About the Author and Be My Rails Publishing
Linda Jensen comes from a family of teachers and published authors, and has a double university degree – a Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science with studies in information management & technology. She knows from heart what it is like raising a child on the autism spectrum that also has ADHD. In 2013 Linda Jensen founded Be My Rails Publishing. And in doing so, she left a prestigious IT-career – running worldwide information management projects .
The name Be My Rails is an appeal to everyone to be the rails for all of the boys and girls with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD – our train-kids; it is an an appeal to enable the world for autism and ADHD. These kids need their rails, a clear destination and their own time table. And these train-kids are not like the car-kids around them. The autistic child cannot start or stop as quickly, or just change direction. The child with ADHD also needs the structure and reminding to help them back to the track they were on.
Questions to Linda Jensen about Super-A and her autistic daughter
How did you come up with Adrian & Super-A?
As a mother of a girl with autism, I have been searching for everything that can help my daughter understand our world and rules – through her eyes. But she is a smart girl and most of the methods she recognized as demands and rejected. That is when I decided to call to her major interest … books. At first I just wanted to do the books for my girl… bet then I realized … I am not alone, and my daughter is not alone with this need. What other parent would not want a book that can make a day, any day, a bit easier and more fun?
What makes these Life Skills Learning Books so special?
The books about Super-A are all about developing life skills, BUT without compromising on a fun read. They combine established tools, like Social Stories, with creative characters. Thummie the Thumb shows what is right and what is wrong in the simplest way possible – thumbs up or down. For the child with echolalia he also adds rhymes. Little Miss Trigger was a last minute addition. She represents the difficulties that the surroundings can cause a child with autism or ADHD, such as sensory issues or visual triggers. Raily the Train and the pictograms break down the steps in an activity. The black-and-white pictograms are something I have successfully used for my daughter, and I was thrilled when the Belgian organization Sclera NPO allowed me to use them in my books. They even made a new pictogram – making coconut macaroons. I am very greatful.
How should the story be read?
It should be read with your fingers! Point. Do the thumbs up. Kids may need to develop different aspects of a skill. And when you start to explain all the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ … the story grows. Both my three-year-old and nine-year-old will stay glued to hear the full story. But the book setup allows for actually skipping the parts for the skills that a child has already mastered, or to adjust to the child’s age and ability. When reading for a group or to a small child, I would recommend reading only the short version.
What books did you read as a child?
I grew up in Sweden, the land of Pippi Longstocking. So I had Pippi Longstocking and the other strong-minded characters from the books by Astrid Lindgren all around me.
How did you come up with the name Super-A?
My daughter did. This little girl would call herself ‘Stora A’, which translates into ‘Big A’. I later changed it to Super-A because in English ”Big A” made me think of a fat maffia boss. And of course … Super-A happens to work with both the A:s in Autism and ADHD.
When was your daughter ‘Stora-A’?
Every time my daughter tried role playing with friends she went into her character. It would not matter if she was a mum, a dog or drove an invisible bus, she was always ‘Stora A’. ‘Stora A’ was her way of coping with the things that were not real, in a fantasy world that this autistic girl had difficulties to see. And when playing doctors my girl would always reassure us that she was not hurt for real, it was just play, she was ‘Stora A’ – my very own Super-A. Read more about Jessica”s autistic girl …
What does your daughter think about the books?
My girl fell for Super-A, who of course is just like her, as well as for the simple Thummie-character. However, she did not want to read anything I had written until it all was a finished book, but we talked about the Thummie the Thumb and the other characters, and my daughter immediately started using a thumbs up to make sure that she got things right. Now she has her own version of the book, where the superhero girl is still named ‘Stora A’. I tried to hide the book when I first got it, so I could read it to her in the evening … but she skipped dinner and snuck away. I found her in my bed reading. She was happy that she was the only one who got her very own book for free. She and her brother had many discussions about who is the superhero Super-A. Both of them want to be Super-A.