The African Collection is an anthology of nine stories that I wrote and illustrated about physical and learning difficulties, to promote acceptance and empower all children and caregivers. The book is made up of 105 full colour pages, containing all 9 stories. Afrikaans translations are available on separate pages suitable for storing in the English book and reading while the child looks at the pictures. The book costs R 250 so please contact me for national and international orders and reselling requests.
Sensitive Squelch’s Hide Out
Sensitive Squelches’ Hide Out is about a little frog with sensory defensiveness who has a bully of a brother named Squish, who is a bit sensory dormant. Squelch has a secret hide out – a quiet pool in the forest. One day his pool gets found by a squirrel (Prickles) who is also sensory defensive. They compare notes, introduce gravitational insecurity, and find great support in having a friend who understands.
Children with sensory defensiveness generally dislike being touched or cuddled. They avoid messy play and hate having their hair brushed, washed or cut and they also hate washing their teeth. They may wear too many clothes and overheat easily. When they perceive they are in danger (being touched from behind or experience too much noise, light or touch), they may either withdraw, or lash out to defend themselves. They overreact to certain smells, tastes, noises touch or movement.
Phalala’s Best Flying Area
This is a story about a hadeda with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Biscus Makes Friends
This is a story about a tortoise with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Verget’s Monkey Problems
Vergets’s Monkey Problems is a story about a vervet monkey who fidgets all the time because of low muscle tone (Vervet + Fidget = Verget), and he meets another monkey with low muscle tone and together they set up weekly contests with good activities that help shoulder girdle stability etc.
Children with low muscle tone generally tire easily and their movements are floppy and heavy. They walk with their heads down looking at their feet. They press hard with a pencil and either have a tight or a loose pencil grip. They often fluctuate between slumping down watching TV, and being very fidgety an on the move.They battle with monkey bars and although appear strong in quick movements, cannot sustain a position or control slow movements.
Nyabile’s Sports Day
Nyabile’s Sports Day is about a giraffe with bilateral integration difficulties who is terrified of making a fool of herself at sports day. It explains crossing of the midline clearly to kids, such that 4 year olds can explain to me exactly where their midline is, what side of the brain works with which side of the body, and what the problem is!
Children with bilateral integration difficulties generally have difficulties riding a bicycle, crawling, cutting and tearing and take longer to learn tasks such as skipping, hopping, jumping, star jumps, galloping and ball skills. Sometimes their movements are clumsy, stiff and awkward. They are poor at sequence and rhythm activities and may have difficulty with dominance and reversals. They may get confused between their left and right. They battle to tie bows and eat with a knife and fork. The non-dominant hand often does not help the dominant hand in activities.
Frumpy Gets in a Knot
Frumpy gets in a Knot is about an elephant with motor planning difficulties who cannot do tasks that require planning: he struggles with eating, slurping up water and charging. It is about how he masters the task of charging and his sense of accomplishment at the end.
Children with motor planning difficulties generally are slow learning new tasks such as clicking their fingers, whistling, skipping, hopping and star jumps. Their movements are sometimes clumsy, stiff or awkward and often they compensate for their inadequacies by either being very verbal or clowning around.
Asteracea’s B’s and D’s
Asteraceas’ B’s and D’s is a about a poor little owl who has perceptual problems (dyslexia). She gets all her letters and numbers muddled and reads things in reverse. With a name like Asteracea, she really battles. After much help from her Mom and doing puzzles and perceptual activities, her perception improves, but she still battles with her name. Then she too, meets Prickles, who tells her that Asteracea means “Star” and that it is the fancy name for the daisy family, and suggests that she uses that as her nickname. Asteracea/Star is thrilled, especially since it spells Rats backwards and she loves those too!
Children with perceptual difficulties have reading and writing problems, regularly make reversals, have difficulty with spot-the-difference pictures and puzzles. They battle with copying designs, letters and numbers. They also have difficultly finding things and organising themselves.
Wise Words From Zoë
This is a story about a warthog with Cerebral Palsy.
Bizzie and Ant’s Great Adventure
This is a story about a bee and an ant both with Attention Deficit Disorder.