The ‘Get to Know Me’ series is made up of resources aimed at children with additional needs and those who support them in the classroom. Developed by child psychologist Dr Louise Lightfoot and illustrated by Catherine Hicks, the series includes activities specific to anxiety, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This book, Draw Along Sammy Sloth, is an activity-based picture book story, in which individual children are encouraged to interact with the story in a creative way – through writing, drawing, scrap booking, collage, activities etc.
Active engagement helps children to understand and process information, and aids long-term recall. It has been designed to support the individual child and encourage an empathetic and inclusive environment. In this book, we meet Sammy, a sloth who lives in a beautiful tree by the sea. The story follows Sammy as he wakes up one day to find he feels funny and strange. He can’t sit still and does not feel like his usual happy and relaxed self. After pacing up and down he meets Anna the Armadillo who tells Sammy that he is silly and has no right to be sad when his life is good. Sammy hears this and feels embarrassed and ashamed of how he has been feeling. Sammy hides away until he meets a kind lizard who shows him kindness and empathy.
This book was written with children with anxiety in mind, providing an opportunity to relate to Sammy’s thoughts, feelings, behaviours and experiences. However, children with a range of needs may benefit from the story. The book is written in a narrative style, so it does not use diagnostic labels and is not intended for this purpose. Instead the focus is on creating a common language which children can understand and use to make sense of how they are feeling.