Start the Asthma Talk with "Alfie's Attack!"
Getting children to understand about asthma is a tricky task. This is where a good children's book comes in handy. "Alfie's Attack! The Story of a Fish with Asthma," by David Bohline, should be a good tool to start the asthma talk with your child.
As a former child asthmatic myself, I remember thinking that when I couldn't breathe I felt like a fish out of water. Bohline uses this metaphor by writing about a fish called Alfie who has asthma.
Alfie comes upon a shark who also has asthma, and it is up to Alfie to save the day. The story emphasizes the need to know about your disease and to have a rescue inhaler available at all times. It also shows the importance of relaxing in order to control an asthma attack.
The story lacks in that it doesn't go into preventative medicine, avoiding asthma triggers, asthma signs and symptoms, and asthma action plans. Yet this book, in my opinion, is not so much about covering all the asthma topics as it is about simply a tool for starting a greater conversation with your child about asthma.
My asthmatic daughter loves it when I sit down with her before bed with a good book. When I pulled out the story about Alfie, she was excited and started reading right away. She read some, I read some, and when we finished we had a brief conversation about asthma.
It's kind of neat, actually, how that happens. We didn't go into much detail, as my daughter is only seven. Your conversation can be short and sweet as ours was, or you can go into greater detail. It depends on your child's personality.
When my daughter's asthma is acting up it's hard for me to tell, so I think it's important for her to learn how to communicate to me. So that's the angle I took in our pithy discussion. Yet her active mind soon drifted off, and I tucked her in for the night.
The book also comes with some neat Alfie stickers kids can put on their inhalers. Since my daughter doesn't like inhalers, she put them on her nebulizer.
This book also has some notes to parents at the back where they can learn about asthma basics. So not only is this book a conversation starter, but a start of the process of moms and dads improving upon their own asthma wisdom.
Considering I never felt my parents really understood my disease, to me it's important for any such conversation starter to also educate the parent, or at least start the learning process for both child and parent.
There were a few changes I'd make if I were writing this book. For example, Alfie obviously has control of his asthma. He's asthma wise.
Therefore, I think it would be neat if, along with the rescue inhaler later in the story, Bohline mentioned how Alfie uses preventative medicines every day to keep his asthma under control, and how he works hard to avoid his asthma triggers.
Regardless, it was a good read for us.
Alfie's Attack is a good children's book, and used in conjunction with other books such as Breathless Bethany Buttercup, and tools like the asthma wizard and Dusty the Asthma Goldfish, you should have many options available to start the parent-child asthma conversation.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Vitality Books for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.