2014 Living Now Book Awards JKP/SD Medal Winners Announced!

The Living Now Book Awards were established in 2008 to honor life-changing books, and to bring increased recognition to the year’s best lifestyle, homestyle, world-improvement and self-improvement titles. The awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of books that enhance the quality of life. The gold, silver and bronze medalists in the 2014 Living Now Book Awards highlight titles that represent some of the fastest-growing segments in book publishing today.

We are proud and excited to announce that one book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers and two books from our Singing Dragon imprint have been selected as Medal Winners!

From the Jessica Kingsley Publishers list…Final Chapters: Writings About the End of Life

Gold Medal WinnerGold Medal Winner in Grieving/Death & Dying
Final Chapters: Writings About the End of Life
Edited by Roger Kirkpatrick



From Singing Dragon…Chasing the Phantom: In Pursuit of Myth and Meaning in the Realm of the Snow Leopard

Gold Medal WinnerGold Medal Winner in Enlightenment/Spirituality
Chasing the Phantom: In Pursuit of Myth and Meaning in the Realm of the Snow Leopard
by Eduard Fischer


Bronze Medal Winner

Bronze Medal Winner in Healing Arts/Bodywork/Energy Techniques
Qigong and Chinese Self-Massage for Everyday Health Care: Ways to Address Chronic Health Issues and to Improve Your Overall Health Based on Chinese Medicine Techniques
Compiled by Zeng Qingnan






Jessica Kingsley Publishers/Singing Dragon would like to congratulate our 2014 Living Now Book Award Winning authors.

For more information on Living Now Book Awards or to see the full list of 2014 Medal Winners, please click here.

Learning about Sexuality and Safety with Tom

 Learning about Sexuality and Safety with Tom


The idea for storybooks about sexuality and safety came from being the single mother of a boy with severe autism and the worries I had about his future independence. As he matured physically he was going to want and need to do things for himself and there were going to be certain situations when it was inappropriate for me to be involved. It was becoming less appropriate for me to take him into the women’s public lavatories when the disabled toilets were unavailable (unfortunately a pretty common event) as small children and ladies would gawp at him unless he was jumping and arm-flapping. Without a male role model I realised it would be down to me to teach him how to do things such as use a public toilet on his own. I had no idea of the social etiquette for males (why would I?) so this led me to have a lengthy discussion with my brother, who was able to educate me in the ways of male lavatories. It was after this discussion that I started to think about all the difficult subjects that parents of children with autism encounter as they grow up.


Perhaps the most troubling aspect of having a child with autism (or a related condition) is their exposure to adult sexuality and how this can make them vulnerable to sexual abuse. Writing the book Sexuality and Severe Autism helped me realise that equipping our children with knowledge and skills makes them more robust and less likely to become victims. Unlike typically developing children, those with autism do not learn from their peers by ‘osmosis’ and may not ask appropriate questions – they need to be taught explicitly how to be safe and physically appropriate. With this in mind I enlisted the skills of illustrator Jonathon Powell and we set about producing a series of storybooks to give the parents of autistic children a means of educating their offspring about puberty, sexuality and social etiquette.


The first three storybooks are for boys and young men and feature the character, Tom. They are written in explicit language using ‘proper’ terms for sexual parts of the body and are illustrated with anatomically correct pictures, so that our children and young people can identify what kind of contact is appropriate and report accurately if sexual abuse occurs. The idea is that these books are read alongside generic reading material, rather than being a sex education lesson.


  • Things Tom Likes examines masturbation and sexuality and helps boys and young men understand what behaviours are public and private.
  • What’s Happening to Tom? is about puberty and enables readers to learn about developmental changes that they find challenging.
  • Tom Needs To Go refers back to that conversation I had with my brother about what is appropriate behaviour in public toilets and how our young men can be safe in such a space.


My hope is that these books will help ease the worries that parents and carers of young boys on the spectrum face as they grow up and will give them the opportunity to communicate about these difficult subjects.


