January 24, 2011
A Review of Second Chance
by Susanne Drazic
Second Chance is a wonderful story about adoption, love, and belonging. It is told through the point of view of Chance, who is a rescue dog. Chance is adopted by a nice lady and her autistic son, Terry. Chance goes home to live with them and their three other dogs, P.J., Little Rascal, and Shelby. New words like "adopt" and "autism" are confusing to Chance. As he learns more about his new family and his new home, he also learns what "adopt" and "autism" mean.
I must admit that when I read through Second Chance, I was not a fan of the pictures. There was no definition to the pictures and they just seemed too blurry to me. The pictures in no way take away from the beautiful story that is being shared.
Second Chance is a story that so many people will enjoy reading, but will also learn from. It is an easy way to teach someone about adoption, but also about autism and being accepted when different from others. This would be a wonderful addition to any public, school or home library.
The Story of a Writer
January 24, 2011
A Wonderful Story About A Dog and His Author
by Beverly Stowe McClure
Author Sandra J. Gerencher has written a story about Chance, a four-month-old Rottweller, German Shepherd mix, that lives in a pen at the shelter with his buddy, Ruffles. One day a lady and little boy are looking at the animals, and when she hugs and kisses Chance he knows he has “the lady eating out of my paw.” The lady adopts Chance and soon he’s living in his new home with the little boy and three other dogs, who he later discovers are all adopted, except for one dog. From the beginning Chance and the boy have a special connection. Chance can talk to the boy, who talks back to him. The author's book Second Chance, gives a lovely picture of the special relationship between a special boy and his dog.
Telling the story from Chance’s viewpoint allows the reader to see how a dog might view his world and the people who inhabit it. We witness humor and wonder as Chance adjusts to his family. Many of the words he hears confuse Chance. What does adoption mean? What is autism? In his new home, Chance has rules to follow, as do his new brothers and sister, as well as the boy Ryan. The author cleverly weaves information about autism into this touching story about being different. This would make a good supplemental reader for school classes to help students understand that some children and adults are different, but that this difference makes each of them unique. Once you read this book, you'll want to run to the nearest shelter and take all the precious animals there home with you.
Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem: YA Cove
January 22, 2011
Featured Author: Sandra Gerencher
hosted by Carrie Hinkel-Gill
Exploring the Animal/Autism Connection
by Sandra J. Gerencher
Children with disabilities are my inspiration. It's real life. It's what goes on every day. The people in my life inspire me such as my adopted son with autism and my special education students at school. I was once told my son, Terry, would never speak in full sentences. Yet he speaks to our dog, Chance, as if he can understand him.
We don't know what's going on inside an autistic child's brain, but there's something different in my son’s thought processes when he’s talking to the dog. When I stand outside his room, I hear him asking the dog, “Are you hungry? Do you want to play?” It helps him cope with some of the issues he's dealing with.
I think animals can sense the good in people. He is more animated with the dog. They play together constantly. When Terry misbehaves I tell him, '”Chance is sad.” Then I ask, 'What would Chance want you to do?'' He always wants to make Chance happy. When I put it in terms of the dog, he responds right away.
My goal is to make children aware that there are kids with special needs. Kids nowadays aren't exposed to people with disabilities. Being naturally inquisitive, they need to be taught why others are different. As an educator and mother, if I've accomplished that goal with one child, then that more than satisfies me.
Sandra J. Gerencher is the author of the children’s book, Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog. She is a special education teacher in Pennsylvania's Bangor Area public school system. For over 20 years, she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy.