Living with autism




Excerpt from the book, GREEN MITTENS COVERED HER EARS - A Look at Autism:

Jessica enjoyed the feeling of playing with nasty plastics and other silly business. Nasty plastics were tiny pieces of electrical wire. She had a four-quart kitchen pot filled with thousands of red, blue, yellow, black, and other colored nasty plastics.
There were two lime green pieces. Jessica would sift the nasty plastics through her fingers, letting them drop back into the pot, and she was thrilled when the lime green ones surfaced. “Squeal,” she peeped. The silly business was a box filled with hundreds of one-inch-square pieces of paper cut from magazines and albums. She smiled to herself when she sifted through these pieces of paper because she liked the feel.



This fascinating non-fiction book by teacher Anna Saldo-Burke presents a glimpse into the world of autism and provides an understanding about autism for youths and adults.    

GREEN MITTENS COVERED HER EARS - A Look at Autism reveals how Anna and her twin sister influenced Jessica’s life and she in turn touched theirs.

The story begins when Jessica shared her autistic world and the sisters learned about her multitude of obsessions that annoyed or delighted her, and the different behaviors that they triggered. During high school, the sisters tutored Jessica and continued the relationship in a summer job as her companions.  Because people with disabilities have to adjust to the world, they constantly worked with Jessica on controlling her behaviors and gaining skills so she was more socially acceptable and independent.

While enlightening readers about autism the book educates them in areas such as looking beyond the obvious, and demonstrates there can be success for people with disabilities.

A 27-year veteran teacher in both Special and Inclusive Education classrooms, the author, Anna Saldo-Burke, sees the need to create awareness and provide understanding about others who are different. For teachers, Inclusive Education, in which Special Needs students are educated within General Education settings, is part of present day learning. As a result, it exposes our youth to autism in their schools and communities.

Did you know, younger children are accepting of others, but by grade 2, they begin to act differently toward those who are not like them? By third grade, students do not accept others who are different despite inclusive education, and programs that teach tolerance and acceptance. That mindset continues.

Throughout Anna’s lifelong friendship with Jessica, she has witnessed the stares and puzzled, inquisitive looks from adults. The research shows that parents want their children to be liked by others and they want their children to reach their fullest potential. GREEN MITTENS COVERED HER EARS - A Look at Autism shows us that people with autism, with our understanding, assistance and encouragement, can and do contribute to society. 



United Nations-The Secretary-General-Message for World Autism Awareness Day 2010 states, “We can provide adults and children with disabilities such as autism the protection, support and full membership of an inclusive society."  

Easter Seals states, “Children and adults with autism find it difficult or impossible to relate to other people in a meaningful way and may show restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior or body movements."

What is Autism

Easter Seals


 “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism is a developmental disability considered the result of a neurological condition affecting normal brain function, development and social interactions.

Autism is a baffling, life-long disorder. And while there is no cause or cure, nor a known singular effective treatment, it is treatable. Easter Seals is the nation's leading provider of services and support for children and adults living with autism.” 

Autism Society of America


 Autism Society of America says: “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.” 

 “Autism is treatable. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes,” chimes the Autism Society of America.  

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin

 Temple Grandin, "...makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids."  

 "You see, the autistic mind tends to be a specialist mind. Good at one thing, bad at something else. We've got to think about all these different kinds of minds. And we've got to absolutely work with these kind of minds, because we absolutely are going to need these kinds of people in the future," states Temple Grandin.  (Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and went on to pursue work in psychology and animal science.)

United Nations General Assembly



In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to create greater understanding about autism and promote universal adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Autism is a complex and inadequately understood disability with a wide range of manifestations. Children and adults with autism –and, indeed, those living with disabilities in general –have a double burden. In addition to the daily challenges of their disability, they must also cope with the negative attitudes of society, inadequate support for their needs and, in some cases, blatant discrimination.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May 2008, is a powerful tool to redress such situations. It aims to promote equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.  As of October 2017, it has 160 signatories and 175 parties. 

"What a POWERFUL ... Barbara Brinker Larsen


insight into the life of this person with autism.  This story is simple and true.

Two caring young girls extend a friendly hand, which leads to a beautiful walk through life for three new friends.  It did not take hundreds of pages to introduce me to Jessica and take me into her world. 

As I read, I began to feel her emotions, fears, goals and accomplishments.  I welled up with tears, dropped a few, chilled with unknown fears, smiled, laughed out loud and then, felt very content at the end. 

Do not let the brevity of Green Mittens Covered Her Ears - A Look at Autism mislead you.  The message is very clear.  It educates those who need it, comforts those who endure it and gives hope to those who think there is none."

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term for a group of developmental disorders described by:

  • Lasting problems with social communication and social interaction in different settings
  • Repetitive behaviors and/or not wanting any change in daily routines
  • Symptoms that begin in early childhood, usually in the first 2 years of life
  • Symptoms that cause the person to need help in his or her daily life

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, strengths, and levels of impairment that people with ASD can have. The diagnosis of ASD now includes these other conditions:

  • Autistic disorder
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified

Although ASD begins in early development, it can last throughout a person’s lifetime.