Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

January 24, 2019

Keeping a Comfortable Distance

By: Kati Berlin, MS, OTL/R

Recently I discovered a new book about personal space, “Harrison P. Spader, Personal Space Invader,” by Christianne Jones. It has quickly become one of my favorites. Harrison is a hippo that loves to be close to his family and his friends. Well, really he likes to be as close to them as he can get. At home that is okay because his family really likes to cuddle, but it ends up getting him into trouble at school. His dad teaches him a strategy that they call the “Space Saver” where he learns that he needs to be at least an arms length away from other people so that they can feel comfortable. Harrison ends up adopting this strategy and actually starts to move too far away from the group. Eventually he learns a happy balance and learns how to respect others’ personal space. When I’m reading this book with my clients I like to point out how his behavior is making other people feel uncomfortable when he is too close and that they feel confused when he is too far away. The book is fun and filled with cute illustrations that make learning about the topic of personal space a fun experience for everyone. And it provides practical examples that kids can understand and a strategy that is easy for them to pick up and use right away.