Podcast — 26 Minutes

Episode 10: Books, media savviness, & online safety

Podcast — 26 Minutes

Episode 10: Books, media savviness, & online safety

With Ainsley Knight & her father Bubba

Ainsley shares her joy of books as well as some favorite titles. Ainsley & Bubba also talk with Dr. Gwynette about media selection, the introduction of topics at a developmentally appropriate stage of life, and staying safe while making friends and being online.

Music by @MrBobbyKalman

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Dr. Gwynette: Hello and welcome to the Autism News Network podcast, Episode 10 my name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette. I work at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow me at Dr. Gwynette on Twitter and Instagram. That’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E. I am joined today by Ainsley Knight. Welcome, Ainsley, and her father, Bubba Knight.

Bubba Knight: Nice to meet you doctor.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, good to see you guys. Thanks for being here today. So our exciting topic today is, you want to tell them Ainsley?

Ainsley Knight: Sure, Doc. Hello everyone. I’m Ainsley Knight. I’m here to talk today about book reviews. About books that I’ve read in the past years and they are excellent.

Dr. Gwynette: Awesome. So we’re going to get some tips on good books for you guys to pick up. We’re going to talk about reading in general. Ainsley, I know you are a huge reader and you described yourself as not only a bookworm but a …

Ainsley Knight: a fat juicy bookworm.

Dr. Gwynette: And how long does it go back, your history of reading?

Ainsley Knight: I’ve been reading ever since I was little. Probably since I could talk and ever since then I’ve just been reading all my life. It’s been very relaxing for me. I love it. And for any other bookworms out there, books are really great. You get to get lost in the adventures. You get to picture the characters. You get to go where they are, but not in real life.

Dr. Gwynette: So it’s good for the imagination.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, it is.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, reading has been shown to be one of the biggest predictors of performance in life and intelligence, so that’s great. Yeah. And dad, do you remember Ainsley being a reader from a young age?

Bubba Knight: Ainsley started reading books on her own in the early threes. She started picking up on it quickly. At first we would think it was just her browsing through the book, but then she can answer questions about them in complete sentences as well.

Dr. Gwynette: So the comprehension was there from an early age.

Bubba Knight: Yes it was.

Dr. Gwynette: That is such a gift. Wow. What a blessing for you. Now, how many books do you read on average, like a week?

Ainsley Knight: I would say if it’s a really short book, with only like 20 something chapters, I can finish it in a few days. For a really thick book, it takes me quite a few weeks, probably even a month to finish. I have a pile to get through before I even get a new one. Whenever we’re at the bookstore, I make a list of the ones that I want and I put them on my list and I’m like, “Oh, okay. That one’s good.” My mom is very picky about what books I read. No romance, no people holding hands on the cover. She’s just looking out for me. She’s just protecting me and I just think she’s being picky, that’s all.

Bubba Knight: Well it has a lot to do with the internal content. Holding hands, there’s not a big issue at all for the most part. It’s usually the language and how the book may progress into something that we want you not to see at this time for the most part. We have quick reviews. We have friends that are also teachers that we send the review back to, a question on the book so we can get a review and usually have an answer in a couple of minutes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And there is a website that’s good for getting the parent recommendation of movies and books. Do you guys know the name of that?

Bubba Knight: You do.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, I do. My mom goes to commonsensemedia.com and that’s for watching for movies, books, any type of thing, really. Video games, you name it. My mom looks on there and she looks at the content of the book, says if it has any R rated things or X rated things. She’ll look at it and then she’ll either tell me the book is good or no, put it back. And that gets me upset. I mean it just makes me really mad.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, and Ainsley you’ve been open about the fact that you have been diagnosed with autism. And can you tell the audience how old you are?

Ainsley Knight: I am 21 years old. About to be 22 in April.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, that’s awesome. And so some of our audience may be wondering why are Ainsley’s parents so involved in the choice of her books? Well chronologically, she’s absolutely 21 years old, but developmentally we’re still working towards maturity in terms of understanding adult content and keeping all females with autism safe. And so I think the parents have done a wonderful job of keeping an eye out for you. And you’re still growing, you’re still developing. So maybe someday you’ll step into your own maturity, but for now I think it’s helpful that the content is monitored closely by your parents. Yeah. Now you read paper books, right? Not eBooks or Kindle. Tell us about that decision.

Ainsley Knight: So I like actually holding books and I like smelling them because they smell good when you first get them. I know it sounds embarrassing. And eBooks aren’t really that good because the light’s not great. The lighting’s terrible on eBooks and Kindles and stuff. When you go to a room with good lighting for a paper book, you can actually see where you are in the book. So, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So do you feel like when you’re reading a book that you can remember a certain passage was on the upper left corner and the lower right corner? Like you have a picture in your mind of the book.

