Pedro's Whale

Overview

Based on the real-life event that inspired Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz's bestselling "Just Give Him the Whale!," this simple but powerful story introduces educators to one of the best, most effective inclusion strategies: using students' fascinations to help them learn. Pedro, a young boy who loves whales more than anything, is heartbroken when he's told to put away his favorite toy whale on the first day of school. But then Pedro's teacher discovers the secret to helping him do his best work: not only giving...
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Overview

Based on the real-life event that inspired Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz's bestselling "Just Give Him the Whale!," this simple but powerful story introduces educators to one of the best, most effective inclusion strategies: using students' fascinations to help them learn. Pedro, a young boy who loves whales more than anything, is heartbroken when he's told to put away his favorite toy whale on the first day of school. But then Pedro's teacher discovers the secret to helping him do his best work: not only giving him his whale, but also incorporating his special interest into the whole curriculum. Soon, Pedro's whale is helping all the children learn, as the teacher works whales into math lessons, storytime, simple science experiments, and more! Pedro's whale helps him make friends, too, as the other children start to share his special interest. An ideal teaching tool, Pedro's Whale will inspire educators to harness their students' natural motivations. The engaging, full-color illustrations (by Justin Canha, a gifted artist on the autism spectrum) also make this book perfect for storytime, so all children can increase their sensitivity to peers with special needs and learning differences. Everyone who reads Pedro's Whale will remember its eye-opening message: when you work with instead of against what students love, they feel safe, happy, and ready to learn. Used in tandem with "Just Give Him the Whale!," this enlightening story will help teachers maximize inclusion and ensure that students with and without disabilities reach their full potential.
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Editorial Reviews

notnewtoautism.blogspot.net
"A wonderful story that helps children and adults understand the extreme attachment to a special interest that are common in individuals on the autism spectrum"
parent of a child with autism; Founder, The Christopher and Susan Gust Foundation - Susan Gust
"Enlightening . . . turns our negative views of childhood obsessions around. Just give every teacher, parent, professional, or child you know this book!"
parent of child with autism; former Chair, Autism Society of America Government Relations Committee - Catriona Johnson
"A testament to creative parents and educators who spark the imaginations of children. Pedro shows us that by using our passions we become both teachers and learners."
parent of a child with autism - Carolyn Hyman
"When I first heard Pedro's Whale, I cried because that's how inclusion should be and how often, it is not. I'm going to buy it for my school."
Professor and Coordinator, Graduate Program in Inclusive Early Childhood Education, Montclair State University - Elizabeth J. Erwin
"Brilliant in its simplicity, Paula Kluth's enchanting book shares a powerful message for adults and children alike. We are reminded of the extraordinary opportunities we have in ordinary moments to promote a sense of belonging, comfort, and well-being."
author, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew - Ellen Notbohm
"A much-needed contemporary parable about turning a problem into a positive, illustrating practical ways in which a student's 'narrow' interest can be directed into expansive activities that benefit the entire class."
Director, Childhood Communication Services; Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown Universi - Barry M. Prizant
"A gift for all children whose deep interests and passions are misunderstood, or even dismissed. It clearly communicates the imperative that 'to advance the mind, we must nurture and energize the spirit."
Adult with Asperger Syndrome, author and inspiration for the movie, Mozart and The Whale - Jerry Newport
"This book entertains and teaches a whale of a lesson: When any child has an unusual interest, the smart teacher who accepts and encourages that interest will open academic and social doors for that child and his classmates as well."
Occupational Therapist, Pasadena, CA - Susan L. Spitzer
"A wonderful story . . . so helpful and inspiring to children and adults alike. It helps us all imagine new worlds of possibility [and] provides a concrete vision for how children with autism and limited interests can have a place alongside their peers."
Jenn Seybert
"In a pedagogical sense, Paula's writings speak to all readers on several levels. She tackles education through her creative and positive energy."
President, MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome - Susan J. Moreno
"One simple, beautiful book . . . Endless new ideas! Paula's suggestions should be used in every elementary school classroom."
Vice President, Asperger's Association of New England; Director, Autism National Committee - Phil Schwarz
"A perfect companion to Just Give Him the Whale! . . . makes the concepts readily accessible to children, and provides practical how-to ideas for educators, professionals, parents, and caregivers."
Seeing the Charade: What We Need to Do and Undo to Make Friendships Happen" - Carol Tashie
"Paula Kluth has done it again! With humanity and humor, Paula uses this true-life story to remind us to honor and celebrate every student's passions."
Special Needs Book Review - Lorna D’Entremont
Pedro’s Whale by Paula Kluth, Ph.D. and Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D., is a picture book about autism many were waiting for. After their award winning guidebook, Just Give Him the Whale: 20 Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise, and Strengths to Support Students with Autism, the authors realized a children’s book about areas of interests was needed. Educators, who were using the ideas in Just Give Him the Whale in their inclusive classrooms, wanted a resource to explain their strategies to their students. Parents, who had a child with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome and who had fascinations, wanted a way for siblings and family members to understand.

