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12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesADHD NationAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody ChildRaising BlazeRaising Generation RxRaising Resilient ChildrenReady or Not, Here Life ComesReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRemembering Our ChildhoodResilience in ChildrenRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRunning with ScissorsRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySeeing EzraSex and the American TeenagerSex, Therapy, and KidsSexting and Young PeopleSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShort Term 12Should I Medicate My Child?SmashedSnapshots of AutismSongs Without WordsSophie Spikey Has a Very Big ProblemSpeakStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrange SonStudent DepressionSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
This book comes complete with a
resource list, bibliography, index, and a reading list, and is hailed on the
cover as an indispensable book for parents, teachers, professionals.
Apart from some glaring errors,
such as referring to Luvox as clomipramine (which is Anafranil actually) under
the heading SSRIs (page 55- Luvox is actually fluvoxamine), the book is a
carefully written exposition of what the authors have come to accept and
acknowledge as the trials and tribulations of the Asperger's kid, and his/her
family, mostly his.
Not that the book is without some
really gushy philosophies, really hippie stuff about celebrating the uniqueness
of the child with Asperger Syndrome, when most parents are stuck with a more
real, although Gothic and miserable view about how one values and celebrates
the aloof uniqueness with social disasters all round that often characterizes
such children. However, the need to approach such disasters in the birth and
development with a more positive view is one which few would deny is valuable,
and this is what the authors set out to do: take a positive view while
acknowledging the seriousness and level of commitment of such parenting tasks.
Again, one is not treating the
impairment, whatever the opening chapters might describe in the organic
pathways involved, but rather the social emotional difficulties that flow from
such impairment, and the management of the disability that results. The
emphasis here is on the family and the community as resources for the child.
This is a good point of departure
for most parents, faced with the cost of ABA approaches and the time and money
invested, as the only real treatment in the evidence base, and with little idea
as to what might go wrong in the child's development up to the point of
Here, the idea is to target each
aspect and thoroughly work at it until the child 'gets it'. Of course, people
of my age will say that kids are cruel, and the child is unlikely to receive
more than short shrift from peers, who will rapidly get it that Johnny is
weird, but today, we have to admit, kids are more exposed to the previously
shunned and hidden 'detritus' of childhood society, and kids with syndromes
related to developmental delay or failure are happily better understood,
tolerated, and in many cases, more supported in mainstream life until the
levels of prejudice have waned somewhat.
Still, Geek syndrome, as my kids
and their friends refer to it, is unpleasant, and although at the high end of
the autistic spectrum of developmental disorders, this may auger well for
success in later, limited or rather focused pursuits, but still, the condition
will complicate social interactions. Home and workplace, the two psychosocial
arenas, are seldom enhanced in the way most of us would want, namely, managing
interactions with others.
To this end the authors spend a lot
of time addressing how parents can enhance the child's capacity to correctly
interpret and understand, for instance, metaphors, and not be literal or
concrete in their interpretation.
For Asperger's-labeled kids, like
any child in the complex social interaction conundrum of the playground, life
is confusing if knowledge is not internalized and utilized. So telling the
child, "you can argue till the cow's come home", might just get the
kid doing just that, convinced that the absence of bovine arrivals indicates the
permission to keep on going ad infinitum, when the parent hoped they would see
the futility of doing so. Each and every such hiatus needs to be dealt with,
and in reality, celebrating the difference of your child in this way can
conceivably bring a parent-social instructor to their knees with despair. The
book is there to deal with caregiver burnout, amongst other things, by
emphasizing the need for accurate, helpful, support and advice, from diagnosis
through to long-term treatment.
The book is structured into two
parts: Part one is detailed for an understanding of the condition, what it
looks like, what is going on inside the brain, obtaining and then adjusting to
a diagnosis, and how it feels to be on the inside of the child's emotions and
feelings in society, setting early the tone for the book, making the child and
society inclusive of each other.
Part two, on Asperger's and your
child, examines the child as an individual in the family, and then integration
problems in the community are dealt with, then the school context more
specifically. Communication and social issues, obviously crucial, come next and
adolescence, regarded as a critical period given it is fairly circumscribed,
and of course, in terms of individuation, mating, maturity, and so on, so important
and busy is focused on quite substantially. The world beyond, the adult world,
is last with a Q&A section as noted above, with all the readings,
references and a comprehensive index.
It's hard to judge such a book,
since it's based on observations and records these faithfully, and uses a lot
of common sense, rather than too much science, as befits a book for parents and
siblings. Science however, is referred to, but little detail is given to
preserve the flow of the book and its lay appeal
Statements like, 'they are less
likely to marry than others', are not as comforting as many others, and quietly
dispel the earlier pithy comments about how one is joyously to celebrate the
fact that our child is marching to the beat of a very different drummer. After
all, warts and all, we love our children, sometimes less, sometimes more, but
never not at all, no matter what they do: but others are freer to ignore them,
or worse be repelled by their oddness and this will bring pain to all.
On the other hand, and in the
sometime value neutral sometimes more positive tone of this tome, human beings
do often choose partners who are not mainstream, interpreting all kinds of
weirdness as a strength, or an attractive difference which makes for a match,
it takes all types to make a healthy society.
When the Asperger's kid violates
the norm, it is clear the author's message is to regard this as not fixed in
dinosaur prints, but amenable to melioration, to be corrected and taught until
the rule, this rule for this circumstance is understood, and one does not need
to wait for the cows. The condition is thus seen as mutable, subject to
modification, and while celebrating the difference, the uniqueness of this kid,
one tries then repeatedly to induce a rule driven understanding that in this
place, in this time, a skill can be acquired which will deal with the other,
like learning a new language. How the child learns to apply this at the prepotent
place, is less clear. These "lousy jugglers" may struggle to apply
what they have learned, hence the need for sustained practice.
There are few aspects of life
neglected, if any, in this book. The authors project a calm approach, with some
serious undertones, to a vexing problem. Behind all of this we see a tired,
dispirited parent, possibly finding it hard to juggle time and work and home
and other children, with a uniquely obsessive child, a sponge absorbing their
energy. One of my clients, widowed, has three sons, all with the syndrome, all
demanding extensive input, in a country where there is no state support, and
she cannot afford private help. I have sent her the book.
Of course, no book stands alone and
sufficient, parents need their own family and peer and professional support,
but the book is likely to rapidly become dog-eared, as mine is, as one hunts to
and fro for what they said about this and that.
The Q&A section is helpful, but
they should expand on it, as there is so much more. The list of resources is
of course less valuable outside of the States, but each has a website, and this
is the era of cyberspace.
There is nothing to compare this
book with, it stands head and shoulders above most, mainly because its approach
is to constantly talk to the parents about the practical, the what and how to,
when to, without preaching an approach, too much science, or becoming
esoteric. Priced at around US$15 it's likely to sell well enough, and is
recommended for all involved either personally or professionally with the
focused potential that is the Asperger Syndrome.
© 2005 Roy Sugarman
Roy Sugarman Ph.D., Conjoint Senior Lecturer in
Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist,
Professional Opinions (Sydney) & Rose Park Psychology (Adelaide)