Ainsley Knight: Not really, but I can picture a character’s. Like what color hair they have. What color eyes. Although, usually they tell you, they describe the characters to you. And some characters in the books I’ve read, I would love to be friends with. If they were real, we would have a really good time.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh gotcha. Okay. So you like the paper books. You like the smell. You like the feel of it. And then where do all these books go when you’re done reading with them?

Ainsley Knight: I have so many. I have several boxes that I put my books in. I organize them and I don’t put them in alphabetical order because that would just take forever. I have them in boxes so they don’t like crowd my room and I might get even more boxes for my other pile once I’m finished with it.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. So you’re like swimming in books, huh?

Ainsley Knight: Yes.

Bubba Knight: I like to add in on that. With Ainsley it’s once she has a book she wants to keep it. At times I’ll kid with her, and sometimes very seriously, that it’s time to donate because of the room they take up and that it is best to share with other people. An argument will ensue, I promise you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. See that’s the thing. I started reading on an iPad and on a phone probably about three years ago and I went from reading like zero books a year to all of a sudden I read like 20 books a year because I could chip away at it when I had my phone with me. Also it’s nice because you can take it anywhere with you. I’ve got a hundred bucks on my phone and they’re not piling up but it is hard. The only other thing too is that you can search it. So if I want to say, “Hey, what was that part?” I can hit the search window and find it.

Dr. Gwynette: But it is different. I think it does strain one’s eyes to look at a screen a lot. And there is something about having a light and having a real book isn’t there? Yeah. Did you ever hear Abraham Lincoln used to read by candlelight in his cabin?

Ainsley Knight: I had no idea. I had no clue that he did that. It must have really given him a headache.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I think it did put a strain on his eyes, but now we can read anytime we want, which is kind of cool. So anyway. Well cool. Well, what types of books do you and dad like to read?

Ainsley Knight: The books I like to read are fiction. Some romance, as long as Mom says it’s okay, blah. I like reading books about puppies because it reminds me of, Oso, my little bear.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, your dog.

Ainsley Knight: Yep. And I like reading books from Disney, like the Twisted Tales. I like reading books that come from the Scholastic book fair that was at my brother’s old school this past November. Yeah, that had some great books.

Dr. Gwynette: So the Twisted Tales, is that the one where it’s like princesses that come to modern day life and then change lives or something like that?

Ainsley Knight: Sort of. The Twisted Tales have questions. Like, what if Ariel never defeated Ursula? What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? What if the Prince had eaten the poisoned Apple and, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. And so those are Disney stories but with a twist.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And they are excellent. I have seven of them and two I haven’t read yet and I’ve read five of them. They are so good. I can picture every place, every character. It’s amazing.

Dr. Gwynette: And they’re on Netflix, right? Th Twisted Tales.

Ainsley Knight: No, but they should be on Netflix. They should really-

Dr. Gwynette: Or they’re on Disney Plus. But they made TV shows out of them.

Ainsley Knight: No they have not, but I might send a letter to Disney to tell them to put a series on Netflix. Like Episode One Arial, Episode Two Belle.

Dr. Gwynette: That would be a, sure fire hit. Pretty much everything Disney does.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And if they do, do a Netflix or something like that. If it was on Netflix, it’d be a big hit.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. No, absolutely. And Dad, what kind of books do you like to read?

Bubba Knight: I basically like pretty much history based war movies for the most part. And then if I really want to get into a good book, it’s more like a turn of the century early hunting or outdoors activities. Before a lot of people here, for the most part. I like to get myself lost in the woods or the water and just have a good time away from people.

Dr. Gwynette: Now with the World War II books, is there any particular like theater or period of World War II that you like to read about?

Bubba Knight: No, not really. Either Pacific or the European theater for the most part is fine with me. It’s just I like more history based than Hollywood based, if you follow.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure. Are there any things that come to mind in terms of the way Hollywood has romanticized World War II versus the way it really was?

Bubba Knight: It might be because a lot of that, not just an example, but it might be because of what was allowed to be recorded and shown in the movie itself, for the most part, I’ve always been a big fan of John Wayne. Sands of Iwo Jima was one of my favorite, but it’s been romanticized for the most part in certain parts. But it might’ve been that way just for what was allowed to be shown.

Dr. Gwynette: That they couldn’t show all the blood and guts. Yeah.

Bubba Knight: That’s correct.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’ve done a couple of podcasts talking about World War II and it’s amazing how much has been written about it and it was only what, seven or eight years from wire to wire. I guess 1939 … six years. But boy, there’s just so much to be said and thought about and written with World War II. It’s endless, isn’t it?

