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Ramón the Paleontologist

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© del texto Ramón the Paleontologist: Eva Latonda 2018 © de las ilustraciones: Maru García, 2018

About ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is related to how our brains develop and work.

It's sort of "invisible" because those with ASD all have their individual physical appearances.

Some of them talk a lot, whilst others talk little. Some communicate through image. Sometimes those with ASD make repetitive hand gestures or insist on always doing things in the same way.

In some cases, persons with ASD have outstanding skills in certain areas, such as arithmetic, drawing or music, but this isn't always the case.

One thing that people with ASD do have in common is the way they interact with others, which is different from the norm. Because at times they aren't aware of others' reactions, it may seem that they don't care, but that's not true. They just need us to explain in words how we're feeling.

They also have a different way of communicating. They will tell you about the same things over and over again, which can cause others to “switch off”. It's just like when you turn the radio on but you aren't listening to it and decide to turn it off…

Tuning out the voice of the main character in this story will mean that you miss out on the chance to get to know a very special person.

Ramón will teach you all about the talents and skills of persons with autism.

Ssshhh! Silence! Don't make noise. Any loud noises make me feel a bit anxious. What's more, I'm just about to uncover the biggest dinosaur on the planet and I need to concentrate…I don't like being distracted from what I'm doing…

Ta-dah! Here it is. The world's biggest dinosaur. Yes, I know that it's only a picture, but the thing is that I express myself better through pictures and photos...

Let me introduce myself. My name is Ramón and I'm going to be a paleontologist when I grow up. That's how sure I am, even though I'm only nine years old…

When it comes to dinosaurs, I have to say that I know every single one of them. I know all about when they lived, how much they measured and even what they ate… The unusual Deinocheirus, the spectacular Therizinosaurus, the frightening Utahraptor and my personal favourite, the massive Turiasaurus, a dinosaur that lived in the Iberian Peninsula hundreds of thousands of years ago and which was the biggest in the whole of Europe.

I'm going to call this one Mummysaurus after my Mum, who hugs me tighter than anybody else. My sister, Bea, also hugs me pretty tight to be honest. I try quite hard to stop them. I don't like big hugs or being hugged without any warning. But deep down I need their hugs.

I let mummy and Bea hug me because it makes them really happy when I give them a kiss, but the rest of you will just have to get by with my drawings.

Mummy is really observant. When I was a year and a half old, she was the first one to realise that I was showing signs of ASD, which are letters that stand for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

'Spectrum' sounds like something out of Harry Potter, doesn't it? That's because there's a lot of magic amongst those of us who have ASD. Some of us even have outstanding skills. Apparently autism affects 1 in every 100 children, but in my family it turns out that there are two of us, because my uncle (my mum's brother) also has it, that's why she was able to spot it so early in me.

“Early identification is extremely important” the doctor said. And then they started with their tests and stimulation.

As well as not playing 'peek-a-boo' with her, I had a hard time responding to my name or pointing at things with my finger. One thing I did enjoy was drawing. At first, the only thing I drew were numbers.

I thought that they were great fun and mummy and daddy said that they were very funny-looking numbers. What do you guys think?

After the diagnosis was confirmed, a lot of things happened. Worry, uncertainty… and, in the end, we felt safe. Daddy got some help from professionals who taught my parents how to bring me up. Now, when I look at mummy and daddy, as they play with me together, I could just cover them with kisses and, in my own special way, that's exactly what I do.

Because numbers and dinosaurs are my thing (I have fun with them and learn lots), I'm thinking about creating a sample measuring system for paleontological excavations. Technology is really important when it comes to science and I intend to do my bit by making my own scientific advances.

In the near future, as well as drawing them, I'll discover them in real life… digging them up myself…

How exciting!… Richard Owen, Othinel Charles Marsh, Henry Fairfield Osborn and, of course, Ramón the Paleontologist…


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