Chapters 7-11

In Chapter’s 7-11 Christopher explains his reasoning for writing about the “murder” of the dog.   He talked about how he preferred dogs to people in many circumstances.  His “voice” and “character” throughout  the throughout the book thus far could  be characteristic to someone on the spectrum. For example in Chapter 11 he begins to describe the police officers. He talks about a hole in the female police officer’s tights, and a leaf stuck to the bottom the other officer’s shoe.  In Chapter 11, the police officer begins to question Christopher, which causes him to become upset and he hits the police officer.  The conversation between Christopher and the officer could have definitely gone differently had the officer slowed down his questioning or used a different tone with Christopher.

–Dana Shanton

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10 thoughts on “Chapters 7-11

  1. Lindsey Ludwig says:

    Sometimes I prefer dogs to people too, LOL!

    In all seriousness, I am loving the perspective of a child on the spectrum. Christopher’s explanations and interactions are all so nuanced and interesting, and I’m sure we can all relate to his behaviors and language characteristics. The interaction with the police officer had me kind of tickled, because he was so oblivious to the seriousness of the situation. I was empathizing with his father, though, because I can’t imagine the frustration level that he experiences on a daily basis.

    • Kim says:

      I wonder about how the author knows or has studied Autism Spectrum disorders since this is a fiction book. Has he done research into signs and symptoms or have a close family member or friend on the Spectrum? I have thought about this often throughout reading the chapters and deciphering how it would be different if the book was actually written by someone on the Spectrum vs an author looking from an outside lens.

  2. Lauren Taylor says:

    The conversation/confrontation with the police officer stands out to me as well. It makes me think about how oblivious some people are when dealing with others who may be different from themselves. Obviously we are trained to recognize those differences and can adjust accordingly, but most people are not. Professionally, it serves as a reminder of the importance of making our students aware of their differences and how to convey those differences to others when a situation like this arises.

  3. allison forrester says:

    The analogy that Christopher makes between bread piling up in the bakery and all of the questions that were being asked too quickly really stood out to me. It makes the reader aware of how overwhelming and frustrating that would be for someone like him.

  4. Laura Woodring says:

    I thought it was interesting when he said “I wrote about it because it happened to me. I find it difficult to imagine it if it didn’t happen to me.” I see that often with some of my kiddos that are higher functioning on the spectrum. They struggle with “theory of mind”, so we work to try to “put ourselves in others’ shoes.” It is interesting to see what a challenge that can be.

  5. Rachel Lacap says:

    When Christopher starts to get overwhelmed by the barrage of questions from the officer, I immediately thought of some students in my school who are written up for acting out and the teacher says “I don’t know what prompted it”. The amount of effort and time it takes to process verbal language for some of our students is not natural to “normal” conversation, but can be too overstimulating for kids on the spectrum.

  6. Allison Wahl says:

    I found the conversation between Christopher and the police officer very interesting in chapter 11. The police officer is very abrupt with Christopher, and appears oblivious to the fact that Christopher has autism. Christopher is answering the questions very literally, which is typical of a person with autism, but the officer is not getting the answers he wants. This conversation could have gone much differently if the Police officer was more patient, realized that Christopher had autism, and asked his questions differently. It makes me think about the students that I work with who have autism. At school, we all know their limitations and we are trained to work with them. But I wonder what they face in everyday life and how they are treated when people don’t understand them or their limitations.

  7. Amanda Piekarski says:

    Christopher’s interactions with the police officers stands out to me. I can easily think of students who would be overwhelmed by the amount of questions that were being asked.
    Answering literally makes the person being questioned seem vague or even guilty.
    Training first responders to look for signs of communication differences would be so helpful!

  8. Kathy Mckenzie-Hensley says:

    In reference to some of the comments above…It has long been a fear of mine that some of my students may some day encounter law enforcement and it escalate because they don’t know of their ASD. I hope the trend is for more training for officers and first responders on characteristics of ASD.

  9. Jennifer says:

    The interactions with the police officers stood out to me as well. Ideally, all police officers would be trained to be aware that some of the people they come in contact with will respond in an atypical manner, whether it be d/t disability, impaired hearing, mental illness, drugs, etc. Unfortunately though, I continue to be surprised at the teachers and school staff who are also oblivious to these differences, especially when it comes to understanding directions and responding to questions. Maybe I just take it for granted that I recognize behaviors which are obviously indicative of disability (and not defiance) aren’t as obvious to other professionals.

    Another example of how situations can quickly escalate for individuals with language deficits is Making A Murderer on Netflix. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet, because I know it will be upsetting to see the interrogation of someone who struggles to understand questions and respond accurately. It’s a good reminder of how important our work is.

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