“The Way I Feel” Series Also Helpful to Special Needs Kids

Of Interest

Cornelia received a letter through this website from the mother of a special needs child:

“Dear Ms. Spelman,
My five-year-old son absolutely loves this series.  As a child challenged with high-functioning autism, understanding and expressing emotion has been difficult for him.  He’s made some remarkable progress with your series [“The Way I Feel” books].  There’s finally some understanding of degrees of emotions.  He’s able to talk himself through situations more and more rather than melting down.

The books have given us a framework and elicited some deep conversations between us.  Through these conversations, I now have some insight into some of the issues we struggle with on a daily basis.  One such example is in the book When I Feel Jealous. The scene which depicts two characters enjoying their ice cream and another looking on with jealousy is analogous to several situations we’ve encountered where my son just falls apart.  We talked about the situation and I mentioned that maybe that other character can go inside and ask his mommy for some ice cream.  This didn’t seem to satisfy my son.  He insisted that the character “did not want to have ice cream inside with his mommy, he wanted to have ice cream with the other kids.”

The statement underscored a feeling that I’d had for a while.  My son’s seemingly jealous feelings seem to stem from his social deficits.  He wants to engage with other children and share their joy, their toys, their fun but it’s extremely difficult for him to do so.

I especially love the way you summarize your books by saying “When I feel___, I know just what to do.”  Brilliant!

My son often chooses to bring your books to his mainstream pre-K class to share at story time.  The teacher and kids love them!  Last week they read When I Feel Angry and all the kids were practicing the breathing exercises illustrated in the books.  Very cute!

Thanks for a great series!”
(name withheld for privacy)

Spelman’s note:  “I would like to thank this mother for taking the time to write me.  It makes me very happy to think about my books bringing some measure of help and comfort to kids, especially to those already struggling with special challenges.  ‘When you write me, I feel happy!’”