From Anxiety to Meltdown How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively Deborah Lipsky

http://ca.pbsstatic.com/l/38/8438/9781849058438.jpg

 

Deborah Lipsky, the self dubbed Raccoon Lady, has written a must read for people like me.  People like me with children on the spectrum are apt to sit on my children’s shoulders and try to examine the insides of their heads.  It is a less than perfect arrangement.  More often than not, what with the speech delays and such, my translations are usually just my best guess with a dollop of wishful thinking.

So here, Deborah provides great insight into the thought processes and thinking patterns applicable to many people on the spectrum.  Her perspective may not be unique, in that there are lots of other autistic people with similar viewpoints, but the trouble is that not enough of them have written a book about it to enlighten us.  So here is the opportunity.

 

I particularly warm to her distinction between a meltdown and a tantrum, but that is probably because I agree with her.  You may well think otherwise, as you are entitled to, once you have read the book.

 

Her insights, tips and approach should prove invaluable to many, but for me, I was particularly interested to read about the interplay between anxiety, OCD, stress and how these elements can affect someone in their adult life.  Her account provides ample evidence about the importance of intervention early in life, to provide our children with as many coping mechanisms as possible, as well as the need to teach and practice flexible thinking.

 

I was delighted to read about Deborah’s challenging and fulfilling life, which I’m sure will prove inspirational to both parents and autistic children.  It would be far too sweeping to say, ‘Nothing holds you back except the limits imposed by yourself,’ but the impulse to self-censure is a commonplace part of the human condition.

p.s. lastly, I would like to add a request, namely, that a sequel might look at another black and white issue:  depression, autism and the mire of inertia.  How can parents intervene effectively?

 

Available from JKP.

 

And you can visit Deborah Lipsky here.

 

P.s.  Added later – thanks to Trish for this link where you can hear and see Deborah lecture where you can get a flavor of her wit and wisdom.


Bookmark and Share

22 Things a Woman Must Know

http://www.help4aspergers.com/pb/images/img225734b4254d1bdc6c.JPG

–  If she loves a man with Asperger’s Syndrome by Rudy Simone.  Foreword by Maxine Aston

Now there’s a title that just slips of the tongue.  This book has been sculling around the house for more than 18 months in part because I didn’t feel I could really do it justice.  I do not know any young men, or even older men, with Asperger Syndrome.  All I know about, is autism, straight and complicated, and even then I would only ever claim to know a little bit about some aspects of autism.

Additionally, since I am an older woman in a long term partnership, I’m not qualified to consider early romantic emotions—can’t remember that far back.  So that’s why it’s sat there all this while.

Then, just the other day, we experienced something new.

I walked my youngest son away from his class room.  He was, as is quite common, railing at the world, his fists in the air, punching at the skies about all the many injustices of this world.

He was very loud.

People, other mums and dads and children in both directions, were privy to his opinions screamed to the clouds on high.  It’s hard to use your ‘inside’ voice when you have just escaped to the outside, so I thought it best to head for the car at high speed, and beat a hasty retreat.  I confirmed my sympathies with his plight—yes, backpacks on wheels may well be the work of the devil, but people are free to make their own choices and we must be careful not to hurt their feelings.

He seemed not to have noticed the two delightful little girls walking in front of us with the wheelie backpacks—pink.  Nor did he notice their shy glances back at him, the giggles, the smiles.  We gathered together at the curbside to cross the road.  He pogoed on the spot.  They watched.  Marching over the road,  stiff-legged Mario style, it was clear he would not let up any time soon.  His curses, Spongebob mode, continued to flow.  The girls stopped at their car and waved goodbye to my son, saying ‘see you tomorrow.’  Then he noticed them and when prompted, managed a reply.

It was a timely reminder.

Is my son about to have a relationship?

I doubt it.

Is he likely to have one in the future?

Undoubtedly.  I’ll deal with that in time as well or badly as any other parent.  But what about the person he forms a relationship with, if she happens to be a woman?  Would this book help her?  Should I give it to her now so she can read up in advance?

So with that rubric, lets see.

Reading this book reminded me of Cosmopolitan Magazine when I was a teen: straightforward, easy to understand language, brief and always with a positive spin at the end of each chapter which Rudy titled – on a positive note.  For those paragraphs alone, I would give her a good score card, and many of them made me howl with laughter.

I also enjoyed the paragraphs labeled ‘his words,’ which are comments by AS men about the subject of the chapter.  I don’t know if they’re quotes from real [anonymous] people, but I suspect they are.

Number 19 is a good example:- you will never change him, even if you can successfully change his behavior.

His words:-  “Asperger’s is just another thing like restless leg syndrome.”

Then Rudy writes:- “The very things that drive you nuts might be inherently intertwined with the things that are most beguiling.”

Now isn’t that the truth.  I wouldn’t necessarily agree with all that is written here but it is nonetheless valid, interesting and thought provoking.

And lastly, the illustrations by Emma Rios are, of course, quite simply  delightful.

Available from JKP and Amazon.