Bubba Knight: Very much so. Anywhere from just the pre-war before we got involved for the most part, to the end and to years after the effects it had.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. The way it’s affecting the maps and no question. Okay, well I wanted to ask Ainsley now, are there any autism books that you’ve enjoyed?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, there are. One that I did not enjoy was the Safety Skills for Asperger Women, because my parents made me read it cover to cover and Dad said if I finished it, he would take me to get a book of my choice. I was happy about that when he kept his promise. There’s chapters on real friends and don’t just assume someone’s your friend. And there’s, I don’t know if there’s a chapter on strangers or anything like that, but there’s different chapters. The friendship one’s the only one I remember at the moment and I’ve stowed that book away. I haven’t touched it. I haven’t looked at it. I was really upset by it, that Mom picked that out for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Maybe dad can shed some light on this. Dad, what are your fears as the father of a young woman with autism? What are your fears in terms of safety issues and things that you ask her to be mindful about?

Bubba Knight: To touch on exactly how Ainsley put it, was the friendship part. Not identifying a true friend that could put you in a very precarious situation. And so Mom asks you to go ahead and proceed and read it from cover to cover so you’d be better informed. The better you’ve been informed, the better decisions you have made and it’s been easier on us as such. Without having some kind of guide to go by all you can do is listen to your parents. And whether you have a five-year-old or a 20 year old, they always don’t like to listen to your parents. So any kind of backing up of that material that we can elaborate on is very helpful.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. How old was Ainsley when you guys started talking about things like alcohol and drugs?

Bubba Knight: Ainsley?

Ainsley Knight: I’m not sure when. I’m not really sure when.

Bubba Knight: I’ll say it’s probably at a younger age. I would say between 12 and 13 for the most part. We’ve been lucky enough to have her in a pretty decent setting and she wouldn’t, exposed to that kind for the most part. A lot of it, she is not on her own as in she didn’t care for certain things off the bat. Safe to say that I have one every now and then, an alcoholic beverage. She’s really showed no interest until she actually hit 21 because she would say, “I am not of age to partake.” Been very minimal on that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And then as a guideline for other parents of females with autism, what would you say to them when it comes to talking about things like sexual activity, protection against HIV and pregnancy and so forth. As a parent, what would you say are important things to keep in mind?

Bubba Knight: I am a gentleman of direct. I am very direct when it came to this. For the most part, it will depend on your child’s development, how you should go about it and discuss it. Myself, was a direct approach around the age when we see boys or girls catching the eye of each other. We would have a normal birds and bees conversation after which depending on your child, it might take a month, a day or a year. Me and Ainsley decided to take a ride and within about five minutes I had said my complete piece. We’ve had open discussion and we have been very successful with it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That direct approach has worked for years for me.

Bubba Knight: For myself, the direct approach because I did not want to leave anything out or to imagination. My basic comment on the whole thing is “I’d rather you come to me to discuss a subject that might be hard than have to deal with a hard situation later.”

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right. Oh that’s great. Yeah, because they really are safety discussions in the end.

Bubba Knight: Very much so.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And I think another thing I worry about in all of my patients but also my female patients with autism is, being contacted by either over age males online or somebody out there who’s going to be a predator on someone who’s vulnerable. I know a lot of parents share that fear with me. And are there any steps, unique steps that you might recommend that parents take?

Bubba Knight: Going back to the discussion with Ainsley reading that book about the development of the autism in a young lady for the most part, identifying a true friend. That became one of the biggest issues and still is for the most part. Being introduced to online apps, Twitter, Facebook, you have to completely monitor. The only way I can say to best protect your family and your child is to be involved. If you’re not involved, you do not know what’s going on.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right. That’s right and things can happen so quickly in our online world. Yeah, I think it’s really great, Dan, how you said to try to minimize the risks. And so that last few minutes might seem like a tangent for our audience, but I think it’s really relevant, not only because it pertains to that book, The Safety Skills for Asperger Women, but also because for all of our audience, safety is always number one. And like Mr. Knight mentioned, being involved is always a good idea. Okay.

Dr. Gwynette: So, that Ainsley might not have been your favorite book about autism. Do you have another book that about autism that you liked?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, there was one that my boss recommended to me called Things I Should Have Known. It’s about two sisters, Chloe and Ivy. But Ivy has autism like me and she’s very picky about what clothes she wears. I think that’s the only thing she’s picky about. It was amazing. It was good. And there was only one part that I didn’t like.

Bubba Knight: No spoilers, no spoilers. Sorry.

Ainsley Knight: There was one part that I didn’t like in particular, but I won’t say it because that’s a spoiler alert. But in the book, Ivy’s sister Chloe, one of her classmates at school David, has a brother with autism, his name is Ethan. And they try to get Ivy and Ethan together on a date but it doesn’t really work out that great.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. But you felt like you could relate while you’re reading it.

