Words of Mercy today is pleased to announce In My Own World free for iOS, their award-winning, animated eBook for families with kids who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Originally published in softcover in 2007 by Words of Mercy, it succeeds as a poetic and inspirational narrative, joyously exploring the world that the autistic child inhabits. It was the Winner of the 2007 DragonPencil Award for Superior Illustration, and the eBook includes both an animated Read To Me mode with voiceover and a Read Myself mode with swipe page turns.
Catherine Cruze of Mount Carmel Guild Academy, a school known for providing a supportive learning environment for elementary school age children with severe behavioral and learning disabilities, was deeply moved by My Own World. "This book not only illustrates the world in which autistic children live each day, but also lets us know that we need to be as much a part of their world as we want them to be a part of ours. The book brought a smile to my face and joy to my soul. Thank you so very much."
ASD is defined by Wikipedia as, "The term 'autism spectrum' is often used to describe disorders that are currently classified as pervasive developmental disorders. Pervasive developmental disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome, Childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. These disorders are typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, and/or cognitive delays. Although these diagnoses share some common features, individuals with these disorders are thought to be 'on the spectrum' because of differences in severity across these domains."
The book's enlightened approach, honest yet optimistic, is evident from its first page. "I'm in my own world / my mama will say / but it's a good place to be / at least for today." In perfect resonance with the narrative are the unusual illustrations of the book. There are none of the colorful, fanciful drawings, which have become identified with the genre of children's books. Instead, the illustrator has made a radical departure, using unretouched photographs instead of drawings. It is the framing, the context of the photo that makes it work so effectively as an illustration.
The first page is a large photo of a child's room, a child with an ASD, and the first person narrator is seated on the floor, a black silhouette. This literary/graphical device immediately captures the imagination of the reader regardless of age, gender, or developmental status, and is used throughout. Here, the unaltered copy of the objective world, the photo, is tantamount to the imaginative, stylized illustration that is the essence of children's literature. As perceived by the narrator, the enigmatic seated subject, his or her experience of the objective world is already of an imaginative wonderland - no artistic contribution is necessary.
In My Own World Features:
- The inspiring adventures of a child with an ASD from the child's own point of view
- Sensitively written text that reads itself aloud as the letters turn red
- Read Myself mode allows readers to go through the book at their own pace
- Each page is illustrated with a high definition, color photograph
- Animated effects and transitions complement the text
Cartoons, drawings, and doodles do make an appearance In My World, but they are in an animated, vertically scrolling ribbon running along the left side of the screen. They are line drawings in white on a perfectly black background. They serve as a continual reminder that for each subject, each child with an ASD, there is a unique, imaginative flow of images and experiences as they are seated in their room, surrounded by the things in the world with which they are most familiar. And then on page two, the reader and narrator leave that room, and the adventure begins.
John Fletcher of the website Autism Inspiration commented, "In My Own World is an enchanting book that would be a wonderful gift for a family who is struggling with a child with an ASD. As you read the story, you realize that you are taking a mystical trip through the imaginary world of a child. Michelle Weisen is an English professor and was inspired to write this book for her friend's child with autism. Her friend had expressed concern that her son was in his own world. The pages are beautiful photographs that a child is sure to enjoy. My own son liked looking at and talking about the photographs. He especially liked the octopus!"
"We are very gratified at the positive response of the ASD community to In My World," stated Michelle Weisen of Words of Mercy. "I hope our decision to make the book into a free iOS app will allow this very special collaboration to become available to a wider audience."
In My Own World 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Books category.
via PR Mac