‘Ausome Girl’ Is A Children’s Book Helping Kids And Adults Alike Understand Autism

Courtesy of Carla Moultrie

One of the signs that a child is developing as expected is when they’re hitting their milestones. While all kids develop at different paces, when is a lag in developmental milestones a cause for concern?

Carla A. Moultrie’s parental instincts went off when she noticed her daughter, Camille, wasn’t hitting multiple developmental milestones at around three years old.

“One of the first symptoms we noticed is that she wasn’t pointing,” Moultrie says. “Another symptom that we noticed is that she had a few words, but she was basically babbling. At some point, she stopped even using the words that she had, and her communication became more like a babble.”

Camille also cried a lot and didn’t exhibit appropriate play for her age with other children–which raised another red flag for Moultrie.

“There was no real intelligent play, like in parallel play…and if she did engage them, she wasn’t really engaging them appropriately,” she recalls.

While these symptoms can seem insignificant, they are common in autistic children and can signal the need for an evaluation. Other common symptoms of autism include hand flapping, avoiding eye contact, and repetitive language or noises. Moultrie eventually acted on her instincts and had Camille evaluated. She was diagnosed with autism.

Autism spectrum disorder is a range of conditions (hence the spectrum) that show up as difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.

To create more awareness about the disorder and how it impacts children, Moultrie wrote a book called Ausome Girl. The book was inspired by an incident at the home of her uncle. Some of the children present couldn’t understand why Camille didn’t want to share or socially engage. To help them, Moultrie wanted to buy books about autism to give to the children. However, when she searched for children’s books that explained the developmental disability, she didn’t find many. As a result, she decided to fill in that gap with Ausome Girl, released in 2022.

“It talks about some of the challenges that they have and also some of the strengths that are often overlooked because of the diagnosis, but it helps children and adults better understand how people who do not have autism can support them, be more inclusive, and show empathy and compassion,” she says.

While the book is for everyone, including autistic people, Moultrie specifically wants people who aren’t on the spectrum to read it, especially if they engage with children on a daily basis.

“It’s really for people who are not autistic so that they can better understand when they see a peer who maybe behaves in a particular way, they can better understand what it is and that they’re not a bad person if they’re making noises or they are having a meltdown or something,” she says. “It better helps them understand that person.”

The book has also been attractive to educators, who use it as a resource for schoolchildren. Moultrie hopes that the book will help school-age children better understand autism and extend more kindness to neurodivergent classmates.

“I’ve had educators reach out to me and tell me how amazing it’s been for their classrooms, how it’s helping them teach what autism is and how it can look for some of their students,” she says.

The mom and author also hopes her book will assist people in unlearning stereotypes about autistic people.

“They tend to think that autistic individuals don’t understand or they have no comprehension of what’s going on around them. So they think that they’re unintelligent. And I think that is the most crazy thing even to imagine,” she says.

Moultrie also adds that people should understand that autistic people have feelings just as neurotypical people do. Those feelings are often just expressed differently.

“I think people can just be more understanding, more willing to learn, and more willing to embrace people with disabilities.”

Ausome Girl is available in paperback, hardcover, and digital versions. It also includes a coloring book and is available in Spanish. The book can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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