How to develop positive thinking in young people with autism by using Social Stories ™

” What Einstein was to atomic theory, astronomy, and math,
Siobhan Timmins is to Social Stories™ “
Carol Gray (founder and creator of Social Stories™)

 

Using the highly effective Social Stories™ model, Developing Resilience in Young People with Autism using Social Stories™ is full of ideas for coping with negative experiences and helping young people with autism, who are particularly susceptible to setbacks. In the following extract Siobhan Timmins introduces how to build positive thinking and then presents two Social Stories™ from her book called
Beginning to think in a positive way and Learning to think in a positive way.

 

Click the link below to read the extract

 

READ THE EXTRACT 

 

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5 things about conversation that everyone on the autism spectrum should know


Starting a conversation and then maintaining one can be difficult for teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum. In the following blog Paul Jordan, the author of  How to start, carry on and end conversations: Scripts for social situations for people on the autism spectrum offers up advice on making sense of everyday social situations and gives us 5 top tips on maintaining a good conversation with someone.

  • Maintain eye contact with the other person
    This is extremely important for successful conversations, especially with neurotypicals (people without autism). This is arguably because, their brains which are wired conventionally, tell them that you are giving them your attention when you are looking at them.  Continue reading

Take a peek at our 2017 autism catalogue

Our latest autism catalogue is now available to view online and if you would like to request a free print copy please e-mail hello@jkp.com

This year’s catalogue has more books in it than ever before from fiction and picture books for children and young readers to life guides on negotiating employment, building relationships and more for adults. Parents will find practical books on coping with challenging behaviour while educators and professionals will find essential resources to use day to day when working with children and adults on the autism spectrum.


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My child has autism and has started smearing… what can I do?

 

In this blog Kate Reynolds, the author of What to do About Smearing, addresses the issue of smearing and what parents and carers of children with autism can do when they are confronted with this type of behaviour.    Continue reading

Bo Hejlskov Elven on applying the low arousal approach to parenting for his new book Sulky, Rowdy Rude?

Bo Hejlskov Elven is a parent and one of Europe’s leading clinical psychologists specialising in challenging behaviour. In this new blog for JKP he offers insights into how the low arousal approach informs his new book (written in collaboration with Tina Wiman) on parental strategies for managing the most challenging behaviour of any child, Sulky, Rowdy, Rude?: Why kids really act out and what to do about it.

 

The psychologist Douglas MacGregor proposed a theory of motivation in the sixties. He argued that we can view humans in two different ways: Either we think that people are lazy and need to be controlled and motivated by rewards and punishment, or we think that people do their best if we create the right environment for them to develop autonomy. His theory was on management, and he and later psychologists have shown that the second view increases productivity. In our book Sulky, Rowdy, Rude? we adapt that way of thinking to parenting. This is in no way controversial in Scandinavia, where we live, but may be a less common view in other parts of the world. Continue reading

Sex and Relationships – read an extract from Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome by Luke Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read an extract from the chapter on sex and relationships in Luke Jackson’s new book, Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome: A User Guide to Adulthood

The 13 year old author of the bestselling Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome, Luke Jackson is all grown up, and in his own words –

“[I’ve] literally had a lifetime of experience since then, and to read back through what I wrote at that time renders me incredulous – I was a different person.
Since then, I have struggled with a myriad of issues, been through the darkest of times, come through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but the point is, I’m still here.”

 

With his follow up Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome (now available in paperback) Luke tackles all of the difficult subjects that a young person on the autism spectrum is likely to face as they mature into adulthood. In the following extract Luke offers no-nonsense brotherly advice about dating drawn from his own experiences as well as those of his friends, all shot through with a healthy dose of candid humour.

You can read the extract taken from the chapter Sex and Relationships by CLICKING HERE

 

 

Buy Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome: A User Guide to Adulthood in paperback from Jessica Kingsley Publishers here

Coping with anxiety at Christmas if you are on the autism spectrum

The author of bridge-bridge_autism-anxiety_978-1-78592-077-6_colourjpg-printAutism, Anxiety and Me: A Diary in Even Numbers, Emma Louise Bridge, offers advice for those with autism on how best to cope with anxiety at Christmas time.

 

The shopping, the crowds, the parties, and the art of present giving… it is easy not to feel quite so wonderful at this most wonderful time of year. However as much as Christmas is one of those times of year that is just unavoidably stressful, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan ways to survive the holidays. At best you can have lots of fun, and at worst, well you can at least make it through.

The first step in holiday survival is planning. I personally like to do this with lists; even-numbered of course. Even if you’re not hosting the in-laws or planning a party, you will be surprised how much at Christmas can be thought out beforehand to save zig-zags in blood pressure. To provide a more in-depth example let’s take present-giving; something that I find far more stressful at Christmas than any other time because it is reciprocal. So, first plan out the details.

