Embracing Asperger’s by Richard Bromfield, PhD

A Primer for Parents and Professionals

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In his introduction, Richard Bromfield encapsulates the essence of complexity that is Asperger’s syndrome.  This lets us know, as parents, that we can trust his advice.  His words set the tone and flavor of his approach when he writes:-

‘These children frequently smash through the glass ceilings that authoritative professionals have predicted for them.’

I enjoyed this discrete paradigm: the child, parent and teacher.  Although Richard acknowledges the impact of the deluge of other influences from therapists to peers, he restricts his remit to a manageable 170 pages.

To me, the choice of title seems a curious one–why would anyone NOT embrace Asperger’s?  Certainly, over the years I have met a great many children with Asperger’s syndrome as well as their parents.  As often as not, these parents are forthcoming about their children’s diagnoses, strong advocates, who are proud of their children’s achievements, talents and gifts.  Most of these children are mainstreamed although I would hazard a guess that this is primarily because these is no suitable alternative program.  There is no good fit available.  And that is the unwritten secret of this book, which also accounts, in part, for Bromfield’s patient and compassionate approach.

Most teachers have a heavy workload, more so, in the current economic climate.  Class sizes grow.  Resources shrink.  And then, teachers are expected to expand their skill set to accommodate and teach a wide spectrum, one or more quirky kids, some with learning difficulties, ADHD and maybe Asperger’s.

Teaching is a vocation, a fact reflected in their salaries.  They want the best for their students, all of them, but some are more difficult to engage and motivate.  This is where Bromfield steps in to demonstrate how teachers can intervene to promote successful learners.

There are so many useful bullet points here, one-liners that once grasped could make all the difference in a child’s life:-

-  Don’t take it personally

-  Assume anxiety exists

-  Model acceptance

-  Do not turn away from depression

But I won’t give too much away.

Bromfield’s hands-on experience shines throughout this book; his insight is sure to prove invaluable to many readers.

I do have one criticism, something easily amended on the next printing:-  give me an index!  [please]

 

Available from JKP and Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. farmwifetwo:

    Teaching is not a vocation here… all you have to do is look at their salaries, their hours and their refusal to work outside their union mandate.

    Asperger’s parents hate me b/c of my eldest son… but then again… mine’s joined the “real world”. IMO you can cripple a high functioning child easily or you can decide they can fly and lose the word “cannot”. We opted to ditch the words “autism” and “cannot” from his volcabulary and add the words “behave”, “social skills”, “education”, “speech therapy” and he’s doing amazing. This June he’s going to Scout Jamboree, I need some anti-anxiety meds so he survives the trip across TO (LA doesn’t know what traffic is… I’ve been there)…. traffic jam = claustrophobia = panic attack… but he’s going.

    I sometimes wonder what the parents behind us think when they run up against teachers and professionals that have parents like us before them. Parents that have expectations of learning, behaviour, socialization and paperwork to accomplish those things. That do it themselves in conjunction with the school. Since most parents (over 75% per the school and my FSW) expect someone else to do it for them or tell their kids “it’s ok, you have autism” or tell the school “you can’t expect them to do that” when they have one that started in their school with echolalia and a significant speech delay, that is getting A’s and B’s on his own, that has mastered behaviour and social skills (still a work in progress), that has plowed through his short term auditory and visual recall LD… in Gr 6.

    That’s what none of these books tell you. That’s what none of the blogs tell you. That with enough work, enough encouragement and getting rid of the words “autism” and “cannot”… they can do anything, even if it means finding some short term meds to get to and from camp… Camp will be fine, he loves camping with his Scouts.

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