About the Book

Pedro’s Whale is based on a true story about a young boy with autism. Pedro loved whales above all else. When his new teacher told him to put his toy whale away he was devastated. When the principal, Ms. Gomez, saw Pedro crying and crouching under the classroom table she suggested allowing his toy to help him feel safe and to do his best work. The rest of the year, his teacher and classmates honoured his passion by incorporating his special interest into the whole curriculum. This simple accommodation is a “win win” solution for all parties involved, child with autism, classmates, teachers, and parents.

I would suggest reading first Pedro’s Whale alone with the child who also has special interests. The child with these facinations will be pleased that Pedro is like him. He can use Pedro’s story as a springboard to share his feelings about his strong passion. He will value this time alone with you to ask questions or comment on things that have troubled him. While discussing the book with him, explain why you want to read it to the others in his life.

Educators and parents using Pedro’s Whale will appreciate the three page section How to Use This Book. One activity they suggest is to use Pedro’s Whale to teach classmates or siblings about individual differences. The child in question will probably hear other students admit that they also love certain things above all else. This will lead to discussing unique needs and curricular adaptations. The child’s peers will be eager to learn how to support their classmate’s special interest.

Congratulations to Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz for Pedro’s Whale! I highly recommend it. It has all the qualities to be a favourite in many classrooms and homes with its practical tips, high quality paper, hard cover, and the wonderful story that perfectly conveys honouring a child’s area of interests.

Watch a video of National Louis University’s Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D., professor in the National College of Education, talking about Pedro’s Whale and how to gear instruction towards the interests of special education students.

From the Publisher

"A wonderful story that helps children and adults understand the extreme attachment to a special interest that are common in individuals on the autism spectrum"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598571608
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 379,605
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Kluth, Ph.D., is one of today’s most popular and respected experts on autism and inclusive education. Through her work as an independent consultant and the high-energy presentations she gives to professionals across the country, Dr. Kluth helps educators and families create responsive,
engaging schooling experiences for students with disabilities and their peers, too. An internationally respected scholar and author, Dr. Kluth has written or cowritten several books for Paul H.
Brookes Publishing Co., including “You’re Going to Love This Kid!”: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom, Second Edition (2010); Pedro’s Whale (2010); From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks:
100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in Kâ?“12 Classrooms
(2010); “A Is for All Aboard!” (2010); “A Land
We Can Share”: Teaching Literacy to Students with Autism
(2008); and “Just Give Him the Whale!”: 20
Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise, and Strengths to Support Students with Autism
(2008).

Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D., is Professor of Diversity in Learning & Teaching for National-Louis University, Chicago. A dynamic author and motivational speaker, Dr. Schwarz is also Chief-Executive Officer of Creative Culture Consulting, LL. His books From Disability to Possibility: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms (Heinemann, 2007; and "Just Give Him the Whale!": 20 Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise and Strengths to Support Students with Autism (2008) have inspired teachers nationwide to reconceptualize inclusion in ways that help all children. Dr. Schwarz's professional focus is furthering education and services that promote the status of individuals with a range of support needs. He works to facilitate successful engagement in carious environments, allowing people to make contributions and develop experiences that are meaningful to them.

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