  • Who do you have to buy for?
  • Who will probably be buying for you?
  • What is your budget?
  • What you are going to buy?

Now I love surprises but at the same time I don’t, mostly because the need to make sure that all my gifts are either of an equal monetary or emotional value as those given to me is too great. The easiest way to ease this stress is to introduce wish lists. Ask everyone what they want. If you want to choose something then ask them for a list of different options. On the same principle you can produce a list yourself. Even if no-one asks, produce a list of things you really want and just offer it as a suggestion. Even if other people weren’t expecting it hopefully they will respect it as a way to make Christmas a little easier – after all everyone should be able to have fun.

Other lists can include:

  • Anything you need like decorations or advent calendar
  • Any parties you are invited to / hosting
  • Who is coming or where you’re going over the holidays
  • Any events such as carols or services that are going on
  • Food you need to buy


Planning, planning and more planning!!!

The second step to surviving the holidays is the guide to surviving parties. Christmas parties generally involve a lot of food, a bunch of being social and loud super cheerful music. So first things first: know you’re going to eat more over Christmas. It just seems to be inevitable, so plan ahead for that. Also if you know you’re going to go to a party where you might not be able to eat anything – because your entire family are on special diets – but you’re going to be super hungry because there is food everywhere… putting something in your handbag or pocket for emergencies is a seasonal must.

The other thing that stresses me out at parties is the number of people who are going to ask how life is going, what my plans for the New Year are, how my job is, how much I have grown etc. Now the answer to some of those questions never changes – ‘nope, still the same height’ / ‘yes it has been years’ / ‘happy Christmas to you too’ – but there are some conversations where stock phrases won’t do. This can be tough especially if your life isn’t necessarily where you want it to be or you don’t have much to talk about. The answer is simple and something I have learned over the years of trying to master the art of surviving in society. People love to talk about themselves, so bring the conversation back around to them every time you feel uncomfortable and you’re on to a winner. Even better, join a group where there are a couple of people who love to talk and happily be a background listener for as long as you can get away with it.

Also keep in mind that you’re bound to not be the only person in the room who isn’t exactly where they want to be at that point. Doesn’t mean you won’t ever be.

So my final surviving the holidays tip is this – don’t be worried about asking for help. It’s okay to not feel brilliant even if the world is covered in Christmas cheer. It is okay if it is hard or emotional. There could be a hundred reasons why. I know it is really easy to feel you have to shove a smile on your face and fake it ‘til you make it. And sometimes trying to tough it out is the right decision. But sometimes you just have to sit down and admit to yourself, or to someone you trust, that you could use some help. Or even just that you could do with being cut some slack. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else… you survive the holidays the best way you know how.

In conclusion:

  • Lists are awesome
  • Parties are survivable – just go in prepared
  • Survive Christmas the best way you know how – don’t let anyone tell you how you have to be

 

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New autism books catalogue for winter 2016/17

You can now browse through the 2016/2017 new and bestselling books catalogue for autism.

Featuring exciting new titles arriving in 2017 from Luke Jackson, Kathy Hoopmann, Bo Hejlskov Elven, Wenn Lawson the new JKP autism catalogue also includes some of the bestselling titles of recent years from authors such as Tony Attwood, Carol Gray, Rudy Simone, Jennifer Cook O’Toole and many more. There are new books on Social StoriesTM , Lego-Based therapy, mental health, sexuality, women and girls, anxiety and related conditions for all ages.

If you see anything in the catalogue that interests you please visit www.jkp.com for additional information.

The girls with autism and their new young adult novel

girls with autismYou can now read the opening chapter of M in the Middle:  Secret Crushes, Mega-Colossal Anxiety and the People’s Republic of Autismthe new book from the Girls of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin.

Life after diagnosis isn’t easy for M or her friends and family  too. Faced with an exciting crush, a pushy friend and an unhelpful Headteacher, how long until the beast of anxiety pounces again?

CLICK HERE for Part 1 M’s World – Chapter 1

 

If you enjoyed this extract sign up to the JKP mailing list for more info about our books, exclusive chapter previews and offers.
http://www.jkp.com/mailing

 

M in the Middle:  Secret Crushes, Mega-Colossal Anxiety and the People’s Republic of Autism is available now from Jessica Kingsley Publishers

10 Tips to support children with autism through puberty, adolescence and beyond

Hartman_Sexuality-and-R_978-1-84905-385-3_colourjpg-webDavida Hartman is the author of the book Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders has created a list of 10 tips to help parents and other adults feel confident about supporting children with autism through puberty and adolescence.