Early in 2015 I will be able to introduce you to Ellie who will feature in similar books aimed at girls and young women.


Kate E. Reynolds is the author of What is Happening to Tom? Tom Needs To Go, Things Tom Likes and Sexuality and Severe Autism all of which are available through Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Changing Offending Behaviour

Changing Offending Behaviour is a one-stop resource of practical exercises for professionals to use in direct work with offenders aged 16+, written by Clark Baim and Lydia Guthrie. In this blog post Lydia explains why they decided to write the book, as well as sharing one of her favourite exercises which you can download and try out for free at the bottom of this post.

This handbook of practical resources is our contribution to the growing knowledge base about effective and evidence-based interventions with people (age 16 plus) who have committed offences of all types. We hope that it will be of use to front-line workers in a wide range of settings, including the criminal justice, social work, forensic hospitals, drug and alcohol rehab services, voluntary agencies, etc.

Baim-Guthrie_Changing-Offend_978-1-84905-511-6_colourjpg-printIn our work as trainers, supervisors, facilitators and the authors of offending behaviour programmes, it has become clear to us that there is a need for a practical, theoretically coherent and user-friendly workbook for busy frontline practitioners. This book is explicitly not a manual – it is a practice guide which invites the worker and the client to enter into a dialogue about which approaches and exercises may be relevant, and which may be less so. The book also offers guidance about how to adapt each exercise for clients with particular needs, or learning preferences, and there is a focus upon active and brain friendly methods of learning.

The aim of working with people who have committed offences must always be to prevent further reoffending (and the associated harm to victims and the community) by supporting the person who has offended to develop and maintain a positive and offence-free future. Our value base is that people who have committed offences are first and foremost “people like us”, and will have far more in common with every other human being than they will have differences. (This may seem like a glaringly obvious point, but one which some approaches to rehabilitation seem to miss!)

It is our belief that most people are capable of personal change when motivated, given the opportunity to express themselves differently, the correct support, and the opportunity to try out new ways of dealing with life’s challenges. Change is difficult, can be frightening, and there are often setbacks.

In writing this handbook, we have drawn upon a wide range of evidence-based methodologies, theories and treatment approaches, including Desistance Theory, The Good Lives Model, Cognitive Behavioural Theory, Attachment Theory, Social Learning Theory, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness and Self Compassion and Skills Practice. Chapter One of the book offers a brief review of these theoretical approaches, among others. Chapter Two focuses on essential skills for practitioners, such as the skillful use of questions, forming a therapeutic relationship and working motivationally with denial and resistance. The rest of the book is devoted to over 30 exercises which are designed to promote positive change. These exercises include some which you may recognise, such as a family tree, a life line, a cognitive behavioural analysis of the offence, and exercises designed to promote increased empathy with the victim or others affected by the offence. The common theme running through the exercises is that they are designed to support the client in understanding his or her life narrative, how harmful patterns of behaviour may have developed, how to build constructive and healthy relationships, and how to set positive goals for future life. All the exercises are clearly described, with a range of adaptations, and photocopiable worksheets.

You can try out a sample exercise from the book, ‘The Relationships Ladder’, by  downloading it for free here.

Find out more about the book, read reviews or order your copy here.

You can find out more about the training and consultancy work Lydia and her co-author Clark Baim provide on their website Change Point Ltd, and you can also find them on twitter here.



Request a copy of the latest collection of new and bestselling titles in adoption, fostering and looked-after children.

Cover image - Adoption ProfessionalsOur brand new collection of new and bestselling titles in adoption and fostering for professionals will be available soon.

Click here to sign up for a free copy.

Including essential new titles from Paolo Hewitt (But We All Shine On and The Looked After Kid) and the new book from Sally Donovan (The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting).

This is a great opportunity to check out the fully updated second edition of Lynn Davis‘ bestseller; The Social Workers Guide to Children and Families Law, and for professionals working in child protection the new Assessing Disorganized Attachment Behaviour in Children from bestselling authors David and Yvonne Shemmings will be invaluable reading.

