Shelagh Robinson Mirror Read Blog 32: Reflection Connection – Autism in a Mirror

Mirror Read is igniting some fascinating conversations and great connections.  I’m getting invited to all sorts of opportunities to reach out to kids – with my mirror. (Yes it is true: I do travel with my own 3 x 5 foot plastic mirror, and cushions).

The latest event was on Saturday April 30, 2011 at a special walk for autism. ATEDM (Autisme et Troubles Envahissants du Développement Montréal) held a fund- and awareness- raising march that attracted over 600 people on a sunny afternoon at Jeanne-Mance High School.

It’s not the first time that I’ve read with children who are on the autism spectrum – though I must say it was a lively crew who got me to look at mirror reading in some new ways. It was about being spontaneous to suit the moment.  OK!

For one thing, reading in reflections becomes less about the story than the experience of play. These kids just wanted to hang out with the books in the mirror. They pointed out how differently the words looked then they were reversed, and sounded out the ones they recognized.  Books were read from back to front – it didn’t matter.

One boy turned the book over and read it upside down in the reflection – to impress me.  And I was! Another sweetly touched the mirror where my eyes were, as I read with her. Pretty adorable – that has never happened before.

I also had a couple of lengthy conversations with young men about our book, “My Middle Name is Truck.” They clearly knew more about motor vehicles than me! I appreciated their enthusiastic feedback on the photos in the story. Above all, responses were engaging and positive from children and parents alike.

I wanted to participate in this event because it’s autism specialists who are offering me some of the most interesting feedback on mirror reading. In a community that values social interaction and joint attention, tools to promote engagement and eye connections are actually quite common – though reading books in mirrors is new to many of them.

Recently, Dr. Rachelle Sheely, PhD, at RDIConnect, mentioned Mirror Read Books on one of her webinars.  She wrote me later, “I love them.” High praise from someone who knows a great deal about relationship development.

I’ve also learned that it’s not just autism specialists who use mirror tools in their clinical approaches – Speech pathologists do too. Thanks to the several of you who pointed this out, and told me about various other sorts of therapeutic uses for mirror reading.  I learn so much every day!

Please continue to open my eyes to the wonders of Mirror Reading, and yes, if you want me to come read at your event, invite me and I’ll see what I can do…!  :)

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Mirror Read eBook - Requires an iPad, iPhone or iPod equipped with OS4.1 for download
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