules, routine, and that they need certain things to always be a certain way. For this reason, I do things like keep these students in the same seat year after year (I teach music, so I have students all the way through their elementary education), give them a heads up when we are going to do something different and try to accommodate for sound when I can (which can be a challenge in the music room). I have a fairly decent understanding of how the autistic mind works (well at least for someone who isn’t autistic) and found this to be the best attempt to try to communicate what is going on in their head I have ever read.
This book did an amazing job of communicating how overwhelming the world can be for someone with the processing issues that come with autism. How little things can actually be huge things and a reminder that people really don’t understand what they are dealing with when it comes to people who are different from them.
I think the thing that struck me the most with this book is that while teachers, social workers, and many other people have an understanding of how to work with people who are autistic, the general public often doesn’t know what to do or how to handle it. The policemen especially in this book have no clue. I know that there have been training and attempts made but I know that even so, too many police officers don’t understand that someone who is autistic is not trying to be difficult, but has unique needs that should be accommodated whenever possible.
This is definitely worth the read, especially if you haven’t really been exposed to individuals with Autism. I believe it will create a sense of compassion and understanding.