These are just a few of the fantastic new titles included in this latest collection –  to request your free hard copy of the catalogue sign up to the mailing list here.

Click this link to see our full listing of books on Adoption, Fostering and Looked-After Children.

Read an extract from Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder)



In this extract from Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome author Philip Wylie  talks about the importance of getting the timing, manner of communication and choice of confidant right when revealing that you have been diagnosed with ASD.

Read the extract now

You can find out more about the book, read reviews and order your copy here.

How using colour coded visuals can reduce anxiety when a child with autism starts school.

For many teachers coming to the end of the summer holidays now is the time to start preparing for the new academic year. With that in mind we turn to author and teacher Adele Devine who in this brand new blog demonstrates how developing a colour coding system can make for a more comfortable learning environment, especially for early learners with Autism.

Through the classroom door 

Fig 10.8










Transitioning into class can be a big hurdle for a child with autism. They have no idea what will happen beyond that door and the ‘unknown’ triggers alarm bells. We must also factor in some of the sensory issues, which often partner autism.

Turn up the volume of everything so that it is way above ‘uncomfortable’. Unfamiliar voices echo and what is that tidal wave sound?  Is there a toilet flushing? The lighting seems drastically different – flickering as it does in horror scenes, building a frightening atmosphere. Clothing that felt fine before has become itchy, sticky and hot. The child may not be able communicate or make sense of these nightmare feelings. They realise there is no going back, but moving forwards suddenly seems overwhelming.


Show them the way

Preparing visuals to explain our expectations can help make everyday transitions seem more achievable. We must try to avoid the child reaching that overwhelmed state by paving each step with a visual support. Matching photos and symbols can give the child a task to focus on. The visual clarifies our expectations and reduces the need for complex language.

Visuals help the child feel safer and more in control.


Provide individual schedules












The child enters the classroom with a clear idea of what they should do first. They match their photo to the one at the top of their personal schedule.

We must make sure schedules are placed somewhere prominent within the child’s reach.

Next the child removes the first symbol from their schedule.

We teach the child to do this by gently guiding them and providing hand over hand support.

For example, they might first remove the blue table symbol and if so they will transition to the blue table from the top of their schedule.


Using transition boards












On the blue table there is a transition board with other ‘blue table’ symbols. The child places their symbol on the board.
There is a photo on the back of the chair indicating where the child could sit. They may not choose to sit. That is okay. They can learn to sit later… Right now we want them to feel safe, in control and that they are on the right track.

At the blue table you can set up an activity for the child to do, this should have a clear structure so the child knows the expectation. They should be given hand over hand help with learning a new task so that it does not frustrate or overwhelm them. Showing the child will be more helpful than a verbal explanation. Do not do the task for the child over and over, instead reduce your support each time and allow them to build their independence.

When the blue table activity is ‘finished’ the child is given their photo. They return to the schedule to match it and check what is next.

Using symbols, schedules and transition boards reduces the need for too many verbal instructions, helps the child transition and promotes independence.


A visual link can be created through colour. The individual schedule is purple, the symbols and the transition board are outlined in purple. The class timetable is also backed in purple. The hope is that the child may start to make a connection between their individual schedule and the class timetable.



 The class timetable



A child may use a ‘Now and Next’ or ‘First and Then’ schedule to break down the expectations. These schedules are also backed in purple.

now and next2





 Now and Next schedule



Using a colour code for schedules, timetables, now and next boards and transition boards helps create a category. Children with autism are often very good at sorting by category, tuning into colours, shapes and patterns, but they can have difficulty generalising.

The colour purple creates a category for schedules. When the child wants to know ‘what we are going to do next’ they look for purple. We use the child’s strengths for categorising to create a stepping stone towards generalising.


Visual structure can bring order to chaos and help set the child with autism up to succeed.


Adele Devine is the author of Colour Coding for Learners with Autism available through Jessica Kingsley Publishers

New Autism titles September 2014

Browse our latest collection of Autism titles.
For more information on any of the books inside, simply click the title or cover image to view the full book page.