Ainsley Knight: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: So you recommend that one?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, I recommend it.

Dr. Gwynette: What was the name again?

Ainsley Knight: Things I Should Have Known by Claire Lazebnik.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool.

Ainsley Knight: For anyone who has autism or someone has a sibling, this is the book for them. And it’s just a good book in general.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. We’ll definitely keep that in mind. Now you are an animal lover, especially a dog lover. So we have a bunch of books that you recommend, but tell me about this one. A Dog’s Purpose.

Ainsley Knight: A Dog’s Purpose is about a dog named Bailey and his owner, Ethan. They go on adventures together. I don’t remember reading it. I read it a long time ago, but it was good and I let my nanny borrow it so she could read it. She said it was too hard for her to read because she said she was worried that it would make her sad and stuff.

Dr. Gwynette: And there are some sad moments, right?

Ainsley Knight: I can’t remember, I’m sorry. It was a long time ago.

Dr. Gwynette: No problem. Some of those books, I think is A Dog’s Life and A Dog’s Purpose, is that the same series where …

Ainsley Knight: No, A Dog’s Life is by Ann M. Martin. I read that with my cousins. I went to their school library for a book club. And that was the book they were reading and I don’t remember that one either.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. But you and I, and I think Dad all agree that the book Marley and Me is not on the list of stuff to read because it’s way too sad.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, it’s way too sad. The movie was sad. I cried when they had to put him down and when he crossed the bridge. The book and movie are sad.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So don’t see that. Don’t read that.

Bubba Knight: Just to let you know, Dad won’t even watch that movie. It’s a downer.

Dr. Gwynette: Absolutely. I saw that movie once and I was so angry. I think I threw the DVD away. It was just absolutely terrible. Okay. And then did we already talk about Chester and Gus?

Ainsley Knight: No, we have not.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah tell us about that book.

Ainsley Knight: So Chester and Gus is a book about a boy named Gus who has autism and he is 10 years old. His parents are trying to get him to be more social in school and they bring a dog to the house. Well, the dog’s owner brings him to the house. The dog’s name is Chester and they’re trying to train him to read and to try to train him for like a job or something like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Does one of them have autism?

Ainsley Knight: Yes. The boy Gus has autism and at first when he sees Chester, he just doesn’t really like him. But eventually he gets used to him. And the type of dog that Gus is, is a Labrador retriever.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s a great breed.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And it also reminded me of Oso because he’s my autism service dog.

Dr. Gwynette: Yes. We’re going, in a second I have an extra segment we’re going to do for those of you who listen to the end, there’s going to be an Easter egg at the end of this one and you’re going to have to listen til the very end to find out what it is. But before we get to the conclusion, I want to ask you, one of the most famous authors in books is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Have you ever read that one?

Ainsley Knight: No, I haven’t. I’ll have to look at that one next time I go to the bookstore.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh that one, it’s kind of a mystery, but the main character, Christopher has autism and it’s awesome.

Ainsley Knight: Oh wow. Like me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And the cover is interesting because it has, I think it’s a poodle on his back, upside down on the book. Like a red and black cover.

Ainsley Knight: Okay. I’ll have to talk with my parents and see if we can go to Barnes and Noble this week and maybe we can pick it up.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So common sense media. We’ll look that up online and see if it’s appropriate. I think it might be. I think it’s okay. Cool. All right, so now we’re going to wrap up here. Any other final comments, Dad and Ainsley?

Bubba Knight: I have none at this time.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Ainsley well I’ve got a little surprise for you. I am going to give you 15 seconds. It’s kind of a blitz but 15 seconds to tell the audience about your boy, Oso. I need to get my clock out. Okay. And I will tell you when to start and I’ll tell you when to stop. Almost ready? Ready?

Ainsley Knight: Oso, he’s a service dog. He’s amazing. He goes everywhere with me. I love him very much. Oh, I’ve taken him to many places.

Dr. Gwynette: What’s he look like?

Ainsley Knight: He’s black.

Dr. Gwynette: Fuzzy or not fuzzy.

Ainsley Knight: Fuzzy.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. No. Is he bad or …

Ainsley Knight: No, he’s good except he tends to get into napkins and stuff. We’re trying to get him to stop.

Dr. Gwynette: Because I’ve always heard he’s a very good boy.

Ainsley Knight: He’s a very good boy. He’s a little bear.

Dr. Gwynette: All right, well thank you to our audience for being here today for Episode 10 of the Autism News Network podcast. We heard from Ainsley Knight and her father Bubba. We heard about a lot of great books that you can read and also discussed some very important safety concerns about reading material, but also rules or thoughts for people who are going to be online or who are raising a youngster with autism, whether it be male or female. So there’s a lot to think about.

