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Navigating Autism

Navigating Autism 2022-07-30


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VictorR submitted a new resource:

Navigating Autism - 9 Mindsets For Helping Kids on the Spectrum

Imagine what it might be like to think of potential rather than struggles when considering autism. Imagine work with kids that emphasize strengths instead of deficits. And imagine looking at a child or teen with autism and seeing countless fascinating facets just waiting to be nurtured and developed.

Here, international best-selling writer and autist Temple Grandin joins psychologist Debra Moore to do just that. They present nine strength-based mindsets necessary to successfully work with...

Read more about this resource...
Chapter List ("Mindsets")


1) Every Child is More Than Autism
2) Whole Child Evaluations Are Vital
3) Take These Steps Before Beginning Any Intervention
4) Know These Medical Conditions Associated with Autism
5) Know These Psychiatric Conditions Associated With Autism
6) Prepare Kids for the Real World
7) Focus on Strengths, Not Deficits
8) Work in the Growth Zone
9) Envisioning a Successful Adulthood

Review #27

It goes without saying that animal scientist Temple Grandin is one of the most recognized names in autism, and here, she teams up with psychologist Debra Moore for a practical and pragmatic guide that should be read by anyone who works with autistic children and teenagers, and even adults.

The book starts with Temple’s preface expressing concern that kids growing up these days may not be as exposed to things as they have in the past, and with that, the loss of experiences and the potential of wandering into something they may like, along with Debra’s introduction noting that by focusing on strengths, passions, and possibilities, that we can improve outcomes.

The first three chapters provide an overview of labels, caution on using them, and biases that can impact how others (including professionals) may perceive things. The authors, as such, advocate for a team approach, with many different individuals working together as a team to help ensure a holistic picture is formed on how to best assist someone in their learning and development – basically, the age old saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” They also note the importance of ensuring the team works cohesively, and have the right experience, expertise, and methodologies for their child’s needs.

The next two chapters covers concerns often occurring alongside autism, including but not limited to gastrointestinal issues, sleep issues, anxiety, ADHD, and signs to potentially look out for.

The final three chapters provides a high-level overview (other books cover many of the topics in further detail) on things like self-care, safety, communicating needs and self-advocacy, money skills, work experience, using strengths and interests to draw someone into learning and developing new skills, and how to provide support.

At over 300 pages, this took me a while to work through, and while they have richly illustrated the books with examples (including some excellent tables showing differences between strength-based approaches and deficit-based approaches), but as someone reading the book out of general interest (and not having any children or teenagers to potentially apply the ideas to, I found it a bit difficult to keep my interest up at times. I think this is due in part to the book, unlike Uniquely Human, which I believe this book should be read alongside as they complement each other well, doesn’t really have any people story threads permeating through the chapters, though Temple does bring in a number of examples from her personal life which those who have read her other works or seen her talk would likely already be familiar with.

The concepts in this book aren’t exactly new or original, but here, ideas and suggestions are packaged together nicely, alongside a rich list of references for further readings.

Score: 6.0 (max score 6.0 on my current grading scale)

I should note that this book reminds me, as I have mentioned previously in other reviews and commentary, that some of the more successful individuals on the spectrum who’ve found their niche, were able to do so in part due to their parents’ social-economic circumstances. My heart goes out to those whom like myself had to forge their own paths. (see Funny, You Don't Look Autistic and Unforgiving: The Memoir of an Asperger Teen for examples of my commentary on privilege)

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