Listening skills for busy school staff – An interview with Nick Luxmoore

Nick Luxmoore is a school counsellor, trainer, teacher, youth worker and UKCP registered Psychodrama psychotherapist. He has over 35 years’ experience of work with young people and with the professionals who support them. We caught up with him to talk about his work, his latest book: Essential Listening Skills for Busy School Staff, and his top tips on listening for teachers and other school staff.

You’ve worked with young people and with the professionals who support them for over 35 years. What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy helping to build a culture, especially in a place like a school, where everyone feels appreciated and so feels able to appreciate others. I know that sounds extremely trite but I also know that it’s possible to do this in schools, making that tangible difference. Potentially, schools can be very therapeutic places.
I also enjoy the anger of young people. That might sound like an odd thing to say, but people only get angry because they care and I love the fact that young people care passionately about so many things that are unfair or, at least, seem to them to be unfair!

What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

It’s difficult living with the fact that you can only do what you can do; that people will go away and make their mistakes. Some will thrive but others will have really tough lives. And there’s nothing more that you can do about it. It’s a lesson that every therapist has to learn and a lesson that everyone who works in a school has to learn as, year after year, they say goodbye to the people about whom they’ve really cared.

What inspired you to write ‘Essential Listening Skills for Busy School Staff’?Luxmoore_Essential-Liste_978-1-84905-565-9_colourjpg-print

I used to be a teacher and, for years, I’ve been running all sorts of trainings for school staff. So I understand what it’s like to feel as if you’re never doing a good enough job, to feel that there’s never time to listen and to feel resentful of those people who seem to be getting all the attention and praise. This book comes out of all that experience and is informed by the questions people ask like, “This is all very well, Nick, but when are we supposed to find the time to do this listening? And what are we meant say to someone who’s depressed or cutting themselves?”

I’m passionate about this book because I think there’s a tendency in schools to refer children and young people on to someone else, often to someone from outside the school itself. People like counsellors and mental health professionals (keen to show how invaluable they are) sometimes give school staff the message that other people’s distress is far too disturbing and complicated for a mere member of staff to tackle. And nine times out of ten that’s just not true! Schools are about human beings supporting other human beings. A bit of guidance is always useful and my book provides that guidance for staff because most people want to talk to the person they know: not to some stranger they’ve never met before. I want staff in schools to feel able and confident to listen and support their fellow human beings, knowing that a little can be a lot and that you don’t need a professional qualification in how to be a supportive human being!

I also feel passionately that teachers aren’t the only people who listen in schools. In fact, it’s often non-teaching staff who find themselves besieged by needy people. So this book is as much for them as it is for the teachers. And it’s about listening, not only to children and young people, but to colleagues and parents. An upset member of staff is potentially just as disruptive as any upset student! And the extent to which we feel able to support other people will often depend on the extent to which we feel supported ourselves. So the quality of relationships in the staffroom matters just as much as in the classroom.

Can you think of an example where you’ve been able to help a student or colleague just through listening?

With students…. a baby develops a sense that it exists and is worth something because of the calm, interested attention that it gets from its parents and other people. So with young people it’s sometimes enough to listen and be interested. Our experiences of someone paying attention and finding us interesting are the building blocks on which everything else is built: our confidence, our self-belief, our sense of worth.

With colleagues…. I’ve listened to lots of colleagues who have ranted or wept buckets and there’s been nothing to say because life really can be that bad and sometimes it’s helpful when someone acknowledges this with us. People usually have good reasons to be ranting or weeping.

If you were going to give one tip to busy school staff to help them improve their listening skills, what would it be?

Listen to the feelings. Don’t worry about giving advice. Just listen to the feelings, especially the shittiest, angriest, saddest, most hopeless feelings. I’ll bet that the best listening experiences you ever had yourself were the ones when someone did just that for you. They didn’t patronise you. They didn’t offer you cheap advice. They just listened. And of course, when someone listens to our feelings expressed as words, we don’t have to enact those feelings!