Bookmark and Share

Something Different about Dad

Written by Kirsti Evans and Illustrated by John Swogger, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

This book is aimed at young people between the ages of 7 and 15 who have a parent or other adult in their lives with Asperger Syndrome and is styled and designed to meet that need.  As the writer explains it should act as a springboard to further discussion, a tool to break the ice and provide a starting point.

Today, before posting, I have read this book through a third time, just to make sure.

To begin with it’s important to recognize the first two characters, Kirsti and John.  They are important because they pop up later in the book, sprinkled here and there to explain what is going on in the stories.  This point wasn’t immediately clear to me, so I just thought I’d mention it.  Their role could be described as narrators, to clarify aspects of the scenarios.

The book is presented in a casual comic book style and has a comfortable air about it due in part to the font of the typeface and more importantly, the illustrations.  To me, the pictures are a stylized combination of cartoon, anime and manga.  This is great because it makes them familiar and accessible to most young people and it is their very neutrality that makes them universally applicable–the reader can superimpose or imagine their own relative in the place of the characters presented.

One particularly helpful element which could prove useful to many people is the illustration on page 29 [in my copy].  This highlights four aspects of  Asperger Syndrome:  imagination, communication, the senses and emotions, and relationships.  Each one is associated with an icon, a bit like a PEC but the visual works like a shorthand or  short-cut to help someone recall areas which can cause difficulties.

The book provides a number of scenes of everyday family life where everything does not go according to plan.  They focus on different family members in turn.  They are lengthy and detailed but should strike a chord of familiarity.  On completion of each ‘story,’ the narrators untangle the scene to discover what went wrong and why, and more importantly, how the situation could be handled differently in the future.

From this you can tell this book could be a very useful tool, especially because of the positive aspect of ‘how could we do this better.’

If it sounds as if I have reservations you would be right, but this is because the subject matter is complex.  It is difficult to make a complex subject easier to understand.  Simplification is a challenge but necessary–how else could we explain Asperger Syndrome to a youngster?

On the other hand, for the young reader, this book covers any number of sophisticated issues.  Throughout the book something nagged at me, but I couldn’t pin point what it was until I came to the last ‘story.’  Number 6 is called:- ‘What about me?’ where the son of the family takes center stage.  Here he voices what worried me. The book focuses on helping children understand their parent or adult friend with Asperger Syndrome.  It  helps a child look at the situation differently and learn new approaches to reduce future conflict, all of which is great, but it’s asking a lot of that child, any child.  I know these days we are often accused of being too child focused but there is also the accusation that parents are too ‘me–selfish–my time’ obsessed as well.

But that would be only one small blip in an otherwise very useful and sensitively constructed book.  The first thirty plus pages explain many of the aspects of Asperger Syndrome in an illustrative and interesting manner but younger readers may struggle here.  A great deal depends upon the age of the reader and their level of sophistication.  If I were a parent in that situation, I would read the book in it’s entirety and then select one story that best suited my families circumstances for my child to read, preferably together, especially if ‘attention span,’ is an issue.

I would congratulate the authors for producing a well thought out, wonderfully illustrated book which has broken new ground– an exciting new trend–hope it becomes a series? [hint, hint]

p.s. Spoiler alert / warning:-

Some more eagle eyed readers may be able to spot something which bears a remarkable resemblance to a clown face in a wall poster decorating one of the character’s bedroom.


Bookmark and Share

Back to the Future – the weight of the world

We chat on the way to the supermarket in the car. It is a proper chat because it is not about Pokemon. Who ever thought that we would ever enjoy a casual chat! The casual chat has been instigated by me, because I wish to distract from the imminent torture of the supermarket. It’s a thoroughly delightful new tactic. The chat is also prompted by the Brain Quest Third Grade (3rd Edition). As they are about to enter 4th and 5th grades in the Fall it is obvious that they are both well below grade level academically. When they were little, the answers were easy but the words were difficult. Now the answers are elusive but the words flow much more freely. All too often I find that as one thing advances another recedes, it’s a trade off. I believe it’s quite common. You can see it in “John Elder Robison’s” book called “Look me in the Eye.” When John was little he had extraordinary talents but as an adult those skills were unavailable to him. The chat comes to an abrupt halt.
“Lets not talk about it any more.”
“Why dear?”
“Coz I don wanna talk about dah future.”
“How come?”
“Coz I worry about dah future.”
“What is there to worry about?”
“My babies.”
“What babies?”
“My children.”
“But you don’t have any children yet.”
“I know and I’m worried I’m not gonna have any.”
“Why won’t you have any?”
“Coz of dah married bit.”
“The married bit?”
“No-one’s gonna wanna marry me.”
“Oh no, you’re quite wrong there. I’m absolutely sure that there’s someone out there for you, just the right one.”
“But I can’t do it.”
“Er…..do what dear?”
“Dah slow dancing.”
“Slow dancing! I don’t think that’s very important. Not everyone likes to dance. Anyway, you’re so good at fast dancing and robot dancing. Lots of people like that too.”
“Dya think?”
“Indeed I do!”
“No…..dya think dat…….one day when I am all grown up dat I will be being……a…da, .a… da, …..a…da……”
“Be what dear? A dad?”
“Adorable?”

And don’t forget to add your name to the “book giveaway.”

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share