The Autistic Boy in the Unruly Body: A NeuroInclusive Story About Apraxia

Well, it’s official, Gregory Tino’s new children’s book, The Autistic Boy in the Unruly Body, is now available to purchase. This book is about an apraxic autistic boy who cycles through multiple bodies trying to find a replacement for his body that often does the opposite of what he wants it to do.

My daughter says this book her new favorite, and that she has an unruly body sometimes, too.

With Gregory’s permission, we took some illustrations from his book and made a NeuroInclusive story you can use as a companion to teach about apraxia.

For a free printable PDF, you can use this link.

What is Apraxia?

As many as 86% of Autistic people have clinically significant apraxia, a movement disorder that impacts motor planning (not motor ability). Apraxia can impact a person in many ways, but for some people, it can prevent speech or make speech unreliable.

Unreliable speech is not the same as mutism.

Mutism happens when a person who can speak reliably cannot always speak in front of others, and they may go years without saying a word or may only struggle when overwhelmed or in certain situations.

Unreliable speech is different. A person may be able to say words, but they’re not what the person wants to say. They may want to say, “Nice to meet you,” but instead they recite a movie line or yell a word they didn’t want to say, like “Hallelujah!” or “Sit down!”

When that happens— saying or doing something one doesn’t want to do— it’s called motor disinhibition. It’s similar to— and often co-occurring with— obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s. That’s because there’s less connectivity between specific parts of the brain that control movements, starting new tasks (initiation), stopping tasks, and the “filter” (impulse control).

Motor disinhibition is like the intrusive thoughts associated with OCD, except the body enacts those thoughts before the mind can stop them.

People with unreliable speech who cannot use speech to fluently communicate are a part of the Nonspeaking community.

Even focusing the eyes to look in the right direction can be hard, so reading books or using AAC devices can be a struggle.

But when autistic nonspeakers do get reliable communication, they let us know what life is like for them. Which brings us back to Gregory’s amazing book, The Autistic Boy in the Unruly Body.

As always, we love to hear from you in the comments!

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