  1. Be prepared. Although children on the spectrum may be delayed in other areas of development, they will experience puberty, adolescence and all that goes with that at the same time as everyone else. This is absolutely normal and to be expected. However, they are going to need extra support in these areas because of difficulties understanding social rules and less opportunity to learn from other children.
  2. Start early. Children with autism can struggle with even minor changes in their lives. Learning in general can also be slow and confusing, especially if it is anything to do with the social skills. Trying to change rules like ‘Where it is ok to get undressed’ during puberty, already a turbulent time, can cause unnecessary confusion. Look at the things the child does now which may seem cute or quirky (e.g. giving every stranger that they meet a hug) and think “Will it be ok when they are a teenager?” If not, start working on it now.
  3. Teach what may seem obvious. Most children learn (often confusing and contradictory) information about growing up, relationships and what it is to be a man or a woman from many different places including friends, family and TV. Children with autism tend not to pick up on all of this information, and the information they do take on they find even more difficult to decode, often leading to embarrassing and hurtful experiences. To avoid this, they need things spelled out for them (e.g. that it is not ok to ask someone out on a date repeatedly after they have said ‘No’). Also, don’t assume that because they can do things like list the rules of internet safety that they will be able to use this information in real life. Real life practice is vital.
  4. Give information clearly and calmly. Use a positive tone. Don’t overload with information or language. Back up information with pictures, whatever works best for the child already. Be concrete and use correct terminology (i.e. not made up names that nobody outside of the family will understand). Teach children with good language skills the correct words to use when talking to teachers or other adults, but also the words that are ok to use with their peers when there are no adults around. Be careful about language being taken literally (e.g. that boys’ voices do not literally ‘break’).
  5. Don’t over protect. It is a sad fact that children with disabilities are vulnerable to abuse. Children on the spectrum may be even more vulnerable because of difficulties interpreting the motives of others, a desire to be accepted socially, uncertainty about what a real friendship involves and difficulties reporting past events. It is a parent’s natural instinct to protect their children. However, avoiding topics such as private body parts can teach the child that they are either unimportant or shameful and not to be spoken about. Be aware that overprotection from sexuality and relationship education leaves children vulnerable.
  6. Teach the difference between public and private.  All children need to learn the difference between what is public and what is private, including places, body parts, conversations, behaviours and online information. Learning this difference helps children behave in appropriate ways and is a protective factor in abuse. However, be careful about hard and fast rules and remember to teach that rules can change over time and why. For example, it makes sense to teach children that sex is a private topic that they can only discuss with their parents, but what are they to do when all of their peers are talking about it in the yard in school? Avoiding such conversations or worse telling the teacher will be even more isolating for them.
  7. Teach how to say ‘NO’. While compliance is highly valued in special education, it does little to support a child’s safety skills. Remember that if you teach a child to do everything that you tell them to do, you have taught them to do everything a bully or abuser tells them to do also. The first step to being able to protect yourself is to know your rights and to know that your body belongs to you, and that you have control over it and what you do with it. When a child says ‘No’ to an abuser, it shows that they understand the rules of touching and sexual behaviour and, very importantly, they are able to report it.
  8. Don’t do anything for them that they can do independently. Often, people get so used to making decisions and doing things for a child with special needs that they start to do so automatically. However, this inevitably leads to the child being less and less able to do things or make decisions for themselves. Instead, set up situations where the child can experience success and constantly push slightly beyond these boundaries. Allow them to do daily tasks independently, even if it takes them longer to complete. Involve them in decisions about their lives. Give them meaningful choices throughout the day. Also allow them a wide range of experiences from which to learn from (even if they find these new experiences uncomfortable at first and need extra support). If they have an IEP, consider them being involved in the process.
  9. Help them develop friendships. If teenagers are to develop the skills needed to enter adult relationships, they will need practice and support getting there. However, people on the spectrum often need and enjoy spending time alone and may actively avoid social situations. Don’t be mistaken, this does not mean that they do not also need or want friendship in a way that is meaningful for them or that they do not experience intense loneliness. Teach them the social skills involved. Link them in with other similar children. Find socialising events where there is a common focus, e.g. the cinema. The internet can also be great for linking together likeminded people with obscure interests.
  10. Help them to understand themselves. Developing a healthy and realistic self-concept means understanding your own personal weaknesses as well as your strengths. Children on the spectrum have many fantastic qualities, including being honest, reliable and having a strong sense of social justice. They need to learn that they are valuable human beings with valuable contributions to make to this world. However, they also need to learn about their diagnosis, the challenges that come with this diagnosis, what they need to overcome these challenges, and how to go about getting them (e.g. being able to tell their teacher “I find it difficult to listen to you when that light is flickering, can we please turn it off?”. This does not have to be done in one big difficult conversation. Start talking about difference early. Read books about autism with them geared for their age and ability level. Make links with groups like the Autism Self Advocacy Network. Introduce them (through books, TV or the internet) to role models who have a disability. One of the best things that you can do to develop your own understanding of autism is to read books by authors on the spectrum, they have a lot to teach us.

hartman1Download a handout for family, friends and teachers here.

Davida Hartman is the author of Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.