 You can find out more about Nick’s book here. You can also find more of Nick’s books on working with young people here.

Request a copy of our 2014 new and bestselling books on Autism Spectrum Disorders and related conditions

2014 September  - Autism Catalogue Cover
Our brand new catalogue of books and resources on Autism Spectrum Disorders and related conditions will be available soon.

Click here to sign up for a free copy.

Our new catalogue has essential new titles from Cynthia Kim (Nerdy, Shy and Inappropriate) and Tessie Regan (Shorts).

This is a great opportunity for parents to get a hold of Tony Attwood’s newest book, Been There. Done That. Try This! as well as Jennifer Cook O’Toole’s The Asperkid’s Game Plan.

For professionals, the catalog offers useful new resources like A Practical Guide to Mental Health Problems in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder by Khalid Karim et al., and the new fully updated edition of Kids in the Syndrome Mix by Martin Kutscher.

To request a copy of the catalogue please click here.

Click this link to see our full listing of books on Asperger Syndrome, Autism and other Syndromes.

Change Happens… Teaching a child with autism to handle a ‘whoops!’

whoops Adele Devine image


Teaching a child with autism to handle a ‘whoops!’

It’s raining and that lovely day at the beach that’s been on the calendar ‘FOREVER’ suddenly isn’t happening.

A change of plan seems logical, but may be difficult for the child to accept. They like to know and expect you to stick to the plan.  Why can’t we go to the beach in the pouring rain? Beach is on the calendar.

We use visuals such as calendars, schedules and ‘now and next’ boards because knowing what’s ahead creates a sense of order and allows the child time to process.
On the flipside changing set plans can create mistrust and anxiety, leading to shut downs or meltdowns.

So what do we do?

We know the potential reaction so we try to avoid the situation, but then change happens…

The day comes when we need to collect a sibling who’s poorly when we were about to watch a DVD or there’s a phone call we must take.


Preparation is everything!

  • Be more aware of your own routines and try to mix them up a bit. Do not sit in the same place every meal time or lay out the clothes in the exact same order.
  • Avoid always going the same route, as this creates the idea that there is only one right way.
  • Read a social story(TM) about when the phone rings or the traffic lights are broken and role play good reactions.
  • If a scheduled activity relies on dry weather then show on the calendar that rain will mean a change of plan. It’s on the calendar so it’s ‘okay’.


A Whoops! 

Holding up a ‘whoops!’ symbol (shown above and downloadable here) alerts the child that change is in the air. It allows them time to process and prepare to control reactions.

Choose a time to test out using the ‘whoops!’ symbol.

“Whoops! We have no vanilla ice cream. We only have chocolate.” Change is easier to cope with when it is good change.

Have another adult or sibling model a good reaction,

“Oh dear! I am sad that there is no vanilla ice cream. I was looking forward to it. Oh well, I will have chocolate instead.” Praise the ‘model’ for their good reaction. The child with autism will be watching and learning.

Next time try a less rewarding ‘whoops!’ Ask a friend to stage that unexpected call or visit. By role playing a change situation we create a stepping stone. Practicing when the situation is not ‘real’ removes the pressure.


Change Toolkit.

  • A whiteboard and dry wipe pen to write or draw the new schedule.
  • A visual timer such as a time tracker or egg timer.
  • A motivating activity (colouring, books, Lego, play dough) or fidget toy.
  • Some sort of food (cereal or raisins) and a drink.
  • A set of social stories(TM) (when the phone rings Mummy needs to speak, when a visitor comes to the house, when we have to go out in the car, when we have to take a different route)
  • An emergency occupier – iPad, or android tablet or game (make sure it’s charged).
  • A visual of a reward for after – (going to the shop or park, baking a cake) and a token board (if used).
  • Symbols for ‘whoops!’ ‘good waiting’, ‘good sitting’, ‘good listening’, ‘good looking’ and ‘good standing in line’.
  • A visual volume control.
  • Bundles of praise, patience and empathy.


Adele Devine is the author of Colour Coding for Learners With Autism available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers