"Your Life Skills Learning Books"
Press release: sbwire
Questions to Jessica Jensen about Super-A and her autistic daughter
How did you come up with Adrian & Super-A?
As a mother of a girl with autism, I have been searching for everything that can help my daughter understand our world and rules – through her eyes. But she is a smart girl and most of the methods she recognized as demands and rejected. That is when I decided to call to her major interest … books. At first I just wanted to do the books for my girl… bet then I realized … I am not alone, and my daughter is not alone with this need. What other parent would not want a book that can make a day, any day, a bit easier and more fun?
What makes these Life Skills Learning Books so special?
The books about Super-A are all about developing life skills, BUT without compromising on a fun read. They combine established tools, like Social Stories, with creative characters. Thummie the Thumb shows what is right and what is wrong in the simplest way possible – thumbs up or down. For the child with echolalia he also adds rhymes. Little Miss Trigger was a last minute addition. She represents the difficulties that the surroundings can cause a child with autism or ADHD, such as sensory issues or visual triggers. Raily the Train and the pictograms break down the steps in an activity. The black-and-white pictograms are something I have successfully used for my daughter, and I was thrilled when the Belgian organization Sclera NPO allowed me to use them in my books. They even made a new pictogram – making coconut macaroons. I am very greatful.
How should the story be read?
It should be read with your fingers! Point. Do the thumbs up. Kids may need to develop different aspects of a skill. And when you start to explain all the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ ... the story grows. Both my three-year-old and nine-year-old will stay glued to hear the full story. But the book setup allows for actually skipping the parts for the skills that a child has already mastered, or to adjust to the child’s age and ability. When reading for a group or to a small child, I would recommend reading only the short version.
What books did you read as a child?
I grew up in Sweden, the land of Pippi Longstocking. So I had Pippi Longstocking and the other strong-minded characters from the books by Astrid Lindgren all around me.
How did you come up with the name Super-A?
My daughter did. This little girl would call herself ‘Stora A’, which translates into ‘Big A’. I changed it to Super-A because 'Big A' did not have the same feel to it in English as in Swedish. And of course … it happens to work with both the A:s in Autism and ADHD.
When was your daughter ‘Stora-A’?
Every time my daughter tried role playing with friends she went into her character. It would not matter if she was a mum, a dog or drove an invisible bus, she was always ‘Stora A’. ‘Stora A’ was her way of coping with the things that were not real, in a fantasy world that this autistic girl had difficulties to see. And when playing doctors my girl would always reassure us that she was not hurt for real, it was just play, she was ‘Stora A’ – my very own Super-A. Read more about Jessica's autistic girl ...
What does your daughter think about the books?
My girl fell for Super-A, who of course is just like her, as well as for the simple Thummie-character. However, she did not want to read anything until it all was a finished book, but we talked about it and my daughter immediately started using a thumbs up to make sure that she got things right. Now she has her own version of the book, where the superhero girl is still named ‘Stora A’. I tried to hide the book when I got it, so I could read it to her in the evening … but she skipped dinner and snuck away. I found her in my bed reading.
Is your daughter proud of you?
I would say that most of all my girl is happy that she is the only one who gets the book for free, because her mom wrote it. She is very excited that she is the superhero Super-A.
And your son?
He sets the records straight and says he is Super-A too. My son does not have a diagnosis (although he has always turned everything up-side down to get to the wheels, including his baby walking chair). He is three, and washing hands quickly turns the sink into an aquarium or pot with soap-porridge. After reading Super-A and the steps in washing hands, it is much easier to get him on track and out of the bathroom.
And your partner?
He surprised me with THREE boxes of chocolate when I got the first print in the mailbox ...
About the Author and Be My Rails Publishing
Author and Publisher Background
Jessica Jensen comes from a family of teachers and published authors, and has herself a double university degree – a Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in Psychology and then a Bachelor of Science with studies in information management & technology. She knows from heart what it is like raising a child on the autism spectrum that also has ADHD. In 2013 Jessica Jensen founded Be My Rails Publishing. And in doing so, she left a prestigious IT-career – running worldwide information management projects – behind her. The vision is to make the book series about Adrian and Super-A worldwide as well and available to all the Aspergers girls and ADHD boys out there. After an English and Swedish version, a German or Danish Super-A are up for candidates. Jessica Jensen is also thinking of producing work books to go with the book series, to practice life skills further. In the long run Be My Rails Publishing might even publish books for Autism and ADHD Awareness, or expand to tiles by other authors.
The name Be My Rails is an appeal to everyone to be the rails for all of the boys and girls with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD – our train-kids; it is an an appeal to enable the world for autism and ADHD. These kids need their rails, a clear destination and their own time table. And these train-kids are not like the car-kids around them. The autistic child cannot start or stop as quickly, or just change direction. The child with ADHD also needs the structure and reminding to help them back to the track they were on.
What Jessica Says About the Rails & Shine Framework
Is writing the only thing you do now?
I left my day-job as an international project manager – building computer systems for scientific information and studies – so that I could work with psychology. For me that means writing life skills learning books, but also helping parents and teachers to other tools to use. For a parent or a teacher it is often hard to know where to begin to support your child with autism or ADHD. So I came up with the 9 B E M Y R A I L S Goals. These goals will work with any program or tool. The goals points out what needs to be put in place for a child with either autism or ADHD. I combined these goals with useful links and the best tips for parents and teachers I have come across – and then created the Rails & Shine Framework. It is a simple way to start small, and step by step enable the world for your child or student. The purpose of the Rails & Shine Framework is to serve as a good guide to autism and ADHD for parents and educators, with the goal for each child to reach their full potential. Read more...
What is unique about the Rails & Shine Framework?
The nine goals that the framework is built around are very straight-forward. Anybody can work with them – you don't need to know a thing about autism or ADHD. The framework allows you to begin on whatever you want, and is not dependant on any training in a therapy or method. The goals and the framework show you what your child needs from you and the environment. My hopes are that the framework and Super-A with friends will create a positive footprint in the autism and ADHD family homes and classrooms.
Adrian and Super-A: Fun Social Skills Books for Children with Autism and ADHD from New Publisher
03/03/2014 -- Adrian and Super-A: Bake and Like Differently is the first book out from Be My Rails Publishing in a series of helpful books and workbooks for children with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Be My Rails Publishing was founded by Jessica Jensen, the author of the Adrian and Super-A books. The publisher aspires to publish children’s books that will help boys and girls with autism or ADHD in their development of necessary life skills – but without compromising on a good childhood read. In this spirit, the picture story books about Adrian and Super-A use a combination of established tools (such as social stories and pictograms) together with a number of psychologically creative characters.
Adrian and Super-A: Bake and Like Differently is a book that will take your child on a safe trip with Raily the Train and Thummie the Thumb into the adventures of daily life. Jessica Jensen turns a simple Sunday of baking and washing hands into adorable life lessons with a superhero that every child can identify with and without much more exciting things than eggs and stove buttons. But it is a fun book about a child’s life ... about waiting and helping out … about asking for permission ... and about everybody having a say, even moms. Children from a kindergarten and a school for autistic children have helped the author in making the final concept work. A smart twist in the book allows for skipping over parts. This means the parent or teacher can choose what skills to focus on and adjust the story to the child’s age and abilities (... or maybe to the exhausted parent). The interactive illustrations have been designed to suit even the non-verbal child, and the rhymes by Thummie the Thumb will stick with most children.
Super-A, the young superhero, is based on a real-life autistic girl. The author’s own autistic daughter and the colorful Super-A have many things in common, such as their difficulties with waiting, love of squeezing out soap, and their strong-minded spirit. Sharing the struggles of many parents with a special-needs child, the author herself, has been searching for solutions that will make a day, any day, easier. “As a mother of a girl with autism, I have tried anything that can help my daughter understand our world and rules: through her eyes. But she is a smart girl and most of the methods she recognized as demands and rejected. That’s when I decided that learning life skills had to be more engaging and fun for her. My girl fell for Super-A, who of course is just like her, as well as for the simple Thummie-character.” Jessica Jensen’s autistic daughter started using the thumbs up from the book to make sure that she got things right. And when the mother and writer added Little Miss Trigger to the mix, the girl could laugh at some of the challenges she was, and still is, faced with every day when dealing with sensory issues or visual triggers – like sounds or stove buttons that are just calling her name.”
However, on Jessica Jensen’s way from leaving her career in IT project management to become a writer, the biggest support has come from her three-year-old son. He wants to see pictures of Super-A on his mom’s laptop, and he wonders if there will be more books, or if he can watch Super-A on TV. And when his sister claims the ownership of the main character, he will set the record straight: “I am Super-A too”.
And for anybody else who wants to be a Super-A, it is now possible to join forces with the young superhero and friends. Page by page as the story unfolds, the world will soon start to make a bit more sense.
About Jessica Jensen
Jessica Jensen comes from a multinational family of teachers and published authors. She has a double university degree (combining psychology with IT) and is a firm believer in the potential that kids with autism (ASD) and ADHD hold for our world. She loves all things red.
About Be My Rails Publishing
Be My Rails Publishing is the publisher of life skills learning books that will not compromise on a good childhood read. Vote for your favorite character or find out what social stories are covered in Adrian and Super-A at http://bemyrails.com