Dr. Gwynette: We hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode and that you’ll also join us for episode 11 coming up next week. Again, I’m not Dr. Gwynette at D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Twitter and Instagram. And we look forward to seeing you next time.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello and welcome to the Autism News Network podcast, Episode 10 my name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette. I work at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow me at Dr. Gwynette on Twitter and Instagram. That’s D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E. I am joined today by Ainsley Knight. Welcome, Ainsley, and her father, Bubba Knight.

Bubba Knight: Nice to meet you doctor.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, good to see you guys. Thanks for being here today. So our exciting topic today is, you want to tell them Ainsley?

Ainsley Knight: Sure, Doc. Hello everyone. I’m Ainsley Knight. I’m here to talk today about book reviews. About books that I’ve read in the past years and they are excellent.

Dr. Gwynette: Awesome. So we’re going to get some tips on good books for you guys to pick up. We’re going to talk about reading in general. Ainsley, I know you are a huge reader and you described yourself as not only a bookworm but a …

Ainsley Knight: a fat juicy bookworm.

Dr. Gwynette: And how long does it go back, your history of reading?

Ainsley Knight: I’ve been reading ever since I was little. Probably since I could talk and ever since then I’ve just been reading all my life. It’s been very relaxing for me. I love it. And for any other bookworms out there, books are really great. You get to get lost in the adventures. You get to picture the characters. You get to go where they are, but not in real life.

Dr. Gwynette: So it’s good for the imagination.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, it is.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, reading has been shown to be one of the biggest predictors of performance in life and intelligence, so that’s great. Yeah. And dad, do you remember Ainsley being a reader from a young age?

Bubba Knight: Ainsley started reading books on her own in the early threes. She started picking up on it quickly. At first we would think it was just her browsing through the book, but then she can answer questions about them in complete sentences as well.

Dr. Gwynette: So the comprehension was there from an early age.

Bubba Knight: Yes it was.

Dr. Gwynette: That is such a gift. Wow. What a blessing for you. Now, how many books do you read on average, like a week?

Ainsley Knight: I would say if it’s a really short book, with only like 20 something chapters, I can finish it in a few days. For a really thick book, it takes me quite a few weeks, probably even a month to finish. I have a pile to get through before I even get a new one. Whenever we’re at the bookstore, I make a list of the ones that I want and I put them on my list and I’m like, “Oh, okay. That one’s good.” My mom is very picky about what books I read. No romance, no people holding hands on the cover. She’s just looking out for me. She’s just protecting me and I just think she’s being picky, that’s all.

Bubba Knight: Well it has a lot to do with the internal content. Holding hands, there’s not a big issue at all for the most part. It’s usually the language and how the book may progress into something that we want you not to see at this time for the most part. We have quick reviews. We have friends that are also teachers that we send the review back to, a question on the book so we can get a review and usually have an answer in a couple of minutes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And there is a website that’s good for getting the parent recommendation of movies and books. Do you guys know the name of that?

Bubba Knight: You do.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, I do. My mom goes to commonsensemedia.com and that’s for watching for movies, books, any type of thing, really. Video games, you name it. My mom looks on there and she looks at the content of the book, says if it has any R rated things or X rated things. She’ll look at it and then she’ll either tell me the book is good or no, put it back. And that gets me upset. I mean it just makes me really mad.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, and Ainsley you’ve been open about the fact that you have been diagnosed with autism. And can you tell the audience how old you are?

Ainsley Knight: I am 21 years old. About to be 22 in April.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, that’s awesome. And so some of our audience may be wondering why are Ainsley’s parents so involved in the choice of her books? Well chronologically, she’s absolutely 21 years old, but developmentally we’re still working towards maturity in terms of understanding adult content and keeping all females with autism safe. And so I think the parents have done a wonderful job of keeping an eye out for you. And you’re still growing, you’re still developing. So maybe someday you’ll step into your own maturity, but for now I think it’s helpful that the content is monitored closely by your parents. Yeah. Now you read paper books, right? Not eBooks or Kindle. Tell us about that decision.

Ainsley Knight: So I like actually holding books and I like smelling them because they smell good when you first get them. I know it sounds embarrassing. And eBooks aren’t really that good because the light’s not great. The lighting’s terrible on eBooks and Kindles and stuff. When you go to a room with good lighting for a paper book, you can actually see where you are in the book. So, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So do you feel like when you’re reading a book that you can remember a certain passage was on the upper left corner and the lower right corner? Like you have a picture in your mind of the book.

Ainsley Knight: Not really, but I can picture a character’s. Like what color hair they have. What color eyes. Although, usually they tell you, they describe the characters to you. And some characters in the books I’ve read, I would love to be friends with. If they were real, we would have a really good time.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh gotcha. Okay. So you like the paper books. You like the smell. You like the feel of it. And then where do all these books go when you’re done reading with them?

