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January 24, 2012 | History

How Big is the Fly? 1 editions

Cover of: How Big is the Fly? | Bonnie Jean Smith
About the Book

How Big Is The Fly?
by Bonnie Jean Smith

How Big Is The Fly? is a unique, personal and educational memoir about a mother’s struggle to advocate for her children. I found the story both inspiring and devastating.
As a special education teacher, Bonnie Jean’s story was indeed disturbing. It has never been easy to effectively work through difficult moments within the school environment. Social anxiety associated with autism can cause students’ stress and fear when faced with frustrating or unexpected situations. However, it has been known for quite some time that relationship is at the core of all good teaching. Positive relationships are dependent on mutual respect and a healthy dose of perspective taking. Most educators understand this basic truth and not only reach out to parents as partners but also take the time to analyze how unwanted behavior relates to a child’s disability and specific learning style. This story recounts situation after situation where these basic best practices were not adhered to.
As a mother, Bonnie Jean’s story was inspiring. Throughout the book, readers are exposed to the pitfalls, heartbreak and joys of a single parent and to the tenacity of a parent of children with special needs. In a tireless effort to understand her children and their unique learning styles, Bonnie Jean garners some incredible insight about how to most effectively teach them. She tells a story of autism, learning disability, school phobia, and anxiety. She recounts her frequent trips to her sons’ school in hopes of helping others to understand their needs. She struggles to understand how to teach the skills her children need to negotiate the often unpredictable nature of school.
This is also a story of an African American mother’s struggle to find a community within our public school system. How frustrating the battle can be when time after time school personnel demonstrate various levels of disengagement from the very community they serve. Examples of teachers being afraid of children, or of parents feeling unwelcome in their local school buildings are surely indicative of a severely damaged relationship.
In the end, this is a story of hope. Between the hard to take examples of uncaring, there are inspirational examples of humanity and friendship. One of my favorite stories involves the school building custodians who embraced Ray’s wonderful personality and talent and advocated for him when others would not. The author does not leave the reader feeling hopeless but rather gives example after example of how parents can better find their place in the often confusing system. The reality of this story is that although establishing meaningful relationships is the key, succeeding in building such relationships is an ongoing task. Understanding perspective is essential and as Bonnie Jean Smith points out throughout this groundbreaking book, asking the right question is essential to understanding perspective.

Kari Dunn Buron
Co-author of The Incredible 5-Point Scale and author of When My Worries Get Too Big! and A 5 is Against the Law!
Co-editor of Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators (in press)

Autism Educational Specialist
Hamline University

1 edition First published in 2007

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: How Big is the Fly?
How Big is the Fly?: Asking the Right Questions
July 13, 2007, AuthorHouse
Paperback in English


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January 24, 2012 Edited by Edited without comment.
April 28, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the work.
December 11, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page