Former Elizabethtown resident and LaRue County High School graduate Tashia Beaty has made it a mission to educate, connect with and promote inclusion for children with autism and other special needs. Her latest endeavor in this pursuit? The tale of a smart chicken.
Beaty is the author of the children’s book “Squilly Fixes the List in the Mist: A Story About Number Sequence.” Released in November, the book is her debut publication.
The book details the adventures of Squilly, a chicken who demonstrates a unique knowledge of arithmetic. Beaty said the book is designed to teach children number sequences while promoting the uniqueness of every child. The book is designed for children age 3 to 7, she said.
“The inspiration for this book came from finding that many children with autism have a fixation of numbers,” she said. “Children who have autism can sometimes be fixated on one thing, typically numbers or symbols.”
Beaty currently serves as an elementary school teacher in Conley, Georgia. In addition to holding a master’s degree in education, she also has earned special education certifications.
Beaty has spent a great deal of her life living in Elizabethtown and Hodgenville. Born in Kentucky, she spent most of her childhood growing up in Detroit, before moving to Hodgenville when she was 12.
She graduated from LaRue County High School in 1996 and moved to Louisville shortly after to attend college and lived in Elizabethtown and Hodgenville on different occasions since. She said she was living in Elizabethtown before moving to Georgia in 2016.
Beaty said she first began working with autistic children in 2001 and instantly became interested in identifying and making others aware of their unique educational needs.
“I instantly became intrigued about autism and wanted to learn more about it and other special needs,” she said.
Although Beaty said she always had aspirations to create a children’s book, she first began working on “Squilly” near the beginning of 2019. She self-published the book and worked with a freelance illustrator to fulfill her vision.
“Squilly” is the first book in a series known as Autistic Treasures, designed to promote inclusion and awareness of autism through children’s literature. Beaty said a second installment of the “Squilly” story currently is in the works.
Copies of the book can be purchased online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or at autistictreasures.com. The book also is available via Kindle and Nook. Corresponding worksheets can be found on the Autistic Treasures website.
“My hopes for this book is to let it get in the hands of young readers, parents and educators to help teach acceptance while building awareness of children with autism and their gifts,” Beaty said.