Ainsley Knight: I have so many. I have several boxes that I put my books in. I organize them and I don’t put them in alphabetical order because that would just take forever. I have them in boxes so they don’t like crowd my room and I might get even more boxes for my other pile once I’m finished with it.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. So you’re like swimming in books, huh?

Ainsley Knight: Yes.

Bubba Knight: I like to add in on that. With Ainsley it’s once she has a book she wants to keep it. At times I’ll kid with her, and sometimes very seriously, that it’s time to donate because of the room they take up and that it is best to share with other people. An argument will ensue, I promise you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. See that’s the thing. I started reading on an iPad and on a phone probably about three years ago and I went from reading like zero books a year to all of a sudden I read like 20 books a year because I could chip away at it when I had my phone with me. Also it’s nice because you can take it anywhere with you. I’ve got a hundred bucks on my phone and they’re not piling up but it is hard. The only other thing too is that you can search it. So if I want to say, “Hey, what was that part?” I can hit the search window and find it.

Dr. Gwynette: But it is different. I think it does strain one’s eyes to look at a screen a lot. And there is something about having a light and having a real book isn’t there? Yeah. Did you ever hear Abraham Lincoln used to read by candlelight in his cabin?

Ainsley Knight: I had no idea. I had no clue that he did that. It must have really given him a headache.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I think it did put a strain on his eyes, but now we can read anytime we want, which is kind of cool. So anyway. Well cool. Well, what types of books do you and dad like to read?

Ainsley Knight: The books I like to read are fiction. Some romance, as long as Mom says it’s okay, blah. I like reading books about puppies because it reminds me of, Oso, my little bear.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, your dog.

Ainsley Knight: Yep. And I like reading books from Disney, like the Twisted Tales. I like reading books that come from the Scholastic book fair that was at my brother’s old school this past November. Yeah, that had some great books.

Dr. Gwynette: So the Twisted Tales, is that the one where it’s like princesses that come to modern day life and then change lives or something like that?

Ainsley Knight: Sort of. The Twisted Tales have questions. Like, what if Ariel never defeated Ursula? What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? What if the Prince had eaten the poisoned Apple and, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. And so those are Disney stories but with a twist.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And they are excellent. I have seven of them and two I haven’t read yet and I’ve read five of them. They are so good. I can picture every place, every character. It’s amazing.

Dr. Gwynette: And they’re on Netflix, right? Th Twisted Tales.

Ainsley Knight: No, but they should be on Netflix. They should really-

Dr. Gwynette: Or they’re on Disney Plus. But they made TV shows out of them.

Ainsley Knight: No they have not, but I might send a letter to Disney to tell them to put a series on Netflix. Like Episode One Arial, Episode Two Belle.

Dr. Gwynette: That would be a, sure fire hit. Pretty much everything Disney does.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And if they do, do a Netflix or something like that. If it was on Netflix, it’d be a big hit.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. No, absolutely. And Dad, what kind of books do you like to read?

Bubba Knight: I basically like pretty much history based war movies for the most part. And then if I really want to get into a good book, it’s more like a turn of the century early hunting or outdoors activities. Before a lot of people here, for the most part. I like to get myself lost in the woods or the water and just have a good time away from people.

Dr. Gwynette: Now with the World War II books, is there any particular like theater or period of World War II that you like to read about?

Bubba Knight: No, not really. Either Pacific or the European theater for the most part is fine with me. It’s just I like more history based than Hollywood based, if you follow.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure. Are there any things that come to mind in terms of the way Hollywood has romanticized World War II versus the way it really was?

Bubba Knight: It might be because a lot of that, not just an example, but it might be because of what was allowed to be recorded and shown in the movie itself, for the most part, I’ve always been a big fan of John Wayne. Sands of Iwo Jima was one of my favorite, but it’s been romanticized for the most part in certain parts. But it might’ve been that way just for what was allowed to be shown.

Dr. Gwynette: That they couldn’t show all the blood and guts. Yeah.

Bubba Knight: That’s correct.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’ve done a couple of podcasts talking about World War II and it’s amazing how much has been written about it and it was only what, seven or eight years from wire to wire. I guess 1939 … six years. But boy, there’s just so much to be said and thought about and written with World War II. It’s endless, isn’t it?

Bubba Knight: Very much so. Anywhere from just the pre-war before we got involved for the most part, to the end and to years after the effects it had.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, absolutely. The way it’s affecting the maps and no question. Okay, well I wanted to ask Ainsley now, are there any autism books that you’ve enjoyed?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, there are. One that I did not enjoy was the Safety Skills for Asperger Women, because my parents made me read it cover to cover and Dad said if I finished it, he would take me to get a book of my choice. I was happy about that when he kept his promise. There’s chapters on real friends and don’t just assume someone’s your friend. And there’s, I don’t know if there’s a chapter on strangers or anything like that, but there’s different chapters. The friendship one’s the only one I remember at the moment and I’ve stowed that book away. I haven’t touched it. I haven’t looked at it. I was really upset by it, that Mom picked that out for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Maybe dad can shed some light on this. Dad, what are your fears as the father of a young woman with autism? What are your fears in terms of safety issues and things that you ask her to be mindful about?

Bubba Knight: To touch on exactly how Ainsley put it, was the friendship part. Not identifying a true friend that could put you in a very precarious situation. And so Mom asks you to go ahead and proceed and read it from cover to cover so you’d be better informed. The better you’ve been informed, the better decisions you have made and it’s been easier on us as such. Without having some kind of guide to go by all you can do is listen to your parents. And whether you have a five-year-old or a 20 year old, they always don’t like to listen to your parents. So any kind of backing up of that material that we can elaborate on is very helpful.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. How old was Ainsley when you guys started talking about things like alcohol and drugs?

Bubba Knight: Ainsley?

Ainsley Knight: I’m not sure when. I’m not really sure when.

Bubba Knight: I’ll say it’s probably at a younger age. I would say between 12 and 13 for the most part. We’ve been lucky enough to have her in a pretty decent setting and she wouldn’t, exposed to that kind for the most part. A lot of it, she is not on her own as in she didn’t care for certain things off the bat. Safe to say that I have one every now and then, an alcoholic beverage. She’s really showed no interest until she actually hit 21 because she would say, “I am not of age to partake.” Been very minimal on that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And then as a guideline for other parents of females with autism, what would you say to them when it comes to talking about things like sexual activity, protection against HIV and pregnancy and so forth. As a parent, what would you say are important things to keep in mind?

Bubba Knight: I am a gentleman of direct. I am very direct when it came to this. For the most part, it will depend on your child’s development, how you should go about it and discuss it. Myself, was a direct approach around the age when we see boys or girls catching the eye of each other. We would have a normal birds and bees conversation after which depending on your child, it might take a month, a day or a year. Me and Ainsley decided to take a ride and within about five minutes I had said my complete piece. We’ve had open discussion and we have been very successful with it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That direct approach has worked for years for me.

Bubba Knight: For myself, the direct approach because I did not want to leave anything out or to imagination. My basic comment on the whole thing is “I’d rather you come to me to discuss a subject that might be hard than have to deal with a hard situation later.”

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right. Oh that’s great. Yeah, because they really are safety discussions in the end.

Bubba Knight: Very much so.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. And I think another thing I worry about in all of my patients but also my female patients with autism is, being contacted by either over age males online or somebody out there who’s going to be a predator on someone who’s vulnerable. I know a lot of parents share that fear with me. And are there any steps, unique steps that you might recommend that parents take?

Bubba Knight: Going back to the discussion with Ainsley reading that book about the development of the autism in a young lady for the most part, identifying a true friend. That became one of the biggest issues and still is for the most part. Being introduced to online apps, Twitter, Facebook, you have to completely monitor. The only way I can say to best protect your family and your child is to be involved. If you’re not involved, you do not know what’s going on.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right. That’s right and things can happen so quickly in our online world. Yeah, I think it’s really great, Dan, how you said to try to minimize the risks. And so that last few minutes might seem like a tangent for our audience, but I think it’s really relevant, not only because it pertains to that book, The Safety Skills for Asperger Women, but also because for all of our audience, safety is always number one. And like Mr. Knight mentioned, being involved is always a good idea. Okay.

Dr. Gwynette: So, that Ainsley might not have been your favorite book about autism. Do you have another book that about autism that you liked?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, there was one that my boss recommended to me called Things I Should Have Known. It’s about two sisters, Chloe and Ivy. But Ivy has autism like me and she’s very picky about what clothes she wears. I think that’s the only thing she’s picky about. It was amazing. It was good. And there was only one part that I didn’t like.

Bubba Knight: No spoilers, no spoilers. Sorry.

Ainsley Knight: There was one part that I didn’t like in particular, but I won’t say it because that’s a spoiler alert. But in the book, Ivy’s sister Chloe, one of her classmates at school David, has a brother with autism, his name is Ethan. And they try to get Ivy and Ethan together on a date but it doesn’t really work out that great.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. But you felt like you could relate while you’re reading it.

Ainsley Knight: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: So you recommend that one?

Ainsley Knight: Yes, I recommend it.

Dr. Gwynette: What was the name again?

Ainsley Knight: Things I Should Have Known by Claire Lazebnik.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool.

