Just read your book and I have to tell you how much I enjoyed it. It is AWESOME! As an early childhood educator, I appreciate all the resources and information that is included. I can't wait to share Ruthie and Clay's stories with the children. This book is a must have for all educators and schools. So clever! I am so honored to have met you. Keep up the work you are doing it is helping so many. I also really enjoyed your workshop this morning too. I'm so excited to try the wonderful ideas you presented. You have helped me become a better teacher. Thank you! - Peggy
“Exceptionally Good Friends is a book with a great deal of information on autism. It is useful for parents, teachers, therapists, and children of all ages.” – Nancy Kashman, Occupational Therapist, Co-author of The Sensory Connection, An OT and SLP Team Approach
“Melissa Burkhardt presents the story of Clay, a boy who has autism, from his own perspective and also from the perspective of a typically developing girl in his class. This creative approach lets children see Clay's behavior in a positive light from the outside while also giving them a window into Clay's own perceptions and experiences. The stories are engaging in their own right, but they are made even more valuable by the extensive resources Mrs. Burkhardt offers for both teachers and parents, all of which are linked very helpfully to specific episodes in the stories. Teachers, therapists, and parents alike will find this book to be an invaluable and practical resource.” – Kathleen M. Cain, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Gettysburg College
“Exceptionally Good Friends: Building Relationships with Autism does an excellent job of presenting Asperger’s and children with autism as unique with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The book presents their integration into the regular classroom setting as a very natural thing and provides much information for teachers or paraprofessionals to use in adapting the approach or environment. The book would make a great interactive tool to share with a child, and the style makes it easy to do so.” – Alan L. Taylor, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
“As an elementary school principal with a sincere fondness for children with special needs, I find this book to be one of the most valuable resources for any school, parent, or faculty. It is a true look into the experiences of a child with autism in an elementary school. The ideas and practices expressed in this book are written for the beginner as well as the experienced teacher. Parents will find it comforting and user friendly. Most importantly, it is evident to me that this book was written with a genuine love for children with autism and those who have the awesome opportunity of teaching or raising these truly gifted children. Finally, a book that is a ‘real’ teaching tool!” – Lauren Spencer, M.Ed., Elementary School Principal, Adjunct Professor of Education, Southeastern Louisiana University
“I absolutely love the book!!! I must admit it made me cry a little. I wish all kids were as sensitive to the needs of others...all kids should read this book.” – Ashley B.-parent of a child with autism
“This is a must have for every early childhood classroom.…The story takes you on a journey from two different perspectives in a very unique way providing true insight into the everyday life of a child on the autism spectrum. The book also gives useful nuggets of advice and resources that teachers can utilize within their classroom and parents can utilize at home. And last but not least, the book shows the beautiful friendships that can develop within inclusive educational settings.” – Shelley Nowicki, Mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum, Educator, Advocate and Parent liaison for Strengthening Outcomes with Autism Resources (soar)
“Exceptionally Good Friends: Building Relationships with Autism is an easy-to-read, yet very informative book, about those on the autism spectrum. Because it is written from two different points of view...that of the typically developing child and the one with ASD...it strikes a chord with everyone who reads it. The parent, teacher, relative, therapist, and child will have a better understanding of all who live in this beautiful world of ours, as varied as it is and as challenging as it can be. This book will help to build understanding and empathy for those whose lives are touched by ASD. The resources made available in Ms. Burkhardt’s book give each reader the power to grow as much as desired by that individual.” – Paula Belou, Speech Language Pathologist
“I have never seen anything written in terms of the perspective of children with autism and what they’re thinking, but it’s an excellent way of explaining the differences between neurotypical children and children with autism so that there is an understanding of the actual differences. It’s so easy for many children and adults as well to be confused by the reactions (or non-reactions) of autistic children. Your book is an excellent source to help guide those who want to increase their knowledge in the area of autism.” – Anne C.-parent of a child with autism
“Mrs. Burkhardt was my child’s Early Intervention teacher when he was 3 years old. When our son was in Mrs. Burkhardt’s classroom, he had significant behavior problems. She will never know the magnitude of difference and influence she had in our lives. She helped my son tremendously and educated us as parents on how to fight for his rights in school and beyond. He is now 18 years old and attending a university in a program designed for students with autism spectrum disorder to help them achieve a life of opportunity, independence and success. He is also playing in a rock band. How things have changed from a child that could not take loud music, people, etc. to a one amp sound—loud! There is not a day that goes by that I do not say a prayer of thanks for having Mrs. Burkhardt as my child’s teacher.” – Lisa C.-parent of a young adult with autism
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