Thursday, November 1, 2007
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Sometimes it’s really hard when someone in your family is different. Catherine’s younger brother is autistic and it seems that the entire house runs according to what’s best for him. Her parents don’t seem to really consider her needs at all because David needs so much. Catherine also has to deal with David’s embarrassing actions and so she has created a set of rules for him to follow:
Chew with your mouth closed.
Say ‘thank you’ when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it).
Sometimes people laugh when they like you. Bus sometimes they laugh to hurt you.
Keep your pants on! Unless Mom, Dad, or the doctor tells you to take them off.
No toys in the fish tank.
Catherine thinks that if David could just follow the rules, things would be ok. She often goes with her mom to take David to occupational therapy. She meets Jason there. Jason is in a wheelchair and he can only communicate with a book that has word cards. Gradually Catherine and Jason become friends but once again this causes her problems. What will her other friends think about Catherine if they find out about Jason?
I really liked this book. It was so easy to feel Catherine's pain. She obviously loves her brother but she gets really frustrated by him. It was also so easy to see why she would feel that she never gets her parents' attention. Raising a special needs child is truly difficult, and it is also difficult to be the sibling of such a child. Cynthia Lord (who has an autistic son) has done a wonderful job of looking into the life of a family with an autistic child.