Ainsley Knight: For anyone who has autism or someone has a sibling, this is the book for them. And it’s just a good book in general.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. We’ll definitely keep that in mind. Now you are an animal lover, especially a dog lover. So we have a bunch of books that you recommend, but tell me about this one. A Dog’s Purpose.

Ainsley Knight: A Dog’s Purpose is about a dog named Bailey and his owner, Ethan. They go on adventures together. I don’t remember reading it. I read it a long time ago, but it was good and I let my nanny borrow it so she could read it. She said it was too hard for her to read because she said she was worried that it would make her sad and stuff.

Dr. Gwynette: And there are some sad moments, right?

Ainsley Knight: I can’t remember, I’m sorry. It was a long time ago.

Dr. Gwynette: No problem. Some of those books, I think is A Dog’s Life and A Dog’s Purpose, is that the same series where …

Ainsley Knight: No, A Dog’s Life is by Ann M. Martin. I read that with my cousins. I went to their school library for a book club. And that was the book they were reading and I don’t remember that one either.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. But you and I, and I think Dad all agree that the book Marley and Me is not on the list of stuff to read because it’s way too sad.

Ainsley Knight: Yes, it’s way too sad. The movie was sad. I cried when they had to put him down and when he crossed the bridge. The book and movie are sad.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So don’t see that. Don’t read that.

Bubba Knight: Just to let you know, Dad won’t even watch that movie. It’s a downer.

Dr. Gwynette: Absolutely. I saw that movie once and I was so angry. I think I threw the DVD away. It was just absolutely terrible. Okay. And then did we already talk about Chester and Gus?

Ainsley Knight: No, we have not.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah tell us about that book.

Ainsley Knight: So Chester and Gus is a book about a boy named Gus who has autism and he is 10 years old. His parents are trying to get him to be more social in school and they bring a dog to the house. Well, the dog’s owner brings him to the house. The dog’s name is Chester and they’re trying to train him to read and to try to train him for like a job or something like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Does one of them have autism?

Ainsley Knight: Yes. The boy Gus has autism and at first when he sees Chester, he just doesn’t really like him. But eventually he gets used to him. And the type of dog that Gus is, is a Labrador retriever.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s a great breed.

Ainsley Knight: Yes. And it also reminded me of Oso because he’s my autism service dog.

Dr. Gwynette: Yes. We’re going, in a second I have an extra segment we’re going to do for those of you who listen to the end, there’s going to be an Easter egg at the end of this one and you’re going to have to listen til the very end to find out what it is. But before we get to the conclusion, I want to ask you, one of the most famous authors in books is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Have you ever read that one?

Ainsley Knight: No, I haven’t. I’ll have to look at that one next time I go to the bookstore.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh that one, it’s kind of a mystery, but the main character, Christopher has autism and it’s awesome.

Ainsley Knight: Oh wow. Like me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And the cover is interesting because it has, I think it’s a poodle on his back, upside down on the book. Like a red and black cover.

Ainsley Knight: Okay. I’ll have to talk with my parents and see if we can go to Barnes and Noble this week and maybe we can pick it up.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. So common sense media. We’ll look that up online and see if it’s appropriate. I think it might be. I think it’s okay. Cool. All right, so now we’re going to wrap up here. Any other final comments, Dad and Ainsley?

Bubba Knight: I have none at this time.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Ainsley well I’ve got a little surprise for you. I am going to give you 15 seconds. It’s kind of a blitz but 15 seconds to tell the audience about your boy, Oso. I need to get my clock out. Okay. And I will tell you when to start and I’ll tell you when to stop. Almost ready? Ready?

Ainsley Knight: Oso, he’s a service dog. He’s amazing. He goes everywhere with me. I love him very much. Oh, I’ve taken him to many places.

Dr. Gwynette: What’s he look like?

Ainsley Knight: He’s black.

Dr. Gwynette: Fuzzy or not fuzzy.

Ainsley Knight: Fuzzy.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. No. Is he bad or …

Ainsley Knight: No, he’s good except he tends to get into napkins and stuff. We’re trying to get him to stop.

Dr. Gwynette: Because I’ve always heard he’s a very good boy.

Ainsley Knight: He’s a very good boy. He’s a little bear.

Dr. Gwynette: All right, well thank you to our audience for being here today for Episode 10 of the Autism News Network podcast. We heard from Ainsley Knight and her father Bubba. We heard about a lot of great books that you can read and also discussed some very important safety concerns about reading material, but also rules or thoughts for people who are going to be online or who are raising a youngster with autism, whether it be male or female. So there’s a lot to think about.

Dr. Gwynette: We hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode and that you’ll also join us for episode 11 coming up next week. Again, I’m not Dr. Gwynette at D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E on Twitter and Instagram. And we look forward to seeing you next time.

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