Here at CW, we’re delighted to announce that two good books have been made better. Whole Body Listening Larry At School and Whole Body Listening Larry At Home teach children to improve their listening, attention, and social skills through the concept of Whole Body Listening (WBL). Although this might seem simple, WBL is actually very complex and involves sensory processing, executive functioning, self regulation, Social Thinking ® and more. With this in mind, it became apparent that some of the strategies, along with the images of the characters in the book, were not achievable for some kids. Based on our observations and feedback that some children were feeling overwhelmed, we revised the text and illustrations for our newly printed second editions. These new versions are still the light-hearted rhyming stories that children love.
We were particularly concerned that some in the autism community felt that we were mandating that everyone should be able to use their whole body to listen well in spite of sensory and self-regulation challenges. Susanne P. Truesdale, the creator of WBL, stated it perfectly when she said, “this concept is a tool, not a rule.” WBL was developed with the intention of taking children’s individual learning styles and abilities into account.
In the new editions, we convey that flexibility is essential, and we need to be mindful of the fact that some skills aren’t achievable or appropriate for some children. When this is the case, adaptations can and should be made. We’ve extended the introduction in each book and re-written some of the text to draw attention to the flexible way in which the concept should be taught. We were surprised to learn that some people were approaching WBL by teaching children to hold their body in one rigid position, and we’ve modified some of the illustrations so the characters appear more relaxed as they listen.
Each person is different and should be assessed for individual needs and support, a point we spotlight in these new editions. We hope the books will encourage discussion and help adult stakeholders to better understand ways to adapt the teaching of WBL.
The article “Taking a Closer Look at Whole Body Listening” (Sautter, 2016) shares more information on how to modify and accommodate for different challenges and for each body part involved.
The new editions of both books are available at SocialThinking.com.